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  1. #1
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    How can an affiliate website engage the audience?
    I just read an interesting article in The Washington Post online entitled:
    Under Weight of Its Mistakes, Newspaper Industry Staggers
    As I read the story I thought of lessons & tips from the article that could be applicable to webmasters.

    The most important point of this article from the perspective of an affiliate who does not want to see his/her website flounder is the importance of engaging your audience.

    This concept is easy to grasp in terms of abstract/intellectual elements but it is not always easy to create an engaging website. What kind of elements entice a search engine user to visit an affiliate site and to stay there? There are many answers to this question but the practical implementation is not always easy for the webmaster/affiliate.

    Other points applicable to affiliate webmasters are:
    • the importance of trust

    • attitude

    • the ability to adapt

    • the importance to take action

    • the importance of realizing which promotions will be effective


    In consideration of the collective points from the article, the question relevant to affiliate webmasters is: How can an affiliate website engage the audience?
    Any thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    One of the most important points of engagement is to try to point out how whatever it is you are talking about applies to the individual reading the website, page, article.

    Does your 'wording' tell convey 'what's in it for the customer or reader' rather than touting how good the messenger is that is presenting the information?

    For example:

    (Good Example)

    If You Like Cherry Tomatoes, You Can Enjoy Delicious Great Tasting Cherry Tomatoes All Summer Long. (Idea)

    Cherry Tomatoes Cost About $4.00 Per Pound In Your Local Supermarket. (Fact)

    Growing Your Own Cherry Tomatoes In A Container On Your Patio Or Small Money Saving Garden You Can Save $80 To $100 Or More. It's Easy To Do. (Explain how here)

    (Connect the idea to the fact in how it applies to the reader.)

    You Can Get 'Best Tasting" Award Winning (type of Cherry Tomatoe) Seeds For (Price)
    And Be Growing Your Own CT in less than 5 days. (Call To Action).

    Something like that ... usually does real well.

  3. #3
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Nice example, net4biz
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  4. #4
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Two main ways to engage a visitor:

    1.) When they first visit, the design, images, words, and navigation must be able to pull the visitor in and offer them what they came for. Unfortunately, many visitors come in through the search engines to random pages, get what they want, and never come back.

    2.) If someone does explore the site and decides to bookmark it, there needs to be a constant stream of quality fresh content to keep the visitor engaged and returning often.

    A newspaper site should be able to do this, but many of them are going out of business. I know they have a lot of overhead from the way they used to do business, but it is sad to think that an online newspaper site with good quality content couldn't make enough from online ads to stay afloat.

  5. #5
    http and a telephoto
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    It takes more than good content. As net4biz pointed out, the content needs to be presented appropriately and in a way that engages your visitor, such as a forum or comments or a place for them to post photos.

    Look at Weather Underground... it presents information, but it engages the visitors to come put up their photos and share stories.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  6. #6
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    It takes more than good content. As net4biz pointed out, the content needs to be presented appropriately and in a way that engages your visitor, such as a forum or comments or a place for them to post photos.
    So you are suggesting something beyond the well-planned site, something that allows user interaction?
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  7. #7
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    So you are suggesting something beyond the well-planned site, something that allows user interaction?
    Yes. A blog allows comments, which allows people to share their opinions and gives them a reason to come back. There are a lot of things that can be added to a site to allow user interaction and engagement.

    What sites do you return to and why? Fresh content is one thing, but what are some others?
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  8. #8
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    What sites do you return to and why? Fresh content is one thing, but what are some others?
    Well I can think of 3 blogs [created by regular people] that I used to follow on a daily basis, sometimes I'd check the blogs multiple times.
    These 3 bloggers do not have accompanying websites.
    There was always a mix of current events (sometimes political, not always, often the current events comments were on a "public figure" such as a celebrity, or the comment was a local observation - I found information about a local situation/place/event an interesting read) and humor.
    I commented on some blog entries but the ability to comment was not crucial to whether I would read a daily blog entry or not.
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  9. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    I think the essence of a successful blog (one that you absolutely have to return to so you won't miss anything good) is to make visitors want to comment. On my two blogs (neither of which is yet in any way "successful") I talk about newsworthy matters, but my posts are based around my opinions, which I hope are interesting, thought-provoking, and outrageous enough for visitors to not only comment, but want to come back for more.

    Hopefully at some point they may even buy something.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  10. #10
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Robert Scoble has a 4 part discussion with a company called "Involver" about the change in advertising currently taking place. The videos are listed on his FriendFeed here:
    http://friendfeed.com/e/693447ca-b80...dvertising-is/

    How engaging or how involved should an affiliate website be to attract online customers?
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  11. #11
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    Advertising is changing because ad agencies are more interested in winning awards with other people's money than selling products for their clients. Newspapers are folding because they are more touts for vested interest or fairness than in just giving us the NEWS ... The headlines do not engage interest, the stories are bloated with irrelevancy. People want to know the news, not commune with people involved thru
    Spockian mind warp ... there is no time for that today.

    We have the WORST newspaper on planet earth in Las Vegas - The Review Journal.
    I am pretty confident that almost all the readers have birds as pets, because lining a
    bird cage is about all it is good for. The managing editor cannot write a coherent sentence. The Sports page literally sucks on a daily basis. They plastered the recent OJ trial all over for WEEKS ... like who cares - deja vu from 10 years ago.

    On the other hand, The Huffington Post is for all practical purposes an online newspaper. It's global in reach, it has local and national stories. And it has a bit of a left leaning point of view (whatever that means)... and it is consistent about it's focus.

    I am not touting it for it's content ... but for what it does in the age of the internet. As of a few minutes ago, there were 162 comments about the Google story. I would bet not ONE real offline newspaper had anything to say about the Google story for a bunch of reasons, but the number one would be they were afraid Google would cancel their Adsense account.

    There is tremendous opportunity in just about any local for someone to do their own
    Huffington Post like blog ... advertise it on Craigslist. Put up posters at the local supermarket bulletin board. Send a News Release to the world. Get some readers and the money will follow.

    Here's a trick one of the old newspaper editors I knew used to use to get readers. ( I used to deliver the rag as a kid)

    Do a bunch of short local stories about real people in the community - especially little league and the like ... Everyone wants to see their name in the paper - especially if it is about something good. The more little stories the more people bought the paper to read about their kid, friend, etc.

    Today it's all about National stuff ... Obama and such. But I would bet if someone nuked Washington D.C., not to many people would care one way or the other.

  12. #12
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    I think newspapers and cable television have always been very poor at engaging their audience. They got audiences because they were the only (or almost only) source. They didn't have to try very hard because there were few competitors.

    The monopoly media outlets are competing for the first time with the millions of choices we have online.

    Instead of getting better, the big media newspapers and cable television channels are getting worse. Their advertising revenue is drying up because they no longer own the only way to reach the audience.

    This opens up a lot of room for people producing online content.

    I can't wait for the convergence of the internet with our television sets. I know it is already starting to happen, but I want it to happen on a large scale so Americans have more than 10 - 400 choices for content on their television screens (created and distributed by about five large media companies.)

    Once I can access more than just two music channels (that rarely play music), four news channels (that rarely show news), and a few science channels (that teach me how cool the military is), then there will be more competition.

    This will allow channels/websites to engage and keep audiences based on the quality and presentation of their content instead of being based on who has enough money to be the only source of content in a specific region or niche.

    So how can an affiliate website engage the audience? First, we need to continue to disempower the monopoly media structures so we have access to the audience.

  13. #13
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    You can get access to the audience thru Craigslist and other similar places online.

    You can buy what everyone calls junk traffic, which while it might not buy anything immediately, you have the chance to capture their interest or email or get them to sign up to your RSS or Twitter.

    It's not difficult to get 100,000 readers to a blog in a month. And it does not cost a bunch to do that either.

    But most people 'fantasize' they can get Google traffic for FREE and since it mostly never happens, their blogs do not get read enough to make any noise in the blogosphere.

    On the net, the money follows the traffic ... and all the money to be made online is in the second click from where ever you start out.

    Send 100,000 people to EBAY for $300 and you can pretty much be certain to make double if not triple that amount and sometimes a whole lot more.

    Get 3 advertisers to pay you a slotting fee of $100 for 100,000 real people to see their banner and text link and your traffic costs are ZERO ... and if you sell just one 'thingy' in 1,000 you make a PROFIT.

    And you are almost certain to get a decent listing in Goofle as Leader calls it. Wjich means more and better grade of traffic. It's not rocket science.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    I've been teaching some local classes on how to use the social networking (and media - IMO there is a difference) tools to do some of what you are talking about. As opposed to always having to bring them to your 'house' (website) to discuss and engage you can take the discussion/engagement to their house (facebook, etc). This goes a big way towards building the trust and respect of your brand and website.
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  15. #15
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    I blogged a lot in years past and found that blog readers are not necessarily buyers.

    These days I mostly build sites that are solely designed to grab a targeted person in buyer mode, direct them to my site where they find juicy affiliate links and images of the product, and then direct them to the vendor to complete the sale.

    On these sites I don't try to get repeat traffic. I just want to leverage everythign I'm doing to draw the targeted buyer and make the sale. These sites go against everything I was 'taught" as a web publisher - because you're not trying to be their friend, you don't want them to keep coming back - you don't even want them to sign up for your newsletter. You just want them to buy. On some of these sites I have as high as 10% conversions, and the traffic numbers range from 500 people per month to several thousand visitors per month. So I'm getting a lot of "bang" out of very small visitor numbers.

    With that business model you don't need to do a lot of work befriending people, inspiring trust, or driving repeat traffic.

    However I also sell some ebooks and short reports which are more "traditional" in their structure. Sometimes I include a news or blog style section, often I'lll have a free report, sometimes I include a newsletter. With these sites I tend to try to engage people a little more around whatever they're interested in.

    Dan

  16. #16
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangregory

    These days I mostly build sites that are solely designed to grab a targeted person in buyer mode, direct them to my site where they find juicy affiliate links and images of the product, and then direct them to the vendor to complete the sale.

    On these sites I don't try to get repeat traffic. I just want to leverage everythign I'm doing to draw the targeted buyer and make the sale. These sites go against everything I was 'taught" as a web publisher - because you're not trying to be their friend, you don't want them to keep coming back - you don't even want them to sign up for your newsletter. You just want them to buy. On some of these sites I have as high as 10% conversions, and the traffic numbers range from 500 people per month to several thousand visitors per month. So I'm getting a lot of "bang" out of very small visitor numbers.

    With that business model you don't need to do a lot of work befriending people, inspiring trust, or driving repeat traffic.


    Dan
    Sounds like you come from the school of Leader. Leader would be proud. :-)

    And I agree - if you're trying to sell something, make your pages as direct to the point as possible. Product images, descriptions and links to the merchant is all you need to sell. I learned this gem from Leader who see's things clearly when it comes to making money. It was one of my best lessons and helped me learn how to make money at affiliate marketing.

    Building an audience or brand takes a lot more effort but might, in the long term, be a better business plan if you want consistent traffic without paying for it. Not sure though ... just throwing it out for discussion.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  17. #17
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    I figure I might as well do both. I have direct sales pages tied to my larger "brand" sites/domains. If someone comes in and follows the link to make a purchase, that is terrific. If they don't follow the link right away, then I hope they go through the site and find something that engages them enough to bring them back. I usually make it so they have to scroll down before they find links to other parts of the site. If they are scrolling, then they didn't bite on the link I wanted them to click.
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  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager FriendlyPlanetTravel's Avatar
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    Went to the WEB 2.0 conference (sponsored by Internet Retailer) http://www.internetretailer.com/
    Lots of new stuff to make website interactive and consumer engaging. Think like a retailer , affiliates ARE selling something.

    Many ideas presented can be implemented w/o costs (low costs). Interactive blog is good example, we use Movable Type Pro

    http://www.movabletype.com/

    Drill down navigation menus, value of above fold real estate, interactive flash programs, video etc

    Our new website redesign will employ most of the discussed Web 2.0 features that have proven to ENGAGE the consumer and increase conversion and experience.

  19. #19
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OICUAM2
    I figure I might as well do both. I have direct sales pages tied to my larger "brand" sites/domains. If someone comes in and follows the link to make a purchase, that is terrific. If they don't follow the link right away, then I hope they go through the site and find something that engages them enough to bring them back. I usually make it so they have to scroll down before they find links to other parts of the site. If they are scrolling, then they didn't bite on the link I wanted them to click.
    Sounds about right.
    Peace,

    Rexanne

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  20. #20
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangregory
    I blogged a lot in years past and found that blog readers are not necessarily buyers.

    These days I mostly build sites that are solely designed to grab a targeted person in buyer mode, direct them to my site where they find juicy affiliate links and images of the product, and then direct them to the vendor to complete the sale.

    On these sites I don't try to get repeat traffic. I just want to leverage everythign I'm doing to draw the targeted buyer and make the sale. These sites go against everything I was 'taught" as a web publisher - because you're not trying to be their friend, you don't want them to keep coming back - you don't even want them to sign up for your newsletter. You just want them to buy. On some of these sites I have as high as 10% conversions, and the traffic numbers range from 500 people per month to several thousand visitors per month. So I'm getting a lot of "bang" out of very small visitor numbers.

    With that business model you don't need to do a lot of work befriending people, inspiring trust, or driving repeat traffic.

    However I also sell some ebooks and short reports which are more "traditional" in their structure. Sometimes I include a news or blog style section, often I'lll have a free report, sometimes I include a newsletter. With these sites I tend to try to engage people a little more around whatever they're interested in.

    Dan
    How do you get traffic to these sites? Sites with only affiliate product links are generally moved to the bottom of the barrel by Google. I know you are only stating you get 15-50 visitors per day, but even that few is difficult to get on a site that offers no content or shopper services. Do you drive traffic with PPC? Link to the pages from some of your higher ranked sites? And with PPC, an affiliate links-only site will generally not be displayed due to "Low Quality Score" with Google Adwords.
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  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesehead
    How do you get traffic to these sites? Sites with only affiliate product links are generally moved to the bottom of the barrel by Google. I know you are only stating you get 15-50 visitors per day, but even that few is difficult to get on a site that offers no content or shopper services. Do you drive traffic with PPC? Link to the pages from some of your higher ranked sites? And with PPC, an affiliate links-only site will generally not be displayed due to "Low Quality Score" with Google Adwords.
    That's where you have a catch-22. Without the social features and noteworthy functionality you won't get links. I think what a lot of affiliates leverage is an old site that they built years ago that isn't shopping-centric. It may have a thriving community or it may have been strong back in its hey-day. So today a link from these sites can poise a new shopping site in Google for a few weeks to a few months.

    The problem here is these thin affiliate sites are doomed from the get-go. They may make some money but they don't usually offer anything of value to the internet as a whole. They only serve to fill the pockets of the affiliate.

    I think the best route to go is to offer a shopping service, something that helps consumers choose a product, merchant or brand. If a consumer can come in with a question about what to buy and get an immediate answer then you've got something.

    - Scott
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