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  1. #1
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    Finding the pool of hungry fish
    Hello;
    I have often heard potential customers referred to as hungry fish. I was reading another post about getting in front of a trend and selling the right product to the existing pool of potential customers instead of the "if you build it they will come" approach. I know that does not work because I have been knocking myself out trying it.

    So here is the question: How does a new affiliate find an emerging trend and then find the right product and then get in front of the crowd?

    Sorry, I know that is actually 3 questions.

    You advice and guidance is greatly appreciated and never taken for granted.
    Thanks
    Stanley

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  3. #2
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    In a perfect world, "if you build it they will come" would work.. unfortunately we have all found out the hard way that it doesn't.

    Your question is as much about online opportunities as offline..
    How does a new affiliate find an emerging trend
    Unless it's dumb luck, it takes knowledge - leveraging what you know, and converting it into an opportunity.

    It might sound like a broken record, but you have to choose a niche you either have a real interest in, or have some existing knowledge of..

    For example, if I were to ask you about the latest in skin care, or which golfer has recently moved up the leaderboard, which would already know?

    If it's skin care, a beauty site would be up your alley. You would stay on top of latest product news, and continue to write about new and existing beauty products. When a new ingredient or technology was mentioned on Ellen or The View, your site would be primed to capitalize on the trend. Otherwise - as a latecomer - you don't stand a chance against the established beauty sites.

    If you know which golfer is moving up the leaderboard, you might an interest in sporting equipment, or golf clubs.. etc..

    See how this works..? You have to become an authority on something. after that, following trends related to that something is pretty easy... getting ahead of a trend is all about timing. And a bit of dumb luck.


  4. #3
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Tough question Stanley. Many here went with their passions and were first in. Some focus on datafeeds and are experts at optimizing them, making huge stores. I know affiliates who write several pages of content a day to build to their site(s).

    Several of us have forums where we promote merchants and their deals. You can read through that and look for ideas. You can use tools like Google Adwords to see how many people search for keywords on a monthly basis. If it a huge number then the competition is huge.

    Many affiliates make a "better mousetrap" and do things that merchants can't do themselves or don't have time to.

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  6. #4
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    I think finding "it" really comes down to finding out what your personal "it" is. Then work hard and passionately to write about why this "it" is so important to you. Then promote, promote and promote..

    Here is an example that maybe you can draw from:

    Think about that guy who created that super blender. A blender is nothing but a basic commodity for most people, used to make milkshakes and margaritas a few times a year.

    But he built a better mousetrap and then had to convince the public why his blender was so awesome and superior to the competition. Hey I know, he thinks, I will show them how great this blender is by blending products you would never see in a blender. How about an iphone? He took a white hot product at the time (so there were a ton of interest and people looking for info about it), and did something completely unheard of; tossed it in a blender. He made a video of it and .. viola - that "willitblend.com" site is very popular and a great launching pad for selling his company's blenders. Now they regularly post "will it blend" videos of new products, just for the viral effect they have gotten over the years.

    *I have no affiliation with the company - just used the example as a reference. I dont know if their blenders are any good or not*

    Long story, sorry. Sort of merchant focused, but the same can be applied to starting as an affiliate. Bottom line is to find out what gets your blood pumping, then think outside the box to let the public know about it. I hope that helps somewhat.

    -Chris
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  8. #5
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    Some good feedback here..

    One thing to remember... what's hot & trendy doesn't necessarily earn you sales. That might sound counter-intuitive, but you have to figure out what sells on your own site. It doesn't matter how many eyeballs you have on a page if you don't earn commission.

    Personally (as an affiliate myself), I have found good sales opportunities exist when other sites are not covering something as thoroughly. Let them all gravitate towards the hot-hot-hot, and I'll sit back and try to clean up the rest of the niche.

    Going back to the Twilight phenomenon (mentioned in the other thread) - if you have a related site, it's important to touch on the topic, but timing-wise, it may actually be more lucrative to cater towards the parents, who don't give a crap about Bella and Edward (or Jacob, depending on which Team you are!).

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  10. #6
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    In response to teezone;
    I totally agree I should figure out what I truly love and start there. So how did you figure this out for your first online venture? Or was it a natural progression from offline to online?
    I guess I have a really obscure way of seeing the realities. For example. I am enthralled with all things solar. Any way to stop or greatly reduce my dependence on oil (gasoline) and grid delivered electricity is high on my list of passions. I see the internal combustion engine as something that should be obsolete. I see homes or at least blocks of home all tied together supplying enough electricity for each other and separate from the grid. I have a site on solar but I don't know how to make it pop. Or make it different than all the others. I guess i could throw a solar panel into a blender and make a video of it. Just kidding chris9771.
    Last edited by sdavenport; October 8th, 2013 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Added name to heading

  11. #7
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    A lot of people are talking about working in your passions/interests first. I'm a little bit in the opposite camp. You might be more entertained to a passion subject, but if you can make yourself learn about write about subjects that aren't your passion, I suggest you don't limit yourself to just your own interests/passions.

    Finding the hungry crowd is not necessarily something that's super easy to do. But what I've always like to do is just dig around the internet, stores, etc... see what questions people are asking, see what magazine are on the shelf, see what advertisers are spending money.

    From there you can get a list of ideas and dig deeper.

    Quick note... the 3 broad areas I've found will always be successful are Health, Wealth, and Love. People will always spend money in these areas and you can tie a majority of financial/time investments back into at least one (often multiple) of these areas.

    I'm not positive about what I can post for links, so Chuck/whoever else, please let me know if I need to remove this link, but here is a little report that details the exact system I have followed for several years: http://www.bummarketingmethod.com/nf.pdf

  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdavis View Post
    A lot of people are talking about working in your passions/interests first. I'm a little bit in the opposite camp. You might be more entertained to a passion subject, but if you can make yourself learn about write about subjects that aren't your passion, I suggest you don't limit yourself to just your own interests/passions.
    I can see that you're on the program management side of things! I'm not suggesting it's a bad thing, but merchants/affiliate managers don't always understand how tough it is to be a publisher. We don't get paid without sales - sales requires traffic - and the only way to get traffic is to be authority on something.

    You can be an authority on a topic, an event, a concept, or even just have a specialized skill that allows you to build something new and interesting. But keep in mind there are bucketloads of good programmers who have built coupon sites, but have zero ability to attract visitors.

    Without passion for a topic, you have a very long road ahead of you.. the competition (ie. other publishers) will always rank ahead of you because they will be on top of every aspect of the niche.

    Personally, I took something I've always enjoyed reading about - I didn't know too much about the ins & outs of the niche, but learned it over time. I had a keen interest, which made it enjoyable to learn. If you would throw me in sporting goods (as an example), I might be able to force myself to learn, but my site would never show the same enthusiasm and interest.

    You can broaden your solar site to cover more "energy efficient" topics.. as well as pop culture references. Expand your horizons (scuse the pun!).. share examples of solar-efficient projects going on now.. how about the solar house projects going on right now.. have you written about them..?

    Team Alberta completes Borealis solar house, offers public tours | News & Events | University of Calgary
    Solar Decathlon showcases 19 hi-tech homes of the future | The Journal News | lohud.com | lohud.com

    Solar might be your niche, but I see it as an opportunity to become an authority on energy-efficient home improvements. Add more depth to your site naturally... on a topic you enjoy. Don't go trying to find the next "Twilight", you will be wasting your time.

    The above is just my two cents worth.


  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    I can see that you're on the program management side of things! I'm not suggesting it's a bad thing, but merchants/affiliate managers don't always understand how tough it is to be a publisher. We don't get paid without sales - sales requires traffic - and the only way to get traffic is to be authority on something.
    I was a affiliate for several years before migrating to this side of things, so I can see both sides of the coin. This has been my philosophy from the very beginning of my affiliate experience.

    I'm not even going to say one way is better than the other, though. I had projects I enjoyed more than others, but at the end of the day, enjoyment didn't put money in my accounts, so while it was a bonus if the 2 overlapped, it wasn't where I started my search.

    The immediate benefit I see to your route is... one can see what they're passionate about and odds are, other people are passionate about that subject, too. It doesn't always mean there are going to be a lot of people out there to get their message to, but it's a starting point still.

    As I said earlier, the biggest disadvantage I see is limiting one's scope. I might like this one particular little creek better than the big lake down the road, but if this little creek can't keep me fed, I'm going to go fishing at the big lake where with a bunch of fish.

    In the end it comes down to what works better for people. I never cared much if I was passionate about a topic... personally, I love gaining as much knowledge as possible, so I usually ended up enjoying every topic bc I liked to learn about it. But as most things in life can be summer up... there's not necessarily a right or wrong way, a better or worse way... we just have to decide which one fits us.
    Last edited by Chuck Hamrick; October 8th, 2013 at 06:42 PM. Reason: OP request

  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdavis View Post
    I was a super affiliate for several years before migrating to this side of thing
    Well good for you then.. I'm not sure while you feel the need to qualify that.. it has a variety of meanings, and isn't really relevant to the question/discussion. Nor was I suggesting you were giving bad advice in your new role. There are plenty of successful affilates/opms/merchants here with a wealth of experience.

    Taking the question in a different direction - if the OP is a skilled programmer, a topic doesn't really matter, he can churn & burn sites efficiently until he hits upon the right site at the right time (as fleeting as it might be). Or he can become an expert in PPC, which requires it's own set of specialized skills & timing.. but unrelated to a "niche topic". Or he can become an expert in carefully crafted landing pages.. all of these "niches" can make money without any consideration to passion/interest.

    I read the question as it relates to content, ie. what's trendy/hot... perhaps because that's my specialty. Skilled programmers & PPC experts don't usually ask these types of questions... what's hot is easy to find, as fleeting as it might be. If he's looking to build a brand and stick with a site, google hummingbird means that being an "authority" is more important than ever.

    This is an interesting discussion... might be worth making it sticky,

  15. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    Well good for you then.. I'm not sure while you feel the need to qualify that.. it has a variety of meanings, and isn't really relevant to the question/discussion. Nor was I suggesting you were giving bad advice in your new role. There are plenty of successful affilates/opms/merchants here with a wealth of experience.
    Maybe I misunderstood your original comment, then. The qualification was in reference to you having the idea I can't see things from a publisher's point of view, as quoted below:

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    I can see that you're on the program management side of things! I'm not suggesting it's a bad thing, but merchants/affiliate managers don't always understand how tough it is to be a publisher. We don't get paid without sales - sales requires traffic - and the only way to get traffic is to be authority on something.
    Maybe I interpreted your statement the wrong way, though.

    I was simply trying to point out I can see things from the pub side of view, so it wasn't simply a program manager just coming in and not looking at both sides of the coin with my answer.

    Hopefully that explains the relevance, but if I misunderstood your original comment, then I do apologize for making irrelevant statements.

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  17. #12
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    Whoooweee! I was starting to get nervous about this discussion. Y'all don't argue on my thread. I don't want to get banned this soon.

    I get the point though. I can both draw on my training as a solar installer and build on it by investing my time toward capturing what else is going on in the residential aspects of going solar and write my opinion/views on how it applies to the focus of my site. In this way I am tapping into a developing trend (solar power movement) and at the same time catering to a pool of enthusiasts ( hungry fish) that may be ready to opt-in or purchase a relevant info product.

    Heck, I could write about the various training programs I been through to help raise the authority level of my solar site. Perhaps take a day-by-day approach.

    Great stuff. Thanks

  18. #13
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    I was simply trying to point out I can see things from the pub side of view, so it wasn't simply a program manager just coming in and not looking at both sides of the coin with my answer.
    Point taken... and all is good. Nothing more enjoyable than a lively debate on ABW..

    I think we now have to ask sdavenport which type of affiliate he seems himself as..? Content, PPC, landing page, churn & burn sites (I'm sure there's a nicer term for that business model!).

    Under the right circumstances, they can all make money..

    The original question asked is how to find an emerging trend, then get the products out in front of the crowd. Personally, as a content affiliate, I don't have an attention spam beyond a couple of niches.. no jack-of-all-trades here, so I'm going for authority. For that I have to be interested in the topic (going back to my first response!).

    And one more thing: Solar IS an emerging trend!


  19. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdavenport View Post
    Whoooweee! I was starting to get nervous about this discussion. Y'all don't argue on my thread. I don't want to get banned this soon.
    Just poor verbiage on my part. We're all good!

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    And one more thing: Solar IS an emerging trend!
    I agree 100%.

    This could be one of those areas where the interest and the hungry crowd overlap for you, OP.

  20. #15
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    I want to be the type of affiliate that makes money. The type of affiliate that can seduce people to opt-in for the freebie and for the subsequent emails knowing that they are going to get marketed to.
    I want to be the affiliate that does write relevant, original and compelling content in the form of text, video and audio. I do not care for PPC mostly because I do not understand it enough at this time. I do not know what a "churn & burn" site is about. ( let me google that) Oh I see! Maybe, maybe not.

    Whatever white hat I need to wear at the moment to keep the visitor on the site and to help the search engines love my stuff is the hat I want on my head.

    Thanks folks. I got some food for thought from this thread so far. Will start putting it into action this evening while it is fresh on my mind.

  21. #16
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    The problem with solar is if there is an affiliate program that sells products? I keep hearing a $10k mark for putting up a grid and hence why so many 20 years ago made huge passive solar projects (read plumbing water from panels into drums in the basement to store heat). Have you research it from a program standpoint.

  22. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    The problem with solar is if there is an affiliate program that sells products?
    I have seen several over the years. One of the networks even has a "Go Green" category. There are also a few hobbyist type products available.

    Since Stanley mentioned he was an installer at one time, then there is a natural tie-in for the tools and supplies that are needed for the do-it-yourself types.

    Since this is a very tight niche, a well-developed site with traffic can warrant some paid placement ads from merchants WITHOUT affiliate programs.

    It's doable - looked at it ourselves but went the Fracking route instead...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  24. #18
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    Energy saving is certainly an emerging vertical and solar may one day be prominent. I know I think about picking up on e of the solar kits every time I shop at Harbor Freight - I just know there is something to do with around the ol' homestead.

    For me, though, I'm considering starting a site about the Athabasca Oil Sand in Canada - which is now gaining some prominence - and likely to suck the last of the dyno-fuel resources out of the ground. Not much to "market" on that topic itself - but there could be a lot of spin-off for promoting ways to save energy (maybe even use some solar).

    With your background, Stanley, I can see something like that going on if you pursue the solar energy type of site. Lottsa fish looking to keep the environment healthy.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  25. #19
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    The pool of fish
    I love how helpful you guys are with sharing your take on my solar site. I am taking notes the whole time.
    Let me run this by you as to the original question. Let's say I have an item on my site that I want to sell to the hungry fish pond. ItemX.
    Is this the steps I should take to find the buyers?
    1. keyword research maybe 15-30 that are 2-7 word phrases.
    2. Write an 800 word blog post using just 2 of the KWs. Of course use in title and at least one sub-heading. H1-H3.
    3. Write a review page on ItemX with additional KWs and good SEO as well.
    4. Write an article to post on EZINE and maybe two other such sites.
    5. Place ads on Craigslist and at least 5 other classified ad sites pointing to the sales page of ItemX. (or should this point to my opt-in page with a free offer first?)
    6. Post on Twitter, FB and Linkedin about the new post/page on my site.
    7. I don't know yet
    8. I don't know yet
    9. I don't know yet
    10. I don't know yet but when I learn it with your help - rinse and repeat.

    So as you are the folks making progress in AM please expound on my steps above. All advice is welcome.

    Reply to some comments above:
    Many affiliate products for solar are the DIY build you own solar panels and related projects. Wind generators and so forth. I want to stay away from that as it is done to death. The sellers don't tell you that homemade solar modules can not be attached to the grid. It's against the law and all solar installations must pass NEC codes. That is why it would be useless for me to promote that type of item. My focus is on the actual home and not the out building.
    Other products of course are books from Amazon and the for Dummies series.
    Based on my experience in the solar industry and home energy conservation I know the niche is there and growing. What once was a stream of minnows is becoming a lake filled with Bass and Trout.

    Thanks

  26. #20
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    4. Write an article to post on EZINE and maybe two other such sites.
    No, no.. a thousand times no! ALL content should stay on your site, do not write anything for others in the hope you will get a backlink or more exposure.. the only thing it will get you is a google penalty for (a) duplicate content, and (b) unnatural backlinks.

    And what's up with the opt-in page..? Is this something you were taught..? Instead of trying to be a "marketer", you should focus on expanding the content of your site so it can grow organically. Solar is a hot topic and you have a wealth of specialized information.. even just the tip about NEC codes.. that is helpful to potential readers. Is that already on your site..?

    Drop the focus on marketing to the masses (Craigslist, etc), and start producing good content.. organic traffic from google can be worth its weight in gold.

    Just because you're not going to sell solar panels, it doesn't mean you can't focus on energy-saving products as a whole.


  27. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    ALL content should stay on your site, do not write anything for others in the hope you will get a backlink or more exposure.. the only thing it will get you is a google penalty for (a) duplicate content, and (b) unnatural backlinks.
    The intention here was like putting out a trout line, placing several unique articles pointing back to the same relevant sales/review page. Not publishing the same article in different places.

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    And what's up with the opt-in page..? Is this something you were taught..?
    Yes. Most everyone, (NAMS trainers, Rosalind Gardner, & others) says the money is in the list. How will I make money on the back end if I don't develop my own fish pond? Isn't it one of the main objectives for an affiliate to gain a following or tribe or whatever Seth Godin is call it now? Don't I need people to be on a list of correspondence so they will tweet and FB about what I am posting and talking about so as to send others to my site?

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    you should focus on expanding the content of your site so it can grow organically.
    So steps 1-3 are good and I should just write like a mad man to build out what I already have. In step 1 is there a rule of thumb to let me know that I have collected KWs that will draw traffic?

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    Solar is a hot topic and you have a wealth of specialized information.. even just the tip about NEC codes.. that is helpful to potential readers. Is that already on your site..?
    Not on this site yet. The about page is filled with certifications but I see I need to populate my posts with tidbits of my experience to help create a level of authority. Good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    Drop the focus on marketing to the masses (Craigslist, etc), and start producing good content.. organic traffic from google can be worth its weight in gold.
    Does this include no You Tube video, no Slide Share, and all of that as well. For me to become totally dependent on organic traffic my writing skills would have to be top of the line and I would need to be thoroughly convinced of the KWs I am using and how I acquired them. Yes/No?

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone View Post
    Just because you're not going to sell solar panels, it doesn't mean you can't focus on energy-saving products as a whole.
    That will be included in time, once I have enough original content on the site. I have written a book on stopping the energy leaks and will start selling it on the site along with tangible and digital products that contribute to that theme.

    I hope I haven't over quoted here, it's the engineer in me I guess.
    Thanks

  28. #22
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    First of all, please don't color code your text! It makes it tough to read.. the default is fine.
    Most everyone, (NAMS trainers, Rosalind Gardner, & others) says the money is in the list
    Many affiliates do this full-time without lists.. so no, the money is NOT only in lists. The money is in conversion - converting traffic that you send to stores. If they are targeted shoppers, your work is done.

    You do seem to be focused on lists & keyword nonsense, but I also see you're trying to sell an ebook..? You're mixing and matching objectives.. it sounds confusing to me.

    You also ignored by penalty comment - it's not something to take lightly. I don't care if it's a completely different article (ie. no duplicate content) - place your own backlink in an article on another site and watch Penguin hit your site like a ton of bricks.

    If I had your knowledge, I wouldn't be trying to sell an ebook - I would spend time filling up the site with good content, things that people are trying to learn/understand about solar energy (and other green things, perhaps). Without traffic you won't generate sales.. without good content, it's hard to get traffic.

    Stop focusing on minute details (keywords, ebooks) and work on a better game plan. Think about the type of site you would want to find on the topic.. be THAT site.

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  30. #23
    Affiliate Manager chris9771's Avatar
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    You also ignored by penalty comment - it's not something to take lightly. I don't care if it's a completely different article (ie. no duplicate content) - place your own backlink in an article on another site and watch Penguin hit your site like a ton of bricks.
    Hi Teezone - can you expound on this point? Are you describing a situation where affiliate A writes a guest post on site B and in the context of the article has a relevant link back to affiliate A's site?

    I am not understanding your statement that Google would penalize affiliate A for that. If it is useful and relevant link to the article being posted, why would Google slap Affiliate A site? and how would Google know affiliate A added the link vs the owner of site B?

    (sorry, had a few follow up questions there I guess)..

    TY for anything you can explain a bit more.
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  31. #24
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    First I have to say this forum is an inferno of information!
    Second, as an affiliate is your main concern the demand for the product you’re selling or the commission rate?

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  33. #25
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    The one thing I could contribute to this discussion is that yes, it sure helps to find the pool of hungry fish. But, those fish, hungry or otherwise, must be "willing to eat." I learned this interestingly enough by promoting a Toastmasters club that I'm a part of. We tried everything to get new visitors in the door. Finally, I decided "let's try going after people who are after self-improvement (hungry), use a resource that has a lot of people locally (pool), AND are used to going to events in person (willing to eat)."

    We started a club page on meetup.com. Within two weeks, we had 30 members in the group and an average of "5" new visitors every weekly meeting and it hasn't stopped in four months. Why? Because that pool of people were used to going to live events, which is exactly what a Toastmasters club is about, in-person meetings. It really was a paradigm shift for me as a marketer after all these years. Still trying to digest it.

    Obviously a Toastmaster group is not a money-making affiliate program, but the example can be easily applied to anything you and I are trying to sell online.

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