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  1. #1
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    As you can see I have just recently found this board, and have been spending the last days backreading a lot of posts. I have been in the website development business for some years, mainly for others, but I am now in the process of developing a few websites for affiliate marketing.

    Now, as some others I have been lured into that "need to spend a lot of time creating high quality content sites to succeed" mindset, however I should be passed that now, partly thanks to what I have read here.

    However, I am still wondering about how much and what kind of content works. I am not looking for a step by step, line by line recipe, but more like what page setup would normally perform well. Are we talking about:


    * 3-5 pages of info per product describing features, benefits
    * 3-5 pages hardsell ad copy
    * one page bullet list info
    * one page reviews
    * one page "neutral" product info
    * mall, many products, lots of pages
    * small, theme based mall
    * theme based direcotories (linksites, one paragraph text ?)
    ---
    * one product per domain
    * multiple products per domain ?

    Is there any benefit at all in setting up user feedback areas, like post your comment, forums, etc - or do we simply want to move the visitor along, pre-qualified ? Do you offer freebies as part of your service ?

    And, if some of you are writing reviews, do you put up positive reviews only, or some positive and some negative ?


    I pretty much have "control" in areas like coding, search engines, merchant's role, and I know I just have to test which products and which merchants works, but this one still escapes me (though I am leaning towards one page ad copy sites, or a mix of reviews and ad copy).


    Can anyone steer me in the right direction ??


    To finish, and I *do_not* usually say this, but having read many of the post on this board I have to say this board must be one of the most supportive and polite forums on the net [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] I am glad I finally found it.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to ABW!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> do we simply want to move the visitor along, pre-qualified ? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> That's the goal ... to send them to the merchant in a positive frame of mind, open to buy if they like what they see.

    I think you'll find people who have been successful with any or all of the approaches you listed. Great list, by the way! I think it's partly a matter of personal preference what you like to work on from week to week, and partly a matter of testing to see what you can promote effectively. I think people who have been at it for a while end up with a mixture of approaches.

    Probably the most important advice I was ever given was that you'll usually get further ahead to take the second-best idea and DO it rather than worrying too much about whether you're making the absolute best choices.

    Try something and see if it works! You can learn a lot from other people, but ultimately you'll need to try your own experiments, learn your own lessons, make your own mistakes ... and make your own money! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

  3. #3
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    Forgot to ask ... is that "cellofan" as in violoncello enthusiast?

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to ABW! I'm glad you like the atmosphere here!

    I'll try not to flame c*ntent too much in this post, but if you've read my old posts you know I hate it when it's on a site that's trying to sell anything.

    To answer your questions:

    3-5 paragraphs (Not "pages") of hard sell per product.

    Some people prefer soft sell. Use the tone which YOU are the most comfortable with. I don't write good soft-sell but I do very well with adrenalin-filled hard-sell. But those who would rather be writing soft-sell copy don't come across right when they try to "amp it up". Do what's natural for you. Some buyers respond to one and some to the other, and fortunately the break-point seems to be about 50-50.

    LENGTH OF SPIN: People don't want to read a book when they are looking to buy things. Make it quick and to the point, if they want more info they can look for it at the merchant site AFTER clicking your tracking link. Do what you can to get them to click that link--that way if they decide to buy later, you have your cookie on their computer so you can get paid.

    And yes, my posts are a LOT longer than my pages. But then, I'm not trying to sell things in my posts!

    SITE SETUP:
    I've got sites with multiple, varied products on a site, and sites dedicated to one category. They've both got their points.

    It seems easier to get a category-specific site to rank in the SEs. And the results are quite good, sales-wise, on the ones that I've done.

    But on the other hand, if a merchant dies or does something to deserve ditching, a virtual mall site is not scr*wed. In fact, a virtual mall is not likely to feel the loss in any big way at all, because one merchant is only about a 40th or less of a fully developed virtual mall site. But on a product/category specific site, you could be left with nothing but a domain name.

    So I'd say to have some virtual mall sites or a wide variety of specific sites so you don't get a huge plunge of income if some place dot-bombs on you.

    Personally I do like virtual malls because of the fact that the risk is spread out greatly. Plus they are good for those merchants that either only have a few things for sale, or that you know you could get a few sales from a year (because of very few searches for the item) but that wouldn't be lucrative enough to justify the cost of a domain name. I've got a couple of items on that get about 1000 searches all year but on a virtual mall site, promoting a particular place is virtually free since all you have to do is stick up a page and ignore it. Not that I'd sign up for such a small-volume niche product if I KNEW it was a small-volume niche product at the time I did it! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] But I'm sure glad I didn't buy a domain name for stuff like colostrum.

    As for a site with literally a single product (a one-pager) as opposed to a single category which may have hundreds of related products--I haven't done that but some say they've done quite well with them.

    As for feedback areas, NO WAY NOT ON YOUR LIFE! Customer service is the merchant's job. That's one of the reasons he makes 90% of the sale price and I get 10%. (Some differ on the idea of customer service but I am very adamant about it when it comes to my sites. I do Not do any customer service at all.)

    Forums count as c*ntent. See the first paragraph. Enough said about that.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> or do we simply want to move the visitor along, pre-qualified? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    YES, DEFINITELY! Move 'em out and over to the Merchant Site while they are still in the mood to buy!

    Of course there is more to aff. marketing than this but I'm sure you know that from reading the old posts.

    Good Luck

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by buckworks.com:
    Forgot to ask ... is that "cellofan" as in violoncello enthusiast?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    oops, didn't see that: cello-fan. Actually it's a not very common local name (i'm from europe) of stuff made from wood or sometimes cotton (paper, cardboard material). Also it's the name of a movie. I should adjust it.


    Yes, thanks for all the advice!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Leader:
    And yes, my posts are a LOT longer than my pages. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I'm glad they are [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
    Have read many of your posts!


    Part of what has made me confused are those sites with several screen-pages of pure direct mailing type text, - and one page sites using purple text on yellow background simply saying BUY - Click Here. I have never stayed at such pages for more than 0.2 seconds and I couldn't imagine how they could sell anything. I started to wonder.

    Having a mall, isn't that a lot work maintaning the links? Or does the merchant provide the feed and your job is the wrapping and promotion? Do you just list the merchandise or do you write a page about each product? Do you include the product info (height, weight if physical product) or simply generally recommended it?


    Myself, this is where I am right now:

    One page per product.

    Content something like:

    * Cost
    * Pros
    * Cons
    * Buylink
    * Short 2-3 paragraph description
    * Sometimes very detailed product info (not to read, more to show that I know what I'm talking about)
    * Product images if any
    * Buylink again


    Am I on the right track, or ?

  6. #6
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    Such a page would likely do well for you, if your "spin" is good and you can get targeted traffic to it.

    A word of wisdom: before you invest a lot of time creating individual product pages, ask around to find out how stable the merchant's product links are. Some merchants are a maintenance nightmare because they have so many problems with (or make so many changes to) their product links.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    You need to remember this above all else:

    You have years of web development experience, and the average internet user does not.

    Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

    www.teampb.com

  8. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager Chris -  AMWSO's Avatar
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    Hi

    In my opinion it's all down to what you are trying to get the visitor to buy. If you're an Amazon Affiliate then having a picture of a best selling book on a page of other books in a mall style set up can be enough to trigger an impulse buy.

    However when you're pushing higher end products then your site needs to be part of the buyers research network and you need to provide much more detail and support to that buyer, make them trust your content and then trust the sites you are pointing them too.

    Cheers

    Chris

    Chris Sanderson
    Mondera Partner Management
    Mondera : Click Here
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  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Hi again Cellofan!

    Some clarifications:

    First, to address what Chris/Mondera said. Mondera sells expensive diamonds! Not just little record-needle-sized diamonds, either--fine jewelry with prices up to the 4 and 5 digits.

    Selling something like that is almost certain to require a different strategy than selling the kinds of things I specialize in. I forget to be specific about the TYPES of items I promote using the techniques I've mentioned, sorry. (Although looking at the site, I do see some things that aren't so expensive...those would probably do just fine with my standard promotion although I'd probably change the tone of the spin a bit to match the merchant image.)

    I sell Wal-Mart-y items for the most part, with some things a cut above. The prices of most of my items are well within "impulse buy" range, either for the middle or slightly upper-middle income groups. I've got one "high-end" site but by "high end" I mean, "relative to what a non-name brand item of the same type would cost". For instance, I have an item that sells from one merchant for $3 (generic) but I've got some of the same stuff going for $15 (designer) on the "better" site. That's 5x more expensive than the generic and therefore it's "high end"--for the item in question.

    None of that's diamonds (or expensive like diamonds) and if you want to sell the truly expensive stuff then someone who promotes in that price range is your best bet for advice.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Now for the points you raised, and to address product linking:

    I do NOT use product links. All traffic is directed at the front page of the merchant site. There are about 2 exceptions to this from when I had just started and didn't know any better. The problem with product links is that they are prone to die suddenly, usually without warning.

    I do NOT like updating and have many, many pages that have gone at least 6 months without changing. To do that means avoiding product links in most cases. It's easy to "keep up with the links" if you use the kind that don't go obsolete on you! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

    To promote specific items, I just use the name of the item in the text (no product link) and tell the people how to get to it from the merchant's front page.

    It does give a bit better CR to use product links, *but* after a certain number of pages are up, the time-consumption factor gets so high that it isn't worth it. It would take 20 hours/day and possibly paid help to keep up with all the products I am promoting, if I used product links! But by avoiding those prone-to-die links I can do a few hours' worth of effort a week and still promote the same amount of stuff.

    So I have lots of individual product pages--with no product-specific links.

    That way, a page is only obsolete if the merchant quits selling the product altogether--but the page is fine if the merchant just changes the URL of the products/does site redesigns. As for how I know if a product is no longer available, you can bet your last buck that I don't go around checking it regularly. Too much w*rk and not enough reward! What I do to monitor that is watch the CR. If I see a significant CR dropoff, I start checking around for the cause. Until that drop happens, it's not worth checking--there's no point in fixing what's not broken yet.

    RIGHT TRACK?

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> * Cost
    * Pros
    * Cons
    * Buylink
    * Short 2-3 paragraph description
    * Sometimes very detailed product info (not to read, more to show that I know what I'm talking about)
    * Product images if any
    * Buylink again <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Forget the Cost. They can find that out at the merchant site. And if you put it first, you may never even have a chance to convince them it's worth it (people may hit Back in sticker shock). Make them go to the merchant site for that--hopefully by the time they get there you have convinced them it's worth buying no matter what the cost is.

    But if it's a Discounted item, mention that it's got a "discount" without being specific as to the price. (If there's a huge discount mention how much the DISCOUNT is without mentioning that pesky remaining amount.)

    Pros: Yes, mention the pros!

    Cons: WHAT cons?! You're SELLING the thing, not reviewing it, right?? There are no cons (um, no cons mentioned--do NOT claim that there aren't any cons, just don't say that there ARE)! If there's really a whole lot of cons pick a different item to promote. Things with a lot of cons get sent back and Reversed too often.

    Stick a Buylink in the first sentence. Then put one after the 3-paragraph description.

    Don't bother writing just to make it look like you know what you're talking about, at least not on the main sales page. They don't care! And EXPERIENCE tells me that a whole bunch of text is OVERWHELMING and will wreck the CR something fierce. Viewers don't just skip it--they hit Back. (This may be different for expensive items but even for expensive items I would suggest not putting the lengthy stuff on the main sales page. Put it on another page and link to it--if people want to know, they'll click. But there shouldn't be an overwhelming amount of text on the first page, greeting the viewer with what will seem like a daunting task--namely, reading it.)

    Product images are fine if you want to take the time with them. It can really class up a page do do it--provided that the product image looks good of course (some merchants need to hire a better photographer but some have great pix)! If the merchant is in the habit of messing with their links all the time, see if they will let you serve the images from your own site (at CJ, look for the "advanced option" in the Get Link popup). You can save yourself a lot of frustration by just running the pic from your own site if you are constantly finding dead image links when the pix come from the merchant or network.

    The buy link under the pic is good.

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10
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    Good tips, Leader. Thanks!

    The only problem is, if people ask me why I do certain things, I'll have to say "because Leader told me to."

    Them: "Leader, huh? And just who or what is Leader?"
    Me: "Leader? Oh, Leader's a purple alien who tells me to do things."
    Them: "Uhhhh, okay. I really have to go . . . "

    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the great advices. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    I have been doing some more backreading. This is what I have come up with so far:

    Single/Multiple products
    From what I've read pages with only one product do better than multiple products per page.

    Path
    Vistors should be moved from incoming site (search engine) to outgoing site (merchant). But ppl don't like to be forced into following a predefined path. In case of promoting multiple products we give the visitor some products/categories on the incoming page to choose from. Then the visitor is moved to productpage/salespage and that page is a no-choice page and has only one outbound link, the link to the merchant (or the back button, which gives us a second chance). In some cases we're promoting a service/product available in slightly different packages, like a subscription with 6, 12 or 24 month subscription periods. In such cases that choice is given to the user after the sell (at the end of ad copy), or at the merchants site.

    Hard/Soft-sell
    * If we're promoting a service, like Snapnames, or a product like a DVD-player, then a hard-sell do well.
    * Soft-sell do well when the product is more a choice of personal tast, like cloths.
    * Generic items, like memory chips, do best with product info/benefits, - or we simply don't list specific products at all, we do a hard-sell by saying that "this merchant is the best and has the lowest prices, click here" to move the visitor along.
    * Reviews are only good if the buyer would base his/her chose mainly on trust in the features/merchant, not content. CD, games are not helped by reviews.

    Content
    Content should not be based on the product, but on sales approach. If we do a hard-sell, don't bother the visitor with details, just list the benefits.

    Linking
    If we're promoting multiple products or if the merchant is changing his links often, then we link to the front page. It we're promoting one product from a stable merchant, linking directly to the product is better.


    If I'm still heading towards a pitfall here, please let me know.

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
    Forget the Cost. They can find that out at the merchant site. And if you put it first, you may never even have a chance to convince them it's worth it (people may hit Back in sticker shock). Make them go to the merchant site for that--hopefully by the time they get there you have convinced them it's worth buying no matter what the cost is.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    All the issues you've pointed out sounds very well thought through.

    The site I'm spending most of my time on right now is a review site. This is because trust is the major issue and merchants that perform well do so based on reputation or word of mouth. It's only 20-25 pages, and that covers all products available worldwide. It's clean html and js. I also want to have one content site that I can use to get higher PR for my future sale sites - I don't think I'll ever make another content site.

    As you suggested, I'm going to drop cost. I'm keeping cons, because most buyers are aware of the fact that these are products with many cons, in fact that is what separates them. I'm also going to put a sales link in the first sentence as you said.

    I have over 20 other domains parked and an idea for almost all of them. But none of them are mall-based. Personally I think I won't ever do such a site unless I'm provided with a datafeed from the merchant.


    One more question, and this one is right-to-the-bone: If I'm deep-linking, is it better to link to the product page or directly to the buy page (product pre-loaded in cart) ?

  12. #12
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Them: "Leader, huh? And just who or what is Leader?"
    Me: "Leader? Oh, Leader's a purple alien who tells me to do things."
    Them: "Uhhhh, okay. I really have to go . . . "

    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Haha

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateBuddha's Avatar
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    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img] I was gonna answer this , but leader typed all that was in my mind !!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    I mostly do one product per domain and one page per domain with no content, just sales copy, nothing else .. a link to the merchant where ever I think the visitor might now wanna click after reading all this .. if they don't I have more spin waiting right there. If they have come to my site, they are looking for it, they have a credit card .. THEY HAVE TO BUY IT!


    ------

    WECOME TO THE END,
    SATAN.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateBuddha's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Content
    Content should not be based on the product, but on sales approach. If we do a hard-sell, don't bother the visitor with details, just list the benefits.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    ummm, not exactly, List the benifits first .. then ask em to click, next paragraph, go further into the product .. whatever u write has too look that the product is good and they have to buy it..

    it's okay to ocationally write some cons about the product .. but not very often, it actually repells the visitor.

    ------

    WECOME TO THE END,
    SATAN.

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