Your strategies and actions as an affiliate directly affect your Conversion Rate. This section deals with how to PREsell effectively. (Later in the course, we will cover traffic-building in more detail.)
Let's look at examples of how "low-CR affiliates" create negative mindsets by making HOW-YOU-REACH, WHAT-YOU-SAY, or HOW-YOU-REFER booboos. We'll begin at the top.
1) How to Reach Your Visitor...
Free-For-All Sites (FFAs) are a great example of how not to reach people. For the most part, FFAs have become so seamy and useless that no matter what you say, you're doomed from the start. I once made a request to all 5 Pillar Affiliates for FFA success stories... not a single success story! I won't bother to ask again.
Compare this with how smart and open-minded your visitor feels when she finds you via a Search Engine!
2) What to Say to Your Visitor...
Don't write a site purely devoted to "hard-selling" your merchants' products. Imagine a visitor who hits your site and reads an immediate sales pitch. That person will resist because she does not know you. Then, if she clicks to your merchant, she gets another sales pitch on the SiteSell site ==> Negative x 2!
Never devote your site to one company's product line. No matter what you do, no matter how sincere you are, this kind of approach always ends up "smelling" like a sales pitch. It simply makes no difference that you honestly love the products -- your visitor will mistake your devotion for selling. Remember, she doesn't know you!
It's far better to develop a concept that relates to that company's products and to other products from other companies that are complementary. Develop related content that PREsells. Then "get the click" through "in-context" text links.
3) How to Refer Your Visitor to Your Merchant...
Banners, as we discussed earlier, are the best example of how not to refer your visitor to your merchant. In plain and simple language, people feel "pitched" when they click on a banner. And people who feel "pitched" are difficult to convert into a sale.
Now for a critical ACTION STEP...
Review your site or whatever other means you are using to REACH, TALK TO, and REFER visitors to your merchants. Put yourself in your customer's brain. What will she think, how will she feel, at each of the 3 major steps from above? If you're doing everything perfectly, congratulations! You must have a high CR.
If you don't have a high CR, or if you see some big mindset mistakes. Consider how much higher your CR would be if a visitor found you in a bona fide manner (ex., as a result of doing a search on a Search Engine), then became "your friend" (or your "trusting admirer" if you do a truly awesome job!) because you provided excellent content, and finally was led to a context-appropriate recommendation. (There will be more on recommendation vs. sales pitch shortly.)
Key learning point?
Always consider how these actions affect your visitor's mindset...
1) HOW YOU REACH your visitor, and.
2) WHAT YOU SAY to her, and.
3) HOW YOU REFER her to your merchant.
Get inside your visitor's head. Realize how she will feel each step of the way. Whatever you do, consider the impact on your visitor -- if it does not make her more "open to buy," don't do it.
PREselling is really all about selling yourself (i.e., your credibility) to your customer, every step of the way. You reach your targeted traffic in a proper fashion, you deliver valuable, appropriate, editorial content, and you recommend merchants to your visitor after she has come to respect and like you.
Your CR will soar.