– Before I start, I gotta give credit where credit is due…
This post is party inspired by something I read on my friend Mark Ling’s website about how to create content. Below is my twist on how to make your content actually sell.
Mark is someone who I greatly respect and admire and continue to learn from. I recommend his 20-some page report on becoming a super affiliate, which he gives away on his website: Super Affiliate Secrets —
Last week, I was presently surprised when a group of high schoolers from my old youth group stopped by to see me in Indiana while they were visiting the nearby university on their annual college trip. One of the guys who I have been particularly fond of ever since he was in kindergarten, has been researching affiliate marketing and occasionally comes to me with questions. His most recent was among the most common questions I’m asked (besides, perhaps, “how are you?”): “How do I write content about products that I don’t know anything about?”
As he elaborated on what he was doing, I realized that he had the same mental block that most affiliate marketers have when trying to “sell” products through article writing or any other content-based affiliate strategy…
This mental block comes from the belief that your job as an affiliate is to make people buy stuff.
For the record:
* Your job as an affiliate is *not* to sell products, it is to solve problems. *
Without this understanding you will fall into the temptation of “selling” products instead of creating content that solves problems.
Of course, I do not take away from the importance of making sales. The end goal is obviously to make sales through your affiliate link so that you get paid. To achieve that end goal, however, the emphasis of your content must be on solving problems and allowing readers to make the connection that the product you are selling is the right solution.
In other words… you are not selling a product, you are selling a solution.
Very few products survive as a result of selling their own features. For example, you would never buy an ebook based on the fact that it has 108-pages, but you may if you believe that it will help you to increase your vertical leap, cure your eczema, or get your kids to stop talking back to you. Products sell as a result of problems being solved or some other benefit.
If I called you on the phone and told you that I had a new widget that was 14 inches long, greenish in color, shaped like a chair, and offered to sell it to you for $47, would you be interested? Of course not! You’d ask, “What the heck does it do?”
Unfortunately, this is the approach that most affiliate marketers take when they attempt to sell products. In the case of my friend, for example, he was attempting to write articles about Clickbank products in hopes that people would find them and buy through this affiliate link.
As I told him, it would be much better if articles were written that explained how to solve a problem and allow the reader to conclude that the product in your affiliate link is the completion of the puzzle. It is much more powerful when someone decides for themselves that a product will solve their problems instead of it being jammed down your throat.
In the case of my friend, he needed to stop writing about products and start writing about problems and how to solve them. If the product was about raising your kids, the reader doesn’t care about the product unless he subconsciously decides that it will allow him or her to be a better parent. Writing an article about a product is the same as cold calling someone who has shown no prior interest. An article that solves problems, on the other hand, warms up the reader before the sales letter closes the deal.
Take my most recent email promotion, for example: I created a product that outlined the steps that I took to take a website from $0 to $100/day in about a week, and before I sold it on its own, I offered it as bonus to very traditional (and very good) affiliate marketing guide. I called this the “Get-Outta-The-Mountains Bonus,” and it was wildly successful as a promotion, not only because I gave away a $97 bonus for something that paid me only $21 per sale, but also because of the “reverse sales” that I used…
Rather than jam down the product down people’s throats by saying, “You need to buy this,” I told a story about being lost in the mountains, related it to the feeling of being lost in the world of affiliate marketing, and then allowed the reader to decide that that product was their map to get out of the mountains… thus, solving their problems of feeling lost.
(Just a disclaimer, the product was very good and was exactly what was needed for those who purchased, which is another important element to success. I never recommend selling bad products, ok?)
Do you see the difference? When you write “content” that really just jams a product down people’s throats, it will only make them feel uncomfortable, you feel like a pesky salesmen, and will ultimately make you less money. But when you offer solutions to problems, it allows readers to make their own decision to buy, rather than feeling pressured to buy what you’re selling them.
This is equally (if not more) true when you are doing email marketing. When you email someone, you need to focus even more on solving problems, because email is a personal interaction. If your email is a “buy this” sales pitch, the reader will simply unsubscribe. But if your email is a solution to their problem, then you earn their trust, and the decision to buy is a result of providing value, rather than hype.
Not only will you make more money when you solve problems, but the annoying process of creating sales pitches is removed. Instead, you can focus on actually helping people, and they will reward you for solving their problems.