A number of folks asked why I didn't participate in a recent launch of a product for affiliate marketers. Well, here's my advice…
Forget the Big Product Launches…
I set stiff criteria for how and when I choose to promote products, especially products available within the Internet and affiliate marketing niche.
First, I rarely participate in the ‘big' product launches anymore, as many of those products (and their producers) have gone the way of the dodo bird. Stephen Ducharme is only one example.
Do a search for his name today and in the top results are an article by Damon Zaharides titled “Stephen Ducharme Belly Flop” and a thread in Michael Green's HowToCorp forum “Screw Stephen Ducharme Over”. People were that mad at him for selling them a pack o' lies.
Marketers who promoted his product had to do some serious back-pedaling to regain their subscribers' trust. However, breaking a trust is like breaking a porcelain container. You can glue it back together, but the cracks will always show and it may never again hold water.
Do you want to lose subscribers or your reputation as an honest broker?
I thought not.
To protect your reputation, and more importantly, do right by your customers, here are my top 6 criteria for choosing products to promote.
- Reputable Merchant. If Yanik Silver tells me that has a new product available, I know my customers will be properly treated and respected. The merchants I trust have built their reputations based on quality products and excellent customer service, i.e. sound business principles.
Likewise, there are merchants within your niche with whom you have worked that can be trusted without question.
If you do not know a merchant, research their reputation online. Review and test their sites for attractiveness, usability and customer service responsiveness. If you have any doubts regarding their reputation, do not promote the product.
- Relevant High-Quality Product. Regardless of whether or not you know a merchant, review the product for quality and relevance. Will it benefit your subscribers in their work? Does it fulfill the promise made in the sales letter? Do all the features work?
If you are unable to review the product, tell your subscriber that is the case, and explain why you feel confident to recommend the product without review. Remind them that the product comes with a guarantee if they are not satisfied.
- Reasonable Price. I hate the price gouging that goes on the Internet as much as anyone. If there is an existing product of similar quality available at a lower price, I do not recommend that you promote the new product. In fact, you may want to take the opportunity to do a comparative review ending with a recommendation for the lower-priced product.
- Low-Hype Sales Tactics. Sales letters for good products do not scream ridiculous promises.
Regardless of merchant reputation or product quality, I recommend that you not promote products that make use of excessive hype or if the product name implies that users will achieve extraordinary results. There is a big difference between ‘How I Made X (Reasonable Sum) in One Year” and “Make X Million in X Minutes”. 🙂 Moreover, you do not want to make surfers more skeptical than they already are.
- Limit Choice to Prevent Confusion. There are a million “How to Build an Online Business” books, courses and tutorials available, yet I choose to promote only a few, (eg. IMC's Insiders Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet).
Each of those that I promote is markedly different from the others in both price and content. One might be available only online at a nice low price, while the other is a comprehensive physical product that includes manuals, DVD's and CD recordings.
Do not promote a new product simply because it is new. Stick to the tried and true to build your reputation as a consistent and dependable marketer.
High Commission. Finally, yet importantly, you need to determine whether the commission rate is acceptable.
Do not promote products for merchants who pay less than the going rate. For example, the standard commission rate for a conference seat is around 25%, while outstanding JV partners are offered between 33 and 50%. A merchant that pays 10% is just plain stingy. Do not reward greedy merchants. Work to become an outstanding JV partner for a merchant who respects your effort.
Use these strategies to guide your decisions every time you have the option to promote a new product. Your efforts will build and maintain your reputation as an ‘honest broker' and frankly, nothing is more important to staying in business than your good reputation.
Cheers ~ Ros
P.S. I have 20 questions listed in the Super Affiliate Handbook that I recommend you ask before joining an affiliate program.