This post was submitted by Chris Garrett from ChrisG.com
The other day I was telling Darren about an accidental affiliate success I had on my digital SLR blog with a dirt cheap ebay gadget (GadgetInfinity ebay slave triggers). We thought it might make an interesting guest post for Problogger readers as this audience likes to learn tips for how to make money and I learned a lot from this happy accident myself.
How did this early Christmas present fall into my lap?
Last year through Strobist.com blog I became interested in photography lighting. Like most people who followed the tutorials I started acquiring all the gear I needed. One item was out of my budget though. It was an accessory that allowed you to trigger your flash remotely via radio signals. The price was just too high for my amateur photography budget (and my marriage!). All was not lost, I heard about some cheap knock-offs doing the rounds on ebay.
After research it seemed most people were either absolutely in love with the gadgets or dead against, either because of a bad experience or out of snobbery. As the price was so low I snapped up a set, at the very worst it would make excellent content for my blog.
I couldn’t have been more happier with the gizmos when they arrived. Not only were they cheap, they worked and opened up my flash photography in a way I couldn’t have hoped for. Being the geek I am I had a variety of gear to test the gadget with so I could right away reassure people that they in fact did work with Canon brand flashes. This added considerably to the weight of my recommendation.
Once I had written my post I recalled I had signed up for the CJ ebay affiliate program. (I was going to write a blog about ebay). As these products were mainly available via ebay I took the opportunity to go back and edit my links with my affiliate codes.
Immediately something wonderful happened, I was making commissions! One or two came in almost right away. What really sent the sales coming in though was a link from Strobist. A few days later I was getting search traffic also.
Why did it work so well?
- Empathy – It was a geniune recommendation from someone in the same position as the audience
- Topical – The product was “hot” but the available advice was divided, people were researching before buying
- Authority – I had some credibility in the area, compounded by an authoritive referral to that page from Strobist
- Fear – Risk was reduced because I had removed the fear factor (“oh it *does* work with Canon!”)
Those are specific lessons but there are also general learnings we can take that always apply
- Specifics sell
- Stay on top of your niche so you can detect hot products early
- Comparisons against bigger, better and more expensive products works to upsell or positively differentiate the lower-priced alternative (win-win)
- Links from the post, in context, drive far more sales
- Try to link to the specific product wherever possible
- Big brand names and hard to find products sell far better than generics
- Choosing to go via ebay provides secondary income from signups
Look at the post, you wouldn’t have dreamed at first glance this would have been an ebay sales machine but it worked and it worked well. What could you do if you actually went out and designed your posts to sell?