A sales technique that many businesses and industries employ is to create ‘Best Seller Lists’ to highlight to consumers what others like them are purchasing.
A few examples spring to mind:
Of course there are many more we could list. Virtually every music, video and bookstore have their own version of these sorts of lists, as do newspapers, magazines and other kinds of stores.
Another recent local example was a department store here in Australia who had the Top 10 Selling Mens Fragrances strategically placed next to the sales counter of their mens clothes section.
Best Seller lists work in many industries for a number of reasons
- As much as we like to think of ourselves as unique individuals, we’re social creatures and like to know what others are doing
- We like to feel a part of trends and don’t like to feel left out
- We are lazy and any short cut to finding something of a good quality appeals to us
- We know that there’s some truth to the idea of The Wisdom of Crowds
How to Create Your own Best Seller List
A number of months ago I realized the power of best seller lists and decided to start exploring them on my blogs. It struck me that my readership might just like to know what they were buying collectively and that I actually had those figures at hand – in my Amazon Affiliate Program Reports.
At the end of every day publishers in the Amazon Associates program are presented with a number of reports for the previous day. These can be viewed by day, month or any time frame. These reports not only tell you how much you earned over the timeframe selected but shed some light on what items people are purchasing.
This information is both interesting and useful – particularly when you present it back to your readers.
Here’s how I last did it over at DPS – as a Popular Digital Cameras and Gear post.
The post identifies 6 major categories of products within the niche that DPS readers buy. I manually listed the top 10 products in each category, listing each with an affiliate link back to Amazon. I explained that they were affiliate links and that the commissions earned from purchases were sown back into improving the blog.
There a number of tangible results of producing such a list:
- Sales – every time that I produce one of these lists (and I tend to do it on a quarterly basis) I see an increase in sales at Amazon. Users do take the recommendations of their wider community seriously.
- Conversation – as you’ll see on the post at DPS, there’s been a reasonable amount of conversation as a result of the post. We’re up to 20 comments on the post – with an array of responses (most positive).
- Increase in Commissions – one of the side benefits of driving up the number of sales is that you also drive up the percentage in commissions that Amazon pays out if you’re tier payment system. I find that the months that I do these types of posts that the number of sales goes up and I generally see my % payout increase a percentage point or two (it’s just a pity that Amazon don’t include consumer electronics in the tiers – they stay at a flat 4%).
A Word of Warning
Do keep in mind that making these types of posts too regularly could leave some readers feeling a little disillusioned. I tend to do them on a quarterly basis (they work particularly well in the lead up to Christmas) so as not to seem too greedy or take the blog too far off topic.
A Tip for Increasing the Longevity of the List
Using this type of post can be an effective technique – but once it drops off the front page of your blog it converts significantly less. One way to increase the length of time that the post is effective is to link to it prominently. You’ll see I’ve added a link in the DPS top menus to ‘Popular Cameras’ which links to the post in question. Initial testing shows that this is a fairly well clicked on link in the menu and drives good traffic to the post over time.
One of the things that I’d love to see Amazon develop is to have some way of automating this process. To be able to have a way to automatically compile such a list of purchases made through a publisher’s account would be a pretty useful thing.