Have you ever answered a question with a question? It is something the great philosopher Socrates did often. The purpose is to spark the imagination and the thought process while at the same time reasoning at the ultimate answer, but while also allowing for the pupil to arrive at the truest answer for himself, realizing it from within.
Well, if I were to be asked perhaps the ultimate question concerning affiliate marketing, my answer would be Socratic.
Q: As an affiliate, how important is it to select only the best products to promote on my blog?
I have signed up for many a newsletter that I at first thought were going to help me learn the best ways to increase the quality of my blogs… only to find later that it is (unbelievably) common practice for “bloggers” to literally bombard their subscribers with affiliate links to every product in their niche… in essence, leaving their readers to fend for themselves by being of no real authoritative use at all. This is always annoying, and I do not stay subscribed to those lists for very long. As a result of my frustrated experience with these “bloggers”, here is my answer to the above question.
A: As a blogger, how important is your reputation as a trusted authority in your niche?
If you agree that as a blogger it is your job as a trusted authority in your niche to weed out the inferior products from the superior products, then I think you will enjoy the challenge posed by this article. That challenge is to establish for your blog an affiliate product review criteria. This is a set of weights and measures, so to speak, that will enable you to quickly determine whether or not the product in question would bolster or demean your reputation were you to promote it on your blog.
The beauty of this system is that it will be different for everybody. My set of criteria, while perhaps being the same in terms of principle… might differ greatly from yours in terms of practice. We will all build our reputations as differently as are our individual personalities.
But enough rhetoric… here are a few things to consider including in your affiliate product review criteria:
Is the sales landing page honest or hyped?
I have seen many sales landing pages that were 1000’s of words long extolling the virtues of the product by hinting over and over again forever and ever at what it will do for you and why it is essential that you have the product if you hope to succeed at your goal, usually the promise of $1000 overnight or some other incredible bullshit, and then telling how each aspect of the product is worth a ridiculous amount of money because of production costs… and then how since the product creator is such a decent and generous person that the price will be slashed reducing it from something like $999 to only $49 in some attempt to fool what must be the product creator’s assumption that we are stupid fools!
I look upon any slashed price as a dishonesty gimmick, same as any offer that shows a countdown or says to hurry and buy because the slashed price will only be available for a short time. I am always as equally unimpressed with these sales landing pages as I am with the idea of putting ketchup on shit in an attempt to make it edible. I apologize for that last sentence, but it is my ‘go to’ metaphor for dishonesty in general.
On the other hand, I have seen sales landing pages that were to the point, telling me exactly what I can expect from the product, with maybe a few testimonials, and a price that seems fair and if slashed, then usually only by $10 or so. These sales landing pages are believable and for all practical purposes of argument, appear… honest. If you get this honest feeling about the product, I suggest you one-up your affiliate competition by requesting a review copy.
Is the product content of informative value?
In other words, does the product do what it promises to? E-books and/or video tutorials that solve specific problems are what I am referring to in particular. You need to try the product yourself to make sure that it delivers more than half-solutions and vagary. Ideally, the product should define the problem it promises to solve in such a straight forward way that the solutions it offers are consequently presented as intuitive to follow as possible… but don’t be too critical here, as getting the job done is good enough.
How easy is it to find equivalent content elsewhere for less $$$?
Is the content of the product unique or are there other more informative or effectively less expensive options? If the product is an e-book, are there hard copy books that cover the topic in more detail for less money? I have seen e-book products that contain no more information than can be easily found spending an hour or so doing a simple Google search for the topic keywords. But keep in mind that many people do not at all enjoy doing their own research and are looking for authoritative content that they can instantly download.
Is price consistent with quality?
There are many products out there that consist entirely of an e-book that is so short that it should probably be called an e-report and given away as a newsletter signup freebie. I have seen e-book packages including several titles that amount to about 100 pages of double spaced large font rehashes of information selling for $49 that can be easily found doing a few hours of Google searching! This is absolutely absurd. Think about what kind of a book $49 at a bookstore can buy you. I personally do not see how these so-called authors of these so-called e-books can justify charging $49 for such hyped up assemblages of puffed up vague information, but my personal preferences and opinions are not what I need to take into consideration when choosing whether or not to promote an e-book. I must take into consideration that average person looking for the solution to a specific problem that they are experiencing in their life. Concise and effective are what most people are looking for, but unless the information is otherwise unavailable, and even so… the price should be reasonable.
The e-books with far fewer pages that concisely present information that solves a specific problem… this is the value… a specific answer or solution to a specific question or problem… this is what most people are looking for and what they are willing to justify spending more money to have, even if it is accomplished with very few pages. So, don’t give too much consideration as to whether the product creator should have called it an e-book or an e-report… unless you are like me and hate misrepresentation… just mention your peeve constructively in your review.
This e-book, while really only an e-report as it accomplishes its task in under only 30 pages of concise instruction, will effectively teach you how to quickly and easily…
So, the number of pages cannot be a real determinant as to whether or not you promote the product. Rather, focus on whether or not the product covers the topic well enough that it delivers what its author promises it will… at a reasonable and fair price… though, keep in mind that what is a reasonable and fair price will vary from person to person, so perhaps keep in mind the average economic demographic of the target audience if any.
For example, an e-book titled How To Fine Tune Your Rolex Luxury Watch or The Top 10 Heavy Hitter Stock Picks for 2014 may be able to reasonably ask a higher price than one titled How To Start Your Own Boyscout Campfire Without Matches… for obvious reasons.
Are there extra member’s only features?
Some products go beyond the mere e-book, and include videos and other course features including private member’s only forums or newsletter subscriptions. The real value here is when these features are added extras and are not essential to delivering what the product promises. Member’s only features show that the product creator is passionate about his topic and wants to enable you to be more so too… and where there is a forum, to be able to more readily connect with others interested in the same topic who are using the same product… this is pure value.
Does the product creator have personal credentials and how uniquely is the content presented?
Some products are nothing more than rehashes of general information that can be found by anyone with access to Wikipedia and a few hours of spare time… while others are the result of passion for the topic, evidenced by a college degree and/or years of experimentation in perfecting techniques. Generally, I assume that the more passion the product creator has for his topic the more he will have toyed with it over the years and the more uniquely the information will be presented… this results in information that is not available elsewhere… these products are treasures!
Is there a way to contact the product creator for advice, help, etc.?
Another bonus is when the product creator is available personally when there are questions that go a little deeper into the topic than what is presented on the surface. Personal guidance and having the option of building rapport with the product creator keeps things human and this can be of immense value if the solution to the problem the product presents is by nature less than newb-friendly.
Is there a money back guarantee?
I have yet to purchase or review a product that did not have at least a 30-day full money back guarantee.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it and that it helps you in developing your own system of checks and balances… it is your reputation, and the products you choose to promote will either make it or break it. I value your opinions, so please let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Do you have a “code of honor” or other system of determining the value or merit of the affiliate programs you promote?
Speak Your Mind Below!!!
Like this article? AWESOME it is! Awesome YOU ARE!
About me, the author… Troy Boylan
Ecoculture Village Founder & President, Anthropology BA, Interdisciplinary Studies: Ethnobotany BS. Two things I think are worth anything at all… all things wilderness and ecoculture… and well, RPGs… and skateboarding!
So, what’s up!? Google+ | LinkedIn | Twitter