Tuesday, 29 April 2008
You've brainstormed an idea for a website (perhaps not one of those listed by Kieron) and you're moving on to the build.
Most people would put a navigation bar to the top or to the side, add some content and some banners.
Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across Urbane Blinds, an affiliate site that breaks the mould.
Here's a screenshot for your benefit:
Here's why I think it breaks the mould.
I didn't see any banners and instantly thought these chaps sold blinds. It's only when you click on 'Book an Appointment' you realise it's an affiliate site as it links via Buy.at through to Hillarys Blinds.
There's both an up and a downside to this. By not displaying a banner the admin panel will show zero impressions. This isn't good as it leaves you open to those annoying emails titled 'Reply If You Want To Stay With Affiliate Program X'. On the flip side, no banners means you can control the look and feel of the site.
No Passing Off
Urbane Blinds makes no attempt to mislead the customer. Right from the first moment, you can tell that there's a partnership here. You still get your standard sales text but it's all directed at getting you to make an appointment.
We can all be guilty of pushing too hard for a sale. The overall feeling is of distrust or of trying too hard. Subtle calls to action are dashed around the site, looking warm and inviting:
Clean and Crisp
The site design is clean and crisp, if a little too Template Monster like. That's not a negative point though as the look and feel of the site works for the target market..
Concise and Focussed
The one aspect of this site I really like is that it only tries to target one market: blinds. It's not a large market admittedly and the fact that it's a very visual and tactile market means it's difficult to generate leads. The person / people behind Urbane Blinds have understood this point. They seem to understand that people buy blinds based upon the feel and look of them, and as such, they sway people towards booking an appointment. They don't ram this down people's throats. They don't have a blinds catalogue so you can order custom made blinds without an appointment. They simply take you on a gentle ride to an appointment.
I really like this site. It's one of those sites that has been well thought out and targeted. It's the kind of site that makes me want to get out my paintbrush and take another look at some of my existing sites.
An important note - Not every site will benefit from this 'template'. Trying to sell CD's and DVD's without pictures, audio and video is like selling a car using text and text alone. You need to see a picture to make sure you like it first, you need to test drive it to see if it handles well. You need to put the text in context.
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Thanks for this. It looks very much like the affiliate sites I build. I never use banners and make it look as high quality and professional as possible.
But that said, their design is even classier than my best efforts! Well done to them.
Written on Tuesday 29 April 2008 at 15:22:02 GMT (Permalink)
What a fabulous looking site.
I almost bought some blinds and I don't even live in England.
I'm inspired to raise the standard of my affiliate sites to achieve this level of professionalism. A high-quality site like this should produce a great conversion rate.
Written on Tuesday 29 April 2008 at 17:59:28 GMT (Permalink)
Thanks for the kind words. I put one hell of a lot of time and effort into the site so it's nice when people show some appreciation.
For the record, conversion rates have been very good indeed, so I certainly think that for this type of market the layout works well. The only thing I need to do now is drive more traffic - something I'm working on constantly.
Written on Tuesday 29 April 2008 at 18:28:51 GMT (Permalink)
Nice article. I'm kinda new to affiliate marketing and was wondering how 'ethical' it is to appear to be a merchant and then redirect traffic - is it cool so long as you put the 'in assosciation with ' statement somewhere on the page?
Written on Wednesday 30 April 2008 at 08:53:21 GMT (Permalink)
@Michael - The key to this site is the 'No Passing Off' statement. They aren't pretending to supply their own blinds then bam, you're filling in a form on the Hillarys site.
I would expect some merchants to have a problem with the approach above but with Urbane Blinds, I don't see there being a problem. It's not pretending to be Hillarys and it states throughout the site that an appointment will be made with Hillarys.
Appearing to be a merchant then redirecting to an affiliated merchant seems somewhat unethical. I've seen many listings on Froogle (Google Products) that 'pretend' to be a store but when you click 'Buy' you are whisked off to Amazon or the likes.
There's a fine line. It's just about finding where it lies - and making sure you don't cross it!
Written on Wednesday 30 April 2008 at 12:48:13 GMT (Permalink)
Man, creating a affiliate site which does not look like a affiliate site is pretty dull.But at the same time the professional look of that site must not be compromised.
Written on Friday 23 May 2008 at 13:00:32 GMT (Permalink)
@One Step To Fitness - Whilst the actual creation of such an affiliate site to this standard could be dull, the outcome has got to be worth it.
Written on Saturday 24 May 2008 at 12:26:49 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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