Saturday, 01 November 2008
I'm deep in amongst PHP code developing a handful of new sites as part of my strategy to focus on a smaller number of larger sites. I've built one solution and it's very god at what it does. The problem is padding the site out into a fully fledged affiliate site. There's several directions I could go in and in deciding on what to do, I came up with a few questions that may help you decide where you want to go when developing your own sites.
What's Different About You?
The first point is that if you don't offer something different, you aren't adding value. Doing something different could be as simplistic or as complex as you dictate. It could be as small as focussing on a tiny range of products within a large market (e.g. USB vacuum cleaners like good 'ol Henry). It could be offering a solution that no-one else offers. It could be something in between.
The point here is that you need to identify something that you can do differently to everyone else. By all means look at the competition and see what they are doing but don't simply copy the idea because it's easy - develop upon it.
Who Is Your Audience And Who Are Your Customers?
Visitors and customers can be completely separate entities. If you website is aimed at children, there's very little scope for monetisation from them - but if their parents use the site as well, they are likely to be your customer.
Perhaps your audience are siblings looking for Christmas present ideas for friends and family, with potential customers being the friends and family concerned.
The key is finding some way to bring your customers closer to your audience. perhaps it could be a simple 'tell a friend' script that would save the day. Perhaps you could create some functionality that would generate lists of products and where they can be purchased from.
What Are You Actually Promoting?
We're not looking at specific products here, rather whether you are promoting the merchant or the product. If you are promoting a specific product, you may well be doing a great job at promoting the product, but what about the merchants? Vice versa, you could be doing a great job at selling the merchant and at making the consumer more brand aware but have they listened to your reasons why they need product XYZ?
You need to find that fine line where you convince the customer that they need ABC and they need to buy that from merchant XYZ. It's a very fine line that could help to maximise your earning potential if you can find it. I usually come down on either side of said line and don't believe I've quite found that magic formula.
Where Are You In The Purchase Chain?
There's a purchase chain which roughly follows this pattern:
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