|The Small Business Library|
January 6, 2000
Little Jack Horner Sat in a corner Eating his marketing pie. He stuck in his thumb And tossed me a crumb And said, "What a smart boy am I!"
It was one of those nights. Wide awake. Tic toc, two o'clock. My thoughts were on websites I'd reviewed that day. On the people flocking to the Internet in droves, looking to make their fortune. Hopes and dreams rolled up into a series of associate programs, banners and affiliate id tags.
The next morning, Jack Horner was still kicking around, hawking; "Sign up here. Do what I do. Sell my pie. You'll get rich, too." And people signed up in droves.
Sadly, it is the people with the highest hopes that are too easily blinded by the glitter of money for nothing.
Dreams die hard, and fool's gold doesn't pay the bills. All too often, people end up broke and disillusioned, saying "This Internet thing doesn't work".
It does work! I know, I work online fulltime. But, like most things that stand the test of time, first you learn... THEN you earn. Putting up a website filled with affiliate programs is not, in itself, going to make you rich. Period.
Think about how YOU shop. How often do you pick something up at the corner store because it's convenient? How often do you buy something because it's on sale? Is quality important? People 'buy' because of price, convenience, quality or comfort.
When you join an affiliate program, you don't control the price. You are no more convenient to 'get to' than anyone else online. You don't control the quality , you only control the quality of what you choose to resell. That leaves the comfort level. Offering a comfort level is about developing trust & familiarity.
What do YOU do to make people want to come back to your website enough times to develop a solid level of familiarity with you?
Here's my suggestion. Pick something you like, whether it's fishing or cooking. A subject you can pour your heart into. Then build the best darn website you can on that subject. Give people who share that interest a reason to want to come to your site. Make them feel as comfortable as a pair of worn in shoes. The buzzword of the day is "finding your niche".
Choose your affiliate programs carefully. Very carefully! They speak of your character. If you change them as often as you change your socks, you're not saying much about your character. Your recommendation becomes something that's for sale, not genuine.
The Internet is the best method of communication available today, but that's all it is. Communication. With real people like you and like me, and there is NO substitute for sincerity.
A group of people that are loyal to you, paired with products that you use stand behind loyally is an unbeatable combination. Put your heart and soul into it. Once you do, no one will ever look at your site and tell you that you don't know jack. :)
Article by Linda Caroll