Taking A Leaf Out Of Amazon’s Book – Things Affiliates Can Learn From Kindle’s Self-Publishing Authors
We take a look at the striking parallels between online self-publishing and performance marketing, and what can be learned from Amazon’s authors in order to maximise revenue.
Softcore bondage. Ah, and now we’ve got your full attention. Because at the end of the day, that’s what online marketing is all about; feeding an initial hook that tantalises just enough to sustain interest and prompt an action, such as a sign-up, a download, or a purchase. And who would have guessed such a poorly written tale about S&M would elicit such an astronomical response from Kindle Store users across the world?
Well, the answer is quite a simple one. The infamous book we’re alluding to here was so well-marketed towards its target demographic – in terms of the nature of the product as well as the way it was being promoted online – that it succeeded in converting interested readers into paying customers.
Taking a Leaf Out of Amazon’s Book
Since launching in 2007, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service has allowed thousands of authors to cost-effectively bring their products to market and generate extra income – much in the same way affiliate marketing has enabled merchants and publishers to symbiotically grow their businesses and increase revenue.
I didn’t want this to be just a superficial list of “10 things affiliates can learn from Kindle’s self-publishing service”. Mainly because the more I delved into the way it all works, the more I began to draw parallels between the two industries and take best-practices that would benefit publishers from a marketing/promotional standpoint. Don’t worry though, I will summarise at the end.
Instead I wanted to take a look at the kinds of things that Amazon themselves are suggesting to would-be authors who want to drive sales of their online books, as well as a few proven ideas and practices from successful authors. It’s more about understanding the mentality surrounding the industry and taking away from it what you find applicable. Taking a leaf out of Amazon’s book, if you will.
Reviewing The Situation
After plentiful research into the subject, it soon became apparent that having an online book positively reviewed made it all the more likely to sell. After all, positive testimonial can help alleviate any purchasing doubts a customer might have about a product online. There needs to be a good reason for people to commit to a sale.
There’s an equally malignant obstacle getting in the way of website visitors and email recipients, stopping them from completing and offer or promotion. Customer feedback is definitely worth its weight in gold in this respect. For an affiliate running their own website, star-rating systems on offers is a simple way of conveying user satisfaction/offer relevance. It will also help improve SEO rankings the higher the rating.
WordPress has a number of universal star rating plugins which can be integrated into your site, with the top 15 listed right here.
Enabling comments is also a good idea. This is why it’s so important to cultivate a valuable audience via social media platforms and email campaigns, in order to acquire authentic, ongoing positive feedback you can show off to potential offer entrants.
Active Audience Engagement
We’ve already mentioned the benefits of growing a good, loyal audience for your affiliate business via social media. But you’ve got to remember that people aren’t going to be as interested in your website and offers as much you want them to be. Many self-publish authors cruise forums relevant to their books, without openly promoting their products. Instead they engage forum users on a level that promotes positive response.
The good news for affiliates is that it’s much easier to drive forum traffic to your website than it is for ebook authors to pitch a single product. As well as having a breadth of offers to talk about, it’s also less ‘aggressive-sales’ to tell people about your fabulous website than it is to advertise your offers and promotions.
Audience engagement from an affiliate standpoint is all about selling your website/mail newsletter than it is about selling your affiliate offers. That’s why it’s so important to create a valuable, informative, interesting platform for offer distribution. Which leads us to…
Sell Yourself, Not Your Business
I’ve browsed a few author’s Twitter profiles and blog posts and ebook authors who promote themselves from a personal angle seem to get bet the best positive response. A good example is author Aimee Horton’s website.
As well as being beautifully presented (this kind of thing definitely helps establish credibility as quality affiliate) it’s also extremely well ‘branded’. She understands her target audience and how to appeal to them both visually and from a content perspective. Her blog is littered with regularly updated posts about topics relevant to her products and of interest to her key demographic – with herself operating as a conduit between the two in order to facilitate sales.
Successful ebook author Robert Bindinotto writes: ‘First, “brand” yourself and your book. Carve out a narrow, distinctive “niche” in the book marketplace based on some catchy concept, theme, or image that will appeal to your target readers, but simultaneously distinguish your work from all others in your genre.’
As an affiliate, you only really have creative control of yourself – and even though you have a choice of what types of offers you want to promote, you’re input really ends there. Creating a brand around yourself is your biggest asset for standing out from the crowd. You need to establish who you and what you want to give your audience.
And Then Sell Yourself in Everything You Do
One thing I’d never considered was implementing your own ‘brand’ into the way you display affiliate offers. Bindinotto talks about utilising ‘brand’ into ebook covers. Translate this notion over to affiliate marketing and equivalent would be to implement your ‘brand’ into display adds and landing pages – tying it in with the aesthetics and personality behind your website and newsletter.
Of course, some advertisers will carry stipulations as to how their products can be promoted (such specific ad and landing page criteria) so be sure to get advice from your affiliate manager before you go customising your own marketing resources.
Remember it’s all about creating the most valuable asset, your brand, and using it to differentiate yourself within the industry and implement it into your marketing practices. In many ways, it’s simple a case of creating a living, breathing online presence that people can relate to, gain from, and feel attatched towards.