When someone asks me about how to get more traffic to a website, my answer usually something like this:
“The most important thing I do to get more traffic to my sites creating and selling good products.”
I’ve said before that selling is easier than blogging. In fact, I’ve said things along those lines many times.
In this post, you’ll discover exactly how creating and selling great products is a traffic generation strategy in itself (when it’s done right). Read on to learn what steps you can take, to drive more traffic to your products and get more customers.
Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way first: when you’re selling your own product, you can invite affiliates to promote it for you.
Affiliate marketing is a wonderfully low-risk, high-reward advertising method, because you’re never out of pocket. The worst that can happen is that no affiliate sends qualified traffic, you make no extra money and it costs you nothing, either.
The best case scenario is that a few strong affiliates pick up your product, start sending droves of visitors your way and all you do is pay them a part of the money you would have never made without them.
How to Get More Affiliate Traffic
Using affiliate marketing requires an investment of time and effort on your part. First of all, note that I am only talking about good products in the context of this post. Sure, you can also sell rubbish, but selling genuinely good products makes everything easier, including the affiliate thing.
To get more affiliate traffic, you need to make things as easy and profitable for your affiliates as possible. Here are the 6 most important steps:
- Have a good product that is highly relevant to other people’s audiences.
- Create a sales page or sales process that converts well (this drives up the earnings of your affiliates and makes them eager to continue promoting).
- Keep your customers very happy (this keeps refunds low and prevents affiliates from experiencing negative backlash after promoting your product).
- Provide incentives for affiliates who go the extra mile. Give a commission increase to affiliates who promote you in the long term. Pay bonuses to affiliates who perform well.
- Provide all the promotion material your affiliates could want.
- Make it easy for your affiliates to find their affiliate link, check their stats and get their money.
Run Your Own Affiliate Program
There are countless ways to set up and run an affiliate program for your products. The easiest way to get started is to simply add your products on an existing affiliate network such as ClickBank
On these networks, you can list your product for free and they take care of payment processing and affiliate payouts for you. They charge a fee per product sold, so you’re trading in a small percentage of your revenue for the convenience of using the network.
The Tipping Point
Everybody knows about big, exciting product launches, where a shiny new thing is offered for a short time only and hundreds of affiliates rally together to promote it. For me, the real benefit of a product launch comes after the exciting part, though.
The greatest benefit in a big affiliate-fueled launch is that it can help push a product over the tipping point. That’s the point after which it gains momentum and sales keep coming in, almost on their own.
A product launch doesn’t just bring affiliate traffic and sales, it also brings attention, awareness and even excitement – assuming it’s done right. This can be the beginning of a virtuous cycle for your product: the more people know about the product, the more they discuss it online. The more people discussing your product, the more new people learn about it and the more popular it gets. A more popular product will also attract more affiliates, which starts the whole cycle all over again.
If you’d like to learn more about the tipping point and how to reach it, listen to this podcast episode about evergreen marketing.
The Branding Effect
The above is basically what branding is all about. The goal is to get people to know about your brand, have positive associations with your brand and spread it around to more people.
It is immeasurably easier to get this kind of brand momentum going with a product or service that you sell than with a blog or a mailing list or anything that isn’t a value based business.
I noticed this as soon as I released my first own product. People started talking about me – although only rarely, at first. Interestingly, I would get referred to as “the Backlink Battleplan guy”. People associated me with the name of my first product. Over the years I’ve created many more products and I still often get referred to as the “SECockpit guy” or the “Thrive Themes guy”. Even though products have come and gone, while the brand of my blog has remained, I’m very rarely, if ever, introduced as “the ActiveGrowth guy”.
Products are taken more seriously. Our minds easily latch on to the idea of a product – there’s something solid about it. It’s far more difficult to get the same kind of effect for something less tangible like a blog or news source.
It’s a long-ball game, but this branding effect eventually leads to an increase in traffic.
Leverage for Paid Traffic
When you’re selling your own product or service, you’re sitting at the top of the proverbial food chain. As an affiliate, you may get a 50% commission, which makes it difficult to make paid traffic work. As the product owner, you can spend twice as much and still break even.
And there’s an additional advantage: each new customer is also a new lead for your business. In some cases, you can make a loss on the initial purchase and turn a profit later down the line (through upsells, recurring fees, repeat purchases etc.).
As the product owner, you can also easily track conversions, run split-tests, create special offers and create different landing pages for different traffic sources, without having to jump through any extra hoops. All the tools you need to make paid traffic work are at your disposal.
The bottom line is: it’s easier to pay for traffic and make a profit when the product you’re selling is your own.
The Strange Case of Perceived Value
There’s some weird psychology at play, when you sell something. In fact, here’s an example from my own business that’s so weird it’s a bit hard to believe:
I give away many things for free. I write in-depth blog posts (sometimes massive), I share my hard-gained experience on a free podcast, I share behind-the-scenes looks at my business in free email updates, I give away valuable products for free.
I let my subscribers and customers know about all this shiny new free stuff via my email newsletter.
But you know what? There’s a simple little trick I can use to double the number of clicks I get from an email I send out. That means doubling the amount of people willing to pay attention to what I’m saying and doubling the amount of traffic I get from an email broadcast.
Without exaggeration, I usually get twice as many clicks when I announce a new product than when I share anything that’s free.
Isn’t that interesting?
I’ve even “cheated” a couple of times and written an email subject line that seems like I might be selling something (e.g. “My New Mini-Course, Now Available!”), even though I’m linking to something that’s free, just to get more traffic.
And it worked.
No matter how good something free is, anything that has a price tag on it automatically benefits from increased perceived value because of that very price tag.
Charging money for something is also an attention hack, because once someone has paid for something, they are more committed to the product and therefor more likely to actually use it (this is called the commitment bias in psychology). Learn more details about this in the “selling is easy” podcast episode.
This brings us back to the importance of creating good products. Your customers are more likely to pay attention and use your product, if they first pay for it. If the product is good (ideally, spectacularly good), they will take notice and you’ve gained some of their trust and attention. With that, we close the cycle: these customers whose trust you have now earned are much more likely to also pay attention to your free stuff in the future.
So if you want more people to read your (free) blog content, sell them something first.
In conclusion, this is how and why creating and selling good products is my most important traffic strategy. What other questions do you have about this approach? Leave any questions and comments below and I will answer as best I can!