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Thread: Promoting a product - your experience?

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    Promoting a product - your experience?

    Dear EPers,

    Which strategy would you recommend to promote a product nowadays?

    I'm considering running affiliate program vs guest posting.

    With an affiliate program, bloggers may pick up the product and write about it. The risk is 100% on them (no sales = no cost).
    With guest posting, I'll have to reach out bloggers and possibly paid for content and sponsored post promoting the product. That seems more speedy.

    What do you think?


    Thanks

  2. #2
    aka "meathead1234" Thomas is a Premium Member
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    Entirely depends on the product. What is it?

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    Entirely depends on the product. What is it?
    Use your loaf, Thomas - he hasn't put it out, yet. But what you do really depends on what you see as the product's lifetime.

    Example: a while back I bought a WSO product that trawled the GoDaddy Bargain Bin and gave you a list of the best bargains in there. It worked well for less than 24 hours, after that it died for three reasons.
    The initial problem was that it over-taxed the GoDaddy system, so they reduced the wait times, which made it finish prematurely. The second reason it failed was that it accessed external free evaluation services which got pissed off about the demands on their facilities, and put road blocks in the way. The third reason it became useless was because GoDaddy were so pissed off by the whole thing that they changed their directory names, Bargain Bin now results in a 404.

    That product was an automated keystroke emulator, and it died very rapidly - although it did lead me to the easiest free way to automate keystrokes on the web.


    If this new product, barring accidents, will still function in a couple of months with all the purchasers using it, go for the affiliate route. Otherwise, go somewhere else. we don't like it ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by danieleB View Post
    With an affiliate program, bloggers may pick up the product and write about it. The risk is 100% on them (no sales = no cost).
    That's not entirely true...

    While they don't get paid unless they bring you a sale, they can drive the quality of your brand into the ground before you've even noticed they're doing it.

    I worked with a company that had a re-seller program through various telemarketing agencies. It was difficult enough to keep our internal sales team in line with what they were promising. Doing the same with re-sellers (or affiliates) can make it infinitely more difficult. We had a compliance team, the ability to review calls, etc. and it was still an impossible challenge.

    When you outsource your sales through affiliates (or resellers) you have the chance for them to completely over-promise on what your product or service can actually do. There's no risk to THEM in doing so - it's your company and name/brand on the line. Sure, you can hold their feet to the fire through contracts/stipulations, but this is difficult if sales are going well.

    Disclosure: I've never been a big fan of affiliate marketing. We've used it a bit and have a semi-private program ourselves, but it's never sat completely right with me and something about it just feels inauthentic.

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    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    Entirely depends on the product.
    I agree. It does depend a great deal on the product. And, in particular, to what extent it is a niche product - one with a specialised well-defined target market.

    To give an extreme example: Suppose you had developed a new type of ebook reader. You would want to get it in the hands of as many reviewers as possible. That would include anyone who blogs about ebook readers and related devices. There is undoubtedly a hard core of ebook enthusiasts who read those blogs. Even if no single reviewer actually "sells" a device (in the sense of persuading a reader to immediately go out and buy one), it is still vital that people know about it, and that the product is one that they will consider in the future.

    Now, to go to the other extreme, suppose your product was a new brand of toothpaste. The potential market for such a product is so enormous that all the bloggers in the world are not going to reach more than a tiny part of it. In that case, you will need traditional mass-market advertising on a large scale.

    OK, I admit that these are extreme examples, but my point is that you can't generalise on whether blogging or affiliate links are a good marketing strategy without knowing which product is being promoted and who its target audience is.

    Mike

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    Thanks for the valueable input folks.

    Tomas (and all), sorry for not giving details in my first post.
    The product is a physical product in the "better sleep" market.
    That's not a small niche, but not for every household either.

    Justin, what you said is very interesting and has to be considered carefully.
    We could consider a private affiliate program but that adds lots of overhead in finding potential affiliates and building a relationship, isn't the case?



    Thanks again

  9. #7
    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by danieleB View Post
    We could consider a private affiliate program but that adds lots of overhead in finding potential affiliates and building a relationship, isn't the case?
    If you wanted to set up an affiliate programme, you could do so through one of the established affiliate networks. They would handle the recruitment, admin and payments. The disadvantage is that you would be one step removed from the affiliates, which makes it difficult to build a relationship with the individuals concerned.

    Mike

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl
    The disadvantage is that you would be one step removed from the affiliates, which makes it difficult to build a relationship with the individuals concerned.
    That's not been my experience. Quite often the affiliate manager is an employee of the merchant. Sometimes it's an advertising agency working on behalf of the merchant. I'm not sure I've ever had an affiliate manager who was an employee of the network.

    I would say that the big disadvantage of using a network is the cost. They take quite a big cut. It's expensive for the merchant to pay for all the admin, payments, etc, via the network, plus they take a percentage of the affiliates commission too. I read somewhere that from the affiliate's PoV, they take about 30-40% of what you could make if you dealt direct with the merchant. Even so, I'm a big fan of using networks. It's worth the cost just to reduce the hassle.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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