Almost a year ago I started experimenting with a new technique (new for me at least) of creating ‘Best Seller Lists’ as a technique to drive more sales at Amazon’s Affiliate Program.
The concept was simple:
- Analyze the things that customers have bought previously from your affiliate links to Amazon (they give you this information in their reporting area)
- Pull together a list of the top selling items (those that are relevant to your niche of course) and list them in a post
- Link to these items again with affiliate links
Today I was looking through my Amazon statistics and realized that this technique has been responsible for around 40% of my earnings from Amazon over the last 4 months. A lot of the success comes from one page, the example I gave in my original post – Popular Digital Cameras and Gear but there are three others (Top 10 Point and Shoot Digital Cameras, Top 20 DSLR Models and Best Camera Bags).
Why does it work?
I give a few reasons in the post about the technique that I’ve linked to above but increasingly I’m convinced that it’s got something to do with our social nature as human beings and the way that we often make decisions as groups rather than as individuals.
I see it in my own ‘real’ life also. Among my friendship group four couples have purchased the same car, most of my good friends shoot with the same brand of camera to me, we’re all talking about sending our kids to the same schools…. the list goes on.
Social Proof and Affiliate Marketing – Two More ‘Techniques’
This idea of social decision making is powerful – particularly when it comes to affiliate marketing on blogs.
Reader Reviews – The other time I’ve seen it’s power is when I’ve posted a reader’s review of a product on DPS.
I have posted quite a few photography book reviews over on that blog – most of which I’ve written myself. They tend to convert quite well (depending upon the quality of the book) but the thing that I’ve noticed is that they convert up to 100% better when it’s a regular reader of the blog who posts the review and not me. For example this simple reader review of the Digital Photography Book did better than my own review of the same book!
I don’t think it’s because I’m not a convincing writing – I think the reason is that readers trust the opinions of other readers. Social decision making at play again!
When ‘Join Me’ Converts – Let me share one more example of this social decision making. Earlier in the week I posted here at ProBlogger that I had enrolled myself in a course to learn to make better videos for the web. This was a genuine post – I’ve enrolled in WebVideo University (it’s early days but it’s quite good so far). Of course the post contained an affiliate link (I’d like to pay for a new video camera for my videos somehow).
A number of ProBlogger readers signed up for the course (I think it’s around 10). It wasn’t a massive conversion but in talking to 3-4 of those that signed up I found that they were not only motivated by the course topic – but also by wanting to do something with me, to share the experience.
I didn’t use the ‘join me’ approach to the post to get more people to sign up and increase my earnings – but it did.
Now the course doesn’t give a lot of interaction between participants – but there’s still something about doing something that someone else is doing that I think comes into play here. The course is good and will fulfill a need but perhaps it’ll become more special to those doing it for the knowledge that others like them are also participating.
A quick aside – while I’m talking about ‘joining’ – if you’ve got a spare $8.62 check out a great book called ‘Join Me!‘. It’s about a guy who started a world wide movement of people simply by placing an ad in a local newspaper inviting people to ‘Join Me’. It’s one of the funniest yet also insightful books I’ve read in years.
What Do You Think?
I’m thinking out loud a little with this post – but have you experimented with these ‘social decision making’ ideas in your own affiliate marketing?
PS: Social Decisions Making and Blogging
OK – now I’m thinking out loud a little more (forgive me, it’s late on a Friday night… and I may just have had a couple of beers…) but I the more I think about it the more I realize that this social behavior goes beyond the purchases that we make and comes into play in a variety of areas of our blogging
- It’s probably behind the way that many big blogs with their RSS counters on their blogs grow so much faster (people want to be a part of a blog that others are obviously a part of).
- The same thing is probably true for blogs with lots of comments (people are more likely to interact on a blog where others are already doing it)
I’m sure there are other examples – looking forward to you adding to my list. Come on – think out loud with me my friends!