4 Ideas That'll Help You Sell More Titles as a Bookstore Affiliate
By Monique Harris
In my online travels I've surveyed quite a few affiliate bookstore owners, and sadly enough my suspicions regarding their overall profitability were confirmed. In terms of generating any serious cash - like $1,000 a month or more - this seems to be the exception, and not the rule. And if you really want to hear the truth, $75 a month and less, is pretty close to the general average.
Sad but true.
However, there are a few non-publicized traits that several of the top selling affiliate stores are using to gain a leg up over everybody else following the basic rules of the game.
In other words, they're going beyond the banners, links and other affiliate cookie cutter methods, and implementing their own unique selling techniques.
Here are four of those key techniques that'll help you become a leader in the bookstore affiliate army:
1) Maintain your own marketing vantage point.
Whether you're in an affiliate program with 1,000 or 100,000 participants, it's probably safe to believe that everybody is issued the exact same marketing tools. A few banners here, a few buttons there, an overly used form letter from the president of the company, scanned book covers, and maybe a text link or two. Everybody's store ends up looking exactly alike.
Instead of relying on their 'same old, same old' marketing materials, add a little ingenuity of your own. Actually sit down and read the books that you recommend. Formulate your own educated reviews, highlighting sections of the book that really stood out. Everybody else always relies on the main bookstores reviews and descriptions, which may not be as colorful as your own opinions.
Create your own banners that focus on a single title, (this can be your book-of-the-month), instead of using the company issued banners. Interview the authors of the books you carry and post them on your Web site.
2) Hold a co-sponsored contest.
Planned and promoted correctly, contests offer the opportunity to collect precious demographic information about your sites visitors, as well as draw a significant amount of new traffic to your site.
Your contests prize can be as small as one of your books, or even a free book a month for an entire year. You can even invite outside vendors to contribute prizes to your contest, which in turn provides them free advertising on your site.
Just be sure the prize is applicable to the types of books you sell. If you have a bookstore that sells computer titles, you can offer a digital camera as a prize.
Here are a few directories to list your contest in:
Contest Guide (www.contestguide.com) Loopy Net (www.loopy.net/sweepstakes/index.html) Contest World (www.contestworld.com) Sweepstakes Online (www.sweepstakesonline.com)
3) Sponsor a chat event.
No matter what types of books you sell, there's a targeted chat room somewhere online, waiting for you to expose your bookstore to its participants. The key to successful sponsorship lies in checking out each location beforehand. Make sure you sit in on a few events before you agree to anything. There are quite a few 'playgrounds' out there, if you know what I mean.
Here are some key questions to ask the sites owner before making a committment:
* How many people typically log on to the event?
* How long has the site been in existence? (The longer the better because there's a greater chance for an established crowd.)
* Is the event moderated, or unmoderated? (Moderated tends to be more organized.)
* Where will my ad be seen?
Check out TalkCity (www.talkcity.com), and Chat Planet, (www.chatplanet.com) for chat rooms galore.
4) Build an information site around your bookstore.
If you specialize in a specific topic or genre of books, then you'll attract a lot more attention by adding articles, tip sheets, hints of the day, e-zines and other tid-bits of information to spice up your Web site. After all, the Internet is predominantly used to distribute information, so it makes perfect sense to do this.
Here are a couple of steps for building your info-site...
+ Solicit authors whose books you carry to submit an article a month. Not all will say yes, but it's certainly worth a try - (especially when you're contributing to their bottom line by choosing to sell their book.)
+ Post targeted press releases on your site. This will add a sense of freshness to it. You can get on a press release distribution list at PRWeb (www.prweb.com), PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.com), and the Global Internet News Agency (www.gina.com).
+ Link to other sites and articles that are applicable to your genre. Ralph Wilson, the owner of WilsonWeb (www.wilsonweb.com) does an excellent job at this. He has hundreds of links to articles on the topics of advertising, marketing and selling online.
+ List upcoming seminars and conferences in your industry. You can find a list at Trade Show Central (www.tscentral.com).
I've been doing business on the Net for 4+ years, and although I've been through my share of trial and error, I'm happy to say that I make a very comfortable living selling my information products online.
My Online Sales Power! Web site is a growing compilation of tips and tools that have helped me make the most of my online presence. Stop by and find out what's the one thing that ANYBODY can profit from selling online.