One of the most common practices in affiliate marketing is simple: look at what the successful affiliates are doing, and do that. Look at what successful affiliates do constantly, and duplicate that on your own website.
An excellent example of this would be a “Top 10 List of Online Poker Rooms”. The variables of the list may be different; it may be the “Top 10 Bonuses” or the “Top 10 Rakeback Rooms” but the concept is the same. Here are three examples of the top 10 list from 3 successful poker affiliate portals:
As you can see, while there are some slight differences all of these top lists are basically the same. Even moreso, they are featured in the upper fold of each websites homepage, and are meant to be one of the main focal points for new players.
These are a constant – an internet marketing technique used constantly. If you go through the history of these web pages you’ll most likely see a “Top 10 Poker Rooms” list in some format or another on the homepage going back 5 or 6 years. At least. Because they constantly use it.
A new poker affiliate will then most likely look at this constant, and assume it works. “Hey, all the successful affiliates use it, it has to work!” and then immediately implement it onto their own site.
This is wrong.
This is so so wrong.
When you see something used by other internet marketers, the last thing you can do is assume “it works”. There are so many questions you need to ask yourself before you simply implement the same technique another website is using.
Here are just 5 questions you should ask yourself before implementing a constant marketing technique on your website:
1: What is the purpose of this constant?
2: Is this marketing technique suitable for my website traffic?
3: Has this “successful affiliate” experimented at all?
4: And is that good or bad that they have experimented?
5: How can I improve on this constant?
Thankfully here at Affiliate Bible I’m the definition of a cheat sheet, because I’m here to give you the answers to those questions and hopefully make you think a bit more before you go duplicating the #1 ranked sites on Google.
What is the purpose of this constant?
Before implementing any sort of marketing technique, you really have to understand what the purpose of it is, and how it is meant to work.
In the “Top Poker Rooms” listing for example, the idea is simple enough in theory: players are meant to see it, and see what the best poker rooms are. Of course it’s a lot deeper than that.
Top Lists are common on the web, and something people like to read. One reason for that is because a lot of people skim pages on the internet, and they know what they are getting into with a “Top List”, especially a short one like that. Curiosity is piqued when it comes to Top Lists, and many of the “skimmers” will quickly stop at the top of the page to look down the list of top poker rooms simply because it’s a web standard.
The lists are also constructed in such a way that it’s not only a “top list”, but it’s also a selling point which quickly offers information that players may be interested in, enough to hook them. Mentioning the “players online” or the “bonus” or whether the sites are US friendly or not – just little hooks to keep people interested.
Then once they’re hooked, there’s a nice handy button for more information in the form of a full review, and also often buttons to immediately visit that online poker room.
At it’s core, the “top tables list” is a hook, designed to be read in under 5 seconds, and hopefully get the visitor interested enough that they become ripe for conversion. It’s also a smart way to divert a users attention – the reader may come to the website only to read about how Phil Ivey got on in the latest WPT event but end up saying “Huh? That room is #1? Why?” and click-through, increasing the chance of a conversion.
Is this marketing technique suitable for my website traffic?
One thing you need to analyze for any marketing technique commonly used by other websites is whether or not it’s going to work for your existing traffic.
For example – ever been to a porn tube site? There’s a lot of constant marketing techniques there – advertisements before the videos; misleading links; live webcam chats; various banner ads; pop-ups. Now maybe those work for a porn tube website, but if you’re building a porn story website, it’s a whole different market of visitor and that’s just going to turn them off.
The “Top Poker Rooms List” works on a lot of those sort of websites simply because of the broad amount of traffic they attract. Along with all the experienced poker pros that are rarely going to switch rooms, they get a ton of potential and new poker players, who are the type that can get hooked on a list like that.
Of course it doesn’t mean you have to ditch that sort of marketing constant; you just have to modify it to make it work for your website traffic. Have a Razz strategy website? Then have a list of the “Top 5 Rooms to play Razz”. Have a website dedicated to Full Tilt Poker or Rush Poker? Your top 10 list is now “Top 3 Rooms Better than Full Tilt”.
It’s all about analyzing who your traffic is, then figuring out the best way to market these constants to them.
Has this “successful affiliate” experimented at all?
This is one hell of an important question that you need to ask. Is this poker affiliate successful because of this marketing constant? Or are they successful despite it?
Have they thoroughly tested this technique? Have they put research and work into it? Do they change the format of it? The layout of it? The design? Do they track the clicks that section brings? Do they have heatmap software installed so we know they’re keeping an eye on this sort of thing?
Or are they simply seeing what others are doing, and copying them while assuming it works? Throwing crap to the wall, and seeing what sticks?
And is that good or bad that they have experimented?
Watching other webmasters split-test and try various marketing techniques can be a great learning experience. However just because they try various experiments doesn’t mean they’re on the ball and that these specific marketing techniques work; it could mean exactly the opposite.
One thing you should do is take a screenshot of websites and individual pages, and keep taking updated screenshots every few weeks or so. Look at what changes, what stays the same. Especially the “money conversion” pages.
Pokerlistings for example, are always tweaking their poker room review pages. It seems every 2 months they’re trying something new. Pay attention to what stays the same, and what changes. Look at what moves where, what colours stay the same. A review page can only hold so much information, but look at how it is presented. Then look at how the rest of the website changes to reflect that.
For example, if Pokerlistings had a huge popup banner on their review pages that cover the whole screen….and then in two months time that marketing technique makes its way around the rest of the website – then that’s a solid indication that the technique is working, and they’re wanting to roll it out to all visitors.
How can I improve on this constant?
If you take one thing from this article it’s this:
always look for ways to improve these marketing techniques.
For example let’s head on over to Rake the Rake, the biggest rakeback provider on the net. Now they use a very popular constant by having a list of all poker rooms that they offer rakeback on in the left sidebar, as seen below:
Not only is this constant on practically every rakeback website, but it’s duplicated the same way with US flags indicating that certain poker rooms accept US players.
Now I can completely understand wanting to duplicate this constant: it’s a nice easy way to navigate the website, it’s laid out well and it presents the information to the visitor in a very nice, easy to read manner. Webmasters naturally assume the #1 thing on a US poker players mind is “Where can I play now?” so are quick to make that an easy feature and selling point.
But just duplicating the constant isn’t enough – you’re NEVER going to beat your competition if you just copy everything they do. When you simply copy your competition you’re basically saying “everything they do is perfect” and missing out on a ton of potential income.
I mean hey – do you think Tiger Woods when he was growing up, watched all the other golfers swing 110-115mph and think “I’m going to swing that speed too?” Hell no! He studied what everyone was doing, then did it better.
I mean look – how do you think a Canadian poker player feels when he sees that Rake the Rake sidebar? For a Canadian it’s just there. Now what if he was greeted to something like this instead?
With some simple geo-targeting, it’s very likely that we’ve just increased the conversion rate for all our Canadian poker player visitors.
Or did we?
Only by experimenting with these sort of marketing constants will you ever find out.