Affiliate Marketing Does Not Benefit the Purchaser — Quite the Opposite!
………………………….Inept Affiliates and Affiliate Programs
I am evolving a breakthrough method of marketing which avoids the silly and ultimately unprofitable “affiliate marketing” system of sales. I would rather reward the purchaser — not some intermediary affiliate and the oft-times faulty, inefficient company which pairs-up affiliates and merchants. Besides, who says affiliates can sell? Just because someone signs-up to sell a product doesn’t mean he or she is going to do a thing! Case in point, a lady friend. Nearly 200 affiliates conjured-up by a company I won’t name, signed up over a several-month period to sell her product. Although she sells her products all the time, none of these so-called affiliates could sell one of these items, even for a low, competitive price. Why? I guess because: Affiliates join… get distracted… get discouraged… and go on to some other money-making idea. So, to heck with affiliates and affiliate marketing!
I had a somewhat similar, embarrassing experience, which I DON’T want to ever repeat! Someone talked me into the silly idea of agreeing to price one of my E-Books at $20.00, the same price as a real paperback edition of the same title, on the premise that if I pay the affiliates who ‘ring-up’ a sale $12.00 and the go-between service $2.00 I will still have a sale and maybe $6.00 profit. That theory fell apart as soon as one purchaser who went through an affiliate to buy this e-book, then visited my site and realized I had E-Books of the same title available for just $7.00. I had forgotten to remove the $7.00 version when I took on the affiliate marketing program… He promptly demanded (and I immediately paid!) the $13.00 difference! He felt cheated, and I agreed! (Actually, we became friends because I paid him back so quickly, and he said he enjoyed my book “Get Rich Buying at Yard Sales” enormously; he tried out some of my theories and made a killing his first Saturday!) But aside from that — What a lesson to me about affiliate marketing!
The question occurred to me, WHY SHOULD the retail customer, the end-user, end up paying MUCH HIGHER price for an item just because it is sold by someone who’s affiliated with the seller? That’s ridiculous! So, my policy ever since has been — stop thinking of affiliate marketing as a path to success! It isn’t. Not when the retail customer pays too much, and not when the affiliate and the middleman take a lion’s share of the profits.
That’s why I worked-out this much better strategy in which the RETAIL CUSTOMER is the one who BENEFITS. I believe I can reward the retail customer with rewards of savings through combined acquisitions of products and services, at low prices, as well as “bonuses” which the buyer can obtain just by purchasing a product or service.
……….Much Better Idea! Combining a SERVICE With A PRODUCT! ….Or MORE!
The philosophy that has evolved into a working strategy over here at this branch of what I sometimes like to call the Tucson Think Tank, is that if a person is offering a SERVICE which is also being offered by God Knows how many others, across the nation or around the world, it would do well to couple that service with a PRODUCT that can be offered as an incentive. Or perhaps with another SERVICE that it is possible for me to provide to the buyer, as a kind of “BONUS”, on a cost-effective basis. When I was a little boy, S&H Green Stamps and (in California, at least) Blue Chip Stamps were all the rage! When you bought something at a participating grocer, you were given a couple of dozen perforated, colorful stamps. It’s amazing how fast these stamps piled-up over a period of time. Redemption Stores made it simple to trade-in one’s full stamp books for wonderful prizes. In fact, I got a Daisy B B Rifle as a special present, that way! I still like that idea! Reward the purchaser with something nice! Well, I don’t have a whole catalog, at least not yet, and I don’t plan on issuing any special ‘stamps’, but I do have a variety of goodies to offer. And almost any system of marketing beats what I (and so many others!) have gone through the last 10 or 12 years trying to sell collectibles such as used & rare books.
………………………..Among the Big Boys of the Used & Rare Book Business
I am not happy with the “big boys” of the used book business. I used to sell books on Interloc which was absorbed into Alibris, whereupon I listed more than a thousand books with Bibliofind, which was soon bought by Amazon. Then I ‘got’ with the Advanced Book Exchange, a great little Canadian company, which devolved into ABE Books (another example of a stupid, do-nothing acronym!), and was recently purchased by their one-time competitor, Amazon. I also sold books on E-Bay for a number of years, but found all the little charges added up to one big headache. Now I sell my own books on my own site and don’t have a middleman to have to pay — I pass the savings on to you! I also developed a stock of LP record albums and I’ve always been in a world of art, curios and knick-knacks. All this, I realized one day, is available material for me to trade or give as bonuses for those collectors, readers, intellects who like this kind of material, as I market other things such as my astrology readings or related products and services.
I realized… If I have a PRODUCT, why not couple it with a SERVICE, too? What could be more entrepreneurial than that? Fortunately, I am in a position to do both…I have both products AND services at my fingertips, and I hope people join me in this venture. Let me tell you how I am monetizing this idea with a special friend or two, as well.
…………Here are the Interchangeable Components of Our Products and Services
*EdsList is just that… my list (I’m Ed!) of hundreds of my various paperback and hardcover books. That’s EdsList — Books. I also have EdsList — Art, and EdsList — Music. This is not “pie in the sky”, the merchandise actually exists; most of it can be seen at my Tucson studio. The books range in price from about $4.00 to $500.00, the music (chiefly LP’s) is in about the same price range, and the Art, much of it by myself or my brother, is in the $300 to $2,000 category. If someone buys $50.00 or more in any of these 3 categories, I will be glad to give them a free “mini-reading”. (see below!) If someone purchases an old oil painting, the free reading will be proportionately more extensive.
*I have both books and short stories that I have written over the years. Some of the books are paperbacks or hard covers, for sale on a pay-to-print basis with lulu.com and many others are available as downloadable ‘E-Books’. The Lulu.com paperbacks and hardcovers range from $12 to $75. I can’t do much when it comes to “deals” with Lulu, because there is a high cost basis there. But I can give away an E-Book, which is generally priced at $7.00 each, to anyone who purchases $20.00 or more of any other products and services from our wide-ranging selection! This MAY be one of the best and least expensive ways to get an up-to-date collection of Ed Augusts books and stories!
*I do Astrology and Combination (Tarot + Astro) Readings. I’ve done this for 30+ years. I charge LESS than my local competition, and MUCH less than almost all the “charge per minute” phone and internet readers. I can do this because I have stripped-away all the middlemen. You deal with me direct! $50.00 / hour, $30.00 / half hour. Several clients have ‘put me on a retainer’, like a lawyer, at a fixed price per week or month, and then feel free to call me anytime. I also do shorter mini-readings that answer a question and take only 10 or 15 minutes. If someone has an hour-long Reading with me, they can choose $20.00 in books or music. (Buyer pays shipping).
* Kimonos! Robes! One of our family members has been a creative genius since childhood. She turns out incredible kimonos, robes and other fashions… I and her mother have been trying to get her interested enough in the EdsList project to come aboard and offer some of these spendid creations on-line! MORE ON THIS in the near future — I hope!
*A wonderful female friend invented and patented a product of great usefulness to new mothers, something that pregnant women should avail themselves of when they’re about to give birth. It is a light-weight, adaptable, easily-cleaned, non-electric, portable breast pump. This can be seen at: http://www.breastpumpmama.com . It sells for $93.00 + shipping, and can be shipped anywhere. If someone buys one, they can choose through my EdsList for $20.00 in books or music. (Buyer pays shipping). She also has the footpump for $40. 00. $10 in free books if someone buys that!
* Another product is also available to use in combination with any of the above: Web Site development and Web Pages, with a specialty in ultra-sleek and useful Word Press technology, offered by Sun Web Studio here in Tucson. The owner has a nice track record of sites for musicians (pianists, composers) and orchestras (traditional music, Balalaika, etc.). but she can do ANY kind of site — for example, this site you are looking at here (edaugusts.com) was created by Sun Web Studio. A person purchasing $300.00 in website work with Sun Web Studio can choose $100.00 in books, etc. from EdsList! $600.00 in website work? Make it $200.00 in books, art, or music! (Buyer pays the shipping!)
The creative idea here, is very simple: Anyone who purchases a product or a service is offered to please go choose a “bonus” which consists of low, low prices, discounts, or “FREE” merchandise or services from any other part of the galaxy of products and services which our group can provide and share with the buyer! I think the illustrative message is clear… Anyone who has family members and/or very good friends who can be counted upon to fulfill an order in a timely fashion, with fine quality goods and services, (like I know my group can!) might be able to do the same thing we’re trying to do with EdsList and the other, related companies! We are still adding to our line, and evolving the best ways of offering the buyer an exciting array of products and services so that he or she will come back and do business with us, again and again! TRY IT OUT! Best, —-Ed