How I Choose Which Products To PromoteOnce it became known that my subscriber database was approaching 800,000 (across numerous niches - some fairly obscure), I started getting dozens of joint venture proposals every day. These "JV proposals" are generally just requests to become an affiliate for their product, or to help with an impending product launch.
Most of the proposals I get are in the internet marketing niche, while less than 1/4th of my database is in that niche. If a product isn't a perfect match for a niche, I don't consider offering it to that niche. Experience has taught me that offering inappropriate products is one of the quickest ways to lose your list!
I thought that it might be useful to share some of how I decide which products to promote and why those criteria matter. This should prove useful to both product owners looking for joint venture partners, and to those also trying to decide which products they will promote.
Here are some of the questions that I consciously ask myself:
1) What does it do, and is this something that my subscribers both need and already want? If they want it but I don't feel that they need it, then offering it to them may cause an ethical dilemma. I don't compromise my ethics! If they don't want it, and aren't already looking for it, then making sales can also be an uphill climb.
If it's too difficult to explain what it does, then the sales process will have to be protracted. If it's just "the next shiny thing," then telling my subscribers about it is probably more of a distraction than a service.
2) Does it really work if my customers will just use it? A skilled copywriter can make burnt toast soaked in hemlock sound appealing! What value does the product actually add to the stream of life?
3) Do I know the product owner and feel that they are reputable and someone I want to trust with customers whom I care about and nurture? I work very hard at building a relationship with my customers and trying to actually help those willing to be helped. I won't do anything to un-do years of hard work.
4) Has the product owner ever promoted one of my products and how much effort did they put into it. Many people have been trained to point out that they are a subscriber or customer in a joint venture proposal. My question then becomes did you become a subscriber, or buy my $5 product, just so that you could stick that in your joint venture proposal. Did you register as an affiliate, and then promote no harder than making one blog post... which barely generated 10 clicks?
5) Are they a member of The Internet Marketing Inner Circle, my membership site, where they are both exposed to the culture of my online operations, and I get to interact with them... and get a feel for them and their business accumen and standards?
This my mastermind where we discuss many complex issues related to marketing, and running an online business. If you are a member, then you will have been exposed to many important concepts necessary for success, and that puts you ahead of many of your competitors.
6) Does this compete directly with one of my own products or projects, or one of my clients' products or projects? As a business owner, it's generally foolish to sell a direct competitor's product instead of my own... though not always. I also feel an obligation to promote my clients products before promoting those of someone that I don't have a relationship with.
7) Is it appropriately priced for the value that it delivers? After testing/using/studying the product, do I honestly feel that it's worth the price being charged? Will it deliver many time that much value to my customers who actually use the product?
8) How good is their customer service? How do they provide customer service? Will my customers who have problems be able to easily reach someone? Do they have a helpdesk so that there is an easy way around email deliverability issues? Do they have an easy to find phone number and mailing address? Is it clear WHO owns the business?
9) When is it being released, and how will the release or launch be handled? Is there sufficient lead time to sequence it into my calendar without interferring with one of my own or one of my clients' projects? Will the tools that I prefer to use have time to work, or am I forced to only mail for a 2-3 day period after which the product is no long available? How much hype will surround the launch, and what long-term impact will this have on my customers?
10) Will there be long-term demand for this product, or will the market forget that it even exists in a week? Can I use tools that will deliver a steady stream of orders over the long-term, or is this a product that there might be alot of short-term demand for but that customers will likely set aside in favor of "the next shiny object" next week?
11) One year from now, will my customers be happy that I introduced them to this product? Is this something that is easy enough to use, and that they can easily sequence into their business processes/systems in a way that they will still be benefitting from the product a year from now?
12) Would I buy the product if I fit the profile of "the ideal customer?" Knowing the product as well as I do, after thoroughly studying it, would I buy it if I didn't already own it, IF I were the target customer that it was designed for?
13) If I did a previous promotion for them, did the product owner pay commissions promptly? Running my own business, where I pay numerous professionals for their expertise in a timely fashion, I prefer spending funds recently paid to me over tapping into capital that I've already invested/employed in other places.
Late payments combined with a lack of communication WILL result in my refusing to ever do future promotions for a given company or individual. If they mistreat a business partner then they will likely mistreat my customers.
14) Am I really satisfied with all of the answers I gave myself to all of the questions above. Am I being totally honest with MYSELF, and am I... by promoting this product, living up to the standards that I set for myself?
If I can answer yes, to all of the above questions, then I will consider promoting a product. If not, then I should politely decline promoting that product, pointing out why if asked.