Selling Products Online Doesn’t Have To Feel Dirty – Guest Post

by Ryan

Many experts in the “make money online” or passive income arena give you ideas along the lines of choosing a product from ClickBank, selling your own product, or joining an affiliate program yourself. So why is it that when I turn to ClickBank or selling another product online, do I feel “dirty”, like a salesman selling a broken product or a shrewd car salesman over selling a used car?

If you’re anything like me, when you think of a traditional sales page, you think of blinking text, a cheesy video with a “classy” woman talking about the product, red arrows, original price crossed in red, a bag of money and bling-bling items surrounding the author who is typically positioned in front of their laptop or a beach somewhere. I’m sure I can be proven wrong with numbers, after all, I’m only a novice, but I simply can’t resort to this. I cringe looking at such sales pages. I feel dirty.

Don’t get me wrong: I want that pot of gold, the bag of $100 bills and bling-bling all over too. However, is this really the way to go for it? For a lot of people, including me, this doesn’t sit well. I have parents, siblings, niece and nephew to answer to. I want to be proud of how I earn my money, not lower my eyelids and swallow the guilt.

But The Experts Said That Works!

With all the “experts” telling us that not only do these strategies work but that they also earn incredible income every month, what is someone like me to do? Can’t it be simply that only gullible enough people will become their clients with these types of sales sites? Someone like us would recognize the typical sales page with the webmaster/seller trying way too hard to sucker you in. This is the problem with most of product sellers that join ClickBank or other similar sites.

Things don’t have to be like this. Your pre-sale page or sales page (depending on what you’re doing), can be a stunning example of a classy, clean web 2.0 web page. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be all that but please follow the basic guidelines of not using blinking text, screaming colours, and fake testimonials with fake pictures if you want genuine clients.

It doesn’t do us any good to recognize the problem but not to suggest any solutions. So what can we do? Well that’s simple: evolve!

You Still Don’t Get it, So Imagine This…

For a moment, pretend that you’re hanging out with your family and friends. You have a set of books you need to sell. You’re all getting caught up with each other and you happen to start discussing the latest book you’ve been reading. You tell your friend what an incredible book it is and why you love it so much. Seeing that she is not convinced, you bring her the book and a few others and let her read a couple of pages. Now her curiosity has peaked and she is definitely interested. She can’t wait to visit the bookstore to buy the book. The clever salesman that you are, you negotiate a price and sell her your second hand book and maybe let her peruse through a couple others. You both win: your friend bought books at a discounted rate and you got rid of your books.

A similar scenario can be cooked up relating any product including what you’re offering online through your own sales page.

Let’s imagine another scenario. You’re hanging out with family and friends again. There’s only one thing on your mind: to sell off a set of books. In fact, you’re aware that you need to sell these books and so you do the one thing that you shouldn’t do: announce it to your family and friends over and over again through-out the night. Not only that but when someone asks you to take a look at your books, you refuse. As a result, your family and friends don’t know much about the books, they didn’t get to “sample” any of them to see if they liked them. You lost.

Would you be more likely to buy pots and pans from someone who lets you see the box or someone else who serves you a nice, tasty omelet sample from the same set of pots and pans? Seeing is believing, my friends!

Serve Them Omelet, Stupid!

No, you can’t serve omelets through the monitor but you can take pictures and create videos to show how the product works and how useful it has been for you.

Why not try honesty? Why not establish trust with the reader by showing them, “Hey! I’ve actually used this product. Take a look at these pictures, how it works. If you like, click here to read more.”

Not to mention the “tactics” to use to drive traffic to your (pre) sales page. “Luring” people also makes me feel dirty. Despite what it seems, bringing in herds of people to your page won’t translate into cash. What good is luring someone over who hates designer clothes when that’s all you offer on your site? More than likely, they’ll feel conned, roll their eyes, become a less trusting internet user, and click ‘x’ to leave you in the dust.

The Only Way Is The Honest Way

Be honest not only on your sales page but also when driving traffic to your sales site. I’d rather bring in 20 focused readers (*ahem* potential clients) than 2000 visitors in a month. The goal isn’t to boast “I have more people visiting my site, your site sucks loser!” If that is what you do, go take another look at your Paypal account. I hear crickets chirping.

With honest advertising and marketing, you might only bring in very few visitors, but at least they’ll be visitors interested in your affiliate/product, translating in sales.

I won’t be able to gloat about how many visitors I have visiting my site but I sure love money coming into my account. Oh and I don’t miss feeling dirty!

Moon Hussain runs Experiments In Passive Income where she discusses the steps to setting up online income sources. She’s in the process of establishing passive income streams so she can travel, not worry about a 9-5 job and live life on her own terms.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel Johnston March 26, 2010 at 2:15 am

That’s the way the successful people do it; they give you tips, and then review products that they use, and earn a commission if you buy them. Too many people just don’t get that they have to persuade the people to buy the product, and that they will most likely buy it if you are honest and you have credibility.

Most people selling products haven’t even used them. That’s definitely not a good strategy for obvious reasons.

There are many good products on the market to review and sell; why not use those?

Common sense for me, but based on the types of sites I’m seeing, certainly a lot of people needed to hear it.

scottbarrononline March 26, 2010 at 10:05 am

Now that I’ve learned a little about Google AdSense, I enjoy viewing them on other websites. I look to see if the ads match the website. While on a Vegan website I saw a Google ad representing a meat product. That was a red flag, should we sell something that is against our beliefs?

However, does anyone want to work for free?
.-= scottbarrononline´s last blog ..ONE campaign =-.

Mesothelioma Symptoms March 26, 2010 at 5:49 am

I’m glad to have someone speak on this. Firstly IMHO clickbank is a ripoff with low quality vendors. I used them for my other website and the selection was not good. Those million miles long sales pages are “dirty” feeling and I don’t think they work unless you have hundreds of thousands of folks that get duped into landing on that sales page. I read where the guy “webnamed” Joelcomm said that these pages actually do work, but he gets RIDICULOUS amounts of traffic. He is one of my mentors from afar and he gives alot of great info away for free so don’t take this as a bash, but I don’t like them and refuse to use them. This article is right on point, if you make a clean, concise and honest sales convo about a product you either use or truly believe in, I believe you will feel better about your tactics, annoy people less and ultimately enjoy more success.

Dave
.-= Mesothelioma Symptoms´s last blog ..Respirator Masks Can Save Lives Of Workers In Asbestos Exposure Environments =-.

Justin Matthews March 26, 2010 at 7:52 am

There are some great tips here. I know that I feel weird every time I try to set up a sales page or affiliate link. I only have 1 product of my own right now and it is kind of wierd to be selling to my internet friends that I could just give it away too. Still this is a business to make money…
Thanks for the ideas about my future selling
.-= Justin Matthews´s last blog ..My Blog Is Calling And I Must Go! =-.

Beating Broke March 26, 2010 at 8:15 am

That’s something I’ve struggled with before. It always seems like the seedy/shady guys are always making all the money, so it’s hard to not follow along. Fortunately, I’ve always been able to keep myself under control and do things the right way. Call it whatever you like, but “what goes around comes around.”
.-= Beating Broke´s last blog ..Health Care Reform Details Graphic =-.

Kristine March 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

Great article! I love how you described about offering a sample reading before purchasing the book. I completely agree about giving value before receiving dollars in return. That’s a great foundational principle to follow!
.-= Kristine´s last blog ..Lost Opportunity Cost – The Wealth Killer =-.

goblas March 26, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Excellent post. Great article!

The Simple Machine March 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I love the idea of honest selling. However, I personally find it hard to sell to a friend or family.

From experience selling to family does not work in most situations. As I read the article it reminded me of the slapchop guy! That product does 20% of what is advertise and there is nothing I have found that it can cut with one finger, lol.
.-= The Simple Machine´s last blog ..I am finally the richest… =-.

Experimently March 26, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Perhaps part of the issue is that you start out with the intent of making money? Why not do something with the intent of doing it better than someone else, and not to make money? It surely blocks creativity as you are too afraid of making choices that could damage your work in some way.

I’d say sell whatever you want if morals are of less importance, just remember that the internet never forgets :)
.-= Experimently´s last blog ..The Fire to #Inspire =-.

Noah Rainey March 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

I personally never feel dirty if I being a affiliate to someone online. I’m actually excited.
.-= Noah Rainey´s last blog ..Using Mochi Media’s Content – Not Such a Good Idea =-.

scottbarrononline March 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I disagree about selling something we use. Sales is no different online versus in person (except the anonymity). Many of the sales people we encounter in stores haven’t used the products they are selling either. I believe this is becoming more the norm for 2 reasons. First, sales people are rarely given the product free making it easier to acquire. Second, anyone can be a sales person now – actually, we’re sales people and don’t know it.

At Mc Donald’s, the employees have to up-sell. Same at a car dealership. Same at a cellular phone company or bank. No longer is it a standard practice for sales people at car dealerships to drive dealership demos, so what opinion do they really have?

How many personal morals do we break in order to keep our jobs or make money for our families? It may not be right, but no charity is going to pay my bills. I’ve worked at a bank & cellular phone company, there were immoral parts to each job & company. Some people would quit a job versus selling a credit card or phone, but there aren’t that many jobs that are guilt and moral free.
.-= scottbarrononline´s last blog ..The Secret to You =-.

Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey March 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

The best way through affiliate marketing is the honest way. And that’s by offering a product that you’ve tested and can vouch that it has benefited you in some way.

I agree with you, their is a layer of guilt that comes from selling a product that you’ve never tested. I believe I heard Lisa Irby from 2CreateAWebsite.com say that it’s easy for anyone to whip up an eBook and put on clickbook and sell it for 20 or 30 dollars. It can be an eBook of no value or substance. Who is not to say that you’re offering a product/eBook on your page that somebody just whipped up overnight and had not put much thought.

Something about that keeps me awake at night knowing that I’m offering products to people that I’ve never evaluated. Something about that devalues my personal integrity. So I totally agree with everything you’re saying here.

Great post,
.-= Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey´s last blog ..It’s Okay =-.

Noah Rainey April 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Personally affiliate marketing is the way to go. You can make so much money in a short amount of time.
.-= Noah Rainey´s last blog ..Earn Money Online =-.

Azad April 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Nice post Moon,
Nice to see that you had started building your followers. Count me in.

Thanks for this nice article.

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