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

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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.

Daniel Johnston
Guest
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… Read more »
Daniel Johnston
Guest
Your attitude is one that a lot of people have, but can certainly hold you back. In my opinion, the “right” way to think is that you’ve worked hard to get sales, and naturally, you should be paid for them; people don’t work for free. But if you’re really uncomfortable with making money online and you just can’t shake the feeling, then perhaps owning a business isn’t for you. And that mentality doesn’t make sense: You (most likely) have a job. While you could in theory work for free (as a full time volunteer), of course you don’t; you get… Read more »
scottbarrononline
Guest

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
Guest
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… Read more »
Daniel Johnston
Guest
That’s a big problem with AdSense ads; they’re often not reflective of the website, and may even go completely against the beliefs, as in your example. That’s why many people heave decided to not use AdSense and instead either put affiliate banners of sell the ad space. You can make just as much money if you use the epcm (earnings per 1000 page views). And actually I would do this website stuff for free, because it’s more like play to work than me; I throughly enjoy it. But given that you can make money from it, it would be silly… Read more »
Daniel Johnston
Guest

Some people think they can just create a two-page website, not give any value, put up some ads and some affiliate links, and they’ll be all set. They don’t realize people won’t buy something that you recommend if you don’t have credibility, and the only way to get that credibility is by giving out valuable content, and then people will buy from you because they trust you.

ProBlogger had a post on this today: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2010/03/27/instant-blogging-karma-lennon-was-right/

The Simple Machine
Guest

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… =-.

Justin Matthews
Guest

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! =-.

Daniel Johnston
Guest

I definitely agree; it’s pretty uncomfortable to sell to people who you are friends or family with. It certainly cuts between the relationship.

Before, I sometimes sold my products to my family and friends. But once, someone was unhappy with my product and got pretty mad. I fixed it by giving them their money back, but it was not something I’d want to have happen again, so I haven’t sold to family or friends since.

I was actually thinking of buying the Slap Chop (it looks so cool)! Do you own it? Is it really that bad?

Beating Broke
Guest

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 =-.

Experimently
Guest

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 =-.

Daniel Johnston
Guest
Definitely starting out with the intent of making money is just not enough. There has to be something else motivating you, or else you won’t have a direction, a focus, and if you don’t care about the topic, obviously you won’t know anything about it and people won’t listen to you. If you have the main goal to be the goto site for sixty year old women who want to learn to play golf, for example. I’m not quite sure what you mean about blocking creativity, could you please explain that? Selling whatever you want, is, in my opinion, maybe… Read more »
Kristine
Guest

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
Guest

Excellent post. Great article!

Daniel Johnston
Guest
Clickbank is definitely a problem in that way. Because anyone can just write a low quality book and sell it for a high price. Of course, you would have to read the book in order to sell it, and they’re pretty expensive. Luckily, Clickbank has a free, money-back guarantee that their vendors are not allowed to break, so buying some Clickbank books that look especially good, returning the ones that aren’t any good, and then reviewing on your site books that you recommend may be a good strategy. Selling books on Clickbank usually works only if you have a large… Read more »
Daniel Johnston
Guest
CopyBlogger wrote a post about this and creating a third tribe to stay ahead of the internet marketers and the seedy/shady guys: http://www.copyblogger.com/two-tribes/ and it grew into this: http://thirdtribemarketing.com/ Actually, most of the shady guys are broke, because most people won’t buy from someone who doesn’t have credibility. There are numerous exceptions, definitely, but I personally on the web have found a lot more useful people than shady people, because shady people get bad Google rankings, and people rarely link to them. If you produce good quality articles and market your site so people can visit it, then you will… Read more »
Moon Hussain
Guest

Hey Daniel, I’m glad this is common sense for you because it’s something that beginners (including me) get stuck with. Especially when it comes to sales pages that are shady looking. Click on the ‘x’ and suddenly you’re offered half off the price. WTH.

I recently found a product I’m legitimately happy with so I’ll be setting up a website for that.

Thanks for sharing your opinion!
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Moon Hussain
Guest

Daniel’s right about ClickBank. But despite CB’s moneyback guarantee, the products usually have shady sales pages and I think people like us would turn away from that.

I certainly don’t want to “dupe” or “lure” a customer into buying something. Why not review a product that you like, give it your honest opinion?

I had to create this post after visiting CB and trying to pick a product. Thanks for reading, MS.
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Moon Hussain
Guest

Justin,

If you were selling in real life, you would be charging. So why do we not feel the same way when we are doing it online? I’m starting to overcome this feeling.

Try to put things into perspective 😉
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Moon Hussain
Guest

Hi Beating Broke,

That’s the tough part for me. I have to wade through all the seedy stuff and figure out my own path, hence my blog 😉

I believe in karma, “what goes around comes around”, so I know where you’re coming from.
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Moon Hussain
Guest

Hi Scott,

It’s funny how we start noticing things once we learn about them. I haven’t dabbled too much with Google Adsense (in fact, just started yesterday). That’s something interesting you noticed.

That’s somewhat of a red flag and would look contradictory to readers of a vegan blog. Was Adsense displaying any relative ads?
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Moon Hussain
Guest

Kristine,

Thanks! I think if you give the readers a sneak peek, then if the product is what they wanted anyway, you’ve now got their mouth watering.

No harm done that way 😉 Only trust gained.
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Moon Hussain
Guest

Slapchop really sucks. Tried and tested 😉 If your family or friends came across your affiliate/prod site and didn’t know your identity, they’d buy right?

I think in general everyone has a hard time selling to their family and friends, but that’s a very limited number of people. Think of how many people you don’t know that you can sell your products to! Esp. on the internet.
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Moon Hussain
Guest

Experimently,

Perhaps you are right. For me, it’s no lie: I want to make money through the internet. I do have morals however and would like to watch what I sell.

I really think the key is to sell things you actually use. That way, you can offer screenshots, pictures, whatever and review the product as well.

Thanks for sharing your opinion!
.-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..Are You Embarrassed Of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud? =-.

Noah Rainey
Guest

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
Guest
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… Read more »
Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey
Guest
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… Read more »
Daniel Johnston
Guest

Well, I don’t like sales pages that are shady, but it just doesn’t really bother me because I know if I set up a legitimate review for a great product, after building credibility through giving my readers value, people will trust me and buy products I recommend.

And certainly there’s nothing wrong with selling someone a legitimately good product and getting a commission for your hard work.

Daniel Johnston
Guest

Obviously you would only try the books that don’t have shady sales pages. I don’t go around on Clickbank looking for products; instead I see what people recommend that’s on Clickbank, because there’s so much junk. Even the recommendations are usually junk because the people are being shady, but there are a few good books in the bunch that are worth buying and reviewing, and you can usually tell those from the sales page.

Daniel Johnston
Guest

Yeah, I just don’t understand why people think making money online is dirty. I read your post titled “Are You Embarrassed of Saying “Passive Income” Out Loud?” and I don’t get why people would have trouble with the fact they’re trying to make money online. It’s not like it’s a dishonest or dirty thing to do to make money from AdSense, review good quality products as an affiliate, etc. And obviously if you’re going to work, you’re not going to do it for free.
.-= Daniel Johnston´s last blog ..Thesis 1.7 Beta Release Sneak Preview =-.

Daniel Johnston
Guest
I understand your point and where you’re coming from, but your niche should be something you’re actively involved in. Let’s say golf. Why would you review equipment you don’t use as opposed to equipment you do? Also, if you haven’t used the product, people will be able to tell based on your review. The McDonald’s people in real life get away with it because we know they’re just seller’s and don’t expect them to buy the product. If you buy from there, you buy because they offer good food. But somebody had to tell you that. If you set up… Read more »
Daniel Johnston
Guest
I’ve found that AdSense ads can actually be pretty relevant in some cases. However, if your site doesn’t have a targeted niche or doesn’t have much content, it will just display the highest paying ads. Still I’ve found that although the ads may be targeted towards your niche, they may for something you’re against; this ad was in the food niche, but it was just at a different spectrum. I’ve found all sorts of scams and pyramid schemes come up on my sites. I still use it on some, but on others, I sell the ad space or put affiliate… Read more »
Daniel Johnston
Guest

Definitely. There have been products I’ve really wanted, but before release date, my excitement died down because they didn’t offer anything new.

On the other hand, I’ve gotten more excited right before release date for, a book, for example, because they give a sample chapter and some hints. Very good strategy.

Daniel Johnston
Guest

Thanks for the tip; you just saved me $19.95.

My family and friends would know it’s my site because I have my picture, name, e-mail, and videos of me on the site. However, if they didn’t know it was me, they probably wouldn’t buy the product’s I recommend, because they’re not really interested in my niche.

But as you say, it’s silly to be talking about problem’s selling to family and friend’s because that’s only maybe fifty people at most, and the world has billions and billions of people in it.

Daniel Johnston
Guest

Again, just common sense for me, but obviously people will be able to tell if you haven’t really used the product because your review will be very vague and have no real information about the product. And then they won’t trust you, and if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.

Daniel Johnston
Guest
It sounds like your online business is actually making your life worse if you’re staying up because you’re doing unethical tactics. Reviewing and selling a product you’ve never used just doesn’t make sense; if you are actively involved in your niche (and if you’re not then no one will want to read your site), you can review products that you’ve used, if you actually share your experiences about the product and why you like it, more people will buy, and it’s pretty easy to tell when someone hasn’t used the product, as the sales page is vague and impersonal. Your… Read more »
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Step By Step Guide to Setting Up Your Own Affiliate Site

[…] morals which prevents them from finding and promoting products. I have finally come to terms with how I can make money online without feeling dirty about it. At the very least, tell yourself that you’re only experimenting so you can get over […]

Noah Rainey
Guest

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 =-.

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Becoming Part of the Honest Breed of Internet Marketers

[…] I proudly declare myself an honest businesswoman. You can read more about why selling products online doesn’t have to feel dirty. […]

Azad
Guest

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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