When it comes to sales lenses, I’m a newbie. I’ve been writing on whatever the heck I feel competent and compelled to write about, going with content first and the odd Amazon Spotlight as a complement to my lens.
It should be possible to modify that approach to include reviews of things I genuinely use, know, and recommend. I’ve done it on a few lenses. I’ve got one that has made sales almost every month for years. Not in huge volume compared to our more seasoned affiliate marketers, but consistently enough to call a success.
So why does this lens work, and how can I apply its lessons to other lenses?
Review: My Favorite Airline-Approved Cat Carrier was originally just an Amazon Spotlight on my How to Take Pets on a Plane informational lens. I divided the review off from the travel tips lens which had become too long. The division helped each lens narrow its focus, which is generally good, and created two traffic “fish hooks” in place of one, passing traffic and link juice between them.
Ironically, dividing them produced a lens that doesn’t get as much traffic. The pet travel tips lens had ~80 visitors last week (more before the holiday). The pet carrier review lens drew only 30 visitors, so it’s solidly third tier. But I don’t care, because it gets more conversions. The few people who come to it are more likely to buy from it. Traffic volume isn’t the most important thing in a sales lens. It’s conversions.
All of which is obvious to the most novice affiliate marketer, of course!
So how did I build that lens?
SEO: First, I knew it would be successful, because I used data from the old lens’ traffic stats to see what people were looking for and clicking on. I combined that with basic keyword research (wordtracker, Google keywords tool, allintitle searches, etc) to see which related searches had some traffic and not too much competition. I used it in the lens title, a few module headers, at least one link, and image filenames / altnames.
TITLE, INTRO, the “TEASER”:
- As usual, I made sure the lens title and opening sentence of the introduction grabbed readers’ attention and made it clear what the lens was about, since that’s what shows up on Google and other search engines, and it’s the one chance to attract visitors to click on it as opposed to other search results.
- The lens title shows exactly what product is being reviewed, and makes it clear it’s a personal review by someone who knows the product.
- The lens copy is written from the cat’s POV, which catches people’s attention. Purple Cow Syndrome helps it stand out from other search results.
- It’s funny, and it appeals to the tastes of cat owners, the exact customers/visitors I’m looking for.
- The review gives personal, experienced-based, specific reasons why this is my favorite product, of all similar products.
- It includes my own photos.
- I’ve got enough details and information that the visitor can see all they need to know about the product. I don’t waste time with useless stuff like color, but functional stuff like dimensions and whether it can be squished to fit under tight seats.
- Plexo with comparable and well-rated products, so that reader can do some easy comparison shopping (giving lens more clickout opportunities).
- It includes photos of my cat IN the carrier, and my hand (something a pet owner can identify with) petting the cat in the carrier.
- It’s clearly not professional photos, but genuine.
- I invite readers to suggest alternative carriers, and have included one of my guestbook’s recommendations. This shows I’m not being paid by the company who’s product I’m reviewing, and again, I’m just trying to solve their problem: find a good pet carrier.
- The featured pet travel tips lens establishes that I’ve got pet travel experience and I’m not just BSing.
- The inevitable tribute-to-my-cat lens is another thin visitors to my lens can identify with.
DESIGN / ORGANIZATION / READABILITY:
- Minimal CSS to add a touch of elegance without getting in the way.
- Pictures for visual interest, breaking up content into logical chunks.
- Basics and first things first for the quick shopper: an overview and a chance to purchase, followed by more in-depth info.
- I stayed fixed on-topic, using lens title as a guide: readers came to my site to learn about a good airline pet carrier, so I don’t waste their time on anytihng else.
- It’s got a lot more useful and personal information than most reviews. But it’s still not very long. It’s organized so they can get the info they need and get out.
- It’s funny, and it’s got LOLcat style cat pictures on it, keeping readers engaged with style/visuals/humor. So: