USE SOFT / HARD SELLING TO INFLUENCE ONLINE USERS
Online affiliate marketing in its core is about selling a product or a service to a user online. In terms of different marketing strategies, a lot of publishers choose to promote products via content marketing – this can be a blog article, email direct marketing, social media posts, etc. Anything that involves written words is considered content marketing.
Influencing online users to make a purchase can be a tricky task, which is why affiliates employ different content strategies to influence the online users to make a purchase, and subsequently to make affiliate commissions.
To offer something to the potential buyers, affiliate marketers tend to use the soft/hard selling approach. We will look into both content strategies.
Soft Selling is a promotional technique that is done ‘smoothly’ in other words marketing techniquesthat are not delivered with direct promotional methods. The purpose of soft selling is to establish a comfortable relationship with consumers that is directed towards sales. There should not be any pressure towards a purchase from the affiliate and the ‘sales pitch’ should happen organically.
The best affiliates that have mastered soft selling, extremely rarely offer products directly and openly. How can you implement soft selling into your affiliate marketing strategy?
- Make useful posts. Insert stories about affiliate products in the article. You can start by describing some issue that you had, and how you managed to overcome it. Many people find it useful to know how to get rid of a problem, so by helping them you will have a good chance of converion. By organically including the affiliate links in your stories, you will be able to increase your traffic and potentially conversion rates. In addition, and promotions and discounts associated with the affiliate products can also be inserted at the end of the writing.
- Show brand identity (e.g logos, web addresses, etc.) in your content. Suppose you share images/infographics in a Facebook group, so make sure your web address/brand identity of the product is in the picture. Brand recognition can act a big role in your scenario if the company is famous enough. Try mixing actual website links with your affiliate links in the content.
- Ask opinions about products. This can help you to get more reactions from people when you discuss a specific brand in the group – do not forget to ask about the products in your posts to make them look more organic and less ‘selling’. While people will be discussing the products – they will be clicking on your affiliate links as well!
- Use stories. In the Contagious book: “The Secrets Behind Products and Popular Ideas”, it is mentioned that stories are one of the “powerful weapons” to create viral marketing. The story easily spreads from one person to the other. Well, you can also use stories for soft selling. When you are interacting with friends on Facebook, you slip some affiliate links in. Seize the moment and join in on conversations and share your success story, when the occasion arises.
Hard Selling is a promotional technique that is carried out directly without approach and to the point, the term hits are ‘take it or leave it’ or ‘buy or don’t buy’.
Can you do hard selling? Of course, you can. There are even times when hard selling is more necessary than soft selling. Hard selling is often used in affiliate marketing talking about promotions, sales, discounts for products. Because there is hardly ever other ways around that – the promos are usually short, so you need to make sure you maximize your conversion rates before the discounts are over.
The result is usually good, people keep buying. As long as affiliate marketers do hard selling in an appropriate manner, people will understand. The essence of hard selling is informing the customer that he needs to buy something. Selling is not a lowly job, selling is actually an activity to help others. Affiliates marketers do it by connecting the businesses with the consumers that would otherwise not cross paths.