This case study is all about WordPress Affiliate Pages.
What do you think was the first thing I did?…
Okay, I won’t tease, let’s go through the steps.
#1 – I have mailing lists and blog readers. So the first thing I did was to let them (you) know I had something new for WordPress, and what it was. Doing this gets an interest sparked.
#2 – I wrote a few notes of things I needed to do. I have a crib sheet in my head and it was just a matter of ticking it all off mentally. (I really should write it down.) I made notes of the key words I wanted to target.
#3 – I used the Google keyword search tool to find likely names for the product and web site. I wanted a name that was at least already getting a little bit of search for it. Then I looked for free domain names until I found one for a name that was getting search, and was free.
I found that WordPress Affiliate Pages was free, but I compromised and registered WPAffiliatePages.com instead. I didn’t want to use the name WordPress and then later find I had to close it down. Call me a chicken if you like, but I think this is a sensible thing to do.
#4 – I spent two hours writing the sales page copy. I prefer to do this in a plain text editor so I don’t have to think about formatting etc and can just concentrate on the words. I’m writing this blog post in a plain text editor right now. A few hours later I read it back to myself and changed about a third of it and added some new content. I find waiting a bit before doing this works best for me.
#5 – I looked through my PLR graphics and templates that I’ve amassed and found a sales page template I liked the look of. I edited the header in Photoshop and uploaded it to the site with my sales copy to take a look at it in place.
#6 – I deleted the page and installed WordPress. I turned off “pinging” as I didn’t want the world to know about the site just yet. Then I re-created the sales page within WordPress using the WP Affiliate Pages method.
#7 – I set up the customer mailing list and added a couple of autoresponder messages to the queue and tested it out. I made a mistake and used the wrong domain for the email address, as someone later pointed out to me. I’d used “WordPress” in the domain name instead of “WP”, D’oh!
#8 – I edited the sales copy in Dreamweaver and applied formatting and styling, plus a few images. I added new box outs and moved the bullet points nearer to the top of the page. I applied a style to the bullet points which applied some pretty ticks and crosses. (The funny thing is, I got these from a competing product I’d purchased but wasn’t impressed with.)
#9 – I spent an hour re-writing the headline. This is the most important part of the sales copy. I’m not happy with it and I’ll do some split testing to make it better. I wrote the PSs for the end fairly quickly and I knew I’d have to engage my brain to come up with something better. Later.
The PSs are the second most important part of your sales copy as people will often read the headline, then jump to the bottom to read the summary in the PSs.
This is your only chance to get people intersted enough in your offer to get them to read at least the beginning of your sales copy. Your opening paragraphs should be designed to draw the reader in so that they read the next bit. And the next bit. And the next bit. Eventually they’ll skip down, so it’s usually a good idea to get some bullet points in fairly early as people look for those.
#10 – I went through the copy and made sure to change the words to reflect the keywords I wanted the page to rank well for. So if I’d used “sales pages”, then I changed *some* of them to “WordPress sales pages”. It’s important not to overdo things and make your copy appear as natural as possible.
#11 – Satisfied that the hard work had been done, I relaxed and started to think about the product.
Now I know that might come as a surprise to some reading this, but the product is usually the easiest thing to do. I find that writing the sales copy often defines the product in my head so that I have a better understanding of what it is I want.
But the biggest reason for writing the sales copy first is that in my experience there’s nothing worse than creating a product and then facing the daunting task of writing the sales copy afterwards. So I always write the sales copy first.
Then when the product is done, you’re nearly ready to go.
#12 – I installed SmartDD and the Nickel Script and added a couple of dummy files so that I could create them in both scripts. I configured everything to test it all worked. I created the download pages for both scripts and did a couple of test purchases. Everything worked. Good.
At that point, to my delight I found that the affiliate part of SmartDD works just fine with this method, and I added the sales helper code and order button form code to the SmartDD version of the sales copy. Things were really cooking.
#13 – I added a list of videos I wanted to make to my notes.
#14 – I wrote the PDF that accompanies the videos. It wasn’t complete, but it was good enough to start the nickel sale. I’ll work on it and make it bigger and better with screen shots later.
#15 – I made the videos. It took about two hours to record and edit them, and a further hour to produce and upload them into a directory.
#16 – I created the videos page using the sales page template and password protected them. Pretty much done.
#17 – I decided to put the nickel sale back by 26 hours to give myself a breather and because the bonus WordPress themes weren’t complete. I sent an email out to let everyone know. This helps build the anticipation.
Just a matter of waiting now.
#18 – I checked everything out and spotted a couple of glitches. Of course I didn’t catch everything…
#19 – I spent an hour just before making the nickel sale live writing and re-writing the PSs. I’ll apply some split testing when the real site goes live. I sent an email out to everyone to let them know we were nearly there. I wrote a blog post on this site and got ready to publish it.
#20 – The broadcast email I’d set up went out and I made the blog post live at the same time.
All done. The nickel sale was live.
Another couple of problems came up with the videos.
Firstly, when I produced them suitable for the web sites (.swf files), somehow they were set to not play until 50% had downloaded. I realised today how that happened as normally the time is set to 10% and they start playing almost immediately. It was because I’d re-installed Camtasia on a new machine and it was using the default setttings. Annoying but easy to fix as you can just open the .xml file in a text editor and change that value from 50 to 10.
Secondly, the third and MOST IMPORTANT video – how WPAP works – became corrupted when I uploaded it. I’d checked all the videos through and it was fine when I tested it, so I’m still not sure what happened there. It took 15 minutes to upload a fresh copy and all was well. I sent an email out to everyone who’d signed up to the WPAP customer list apologising and to let them know to try again.
#21 – A day after the sale started. The WordPress themes were done and I uploaded them to the download pages. I worked on the PDF adding in detail about the “must have” plugins I use, plus some optional others I use on some of my blogs.
I sent out an email letting customers know the WordPress themes had been uploaded and asked for some testimonials which started to appear on the blog. Thank you!
#22 – I updated the sales page with the first of the testimonials.
#23 – I created and tested the affiliate process. Set up affiliate autoresponder. Created affiliate sign up page. Added a link to affiliate page at bottom of sales page.
#24 – I created a simple affiliate page and then announced the affiliate program.
#25 – I created an animated 125×125 GIF for affiliates to use.
#26 – To do – search through my PLR library and find some decent looking sales page templates and edit them for general use.
#27 – To do – add more videos. Lots of ideas on this to make WP Affiliate Pages a bigger product. This will make all the nickel sale purchasers VERY happy as they’ve purchased at a low price to begin with.
#28 – To do – Create a short video showing the pages in action on a WP blog and upload it to YouTube. Then embed the YouTube version into the sales page.
#29 – To do – Take some screenshots to add to the sales page.
#30 – To do – Update the promo tools page. Some more static and animated banner graphics to be created. The promo tools page will enable affiliates to enter their PayPal email address and then create copy and paste code for their emails and web sites with their affiliate link embedded. Maybe do a video showing people how to embed banner code into their blogs using text widgets.
#31 – To do – The real biggy. Promote. Find JV partners and encourage affiliates. It should grow legs and run on its own as the affiliate scheme pays 100% commissions, ie it has a strong viral component. The benefit to me is I build a new list interested in WordPress and blogging. I intend to release further WordPress based products and one is already out in the form of AutoBlog Plugin and AutoBlogging 101 which I’ve been able to promote to this new list directly, and I’ve even run another nickel sale for Autoblog Plugin (still a lot of work to do).
And there you have it. Not everything is perfect. So what? Sales are coming in and the word is spreading.
It’s a new product in my collection and is another source of traffic to my marketing funnel.
A key principle for me in all this is I used the 80-20 rule and did things to the point of them being “good enough”. I used to agonise over getting everything “just right”, but I’ve learned that it’s far more important to get it done and out there than make everything perfect from day 1.
Q. Do you apply the 80-20 rules to your business or do you prefer to get everything just right? What do you think?