We, affiliates, sometimes go a little overboard.

We forget that sometimes the simplest of techniques yield the easiest rewards – we just don’t seem to do them because we’re distracted by others with bells and whistles.

The focus for this week has been on these techniques for easy affiliate earnings.

Monday, I covered the practice of doing local meet ups to educate and promote offers to small groups and today I want to take a look at creating buyer’s guides which, in my experience, have been one of the best, easiest ways to earn from your affiliate website (and it takes less than a day to put together).

The Scenario

Q: What do people direly need when they’re shopping for a product?

A: A shopper’s guide.

A shopper’s guide is so valuable because:

  • It gives new comer’s a quick overview of what they may need
  • It gives veterans, of the niche, something new if they’ve been out of the loop
  • It gives outsiders the ability to find gifts for their friends, family members, and coworkers

Consider what happens when you’re getting a go in a niche. You want to understand what products and services are out there – in one go – rather than having to read through endless amounts of reviews and guides before finding the right one. A shopper’s guide provides that short cut.

Here’s the scenario:

John is in the weight loss niche. More specifically he has taken a focus on weight loss with video games. He is an avid gamer and is well aware of the available games on the market. He also puts his health in high priority so the combination of the two allows him to not only cover the video games but other elements of weight loss like diet and traditional exercise methods (including the equipment).

On his website he shares a free download entitled ‘The Video Game Weight Loss Guide’. In this guide are detailed reviews for each of the major titles offered on various systems. John has also included a handful of case studies conducted by his own research playing these games. The guide also includes suggestions for additional dieting resources such as books and meal plans. There are also sections for additional exercise equipment such as free weights, elastic bands, steps, and workout clothes.

Since the guide was release for free it begins to pick up traction on various blogs and websites dedicated to weight loss and those covering video games. John earns commissions when users click through the embedded links within the downloadable ebook. In time he continues with its success by releasing a series of videos for premium members and also entrains the idea of creating a membership area based around the niche.

The reason this type of easy affiliate method works stems from the fact that not many website owners and marketers take the time to put together these guides. Being a front runner in the niche, due to this item, helps build authority and increases the chances of continual link building from bloggers and site owners.

As the scenario noted – there are tons of additional opportunities buried in the work once you have it completed and see it gain some reception. You can easily turn them into videos, podcasts, membership areas, and so much more.

The Takeaway

Here’s the thing: if you can write reviews you’re already half way there.

A shopper’s guide is one part reviews and one part awareness. You’ll be hard pressed to review every single product/service in your niche so it’s best to focus on the main, popular ones, for now. The others can come into play using one of the strategies, below.

Here’s how you can do it:

1. Do your research and search ‘[your niche] + shopping guide’ to see if any competitor has already put out one of these guides. Download them, if they’re available, and see how they present the work – from the design of the layout to the items it covers.

2. Brush up on your education on creating an ebook. Decide which program to use whether it’s going to be Microsoft Word or taking a stab at using Adobe InDesign. Take a look to see if there are ebook templates available on marketplaces like GraphicRiver.

3. Take the time to compile a list of all the major products and services in your niche. Begin with a top-down approach by reviewing the popular items, first, and then making your way to the lesser known items which you can use other’s reviews in place of your own (such as using a screenshot from Amazon and linking that image to the actual review).

4. Choose two or three of the products to create a case study for the work. These case studies do not need to be long but are great for peppering in affiliate links for the product and its alternatives. It also gives the work a story element to help engage the readers.

5. Work with a designer to create an attractive cover for the work then get it published. Upload the file to your website and, again, work with a designer to create attractive banners with strong call-to-actions for people to download the work. Share this work on your social feeds, in our email byline, and directly with others. Create a landing page for this work, too, and use it as a destination when writing guest posts for link building.

This piece of work can come together in a single day if you’re dedicated enough.

Once it’s been created you can sit back and watch as the commissions come in. Every year, however, you should do an update on the pricing and new products to keep things relevant – it also gives you an opportunity to build buzz around this new launch of the work.

All-in-all a shopper’s guide is one of the easiest forms of affiliate marketing. Make this one of your priorities in 2014.