What the Local Supermarket Taught me About Making Money Online

by Alex on November 3, 2010 · 58 comments

how to upsell successfully on your blog -make money online

My wife recently went to the local supermarket to pickup some extra items that we were running low on, and she excitedly came back with all the ingredients required to make (what turned out to be) the most tasty Prawn, Avocado and Mango Salad.

As she entered the house she interrupted my blogging brilliance to show me a pamphlet/recipe for a – you guessed it, Prawn, Avocado and Mango Salad, telling me how she had gone to get some mangoes from the fruit section and had seen this recipe sitting quietly next to them.

Christine (my better half) had then obviously made her way through the supermarket collecting all the required ingredients to make this awesome salad, spending 8 times more money than the mango had initially cost and inadvertently becoming the victim of the subconscious upsell.

Hardly a Victim at all

The only victim here was the poor prawn, because not only did the supermarket manage to sell more product, but we the consumer thoroughly enjoyed the fruits (no pun intended) of their labour. So it got me thinking about my blog, and how I choose to monetize it.

It’s relevant if you tell them it is

The crucial lesson here is relevance and availability, because not only was the upsell highly relevant to the product being purchased, but the products being upsold where also available there too.

Kind of obvious I know, and yet some of us still choose to stick Adsense on our posts!

Upsell – and then kick them out.

Because that is what you are effectively doing by utilising any type of contextual advertising on your site. Think about it. Imagine my wife had gone to the supermarket, but they did not sell Prawns or Avocado. The pamphlet might have said something like ‘try this, but you’ll need to go to another store to get the rest of the ingredients’ What?!?!

Having Contextual ads on your site is effectively a pointless act in this case because you are going to all the effort of providing relevant upsells to them, but you are not the one who can provide those products or services?!

So what should I do different?

Tell them where to go!
I’m not suggesting that you go and create a product/service to cater for every single individual need – that’s just stupid (Actually, its brilliant, nigh impossible – No Brandon Connell, this is NOT another challenge mate) I’m simply suggesting that YOU control where you send them.

Adsense, Kontera, and other contextual based advertising programs are designed to pay you for a click, and therefore you really don’t have any say as to exactly what products you are onselling. Not only does this decrease your potential earnings, it can also reflect badly on you.

Let’s go back to the supermarket

Imagine if the pamphlet had suggested this great meal, and then advised you that the other items were not available in the store. Now, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the Fish shop you do eventually find is of low quality, poor service and is a little bit ‘fishier’ than necessary. You buy the prawns – and it promptly ruins the meal. Now this is not the Supermarkets fault, but you are at home – using a menu branded with the Supermarkets logo, so guess who is going to get the blame for the poor quality meal? You guessed it.

Protect your brand

This is another reason to stay clear of contextual CPC based ads and to stick with affiliate programs. Affiliate programs can be tried and tested first, so even if you can’t provide the ‘prawns’ you at least know they are going to fit nicely with your Mangoes.

  • What’s your take on this analogy?
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KIRK FORNEY September 2, 2011 at 2:43 pm


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