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Payday Loan Blog - What's Your Angle? Don't Dilute It With Garbage Marketing

 Thursday, 18 January 2007

Most affiliates that apply to our program write a line or two in the comments section regarding how they intend to market cash advance offers; sometimes it is just to say something along the lines of "I'll be sending PPC traffic", "I'm a SEO", or the always fun "I bought a list of 57 gazillion e-mail addresses that expired back when Netscape Gold was the premier browser; you will pay me millions, right?"

Some of the comments are pure genius, some are humorous, but some truly are worrisome. I worry because I fear that some new affiliates don't have an angle; this isn't necessarily a lateral thinking issue, though lateral thinking would help to determine an angle. This is a competitive research issue; this is knowing your audience; this is basic business.

For a poorly thought out analogy, let's pretend that instead of marketing loan products an affiliate is a single guy at a bar, looking for a date. What's your angle there? Yes, it is crude, but as you'll see it fits…

Nice Guy? Bad Boy? Rich Guy? Handsome Guy? Nerdy Guy? Each is a persona, a role, either fabricated or based on who we actually are. The nice guy is showing you that he'll respect you (translation: easy to get along with). The bad boy is showing you everything you can't have or in some way don't want (translation: you always want what you can't have and some like a challenge). The rich guy is showing the prospective date all the things he can afford (translation: all the things he could buy for her). The handsome guy is showing that he is without surface flaws (translation: good genes). The nerdy guy…well…I'll have to get back to you on that one.

So, how is any of that different than trying to figure out your audience and then market appropriately to it? As marketers we are trying to present ourselves in such a way that a person feels the "need" to purchase the product/service. By being true to our heavily researched niche, to our angle, we'll have a higher success rate. The guy that tries to be the nerdy handsome nice bad boy is probably going to come off as being fake, and thus not get as many "dates"; the nerdy guy that is trying to get a date from women he believes would rather date a nerdy guy has a chance (theoretically, if my college experience is an indication). The affiliate marketer that is trying to sell a prospect on the "need fast cash?" concept via targeted e-mails has a chance to do well, but if that same e-mail is coming off as one of those "we'll make you prettier, get you quick cash, do your laundry, and occasionally take out the garbage on Monday morning" the marketing message is lost because the signal message of "get you quick cash" is lost in the rest of the noise.

Tying this back into the affiliate application comments we receive; here are some ways that you can find an angle, and stick to it.

PPC Traffic
If you try to target "payday loan" as an affiliate, you may wish to reconsider. The CPC can be outrageous at times, and the very top players are the lenders themselves (i.e. deeper pockets, with a higher allowable CPC break-even point). Instead, let's develop an angle…what's your favorite major city? Let's develop a landing page specific to that city, making it appear local. Now, since you have a niche landing page, you should back-off on the broad PPC, instead choosing to geo-target and bid on city-based phrases such as "[Favorite city] payday cash advance", etc. Once it is running, you can expand your niche by developing the process and replicating it for other cities and other landing pages. Whatever you do though, don't try to market too many products and offers on these landing pages; keep it focused and your wallet will thank you.

Going to try and get to #1 organic search for "cash advance"? I hope you make it, but it is tough…very tough. There are certainly SEOs capable of doing this, but if several hundred SEO firms (yet alone the thousands of affiliates) are gunning for this phrase, what is the likelihood of achieving it? You could just as easily develop one of those niche landing pages with a SEO perspective, turning it into a true city destination. Aggressive local search optimization is the subject for another post, but it does work. If you try to expand outward on that single message to include multiple localities, multiple offers, multiple "needs", then your message gets clouded with an abundance of noise, and your true intent is questioned (in other words, fewer commissions).

We covered this example earlier, but the simple and focused e-mail message of something similar to "overnight cash advance" when sent to a key demographic is going to vastly outperform some of the garbage spam I currently get. One example I received today was a blast for "wholesale flowerpots" - I'm not kidding; this was a WHOIS spam, but boy is that an untargeted group…I delete that stuff, but some people will go out of their way to turn that in, boycott untargeted messaging, etc. Keep it focused on the right message, and the right audience.

Not to be confused with the 800 lb gorilla that we all aspire towards, I've seen some remarkably unfocused guerrilla marketing and some excellent examples of it. Auto sign-ups to thousands of forums that post initial "come get a payday loan" may result in some leads, yes, but it'll likely cause a lot more of a headache if your affiliate manager starts feeling heat from it. The good example? Sign up for our program and list in your comment that you want to know about the good guerrilla example and I'll tell you. ;)


Thursday, 18 January 2007 13:10:58 (US Mountain Standard Time, UTC-07:00)  #     
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