Usually the secret to affiliate marketing is to pick great products that really solve your audiences problems so they bite your hand off to buy. It's an example of what's possible. But it was the first that really focused on user experience and engaging the visitor over just listing unusual products and trying to make money. The site was born in by Adam Freedman who had previously struggled to make money online with many failed ventures. They added humor and wit in the product descriptions.
Unusual, cool, geeky and sometimes useless products from space invader chairs to camera lenses coffee cups to jet packs to bacon vodka. It includes products from big retailers such as Amazon and Ebay. If every product they feature just leads to an Amazon link it just becomes about getting affiliate link clicks rather than sourcing out and sharing unusual and cool products.
They find products to feature by signing up to the RSS feeds of 's of different blogs and retailers around the net that feature or sell unusual products and check on a daily basis for inspiration.
But for Amazon, Ebay and the other retailers that they have an affiliate relation with any time someone clicks a link on TIWIB and lands on the retailers website an affiliate cookie is set.
Amazon has just a 24hr cookie, meaning your visitor has just 24hrs to buy something for you to get a commission, but other sites have much longer cookie durations. Amazon is the main affiliate program they link to as most people will never buy the products they feature but go on to buy something more practical from Amazon which still nets them a commission.
The site is designed to get affiliate link clicks due to the large enticing images, well positioned buttons and great calls to action that send you off to the retailers websites. Almost everyone who visits the site will end up on a retailers site whether they planned to or not and this sets the affiliate cookie.
Even if you don't make a purchase immediately the cookie will last for a certain duration and any purchases you make throughout that time will result in an affiliate commission being paid. But their business model is simply to get the affiliate cookie set and rake in commissions from the other items people DO go on to buy. Primarily men from the United States of college age. And the quirkiness in the content combined with the unusual products makes it a great site that people want to visit time and time again.
It's designed to get people sharing the products featured which spreads the word. Most people won't realize this but a lot of thought goes into the product placement and order on the site to keep it fresh.
For example they will place a cute animal toy next to chainsaw gun next to house gift which adds to the shock factor. The site is designed to entice clicks from visitors even if they don't intend to buy the product. Instead of 'buy here' buttons they use clever copy such as 'check it out' which gets people clicking to see more and landing on the retailers page.
They might not intend to buy anything at that point but the cookie is set and anything they buy throughout the duration of the cookie gets them a commission. But it didn't really kick off until someone posted about it on the first page of Reddit causing it to go viral all over the web. This was the catalyst which caused a storm of social media sharing across all platforms which continues today.
Search engine traffic is near non existent likely due to the short descriptions most products have. The owner Adam has stated that their best converting traffic source is a little known link exchange network called Knowd Source. Being able to send an email out and drive traffic back to your site on demand is an affiliate websites dream.
Content marketing — they have a blog but it's often neglected for months at a time and isn't given the attention it deserves. This could be used to draw in search engine traffic and blog readers who might not really be into the style of site This Is Why I Am Broke.
Starting and maintaining a blog would be key. Basically give away some of the products they feature in a competition where people have to share on social media to enter. The trick is to create a site similar but ' niched down '. And trying to appeal to everyone and anyone with gadgets and cool things from multiple different categories. It draws in traffic virally from social media with almost no advertising or marketing on their part. And it can work for anyone who uses the concept and design with their own niche or range of products.
Follow their lead in terms of product selection, design, user engagement, social media interaction but also put a lot of focus into list building and blogging to increase success. Enjoyed the post and full breakdown. Would love to see a similar breakdown for a smaller scale AdSense style site. Just one small suggestion if you don't mind, I always like to subscribe to comments for posts that I comment on so that I can stay in the loop on any follow-up comments.
One way you can get that functionality is by adding the JetPack plugin. Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time to comment. I will add your suggestion to my 'content to do' list that is currently several pages long.
I hadn't even noticed you couldn't subscribe for updates so I will look into it - thanks! I know about the subscribe to comments option, as I added it to my site a few months ago after I realized I did not have that option either. If you need any pointers, just let me know, it only takes a minute or two. I did check out the site last night and did enjoy scrolling through all of the items. I see why the site is popular and how it could bring in that kind of revenue.
It does give some good ideas. Thanks for getting back to me Chris. I'll look into getting that feature added. There's definitely a business model there that's worth considering. Have you tried making such an affiliate site? Hey Gjaggi, yes I have. I had a custom theme designed for it but it was full of bugs and constantly slow and crashing.
On top of that I didn't give the site the attention it deserved because of lack of time. Now I have to decide a niche. I am sure I will be able to do that easily with your help. My major concern is; how will I drive traffic to it? I have no major experience with social media marketing, etc - just some SEO. Any suggestions how I should move forward? If you don't have that there's no reason for anyone to come to your site, hang around or return.
So you work on that first. Then when you have the great content you go to wherever your target audience hangs out online and figure out how to get your content or ads in front of them. Network like mad with others in the niche. Get known to them in a positive way i.
And eventually if you're doing good things they will share your stuff with their audience. Also the content writer needs to be skilled in the art of shortcopy in order to get people to buy both short and long ticket products. Hey Laura, good insight from you and thanks for the recommendation on the course. Glad you liked the post. This is an amazing post! What is even more amazing is hardly any traffic is from the search engines?
Just goes to show you the work and effort put in from the owner Can't believe most traffic is social media Glad you like the post. Not every website needs search engines and this is a prime example. At the same time not every website can rely on social media so don't think just because it works for TIWIB a very social and shareable site it will instantly work for your site too.
I'm planning to setup a website in the fitness niche and drive traffic to it via social media such as Facebook. After reading this post of yours I will have to rethink my strategy on building my website because I was hinging towards the traditional types of websites. In the fitness niche a 'traditional' website may well be the way forward. This won't work for every type of website. I gain great reassurance that what you teach others as new as I am is absolutely valuable.
Keep up the great work! I can tell that this post relates to the post I closely in to decide if it is about the money or about doing what you love. Thanks for the comment. Yes TIWIB is a prime example of doing something you love but that you know can be monetized and putting lots of love and attention into it. Not just setting up a website, driving traffic and thinking "how can I make the most amount of money from these people". If you think about visitor experience first and how you can make your website of great use or in this case great fun to them the money will follow if you do things right.
You indeed know a lot of things about the niche website industry and I always learn new things from your article. Hey Tung, always appreciate when a successful blogger comes over to comment and gives me some good feedback.
For anyone who isn't familiar with Tung go over to http: I always enjoy reading your posts and learn a lot from them. Is it possible to send you a PM. I have a favour to ask from you.
Please keep up with the excellent work of giving us these awesome information. Fantastic insight into why and how the site works. I look forward to reading similar posts. Hi, really interesting case study.More...