Nomadic muppets scratching for pennies in the dirt

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I keep getting these weird emails. Asking me to sign up as an affiliate…to sell funeral plans! As in, “plug our policy and we’ll slip you a few quid!”

The word “scattergun” springs to mind.

I mean, how would that even work? “Here’s your copy Dave, it’ll make you a ton of money, here’s to a brighter future…oh yeah, but you’re going to die soon, so let’s talk about that!”

Does not fit!

Okay look, I’ve got no gripe with the affiliate thing per se. (I don’t do it much – and if I do, it’s through belief in a product, not a chance to grab a fast buck). But I won’t plug just any old thang.

The watchword is SYNERGY.

If you’re going to recommend something, it should be a “sister” thing – a natural fit for your business. So yay if I plug web stuff, print or marketing software…but nay for funeral plans, loft insulation and Apache helicopters.

It’s pretty darn obvious to anyone with a nugget of sense. But this rule gets flouted, constantly. By supposedly smart people.

Like, I once knew a personal chef who teamed up with…get this…a document shredding business.

True. I got an email saying, “Let me get busy in your kitchen, whipping up some tasty delights…while my good friends at DocuShred safely destroy all those confidential papers.”

Not a joke. This happened.

Here’s the thing. Your customers need to put you in a pigeon-hole. Life’s way too busy for them to mix you up in multiple categories. So step a little outside your business to recommend summat, by all means. But don’t cross the border into a whole different world.

Meaning…if I plug marketing stuff, that’s fine. “James is there to help me get more sales”. That works. If an accountant promotes payroll, legal and admin services, cool. “They help me to run my business efficiently”. That works. Same if a photographer recommends wedding suppliers. Or an IT firm sends you a telecoms or software deal.

Lemon squeezy: stay on topic, and never drift off course.

Obey this rule…and recommend quality stuff…and it’s all good. You can help your customers, and earn yourself a nice wad of cash. But disobey it, and suddenly you’re a flea market. A Del Boy, selling whatever tat you can get your hands on.

“I’ll shampoo your cat. Run your nan to the shops. Whitewash your cellar. Oh, and gimme an extra fiver and I’ll throw in a bag of crisps and a happy ending!”

The folks who do this can’t be labelled. So the world sees them as desperate, nomadic muppets scratching for pennies in the dirt.

Bad move.

Remember, you worked hard to earn a defined space at the top of your customer’s mind – so don’t throw it all away, for the sake of a one-off bung.

Let’s be careful out there…

UK Copywriter James Daniel

James Daniel

You might not know who I am, but no doubt you've read my copy. If you've ever bought a hearing aid, a pizza oven, flat roof or vacuum cleaner. If you've hired a will writer, an IT guy or accountant. If you've been to events on marketing, acting or how to buy a business. There's every chance it started with a bit of my copy - a few simple, chatty, gently persuasive words. Ring any bells?

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