Beginner Guides / Content Marketing

How to Use the ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ to Drive Sales to Highly Competitive Affiliate Products

The "blue ocean strategy" can be used to help you to drive new traffic to high-competition affiliate products. We'll tell you how.

Nate McCallister March 28, 2022
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“Create. Don’t Compete.”

W. Chan Kim

Have you ever promoted an affiliate product and been shocked by the lack of conversions? It’s a bad feeling.

“I know that everyone raves about this product, and it seems like such a no-brainer! The conversion rates have to be through the roof, but why are mine so low?”

If you’ve been in affiliate marketing for an extended period, you’ve experienced this. I’ve been doing it for over seven years and have experienced this anomaly multiple times in the past year alone.

Here are the two main reasons you’re likely not seeing as many conversions as you had hoped.

  1. Most of your core audience is already using it.
  2. Your core audience doesn’t know how it benefits them, and they don’t see why it’s a wise investment of their money.

We can’t do anything about the first problem. If your customers are already sold on the item and have been attributed to another affiliate, that ship has sailed.

However, we can fix the second problem. We can create a new market simply by showing an audience that wasn’t traditionally “in the market” for the product that they will benefit from buying it.

But I don’t want to stop there.

I want to take it a step further and show you how we can create “blue ocean” audiences to introduce existing products in new ways. That’s how we can drive sales to products that feel “saturated” and common on the surface.

Repositioning a Product to a New Audience

Let’s start with how to form your marketing efforts for a product that isn’t converting well to your existing audience (those who aren’t already buyers).

Here’s a real-world example to better showcase this method in action.

In case you don’t know me, I’ve been involved with internet marketing for a long time. In 2017, I was a massive fan of a software that helped build websites and sales funnels. I will leave its name out for this article since I no longer promote it actively because I switched to a newer platform.

But at the time, I used it, loved it, and promoted it to my audience.

But, it didn’t land well at first.

No one seemed interested because it was (relatively) expensive and they didn’t see what benefit the software provided to them.

They were right for feeling this way. My audience at the time was 90% Amazon FBA sellers. People who sell on Amazon FBA rarely think about their own websites since they don’t really need one (it’s one perk of dealing with Amazon). Amazon sold and shipped their products for them. Amazon also took care of much of the marketing.

That was the issue. It wasn’t that most people were using the software (they weren’t). It was that most people didn’t know how they would use it.

However, I knew that the software (at the time) had value for them. I just needed to explain it better.

Note: The product you’re promoting needs to have real value to the people you’re selling it to for this method to work.

The core audience for the software was extremely straightforward and didn’t blatantly include Amazon sellers.

The software → Internet Business Owners → People who wanted sales funnels → People who needed landing pages →  People who weren’t tech-savvy

To craft my unique marketing strategy, I couldn’t just use the default swipe-files and sales copy that the software provided to their affiliates. I needed to focus on the Amazon community and precisely what the software offered them.

So, I broke down what problems and fears they have. Since I was a seller myself, this part was pretty easy.

Audience problems and fears breakdown illustration
  • They didn’t “own” anything in their business except the inventory. If they got kicked off of Amazon, they would be out of business. Also, their business had little to no resale value since they could only sell their “ability” to find products and the existing inventory on hand.
  • They had no mailing lists to consistently sell new products to. All traffic and conversions relied on Amazon sending them with organic visits. There was little true growth potential.
  • They earned nothing when customers purchased additional products. There were no sales funnels in place that let them make more money per transaction. There was also no way to do subscription offers or add information products.
  • They were limited in their ability to run paid ads outside of Amazon. Without a website of their own, conversion-tracking and retargeting were limited.
  • They might have known that having a website was a good idea, but they weren’t confident in their ability to handle the tech side of things.

Solving these problems was what attracted me to the software. Now I just had to articulate why it was my solution so they could see why it could be their solution.

  • The software will allow you to sell products on your website. This doesn’t have to replace your selling on Amazon at all. It just adds more revenue and gives you a safety net if you lose your account. This is true freedom and makes Amazon sellers feel like they are finally in control of their businesses. I needed to remind them that they are not truly in control of their companies if it’s 100% reliant on Amazon.
  • The software will help you grow your email list, which means you can drive sales on demand.  Every day that your list grows, your business is worth more. I needed to show them how powerful this is and what it means in dollars in their pocket.
  • The software will let you boost revenue on each transaction through upsells. I needed to show my audience how much money was left on the table and convince them that sales funnels work exceptionally well and can easily double their average transaction value.
  • The software will let them run paid ads on any platform and collect emails, social shares, and engagement. I needed to show them how this unlocked new opportunities that other, less savvy sellers would miss.
  • The software can help them have the site up and running in less than 24 hours. I needed to show my audience that their lack of tech skills wasn’t going to hold them back.

So, over the next few weeks, I went full scale on this new marketing approach to this particular audience.

It worked amazingly well.

Through the new sales approaches and with the help of some incentives to buyers (a special group training with me where I showed them how to do the process with the software), I got over 110+ new sign-ups in 2 weeks. This strategy resulted in over $80,000 over the next year in recurring commissions.

How to Find and Promote Your Own Blue Ocean Products

I can appreciate that my example above is quite extreme. However, these sorts of opportunities exist in almost every industry. Some may be bigger or smaller than my results.

Here’s what the process looks like:

Blue Ocean three-step strategy

Step #1

Find a high-quality product that currently converts well and produces satisfied customers.

Some things are universal, like customer support and ease of use. Find products that will meet the basic requirements and are easy to promote.

Step #2

Find a way that the product can benefit an audience different from the primary audience that most of your competitors are targeting.

You may find a wildly creative and ingenious approach that even the product creators didn’t think of. For example:

  • Researchers found out that the blood pressure medicine Rogaine could also grow back new hair follicles.
  • IBM found out that bubble wrap was far better as a packing material than as wallpaper.
  • Play Doh turned out to be a better children’s toy than a wall-cleaning tool.

It usually isn’t this extreme.

It can be as simple as just showing how your particular niche benefits from the product’s basic features.

People often just need to see how something applies to their specific needs. Since may be an infinite number of niches with unique needs, it’s unlikely that the company has covered all of them in great detail already.

This is where the “blue ocean” part comes into play. If no one, not even the company themselves, shows how a product is useful to your audience, you can completely own that space. While everyone else is fighting for scraps in the larger demographics, you’ll be unseen, making actual sales with little to no fear of competition.

Here are a few real-world examples.

Example #1 You’re an influencer who teaches people to grow their following on TikTok.

A tool like Lasso could be used to help monetize TikToker’s link trees. You’d show them how to build simple product pages on their blogs, and tell them why it’s an excellent option for showcasing their affiliate offers.

Hey, I couldn’t write a guest post for lasso and not give them a shout out at least once 😉

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Example #2 You help people train their virtual assistants.

You could show them how to use software like TextExpander to save canned responses that their assistants can pull from, so there is less guesswork on things like customer service emails.

Example #3 You teach people how to flip collectible items on eBay.

You show them how to use a tool like Shoeboxed to keep track of receipts or track their mileage for tax purposes.

Step #3

Demonstrate and promote how the product benefits the new audience.

There’s nothing more valuable to your readers than real-world examples. Don’t just send them to the sales page and say, “this product  is great.” Show them exactly what using it looks like. Remember, the sales page likely doesn’t target them, so that becomes your job.

Expanding Beyond Your Niche

We’ve discussed how this approach works with your existing audience, but it doesn’t need to be limited to just that.

The blue ocean strategy can be a fantastic way to tap into new opportunities and niches. You’ll need to leverage paid traffic (or be extremely patient), but the method of bringing a popular product in front of a new, non-traditional audience will work in any niche.

So, adopt that mindset. When you see something marketed to one specific niche of people, ask yourself, “did they maybe overlook a group that should know about this?” Find these opportunities and fill in the gaps with your marketing angles, and you can find massive success with minimal competition.

Author Bio

Nate McCallister blogs at EntreResource.com and shares his advice on affiliate marketing in his book Evergreen Affiliate Marketing, which is available in ebook, audiobook, and print on Amazon.

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