Many internet marketers trying to figure out how to pick affiliate offers simply ignore this part. Unfortunately, failing to do this can cause a LOT of damage not only to your income, but to your credibility in the longer term.

Fact: The higher the perceived risk appears for the potential client, the deeper he or she will go digging to validate their urge to buy the product you recommend. The higher the price is, the more likely that they will want to find out more first.

But what happens if what they find out doesn’t look good?

Firstly, it’s all a matter of perception:

Once any product goes on sale in any reasonable numbers, there will be people who comment on liking it – or not. Ironically, the truth is of little consequence (because your prospect hasn’t bought it yet) – so it all boils down to the perception created by what they find.

If they start digging, and they open up a can of worms, it will not only put them off buying the product, but also from buying from YOU – who recommended the product – in the future.

It may be a perfectly good product – but once the publicity around it takes a bad turn, and it starts snowballing, it will not only cost you money; it will cause people to question your credibility and your future recommendations. If you happen to repeat the mistake, the damage can escalate dramatically, and possibly even destroy your online business.

Understanding the buyer’s journey:

When a potential customer becomes aware of a problem, he or she goes looking for a solution on Google, forums or social groups. Once they find that a solution exists, they start looking at specific products, often reading reviews. However, your prospect will undoubtedly also come across entries and comments on forums where people discuss the product or service in question.

As he or she gets closer to making the purchase, the searches around the product name tend to become more specific. Once he or she is satisfied that they are about to make the right choice, the purchase will be made. If not…

Fair enough, this isn’t going to happen for every product you sell – but if you focus on high ticket items, it implies a greater risk for the buyer, and so he or she will want to make an informed choice.

The damage can also happen afterwards:

Imagine recommending a product to your list, and some of them buy it. Now imagine that the product has had some bad publicity, and some of those buyers find it out after they spent money on it…

Besides asking for their money back, one or two of them may actually mention your bad recommendation. It is likely to attract plenty of unwanted attention. Do you really want to risk having that entry and its comments connected to your name like, forever? Remember, the internet never forgets.

What happens if your bad recommendation comes up when someone else tries to research YOU as a person, to decide whether they can trust your recommendations or not?

No matter how you view it, this scenario is even worse than it is for the people who simply don’t act on your recommendation (after doing their own research).

The good news:

There is of course another side to the coin as well – meaning that if a lot of what you read about the product is good, it will help you to sell it. This is especially helpful if you are promoting a newly launched product, and there are a few people who raved about it after buying it (note – not other affiliate marketers who “review” it to get sales).

If, for instance, you can point your readers to a forum entry where people discussed the product, and all of them agreed it is great, you will have all the social proof you need, and you can “make the sale before they see the sales page”.

In conclusion:

Publicity is all about perception – just think about politics. It’s not always the best guy (or girl) that wins, but the one who can make people believe that he or she is. So look at what lies out there (search Google for “product name + forum” and “product name + scam”, and also research the vendor’s past), and decide for yourself what an uninformed person’s opinion of that publicity will be.

Then, if it is bad, walk away – regardless of how good the product is. What you think is irrelevant, and what your potential customer thinks is everything.

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