(Transcript continued from the Episode 096 show notes and audio podcast)

The first one, and I think this is the most obvious thing and this is so true for affiliate marketing and internet marketing in general. Marketing lesson number one that you can learn from Star Wars is if you find something that works, you need to absolutely stick with it. Absolutely no question.

Episode VII in many ways is a very close copy formulaically of Episode IV. In fact, a lot of people would argue it’s a little bit too close. It’s certainly a little bit too close for my taste, it’s just not very risky. We have this reluctant hero, kind of like Luke Skywalker, who has the Force but doesn’t realize it and needs to go take care of these villains, he’s going to use the Force to do this, and at the end of this episode he’s going to end up blowing up something kind of like The Death Star. He doesn’t exactly blow it up in this one – or in this case, she doesn’t exactly blow it up in this one, but she’s involved. It’s the same kind of idea, there’s this Death Star looking thing.

Guess what? It works. That absolutely worked and it worked again. That whole formula of good versus evil, the whole thing that they did there absolutely works. In affiliate marketing, if you find offers that convert and stuff that works, you need to rinse and repeat those approaches and those offers over and over again and grow your business in that direction. No need to reinvent the wheel when you find something that works.

The flip side of that coin is marketing lesson number two. You need to be true to your brand, have a voice and try to be memorable if you can. With thin affiliate websites being memorable is a little hard because you’re looking for that search traffic and you’re just going to get that one conversion and probably never see your visitor again. But if you have something that looks more like an authority site you want to have a voice, something that is recognizable. Be something that someone can remember.

That’s certainly what Star Wars is, it’s probably one of the most recognizable movie franchise brands that has ever existed, or I dare say ever will exist. It’s very memorable. The new movies are true to the brand. The Force, the music, the visuals, the weapons, and the story are all consistent throughout the Star Wars brand.

If you have any kind of meaningful online presence, you want to have that voice and be consistent. I’ll tell you why it’s important in affiliate marketing and those kinds of places where you’re trying to reach people. There are almost seven billion people on the planet, you don’t need to reach all of them to be successful, you only need to reach a few handfuls. Maybe 100 or 1,000 people, and really connect with them to be successful. You don’t need hundreds of thousands or millions of people. Be true to a certain voice and there are people that find you and resonate with that voice. Be true to your brand and that will pay you dividends in affiliate marketing.

The third thing that is absolutely obvious from looking at Star Wars is that it’s great when you can engage your audience with anticipation. Teasers really work. The teasers were all over the Star Wars thing in the trailers, who are Rey’s parents and who is Rey, what’s her background, why is she attracted to Luke’s lightsaber, who is this Finn guy and how come he’s wearing a Stormtrooper uniform in a scene that in the trailer looked reminiscent of the prison break when they got Princess Leia out of the prison, is he in disguise or is he actually a Stormtrooper, we don’t know but there’s a ton of anticipation going into this movie.

In affiliate marketing you can absolutely build up anticipation because products are launching are all the time. You can reveal these products and do unboxing videos and all these kind of things that build up anticipation for the person that you’re trying to help make a purchasing decision in affiliate marketing. Engaging your audience with anticipation is a definite good lesson to learn from the Star Wars brand.

Number four is a good one, create something that is actually worth sharing and talking about. You can get out there and create the thinnest, crappiest website on the planet and you may get some conversions. We’ve seen that happen, really poor content gets conversions sometimes. It used to do that more often than it does now. You don’t have to have a world beater website in order to make money, but why do that? Why not create something that is awesome that people will share and discuss.

Look at the trailers. They were awesome. Look at how many times they were shared and viewed, people reviewing them over and over, taking them apart frame by frame because of the anticipation thing that I talked about in item three. This was great content, it was something worth sharing and talking about.

You can do that with affiliate marketing. Instead of writing a 400 word product review, write a 2,000 word product review. Put in some pictures and incorporate comments from other reviews and talk about why you agree or disagree. Really help people make a great buying decision. That’s really going to help people and it’s going to create a review that people will share when their friends want to buy that same product. They’ll remember, “I saw this review,” and that will get you backlinks and social media exposure and the kind of things you need to rank your website. Create something worth sharing and discussing.

Number five, another thing from Star Wars I think is done so well, tell stories. Tell about your product experiences. What is Star Wars if it’s not the ultimate creation story? We have this Christ-like character in Anakin Skywalker, he doesn’t have a father, it’s an immaculate conception, he’s strong with the Force, this God-like power, and all through this thing the story progresses. As it turns out, something that bugs me is everyone in Star Wars seems to be somehow related to everyone else, but still there’s this story that goes through it.

You can tell stories about how you used a product or how the product was manufactured, or what you learned when you talked to the manufacturer. You can interview the manufacturer on your website, you can tell stories about a product that relate the benefits about how the product has helped people that you’ve interviewed and talked to and so forth, or about how you read about how this happened and so forth.

Tell stories. People really engage with stories. That’s clearly apparent in the Star Wars brand, and that’s why item number five is to tell stories in affiliate marketing.

The sixth thing that you can learn from Star Wars about affiliate marketing is sometimes stuff isn’t going to work and you should avoid doing that again.

Jar-Jar Binks – that didn’t work and they dumped Jar-Jar. There was one Gungan that showed up in one scene briefly in the background that was kind of a nod to Jar-Jar, that was it. No more Jar-Jar. Everybody agrees, even the most diehard Star Wars fans, that the first three episodes are a little bit weak in spots, and I’m being generous; Jar-Jar Binks is the worst, he’s a total abomination. That didn’t work for Lucas.

You’re going to find stuff in your affiliate marketing that doesn’t work, don’t do that stuff. It’s like when you go to the doctor and you raise up your arm and say, “It hurts when I go like this,” and you raise your arm and wave it in the air, and the doctor says, “Well then don’t do that, if that hurts don’t do it.” Same thing is true with affiliate marketing. Same thing true with Star Wars, Jar-Jar is bad, just don’t go there, it’s awful stuff.

Number seven, I think this is a key thing that you can get from Star Wars, somehow for some reason all this stuff stands the test of time. Why is that? Why is Star Wars so awesome? Why is there this international following? Is it magical voodoo? No. There have been lots of these different kind of stories told. In fact, a lot of people have told the story over and over again. If you study literature you know this is just a good versus bad, evil darkness versus light kind of story with a hero or a heroin, a protagonist.

This is a simple formula, this is just good storytelling. The content is epic, though. It’s this epic struggle, it’s well told, the visual effects are fantastic. It’s really great content.

For your affiliate marketing efforts, I can tell you that item number seven is content is still king. Great content wins every time. Create great content and you will like the results when you do that. Very closely related to item four, where we talk about how you should create something worth sharing, that’s something worth sharing is typically going to be great content.

The other thing that you learn from Star Wars just looking at the marketing efforts around it is item number eight, and you can also do this in affiliate marketing. Create some urgency. I don’t know how they did it, I really don’t, but how they make it where everybody has to see the movie on opening night or opening weekend and has to be the first, and there’s so much urgency going in the direction of Star Wars when you know the movie is going to be in theaters for eight weeks but still you have to be the first to see it. Then it’s going to be out on Blu-Ray, but still you have to be the first to see it. That’s an amount of urgency that is just hard to overcome.

That’s great in affiliate marketing. You can create urgency in affiliate marketing in a couple of ways. The two that come to mind for me are to negotiate with the manufacturer to get a special offer for your audience that expires. We do this a lot of times in joint ventures in affiliate marketing. I will go to a producer of some content and say, “I’d like to offer this to my listeners with an exclusive discount that expires at a certain time.” That’s a win-win for everybody. It gets me urgency which helps me in my marketing and it gets you a discount.

The other way you can do that is to have a bonus. If someone buys a product that you’re offering as an affiliate, if they buy it through your affiliate link you’ll offer them some bonus. Maybe they’re buying some software and you offer a bonus that explains how to use the software, maybe it’s a video of you using it for example, but that only lasts for the month of January. In that case there’s urgency around that they have to go ahead and buy that software now to get your bonus. That’s good for you because these kinds of explanatory videos often are not evergreen. Once the software gets updated that video is going to be out of date anyway, so there’s a natural urgency there that you can build in that really helps people. Star Wars created a lot of urgency and you can too.

Item number nine, create partnerships in your affiliate marketing. There are lots of ways that you can do this. You see Star Wars creating enormous amounts of partnerships. There’s Star Wars stuff at McDonalds, Star Wars toys available, and I’ve heard even that one of the makeup manufacturers has a Star Wars makeup line now. I even saw that Google on their Android phones has some kind of Force Awakens user interface that you can install. I’m an Apple guy, I’m really not sure what that’s all about.

You get the idea, you can create partnerships. With your affiliate marketing you can do that too. You can trade traffic with related sites. Maybe you have a weight loss site and you meet a guy with a fitness site, or maybe you have weight lifting site and some guy has a running site. You can cooperate in certain ways that make it possible for you to have partnerships around your affiliate marketing.

Even what I did in the beginning of this podcast; telling you about the new book from John Lee Dumas. I don’t make any money if John Lee Dumas sells a bunch of books, I just think it’s a great idea and I want you to know about it and I think it will help you. From John’s perspective, that’s solid for him, we’re giving him airtime on the podcast to talk about The Freedom Journal. You can have these kind of formal and informal partnerships that make a lot of sense and you can cross-promote products across niches in that way in affiliate marketing, that can really be helpful.

Another way you can form partnerships is just exchanging money for exposure. For example, you could choose to advertise your website on someone else’s podcast. Better yet, buy an ad inside their newsletter where you pay them to mention you in the newsletter. You can create guest blog posts on other people’s blogs that point back to your affiliate website. All of those are examples of these kind of partnerships that the Star Wars franchise has done so well, that’s why item nine that I learned from Star Wars is create partnerships.

Item 10 is so apparent in Star Wars, visual content. If content is king, visual content is the crown on the king. The visual content from Star Wars is epic. Those trailers that they put out before the movie came out, wow, the editing is so tight and all of the images are so beautiful. Yes, they had hours and hours of content to cut down into a 30 or 90 second trailer, but oh my gosh, the visuals are so awesome.

That still applies in affiliate marketing. You need to test and split test images on your blog and in your conversion copy, different button types and all of this different kind of stuff, embedded links underlined, not underlined, bolded, different headlines. All of that visual content needs to be tested. The Star Wars guys are showing you that, they’re showing you the amazing power of visual content in the Star Wars brand. It is truly a visual brand and the power of that is so readily apparent, that’s why item 10 is visual content is key in affiliate marketing.

Item 11 is a good one for affiliate marketing, too. User content has value. The example that I saw cited, there are all kinds of fan sites and all kinds of fan buzz out there, and what the Star Wars brand has done in general is totally embraced this.

For example, the Star Wars fandom out there has come up with this day to celebrate Star Wars, May 4th (because if you say “May the 4th be with you” it sounds very much like “may the Force be with you). Disney and the Star Wars brand have embraced that, created a website around it and engaged their users in that. They saw that as an opportunity. They’ve engaged on social media. They’re using that user content to fuel the fire of their marketing.

You can do the same thing in affiliate marketing. This is especially true because you can go out and find reviews. While you shouldn’t plagiarize reviews that you find on Amazon, you certainly can read 40 of them and summarize those reviews and say, “A careful study of reviews online indicates that the following issues are apparent with this product.” You can do that in affiliate marketing and say, “I’ve researched this, I read all of those reviews for you so that you don’t have to do that.” Use that user generated content.

Of course you can also allow comments on your website. Moderate them well, make sure there’s no spam or junk in there, and engage people that do stop by and leave a comment in meaningful conversations about the products that you’re trying to monetize and convert on your website. That’s item 11, user content has great value.

Item 12 is start early and finish last. I’ll tell you, the amount of marketing energy that went into the Star Wars thing is amazing. They started talking about this movie a year ago. Did they need to promote something as famous as Star Wars a year ago? I don’t know, but the box office is over $1billion, so whatever it is it worked. It’s the most profitable movie of all time, at least in terms of box office top line revenue. Just total greatness. Long lead times for marketing, so it’s push, push, push.

The way I turn this around to affiliate marketing is you need to be out there promoting your website and doing whatever you need to do to get the traffic that you need. If that means guest blog posts or social media, or link building, or whatever it is that you think you need to be doing for your affiliate website, that’s what you need to be doing. You need to start early, do it often, and keep doing it until the website is profitable, and then on to grow it after that. Definitely important to start early and never quit, finish last.

Item 13, I think this is another interesting timing on the Star Wars saga and something else you can do, take advantage of the season. Obviously the timing of Star Wars is such that it comes out at Christmas, and Christmas is a huge movie season, a lot of people are going to see movies at Christmas. Traditionally, there are huge blockbuster releases at Christmas. Also, there’s all this marketing opportunity with toys and cross-promotion, and all this other stuff that is going on at Christmas that was just amazingly fantastic.

It was unbelievable, Toys’R’Us just jammed to the ceiling. My 8 year old got one of those Sphero remote controlled BB-8s. In fact, I’ll put an affiliate link to the BB-8 that he got in the show notes – there you go, affiliate marketing discussion and I’m putting the affiliate link right in there.

It makes sense to take advantage of these huge greeting card holidays that we’ve created in the world with Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, all this stuff. If your affiliate site has something to do with these sorts of areas, take advantage of those, have special promotions. Even if it doesn’t, you can have a Mother’s Day promotion just because you love your mom. You can say, “I love my Mom, so I made this special deal. We have an exclusive coupon code from SquareSpace for Mother’s Day, here it is.” It doesn’t need to be Mother’s Day websites, it could just be the fact that it is Mother’s Day. Something to create buzz and then do a press release around how you’re doing a Mother’s Day promotion, those sorts of things.

Take advantage of the season. I think Star Wars has done that incredibly well and you can do that in affiliate marketing too. I think it’s a really powerful idea that not enough people are taking advantage of in affiliate marketing.

To recap the 13 marketing lessons that I learned from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  1. If you find something that works, stick with it.
  2. Be true to your brand, have your own voice and be memorable.
  3. Engage your audience with anticipation. Anticipation and teasers work, use them in your affiliate marketing.
  4. Create something that’s actually worth sharing and discussing. Don’t create junk that nobody wants to talk about.
  5. Tell a story and make it a great one.
  6. If you find something that’s broken and doesn’t work, don’t do that anymore. Avoid your past mistakes.
  7. Great content is still king, it dominates everything.
  8. Create urgency in your marketing. Make sure that there is a reason for people to act now. It’s not as hard as it sounds.
  9. Use partnerships to your advantage. Joint ventures, cross-promotions, whatever it takes to make it happen and get your message out there.
  10. Visual content is absolutely key. Keep those images in those blog posts, test those colors, test those buttons, and make sure your visual content is working for you in affiliate marketing.
  11. Leverage user content, it has great value. Remember “May the 4th be with you.”
  12. Start early and finish last. This is true for almost everything you ever do. If you had started already you would be done, the earlier you start the better. Finish strong and finish last, be the last guy standing out there doing the thing that you need to be doing to make things work.
  13. Take advantage of the seasons. Christmas, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, whatever it is you can come up with. Heck, I’ve even heard people make up their own day. Make up your own day. Late Night Internet Marketing Day, that’s what we need.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this special Star Wars episode of the Late Night Internet Marketing podcast. I hope that I didn’t give you too many spoilers from the movie. I hope that you can take a few of these fun lessons and apply them to your internet marketing.

Until next time, have an absolutely fantastic day.

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