The Real Contextual Marketing – How to Get Recommended By Others – Creating the Context for Referrals


If you’ve read any of my articles on social media (like Brevenue or Social Media Lead Generation), you know that referrals are what drive business today.

How do you get a referral, one that generates revenue, or even better, get recommended? Please check out this video for a quick overview of how I’ve done it in the affiliate world, and am applying this same methodology to social media and mobile…because getting recommended means getting trust.

The new mode of marketing is to merge your products into the context of other Web Sites.  Here context literally means “necessary link”, but before we get to how you make your offer “necessary”, let’s focus on how to understand the context of Web Sites and social media  you want to target.

Web sites are built around a certain amount of content, community, discussion boards, and communication that weave together to form the “context” of the site. Remember these important points when building your advertising to fit into the context of their Web Site:

A. Target sites with a buying context.

It is easy to fall in love with the allure of millions of impressions at bigger Web Sites. You can pursue these people forever, and they are in love with selling their banner ad space. They should be in love, because selling banner ads, if you do it frequently, is easy money.

But often the sites with the most impressions do not yield buyers. Once again, this is good for branding, but if you want to make sales, the context of the site must be towards buyers. For example, Edmunds.com offers automobile information. People look at the info and click onto other sites that sell cars and insurance. People at Edmunds are buyers, and the results they generate show that these buyers are converted to sales. Remember that banner ads rarely convert to sales.

B. Beware of “free” sites. The best things in life are free, but the best things in business are not. Most free sites, including all those community sites that offer free home pages, create a bunch of people who are often not willing to pay for a thing.

They will post your banner ads everywhere, do little promotion, and expect a lot out of you. In our own testing, we have found that free sites generate more headaches, questions, and low volume of sales than anywhere else. While there are certainly exceptions, do not target free sites if you really want to make sales.

C. The best “context” is a Web Site with a following.

Throughout the Internet, Web Sites have sprung up with considerable followings driven by integrity, respect, and a long-term business relationship built on trust. This kind of context is worth its weight in gold. For example, Jeff Ostroff at http://www.carbuyingtips.com offers advice on how to buy cars and save money.

People trust this consumer advocate, and the affiliate programs he recommends by positing prominently on his site. The consumer is there to learn information about a purchase, and Jeff drives the process. His context is a selling context driven by the trust of these visitors.

D. Target media sites with a wide variety of content and see if you can get your products featured within the right content. Newspapers online share a wealth of information and will have problems selling ad space. If you are offering a product via an affiliate program, make sure to match your products to their content.

For example, a book about dating would do well within the classified, personals section of a newspaper, or in the entertainment section. It would not do well within world news. Sound obvious? Look around at the next content site that features an ad for furniture on a page about computers; it is amazing how few sites match their content to the products being offered.

This also holds for social media sites, getting your content and ads near related materials increases relevance, clicks, and often sales.

E. Select your promotional partners on the basis of their content and traffic. Traffic alone is not a good judge of effectiveness for selling online. Many of the high traffic sites are unusual or odd in their appeal, and people once again are not in the buying context.

The content of a good web site has to be updated frequently and fill a need for a specific niche. For example, many computer programmers repeatedly visit Web sites for information, because programming information changes frequently.

These are great sites for products and services. Other sites, like the joke of the day kind of sites, are good for entertainment value, and maybe branding, but if you want to make sales, it just doesn’t make sense. Do you see many ads in the comic section, except for entertainment? ‘Nuff said…

Getting recommended means adding value to others with your content, and in return they can recommend you. Be sure to review my video on Trust is the New Currency to learn even more about how to do this right….

How do you get people to recommend your product or service?