Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog

30Oct/12Off

Stepping out of the Internet Marketing Box


ShareWith.me

For nine years now I've been focused on creating tools and services that are of benefit primarily to the Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization community. Those tools have been very valuable, both to my customers and myself. I am proud of them, and they continue to flourish and grow.

However, for some time now I have also been aware that there is a bigger world out there than just Internet Marketing. That I'm missing a huge boat that's been sitting in front of me. I see apps in iTunes and on my Android phone that have millions of users, even some that I consider stupid and wonder why anybody would ever buy something like that! I see social sites that started in college dorm rooms and go on to have millions (or, in the most obvious case, over a billion) active users.

So I decided to step out of the Internet Marketing Box that I've been in for the last nine years. To create something that I think is truly useful and beneficial to a much larger crowd of people, but which many IM'ers will also find useful.

Thus ShareWith.me was born.

How It Works

The ShareWith.me concept is simple. Users find and share the absolute best deals currently available on Amazon.com. Everyone benefits by browsing the deals (using the menu on the left of the site) and saving lots of cash on the stuff they need.

What's really great is that when you share a deal you're automatically entered to win a $100 gift card to Amazon.com. We give away a new gift card every day, and you can enter to win every day by sharing new deals.

No purchase is necessary to win. We reward our users for sharing the best deals. You don't have to buy anything to have a chance at winning the daily gift card.

What's In It For Me

As you probably suspected, the benefit to me as a businessman and marketer is that when people click-through the deals and buy, they're clicking through my affiliate link.

"But there's no purchase required!" you protest?

That's true, but seriously: Amazon does an awesome job at selling. If enough people are browsing Amazon looking for great deals to share in the hopes of winning the gift card, some people are going to buy something. Plus, people shop at Amazon every day, and if they have my affiliate cookie set when they do, all the better for me, right?

The Marketing Lessons

I opened up the system to a few non-IM'ers to get their feedback. It has been incredibly positive. From just a couple of dozen users there are already more than 200 deals on the site. So I think I've found a niche here.

Lesson 1. Incentives.

The first lesson learned here is one of incentives. Finding the right incentive to get people to use your product or service is vital. Even if it's a great idea, you have to encourage people to get involved and use it.

Saving money is great in itself, but it's not enough. That's because you have to encourage people to take the time to download and install the ShareWith.me browser extension (which only takes about 60 seconds) and to click on the sharing icon it places in the browser window when they find a great deal on Amazon.

That requires an incentive. The daily give-away is that incentive. To help people get excited about it, the name of the daily winner is placed on the home page.

Lesson 2. User Feedback.

Another lesson here, one that I learned early on in my product-development career, is that you have to listen to user feedback about your products -- and take action to implement the popular suggestions. I've made a number of changes to the ShareWith.me site based on user feedback.

The creation of personal shopping lists, putting the daily winner's name on the home page, even the number of deals displayed on each page were all suggested and agreed upon by the early testers of ShareWith.me. Those additions have seriously improved the experience on the site.

I will continue to take those suggestions and improve the product, because the better the product the more viral it becomes and the quicker it grows.

Lesson 3. Don't Be Afraid.

The last lesson from this project is not to be afraid of experimenting, of stepping outside of your box. I've learned a lot from working on this project, and it's opened my awareness up to all kinds of other things that I could do in the future.

If this experiment proves profitable, then my next step is to create Android and iPhone/iPad apps that let people do their sharing on their mobiles. That will be take me out of another box in my software development experience, another box that I've needed to get out of for some time and just haven't had the right, um, incentive. :D

Even if your initial experiments fail, they give you valuable experience that will help you find and create that winning product in the end. That's something that keeping your vision narrow will never achieve.

So if you like to save money, and you like to win prizes and you (like me) love Amazon.com, take two minutes to get started using ShareWith.me. Here's the link:

ShareWith.me - Share great deals, save money and win prizes.

Please leave your thoughts and questions in a comment below, and I encourage you to share this post through any of the social buttons below.

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  1. Really cool idea Jonathan! It looks like you already have thousands of deals shared. Just curious, did you share most of those or did you really get that much traffic and interaction this quickly?

  2. Awesome idea and implimentation. As far as amazon is concerened with incentives I dont think this is a breach since you are not bribing the buyer, you are bribing the sharers that use your service.

    1200 x $50 = $60,000
    $60,000 x 5% = $3,000

    quite cool that you only need to 1200 sales per month.

    I tried something similar with clickbank, but with 2 twists. First it showed a selection of about 9 image ads and tracked and updated them based on ctr,
    also instead of paying out a daily bonus what it did instead was allowed others to join via a viral affiliate link. The traffic generated was auto-split 10% for the admin and 10% from your referrals and 10% for everyone.

    so if you sent 100 hits, you’d get 80% of the traffic branding all offers with your cloaked link, 10 hits would go to your referrer and the other 10 to me the site admin, and joining was by referreral only. I took it down before it had a chance to gain much traction though. It also automatically optimized their page of listings to match their traffic source, so everyone got the same initial page of items but the page optimized itself over time to each users traffic source. Maybe i’ll try again. i love coding.

  3. Jon thank you for your help in all I am just learning about internet, and yes I will like to make a living. I work wary hard in my life, will be nice to have more time whit my wife. and travel. now I only dream about it……I trying to do my best . and one day I will break it true. one more time Thank you, I feel you are a honest man. God bless you

    Michael Tkaczuk

  4. small tip. I advice you to check the policy of amazon associates regarding incentive.

  5. Jon, I see you have changed step 2 I see the new icon, but it acts the same as the previous version on my mac. :(

  6. A great idea, Jon, but it’s not working very well at the moment. One of your rules, Rule 3, states:
    “You can only share items that ship from and are sold by Amazon.com (not third party merchants). This is usually indicated under the “In Stock” message just below the price. Don’t worry, most items on Amazon qualify for sharing.”

    Well, I clicked through to Amazon on 3 links and only one of those was for a product sold AND shipped by Amazon.

    In Stock.
    Sold by Firemall LLC and Fulfilled by Amazon.

    In Stock.
    Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.

    In Stock.
    Ships from and sold by PowerDigital247.

    Hmmm… maybe a rethink is required.

    Regards,
    Nick

    • The great majority of Amazon items are sold directly by Amazon. That’s why the database is able to grow so large so fast (there are more than 3,000 shares in there now). So just keep trying.

      • Hi Jon, I wasn’t questionning the fact that the majority of items are sold by Amazon. I was merely making the point that you don’t appear to be enforcing your own rule… “You can only share items that ship from and are sold by Amazon.com (not third party merchants)”

        Regards,
        Nick

  7. So that’s the design you are gonna go with?

  8. Good luck Jon

    I was hoping someone would start a ‘warrior Special offers’ for consumer products.
    Your sharewith.me is a step in the right direction.

    I guess for me as a seller my Kindle book with a special discount might get picked up. – tips on how to make a ShareWith.me special would be appreciated

    George

  9. This is definitely interesting and new. I can see this catching on BIG TIME.

  10. Hi Jon, as you seem to be responding to comments here, I just wondered if you could check the email I sent to your @yahoo address? Kind regards, Rob

    • All email sent to my yahoo address automatically receives a response saying I don’t check that email address and to put in a ticket at my help desk for support (www.AskJonLeger.com).

  11. Hi Jon,

    Amazing project. My suggestion, as someone above also suggested, try to make a better web design. You mentioned craiglist, but who knows how many new people would have promoted something on craiglist if it had a more attractive design. I’m a web designer / programmer myself and have noticed over the years that people tend to trust more vanguardist designs than old-basic-html designs, no matter the niche.

    Amazon, craiglist, etc., they don’t have nice graphic designs, but they probably don’t need it because their brands are already very well positioned. Even here in Mexico, almost anyone knows and buys from Amazon since they ship almost anything to my country.

    Last, I’m VERY concerned and worried. You are probably the ONLY ONE left I blindly trust, learn from and follow everything you say concerning SEO and Article writing. I hope you really mean you’re not completely going away from SEO and IM but just trying other business models. Besides, I owe most of your programs and love to see you updating them frequenlty, always up to date with Google.

    Ok enough said, all the best Jon! :)

    Sergio

    • I agree about the design. It looks a bit like a website someone threw up there just to glean some quick advertising revenue. This sounds like a great idea, and while I believe it would still catch on with the current design, a more professional design would make it LOOK more reputable…just my two cents :-)

  12. What constitutes the “best” deal? Just price? What about free shipping, return policy, etc. -

    • Kimberly raises an interesting point! We all know there are sellers out there who APPEAR good value until you realize that the postage is over-inflated. Also, what about seller rating? Maybe for the integrity of your website, you should only include sellers with good rating? I don’t know how easy that would be to do, but it’s worth considering ;-)

  13. This is a great idea. But at present it is available to US residents only. Please make it available to all the people globally.

  14. I like it Jon well done. Maybe add a bit more info about the daily winner (people like to see themselves up in lights) such as their photo, favourite whatever, big desire etc.

    Also a list of recent winners could be good… just keep that incentive fresh.
    well done – Martin

  15. Boulder Dash! I just signed in and found that it applies only to residents of US. Well I live in Europe. Will you open this for non-US citizens in future?

  16. Jon, the concept is amazing and I wonder where all the ideas you have come from. I will try it out and possibly win an Amazon gift card. By the way, do you have any of your products on Amazon? I would have liked to use the gift card to buy one of your products. That is if I am lucky enough to win one.

    I am off to sign up.

  17. Interesting idea John. All the best!

  18. Really good idea I can see that it would save people a lot of time as well as getting good deals from Amazon.

  19. BIG HINT: regarding the design… mimic Amazon itself ;)

  20. Also, include a viral component here.. “share with 3 friends and get additional blah blah” … strong incentive and folks WILL share.

  21. Concept is great, design sucks big time Jon, invest some serious money into modern 2.0 design, choose the right colors to engage – psychology of colors. May your project take off though, all the best!

    • I’m actually having a redesign done. Should be ready and up in a day or two. I’ll have that finished before I do an ad push in Facebook.

      But honestly, have you looked at Craigslist? Design is important, but value matters a lot more.

      • Craigslist… you may be right :) but I’d test test test.. talk about “kaizen” marketing.. improve all the time.

  22. Wow great idea, I think it’s definitely worth your investment and probably pushing some Facebook ads like you mentioned to accumulate more traffic beyond your email list quickly… I think it’s a great idea in a non specific IM niche on your part to diversify a bit your projects, good luck!

  23. Really interesting idea John. I believe this could be a successful venture for you if you are able to reach critical mass where enough deals are coming in daily and enough users are clicking though. Do you have an estimate on how long before the site breaks even since you will be having a $3,000 + monthly burn?

    • All it needs is about 1,200 users spending $50 a month or so on Amazon to break even. That shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. I’ll be doing a big Facebook ad push for this, which is something I don’t do often. In this case, the save money/social aspect should do well via Facebook.

  24. That is an interesting concept. I have also tried (with some success) stepping outside of the Internet Marketing lines from time to time with varying amounts of success.

    Tim

  25. Hey Jonathan. Good idea. When you mentioned sharing, I thought you were talking about people sharing their deals on Facebook or Twitter, for example, and that would get a vote somehow. Wouldn’t that be a smarter way to get your aff link out there? Or is Direct Linking not allowed for Amazon?

    • I’m actually working on having the system do a “sharing” action via Facebook as well. But having once place where all of the deals are available for browsing and searching (imo) is vital.


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