What Bedroom Affiliate Marketers Can Learn From Million Dollar Affiliate Skyscanner

Filed in Affiliate Marketing by on December 26, 2014

Pilot

Earlier this year I took a trip to Brunei.

I spent three weeks on a sun lounger basking in the location independent lifestyle of a freelance blogger.

That mostly involved writing, looking at Monkeys and not drinking (I found it out it was a dry country after I got there).

When the three weeks came to an end I was packing my bag and sorting myself out. I signed in to the online check-in. Only to find my flight couldn’t be found.

Turns out that date printed on the ticket wasn’t the date I was flying back home on. It was actually the day I landed home. Super.

This left me in a bit of a pickle. Because to fly from Brunei to the UK is the best part of $1,600. Not exactly change I had floating around in my pocket.

I went to all the usual places. I even tried to get my money back for missing the flight because if their silly printing system. No luck. It was still the best part of $2,000 to get home.

Until I came across Skyscanner.

They found me the cheapest flights, at the shortest notice, and they saved me over $1,000 on my flights home. And they made it really easy to see what I was getting for my money.

Where the airlines and travel agents gave me the ‘Well, you’re stuck here until you pay us’ treatment. Skyscanner made my life a lot easier. They focused on getting me the best price so I could get home.

Most of all I paid no fee’s for using their system. Just the flights and what I wanted.

The brought me a ton of value. Solved my problems. And gained a customer for life.

And there are a lot of lessons in that for many of you Bedroom marketers out there.

In fact Skyscanner’s ideals could completely change your business model for the better.

It turned a simple flight comparison site into a $778,937,500 business.

So imagine what it could do for yours.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

Affiliate 101: Solve Problems and Add Value

In this article you’re going to learn how to leverage Skyscanner’s system to create a long lasting business with an army of repeat customers.

You’ll cover:

  • How To Add Insane Value to Your Business
  • An Easy Way To Solve Your Customers Problems
  • How To Build Core Values (Built on Value)
  • Tips To Create Value Over The Long Term

If you don’t want to read the rest of this article – and make a much better business for doing it – here’s the key lesson you need to learn:

Solve problems and add value.

Give your audience everything. Fix what troubles them. Give them a reason to come back.

If you want to know just how to do that though, I suggest you read on…

 

Who Are Skyscanner (And Why Should You Care)?

If you have never come across Skyscanner before here’s the rundown.

They’re Google for flight prices.

They remove the middleman and get the best prices at their source. They do all of this for free. And they recover the costs from the other side if they sell you a flight.

Simply put – they’re an affiliate website on a large scale.

It costs their users nothing to do it. It gives them a lot of value. And they’re built around a specific set of problems.

Let’s take a look at what they’re business solves:

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  1. 1. It saves money: They gain nothing by paying for a middleman. It’s just another expense they don’t want. So they don’t have to now.
  2. It saves time: They put all the information in front of you. And you can filter out results or expand your search.
  3. It gives the audience what they want: Airlines look at you as a way to make money. Skyscanner look at you as a person who wants to save their money.

 

And they didn’t stumble across solving these problems because of luck. They came from in-depth research and listening to their audience.

In fact that last part is built into how their business performs:

But why do you care about this?

Simple. Because they do everything your niche site doesn’t.

They’re adding value at every possible point of contact.

They provide an above and beyond service at all times.

And it serves all the people who come to their site – regardless of if they’re going to buy from them or not.

At no point on their homepage are you forced into a sale – unlike most Niche Sites – it’s all about service first, sale second.

 

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Why Value Is So Important

Throughout this article you’re going to read the word ‘value’ a lot. Because it’s a vital component to your business.

But why is it so important?

Because the site with the most value always wins. Hands down. No questions asked.

Everybody who comes to your Niche Site is thinking the exact same thing – What’s In It For Me?

They want content that benefits them. They want products that help them. They to hear their name (or the word ‘you’) used over and over and over again.

So the more value – through information, products, services, and your sites copy – you can provide them with the more likely they are to use you as their go to site.

People don’t shop use Skyscanner because they have nowhere else to go. There are plenty of price comparison sites out there. They go there because they know they’re getting the most value.

And that’s the new approach you need to take with your site.

 

Stop Thinking Sale, Start Thinking Service

When building your Niche Site what’s the first thing you think of?

I can almost guarantee it’s along the lines of, “How can I funnel someone to my products?”.

Which is fine. Because you need to make money. I totally get that.

But do you know what’s more important than the sale? Adding value to your service.

Even if you don’t think your site provides a service, it does. The minute your website has any content on it at all it’s providing an information service.

Instead you should switch your thinking to, “How can I add value to my audience?”

Because that thinking directly leads to sales without you even realising it. Once you prove your value to your audience they’re much more likely to buy from you.

 

The $10,000,000 Question

As a copywriter I learned a question from a great guy called Andy Maslen. I like to call it the $10,000,000 question. Because if you get it right you stand to make a lot of money.

And it’s quickly going to boost the amount of value you add to your customers:

“What keeps your audience awake at 3am?’

Simple. If you can answer that question you’re straight into the heart of solving your customer’s problems.

For Skyscanner that was easy – paying too much money and wasting time on booking flights.

What’s the answer for your niche site?

Here’s some examples to get you thinking:

  • For Nichehacks it’s the frustration of running a Niche Site.
  • For me as a copywriter it’s people missing sales from bad copy.
  • For a nutrition site it’s people worrying about their health.
  • For a fashion site it’s people scared of being out of style.

Once you’ve found your answer solve that problem.

And when I say solve their problem I mean give them the answers. Show them how to solve the problem themselves. Point them in the right direction of other products that can benefit them.

List all the ways that you can provide an insane amount of value to your reader.

Start doing that and your profits will begin to soar.

 

50/50, Phone A Friend Or Ask The Audience?

Always ask your audience what they want. If you cant answer the $10,000,000 as well as you would like go ahead and ask them what they want.

You can do this absolutely anywhere:

  • Forums
  • Facebook Groups
  • Reddit
  • Chat Rooms
  • Twitter

If you can connect with your audience ask them the questions. You can boost the amount of value you add by just asking.

By giving your audience what they feel they need, you service just became much more valuable to them.

Because they will go to you because they know that’s where they’re getting information targeted at them.

The more they feel they learn from you (or stand to learn) the more business you’re going to gain.

And it takes literally less than five minutes of your time to research and find the right answers.

 

The Skyscanner Problem Solving Test

Take a second to look at a page from your Niche Site. Preferably the Home or Sales Page.

Then ask yourself these three questions:

1. Is it audience focused? Do you talk to the reader and offer them something of real benefit.

2. Is it solving a problem? Have you found what keeps your audience awake and solved it with valuable information?

3. Do you cater to the three different kinds of people? There are three types of people who visit your site (see below). And your content should be valuable to all of them.

a. People who want to buy
b. People who could buy
c. People who aren’t going to buy

If you can answer positively to all of these question you’re doing well. If not you need to identify where you’re going wrong and look at how you can add more value.

Which I’m going to show you how to do right now…

 

Have A Core Set Of Values (To Offer Insane Value)

Value is a practice.

It doesn’t start with the customer. It starts with how you conduct your business. And the decisions you make for your business.

Let me give you an example.

Whenever Skyscanner makes a decision for their company they have to ask the question, “How will this add value to our customers?”

If the answer:

  • Brings the price down
  • Makes finding flights easier
  • Gives them more information

They can safely make that decision because it adds value to their customer.

Adding a blog to their site was a good decision because it answers all three questions. They can provide more information and show people how to find cheaper flights.

However if making a change would:

  • Raise the price
  • Complicate their system
  • Reduce the information given

That would be a bad decision. Because it detracts from the value given to their customers. And that’s even if some customers want it.

And making decisions in this way provides insane value to the reader. Because they are always getting the best service possible without them even realising it.

Think of a way you can implement it for your niche site.

If you run a Gut Health niche site for example you would want all your decisions to:

  • Improve the quality of information on your site
  • Give your audience access to the right products
  • Makes their lives easier

That goes for all the decisions for your site. Whether that’s writing a new blog post, setting up a link with a new product or a complete rebrand of your site.

By putting the value to the customer at the front of your mind your decisions begin to become customer focused. And customer focused niche sites make a lot of money.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

Above And Beyond Value To Make Sales

Value doesn’t end at your product.

It’s important to go above and beyond your product every single time. That doesn’t matter if you are a niche site owner, an affiliate marketer or an international flight search engine.

Skyscanner goes above and beyond in lots of different ways. But the main way they do that is through giving you lots of choice.

They could just give you all the flights on the day you want and the end price. But they don’t. Instead they give you the option to change anything you want to improve the value.

That includes:

  • Flight times
  • Layovers
  • On route stops
  • The airline you want to fly with

All of these add up to giving you the best price. And if you were to do them through lots of airlines it would take two hours to search for it all.

But Skyscanner gives you all the information in a nice little toolbar.

 

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This goes above and beyond the service they need to give to their customers. And it’s a lot of hard work for them at the back end. But they do it anyway.

At the end of it all, if they can keep peoples attention on their page (by adding insane value) they’re more likely to purchase the flight through this page.

So the cost and effort of going above and beyond the call of duty is worth it in the long run.

That’s not all they do either…

 

 

Taking It One Step Further…

Skyscanner are, at the heart of it, an affiliate site. They make their money from people buying flights from companies that they are affiliated with.

However, if you look at their business model, you wouldn’t completely believe it. Because they also show flights that they won’t make a profit from. Ones from companies who will pay them nothing for advertising their flights.

In a recent interview, their CEO Gareth Williams said:

"We have affiliate deals so that we take a commission when we refer searchers to book flights on a travel operators’ site. However, we show all the available fights we can, regardless of whether or not we have an affiliate deal with the operator.”

This again adds to the insane value that they offer. You wont see a car dealership promoting the best deal from their competitor down the road.

But Skyscanner disregards this because they want their customers to get the best value from them. Regardless of if they stand to gain or not.

That’s the term ‘ultimate value’ in a complete nutshell.

 

 

 

 

The Above And Beyond Formula

Now you’re probably thinking, “But James, that’s all well and good, but I don’t sell cheap international flights to Spain”.

And you’re right. You don’t sell those. And Skyscanner’s above and beyond system wont work for you.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t another way for you to do it though.

If you were to head into your e-mail inbox you will find someone who has tried to sell an affiliate product to you.

In those e-mails you’ll usually find a statement like this:

 

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Where the marketer (in this case Stuart) is adding extra value to an already great deal. In fact in this promotion he offered a couple of hundred dollars worth of products for a $7 product at the other end.

And it’s value like this that makes you:

  • Become a repeat customer
  • Helps you decide to buy the product
  • Takes away from their own income to help the audience

And that, my friend, is how you add insane above and beyond value to everything you do.

Follow this simple formula:

Original Product + User Targeted Benefits + Additional Valuable Extras = Above And Beyond Value

 

Value – The Ultimate Traffic Generator

You probably think that a company this size has everything they need to succeed online.

But in actuality, they don’t really focus there time on it.

Google seems to be at the back of their mind, because the value they give to the customer brings them a lot of repeat business. People like me, for when they dug me out of a hole in Brunei.

Their main search term is “Cheap flights” which they only rank 2nd or 3rd for (depending on your Google country).

But over 50% of their traffic comes from people directly typing in to return to their site.

Now imagine being in that position. Where people are just typing in to find you personally. You’ve created enough value that people want to come to you.

That you have so much return traffic and repeat business you can totally sustain yourself. Without needing any reliance on Google whatsoever.

Other sites that have done this?

  • Copyblogger
  • TinyBuddha
  • Moz
  • Startup Bro’s

You can forget any of the 4 Most Effective Strategies For Building Traffic if you’re not adding value with any of them. That’s the difference between a successful niche site and a complete flop.

 

Now It’s Your Turn To Create Some Value

Take a long hard look at your Niche Site and be honest about these questions:

  • Are you audience focused?
  • Are you clear on the problem you’re trying to solve?
  • Are you going above and beyond with your service?
  • Are you making all your decisions with value in mind?

The answer right now is probably no. You’re not doing all of these things. Because they weren’t on your radar until eight minutes ago.

So now is the time to take some action and get these implemented into your site straight from the off.

Firstly I want you to commit to adding more value to your site. Simply write, “I want a valuable business” in the comments section and we’ll both silently know that you’re going to do something epic.

Then choose one of the next bullet points that will quickly add more value to your site:

You can do this by:

  • Writing a ‘core value’ question
  • Answering the $10,000,000 question
  • Asking your audience what they want to see
  • Create a way to go above and beyond in your service

And do it. Right now. Go. Do it. You’re about to make your business much more valuable.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 101 expensive affiliate niches click here or the image below)

 

Author Bio: James is addicted to the three C's: Coffee, Copy and Creativity. He uses all three to power his Freelance Blogging business. And you should definitely hire him.

James Johnson
James is a Freelance Blogger from Manchester, England.

He specializes in the topics of blogging, growth hacking and content marketing.

You can read more topics from James by clicking on his name.

Comments (7)

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  1. Ben says:

    This is really awesome Stuart.

    I like the fact that value has been stressed here.
    I am still tweaking my sites as much as I can to add value as I see several other competitors sprouting up.

    Btw, I have a niche site in the travel niche, but am not quite sure if am getting it right as I come from the fashion background maybe we can exchange some emails to see if you can help.

    Thanks

    Ben

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for the kind words on the post 🙂

      Value is incredibly important. You can never have too much of it for your audience or customers.

      I remember when I was a Personal Trainer, years ago, someone said to me, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care". And the best way to do that is through showing the best value possible.

  2. Patricia Santhuff says:

    Truly excellent, James. You wrapped up something I've known and understood but wouldn't have been able to articulate nearly so well -- that is, hadn't thought through at all. And now I don't have to! I can just go implement!

    • NicheHacks says:

      This is an article I wanted to write for ages then I gave the idea to James and he loved it and went out and wrote a better article than I ever could on it.

  3. Hi James, great article, and recommendations.....but I think there are also better webistes and hacks how to get cheap flights than Skyscanner. Skyscanner has much higher marketing budget. Generally if you are flexible than you can save a lot.

  4. Rio says:

    What does bedroom marketer mean?