I don't have a swimming pool. Therefore it stands to reason, I don't have a swimming pool ladder. I know nothing at all about them, but apparently there are a lot of choices!
For example, there's the "Blue Wave Simple Step Grand Entry System with Gate." You can research that if you'd like, but there's about a 0.000001% chance you're in the market for one at the moment.
And guess what? I sold one a couple of days ago. And I'm not a salesman. At all. It was this one...
The price? $541.73. And the commission I earned from the sale was $21.67.
The funny thing is, I don't know who bought it. I don't know where they live or why they needed the one with the gate. But Walmart is now going to pay me for the sale.
So here's the story, and why it matters so much to online entrepreneurs...
I'm not a salesman, I'm a pastor. My wife and I planted a church five years ago that started meeting in a movie theater. Movie theaters work great for worship services except for one problem. They don't have baptistries.
We once spent $2,500 on a portable baptistry thanks to funds donated by some very kind-hearted people, but it didn't last. So we bought a big cattle trough, but it proved to be rather space-consuming and difficult to use.
Eventually we found the perfect solution. It's an Intex portable spa. It costs less than $400 and comes with everything you need in a single box. It inflates, includes a heater, and even pumps air through itself to make bubbles (we don't use those during baptisms).
I know a lot of church planters and pastors looking for similar solutions. In fact, using KWFinder, I discovered that 1,400 people per month are searching for portable baptistries, and the top results are all companies that charge $2,500 or more for actual portable baptistries.
So here's where blogging get's fun. My goal isn't to sell pool ladders or even to sell portable baptistries or hot tubs. Know what my goal is?
Solve a problem.
And the problem is, 1,400 people are searching for a solution and are usually led to very expensive answers. I know something that works better and costs less money.
So I blogged about it. I won't publish a link to it here. Instead, Google "portable baptistry" and pretend you're in the market for one. My blog post will magically appear on the first page in the top few results. That part is purposeful. SEO is something of which I'm an avid student.
And it has worked. I've sold a few portable
baptistries spas and earned enough commission to pay my cable bill.
What does any of this have to do with selling pool ladders?
Apparently they didn't need that, but they did need a pool ladder, which probably (this is an educated guess) appeared in the "related products" section on Walmart's site because they use re-targeting (again, guessing, but it's a strong hunch).
Because these folks had been searching for the best pool ladder, Walmart had stored a cookie on their computer so that when they came back to Walmart's site, they'd see ads for more pool ladders for relevance' sake. It's a genius way of selling.
Then, when I referred them to Walmart's site again and they clicked on my link, a cookie was stored on their computer telling Walmart that if they bought anything for three days after clicking my link, it was thanks to my awesome salesmanship.
THAT's what building niche sites and blogging for income is all about. It's not about scamming people into an endless marketing loop of "how to make money by buying my money-making product which tells you how to make money by selling this money-making product to other people hoping to make money..."
It's about solving problems.
And there happen to be lots and lots of companies who hope that you will blog and solve problems and point people to better buying choices so that they can sell products and pay you a commission.
Then, you just have to do it over and over and over again.
Be helpful, that is.