- Business and Employment
PopShops to TurboCharge Your Affiliate Marketing
PopShops - What They Are and Why I Rave About PopShops
Affiliate Marketing has been an uphill struggle for me since Day One, when I decided to dive headlong into the deep end of the AM pool. Every day has been a learning experience, to put it mildly... and every day I would look further into the gnarl of forums, discussions, blogs, AM services, eBooks, and the like.
With very rare exceptions, I would come away with a bad taste in my mouth and the feeling that any progress I had made was backwards.
Then I found PopShops. Life changed. DRAMATICALLY.
For the better, I must add.
First: Write This Down
Keep that handy. It's going to change your life for the better, too.
Before we go further, let me make something perfectly clear... I don't work for PopShops. I don't get commission off of subscriptions gained at PopShops by telling you about it and getting you to sign up. I am an enthusiastic user of PopShops and I've been absolutely thrilled to be a PopShops user both during BETA trials and now that it is released.
UPDATE: PopShops has matured several parts of its interface recently, offering merchant and product lists that show what items are in use with which PopShops stores. This just makes an already wonderful service even more indispensable.
UPDATE - With the addition of a WordPress widget, PopShops integrates beautifully into blogs!
UPDATE - The ability to customize style sheets and have a Buy Now (or similar) button display with each product enhances an already powerful affiliate tool.
Let's Build a PopShop
I'm going to show you just how easy this is
If you are a member of Commission Junction, ShareASale, LinkShare or one of the other larger affiliate networks, you can follow along and build your own shop. Need some motivation to get those memberships rolling? Take a look at the PopShops merchant list and notice the over-40-MILLION products at your fingertips once you do get signed up.
Questions about what to sign up for?
Their FAQ will answer tons of them.
Not sure what to do yet?
Sign up for the Basic program that allows you up to 4 showcases, for free.
Once you've gotten signed up, and have your affiliate IDs in hand, follow me.
Where do YOU stand with Affiliate Marketing?
Make a Product Showcase Display without PopShops
Picture for a moment the work that it might take to put together a 3x3 product display from two merchants (or more) at an affiliate program like Commission Junction. No need to picture it - I'm going to tell you.
Log in, and locate your advertisers that you'll use for the displays. Choose ones that have product links.
Since almost all of the advertisers that have product links have thousands of products, you will have to search for the specific product you wish to display.
Not a psychic, so you can't tell exactly what products the merchants offer and what to search for? Go to their site and hunt down the products, then go back to CJ and enter the searches, one at a time.
Do this nine times - one for each of the products to display in the 3x3 matrix you're putting together.
Now, open up the HTML of the page you want to display this on, and put your table code in place. If you're a CSS hotrod and know how to use the DIV codes perfectly, do this with CSS. (I'm not, so a table will have to do.)
Put each of your product codes into a cell. Save and redisplay the page.
Keep fiddling with stuff, saving and redisplaying until it looks right.
Make a Display with PopShops
Go to Manage your shops and click on New shop at the top of the page. Set your matrix to 3 columns by 3 rows.
In the Search by Keyword box, Type in what you want to include in the shop showcase.
Choose a merchant you've affiliated with on that list.
Click on the ADD button next to the products you want to include in your shop. Watch the products show up in the matrix. Drag them around if you want.
Click on Customize and adjust the look and feel, starting a new style if you wish something beyond the default.
Click on Pop it in to get the code to put on your blog, website, forum, TypePad, Blogger account, etc. The Pro and Enterprise subscriptions offer more flavors. Copy the code and put it where you want the shop to display.
That's it. Seriously.
A Real Example PopShop - One Product Auto Feed
Two modules approaches from completely different edges of the spectrum
After several years of producing PopShops modules for everything from soup to nuts, I've decided to try something completely different - with two new approaches to 'niche' stores using nothing but PopShops.
The first, the UnStore at ShopperLass (http://www.shopperlass.com) appears to have nothing at all in it - and it doesn't! No products show up until you type in what you want - but then, thousands can appear. Try it out!
The second, All the Owls (http://alltheowls.com) has nothing but owls - owls on EVERYTHING! This, too, is produced from one single PopShops module. Product groups are chosen from the drop-in mega menu.
Simple Hides a LOT Of Complexity
What's under the hood is powerful
Just because you don't need to do a lot of work to set up PopShops showcases, don't be fooled into thinking this is a simplistic environment.
Quite the opposite.
PopShops does a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes, and on the surface of what you see is also hidden a lot of horsepower.
When I first started working with PopShops, I was a bit irked that I had to work so hard to find my merchants, UNTIL I discovered that I could easily set up filters to show only those merchants I had affiliate agreements with. It's not a hidden function... it's just that, in my enthusiasm to Go Go Go, I overlooked the functionality.
Customization is a dream. I use showcases in a wide variety of places, and once I established a look, feel, sizing and coloring for one, it was a snap to set up variations of those styles. ADD actually clones the style you've highlighted on the list, so I was able to set up a dozen slight variations on my favorite setup, in a matter of seconds.
With Pro and Enterprise subscriptions, you get AutoFeed. This is reason enough to go with the paid subscriptions, in my opinion. This lets you set up huge multiple page catalogs at the push of a button, with the products on additional pages based on your keyword choices and merchant inclusions.
Lensmaster Technical Note: The PopShops showcase on that page was incorporated using iframe that points to a HTML on my own server. With the removal of iframes, showcases cannot be directly incorporated into Squidoo lenses with that method. However, a picture can still be used to click through to the place where you host a page containing the showcase itself.
How's your Data Feed expertise?
Behind the Scenes at PopShops
Behind the scenes of PopShops are some of the most dedicated people I've met, working some of the strangest hours that human beings can work.
I've worked with some development teams in the past (in fact, I work on one now with our online roleplaying game), and it is rare to find such a dedicated and enthusiastic bunch. I'd name names, but first I'm going to get their permission to do so - so stay tuned.
Jessie Jones, Fearless Leader, CEO and Founder
We know a bit about your background with Microsoft and Expedia. What drove you to start PopShops?
After I had my son around 4 years ago, I knew I wanted to do something where I could have more flexible time with him, so I decided to start building niche websites. I thought I would pick a bunch of fun topics, build a site, monetize...etc. So I started with Pugs.
The dog. That was going to be my first niche. I created a Pug hot or not website and ended up with a ton of photos and ok traffic. But when I tried to start building out Pug gift shops, it was torture. it was impossible to grab the stuff I wanted and I couldn't get an idea of who offered Pug affiliate stuff (except for doing searches on CJ) and then it was hard building the showcases manually...I kept getting typos, and it took forever.
Ouch.. I'm sure lots of our readers can relate to that...
I created this site called PrestoGifto which was a CafePress showcase tool and decided that wasn't enough and that what would truly be useful would be to have a site where I could search across every merchant there is...by keyword.
I met Angel here in Seattle, and he helped me refine the idea so it was something that helped affiliates save time and make money.
Dan Harms, my developer/UI God, also drove the tool and came up with some of the cool features. He and I spent many late evenings with a whiteboard figuring out how things should work.
One of the points that has impressed me the most about PopShops is the wide range of merchants and affiliate services. Any plans to add Performics to this growing list?
Yes. We're excited to be bringing in Performics soon. Every network (as most affiliates know) have their own systems for their data feeds, and we're just tying up loose ends with Performics, but they will be there in time for holiday showcases.
Anything on the horizon that you can tell us about? Summits? Shows? Nifty features?
Well, we're on our way to the Affiliate Summit in Miami and we're very excited about that. We'll be having a usability test there, which will help us measure where PopShops needs work and will help us improve the site. We'll also have a booth there (#42) and be giving demos to affiliates and merchants. Also pens and Magic 8-Balls.
Features? Lots and lots coming...thanks to our beta testers!
Still Doubting? Watch This...
Watch as a three-year-old builds his own bulldozer shop using PopShops. Remember what I said about ease of use? Here's your proof.
Useful, enlightening, handy? Helpful?
Did this overview help you make up your mind to try PopShops?
Feed us with your feedback here!