WSO Promotions: How To Assess Quality And Relevance

As a marketer, an important part of my income comes from promotions I make to my own email list. That should come as no surprise to anyone.

On the other hand, as someone who, since 2007, has been selling a product that warns people not to buy what they don't need (the Laser-Focus Shield: the ideas behind that grew into my IPMA Program), I sometimes found myself in a dilemma about making promotions.

Here is how I have resolved this:

  • I have no control of what lists people subscribe to, so people WILL get many uncompromising promotions of products they don't need, and they WILL buy them anyway.
  • When people buy products from someone else, and I'm offering a bonus, they miss my bonus (as has happened recently with the Gplus Conspiracy Code promotion.)
  • When other people promote products, 90% of the time they simply assume everyone needs the product: when I promote a product, 90% of the time I am very clear about who it is relevant to.
  • More than once, I've promoted products and made it so clear who it is and is not relevant to, I've had people reply back and thank me for saving them money, having been tempted by many people promoting the product heavily.

On the basis of those points, I will continue to promote products, but I am going to apply very clear criteria when I do.

Obviously, I don't know what everyone's agenda is, so I cannot know what may or may not be relevant for each individual (although I DO help people figure that out for themselves via my IPMA Program). I will say what type of people the product is relevant to, and that's as far as I can go on that front.

But as for the quality of the product/service itself, these are the criteria I am now applying (in general, and more specifically, to WSOs). You can apply them yourself as well:

  1. The purpose/functionality of the product/service must be very specific

    and so it should be obvious to you whether or not it aligns with your Agenda. (Of course, you need to know what your agenda is in the first place! If you don't, sign up here!

  2. The author must be an established and recognized expert in their field

    Sometimes newbies can create excellent products – but you're taking a risk with your money and, more importantly, your time.

  3. The product/service must be something that will be available indefinitley

    If it is being sold as a WSO, it may go on to be sold outside the WSO forum – that's OK. What is not OK is something that is available for a short time, and then it's taken off the market completely: this is the ultimate scarcity tactic and should be regarded a big red light. You want to be sure you're going to get good support and updates/enhancements, where necessary. If there is no ongoing income stream for the author, this is unlikely to happen.

  4. Software products should be based on software which the author has developed for his/her own use

    When the author has had the product built to meet a real need which they had themselves, you can be pretty sure that it does what is really needed (as opposed to what some designer thinks might be needed), and that the user interface is at least acceptable.

  5. Products/services from people who's main income is WSO development need special justification

    Sometimes you can find good products from WSO-selling experts, but research for competing products and alternatives is worth doing.
  6. The product/service must be original and developed by the author

    – as an expert in that field. Don't buy products based on PLR where the seller is claiming authorship. This is disallowed for WSOs, but sometimes it gets through: and watch out for it elsewhere. (Note that I do occasionally sell PLR products, but I never claim authorship.)

  7. It must provide excellent value for money

    Of course!

And for good measure, reasons to buy/promote a WSO do NOT include:

– There is a massive buzz about this

– Lots of big-name marketers are promoting it so it must be good

– 2,418 people bought it in 24 hours, so it must be fantastic

I hope that's useful to you.

You can see the list of products I am compiling that meet these criteria on the Recommendations tab.

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4 thoughts on WSO Promotions: How To Assess Quality And Relevance

  • Alex, I'd have to disagree with #2. The only reason not to promote a newbie product is if the product is bad. If you just don't promote it because they're not established, then that's an indication that you're not looking at the product itself when making the decision.
    I do agree with the other points you've made although an exception to #4 should be allowed for someone who has developed software for another person who is active in the niche. But I agree that the criteria be that it was developed to meet a legitimate need and is being used.
    All in all, a good list of criteria. And I like the fact that you always give a heads up to who might find a product useful and who likely wouldn't. That is the kind of integrity I like to see!

  • Bill, you've raised an excellent point with your argument against #2. I do think that being a non-expert should be a warning to proceed cautiously; however, it should not be an automatic disqualifier. But given the propensity of people in our industry to become self-pronounced "experts" after 30 minutes of WikiPedia research, I think there is some validity in Alex's statement. And it's also possible that the newcomer has years of experience but has only recently heard of the Warrior Forum, etc.
    Hence I propose #8: Ensure they have a good refund policy with a track record of actually honoring refund requests. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this, Alex.

  • Bill, Tom – thanks for your comments.

    In reality, I would not be completely dogmatic about any point.

    By "newbie" I really mean new to whatever it is they are selling, not new to the Warrior Forum. Someone with a relevant background is going to make it known in the sales letter.

    For me (and for many people), the real issue is the time that can be wasted on an inadequate product, not so much the money. There have been days where I've worked through (bought and evaluated) three products before I found something that I felt comfortable promoting.

    Personally, I want criteria that will maximize the chances of my finding excellent products that won't need refunds (which is why I don't include that as a criterion).


  • Alex, this is good. I particularly like #1 "it should be obvious to you whether or not it aligns with your Agenda. (Of course, you need to know what your agenda is in the first place!)"
    Know what you need, an I would add: (unless it is something permanent like your IM-Index) get good products that you will actually use in the near future.. because things change fast.
    There are fashions in Internet Marketing… Recently, I was watching all those courses about better or worse ways to create backlinks  – but of course, Google is watching them, too, and changed its policy accordingly. So I would add to the list: beware of fads. Stick to creating solid useful content for your customers, offer good useful products, and do not believe in shortcuts.
    For products you intend to promote to your list, I agree even more. Check them out first, and make sure the service is good. I've had really bad experiences with people who won't answer tickets… Those, I will not promote!
    Thanks, Alex, for your useful pointers!

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