If you’re reading this, statistically speaking… you probably
- weren’t very good at school
- weren’t necessarily the cool kid
- were somewhat of a dork / nerd
- have the business ambition & energy of a NYC homeless crackhead looking for quick fix
Ok, that was a bad analogy. Couldn’t think of a good one, but you get the point.
If you are reading this blog, i’m sure your story is somewhat similar to Jeremy’s. In fact, that’s why I was drawn to this blog (and even guest posting here) because his story is very similar to mine.
Affiliates get BAD rep – in fact, I’ve heard on blogs that affiliates are the bottom of the marketing pole. The SCUMS of internet marketing that give internet marketing a bad name.
Totally understandable. Often affiliates are nameless faceless SUB-IDs of some shady networks promoting even shadier offers and sometimes downright illegal products that no one with 1/2 a souls would promote to their friends or family.
If you are one of those – hey, why not use that skill to advance humanity? I promise that you are NOT gonna die with all that cash. If you are one, and are completely disgusted by the dark side of affiliate marketing and do not engage in those activities, my hats off to you.
But regardless of your ethics barometer, I must say that affiliates are by far some of the best entrepreneurs I have come across.
1) Compete in Open Playing Field
Affiliates promote other people’s stuff. That’s their job.. and hence the title “affiliate”.
They have no competitive advantage per se – Anyone can promote the same stuff as they do, create (and even steal) people’s landing pages, no proprietary protection that investors ofen seek, no product that can call their “own”, and anyone can buy the same traffic source.. effectively “replicating” any successful marketing campaign.
Some might say that not having a product that has product market fit is a disadvantage: yet when I lived in San Jose, Silicon Valley was littered with startups with failed products (and failed dreams).
I’ve learned from personal failures that in business, distribution can make or break the business. If content is king, then distribution is God almighty.
Despite the lack of “competitive advantage”, affiliates do well because they learn & master the art of distribution , and that’s what they get paid for.
The affiliates that do well often transition to creating their own products & service, like Jeremy and his PAR Program.
2) Pivot Quickly
If you have ever done any paid marketing, you know that out of 10 things you try.. one might be a winner.
Often times, people who create products first (ready fire aim) fall in love with their baby, even though it’s a Frankenstein with lizard vomit all over it.
When they bring the product to market and have a rude awakening that no one wants it, they often fall into self pity and depression, and often times give up because they’ve used their 1-2 year runway on creating something that no one wants, because they create a solution to a non-existing problem.
Of course, affiliates are NO stranger to this. You put your hours and hours into a campaign only to be -100% for the next 3 days.
The ones that persist and keep launching campaigns are the ones that wise up, learn, and profit because they know others are making it work.
3) Learn the Art of Driving & Analyzing Traffic
If you started online marketing 10-15 years ago, you probably only knew about adwords and SEO.
Well, since then, there has been an EXPLOSION of traffic sources that are glad to take your money, and at much cheaper rates than say, search.
Since affiliate marketers have a much tighter restriction (i.e. their pay out is determined by the advertiser, where as the advertiser can pretty much charge whatever he/she feels like to the end customer), affiliates have to learn the art of “closing the sale”.
Usig pre-sell landing pages, maximizing creative CTR, multi-variate testing, channel optimization, etc etc. (i.e. “growth hacking“)
If you attend any entrepreneur “academy” of some sort, none of this stuff will be ever discussed? Why? I have no idea. My guess is that they’ve never done them.
But affiliates live and breathe this stuff 24×7.
So what’s the analogy?
Online marketer is to working out as (successful super) affiliate is to Arnold on Steroids
(… before he got all loose skinned)
Negotiating a payout bump for an affiliate offer can mean the world of difference, especially if your campaign is spending LOTS… only to break even.
Even a $1 bump can mean endless conversions for the advertiser (and yes, there are advertisers stupid enough to kill their own golden goose).
You’d be surprised how many “entrepreneurs” are so damn afraid of asking for what they deserve.
Well, I’m not exempt from this.
That one time I was able to generate $2k from 1 blog post (a very short consulting gig), I was going to ask a lower amount because somehow, I wasn’t sure if I was charging too much.
Then, I said to myself… “how stupid”… why de-value your work & service?
Remember, if you deliver value, CHARGE for value.
You don’t get paid what you’re worth.. you get paid what you ASK for.
5) Outsource / Leverage
Some of the most successful affiliates I’ve met are completely different from the one man shop affiliate guys.
They have a team – team of designers, programmers, media buyers, and even operations people.
Most entrepreneurs have a mindset of “i can do it all” and become good at nothing. (Yes, I do suffer from this and are now starting let things go.. things that I’m great at, but still hate doing).
There’s only 24 hours in a day, the affiliates that make the 99% of the income know that there’s no freakin’ possible way that they can do the work of 5-10 people by yourself.
Entrepreneurs fall into the trap of “do it yourself” and sometimes get pigeonholed.. or miss the “market” because they don’t have the time to look up.
Super affiliates seem to understand well that the only way to grow is to grow your team.