Part 1 – Are you Industry Trained?
I started in affiliate management in 2003 and I feel that was part of the wild west of the affiliate industry. Those beginning years for me were extraordinary times. Traffic was less restricted, email actually got into the inbox and the offers had impressive conversion rates.
On a personal note those years were also a huge eye opener into how naive I was in the work environment within affiliate networks at the time. I won’t go into details right now or anytime soon. (I’ll publish that someday in my tell-all memoirs after I’m dead and gone.) I will say that being female helped and was more than once implied that if I used being a female to my “full advantage” (get my drift) I could get even more traffic.
The affiliate marketing industry has grown up since those years. I am amazed by how many affiliates themselves have started their own companies and are promoting products they created. Networks have matured and the corporate culture has begun to tame the antics of this once crazy industry.
Yet as much as it has grown, matured and evolved that feminine element seen as a tactic is still prevalent.
And girlfriends, I’m here to help you out!
I overheard the following conversation at a recent conference and I just love the term they used. I feel it really sums up the point I’m trying to drive home here.
The conversation was between two men, who I’ll keep anonymous, and it went something like this.
Man 1: “Did you see that cute brunette.”
Man 2: “Yea, but she’s industry trained.”
Man 1: “No, they just hired her. She’s only been on the job for 2 weeks.”
Man 2: “Oh no way!”
Let me translate for you.
Man 1: “Did you see that cute brunette.”
Man 2: “Yea but we’d never get any where with her because she knows what this industry can be like. She also knows that she will never get anything out of it by doing anything with us so we really have a snowball’s chance.”
Man 1: “No, they just hired her so she has no idea that our advances are empty if we promise traffic and that she will never get business with either of us.”
Man 2: “Oh no way!!!!!”
Industry Trained – The Definition (Laura’s Impromptu Web Dictionary)
Industry Trained: A female in the internet marketing industry that has achieved the knowledge of how to handle herself in a business and social situation that allows her to have fun while deflecting sexual advances in exchange for promises of traffic, networking status or other business related favors.
Non Industry Trained: A female new to the industry that is somewhat clueless about these tactics which opens her up to using her femininity to gain favors that will never come through and will most likely cause her to leave a potential career path.
Shark Tank: A Male dominated gathering
The Bait: You
This is the scenario. A young attractive female is hired. About 2 weeks to 2 months later, she is whisked off to an industry conference. Super excited that she is traveling to an out of town event to bring in more business for herself. First night, there is a networking event, a party lets say. The boss walks her into the party and then he leaves. The only advice he gives is mingle, find prospects, talk to people, giggle. And heads out with a “See ya!”
I know this – because I have talked to many of these young women. I’m there, I’ve been a part of this industry for a while and I can spot them a mile away. I see this scenario play out at almost every event.
Most of the time they are still standing by themselves at the bar looking lost and without a clue. Being the mentor type I am I make sure to say hi. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve started with this phrase “My boss just left me here.”
It’s a simple and effective strategy. When you need to snag a shark – you need bait.
***** Disclaimer – Yes, I am generalizing ********
Before anyone gets up in arms – which this post may or may not do, I’m not here to put anyone down on using strategies to get more clients, affiliates or whatever. Hey, what works – works.
I’m also not saying all men in the industry are like a predatory fish that are highlighted for a week on the Discovery Channel. I can vouch for many men in the industry who are highly respected. Likewise for the women of this industry. Super amazing and intelligent women who would never even consider being in the situations I may imply.
This post is to help the ladies entering in the industry.
There are two points I want to make in this first part that I think are essential to succeed in this industry in general. So here we go:
Know your Shit – Giggles don’t get anywhere
I once had an affiliate call me up and said “you won’t believe what just happened.” He went on to tell me that his new affiliate manager at a certain network had an initial conversation with him. (To protect the innocent we will make up the network name and call it TickTooth.)
I am not making this up, when I tell you this is how it went:
Her: “Hi, I’m your new AM”
Him: “Great, what offers should I be running?”
Him: “Um, so what offers should I run?”
Her: “I’m a blond – giggle”
Him: “Um, Ok”
He asked me, “what do I do with that?” I simply told him to run campaigns with me. I knew what offers were making money. Giggles only get you so far! This industry is about making money. Help make people money and you’ll do well. That’s it – bottom line.
I’m here to help you succeed. I want you to succeed. Women in the industry are strong and amazing and they’ve fought for their status every step of the way. You can do very well in affiliate management and the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to know your shit.
Let me explain.
Numbers never lie. Know what offers you have, what they are converting at with what type of traffic. If you stay to this conversation you will be a step above the rest and don’t deviate from it.
I have transitioned out of affiliate management and worked on the affiliate side of things for awhile. I can tell you that it’s amazing to me, how many affiliate managers at conferences do not know this information for their top 5 to 10 offers.
Yea, you may have to study it a bit – write down this information on an index card but freaken’ know your numbers. Numbers and conversion is what gets you business. Not giggles.
Another piece of knowledge I can bestow to you is to generally know the business.
In affiliate marketing you deal with egos. Some people have big egos and it builds them up to put you down. You are female – so you must be a target. Prove them wrong.
Let me share a story.
I was working a booth at the Meet Market at an Affiliate Summit. I saw an older gentleman walking by the booths and he stopped and focused on a young woman. He proceeded to fire question after question at her. She simply didn’t know the answers and he left her in tears.
Now, this guy was a turd muncher and I’m sure that made him feel good. But it made me feel even better when I fired back at him an answer to every question he shot at me. He asked me traffic generating questions, epc numbers, conversion rates etc. At the end of it all he simply looked at me and walked away.
When I started in this industry, not to age myself, but the only thing online to read was Shawn Collin’s Blog. Thanks Shawn!! I read everything I could on affiliate management, affiliate marketing and online marketing in general. You have blogs like Shoemoney’s and many others offering you insight into traffic generating techniques.
So maybe I didn’t paint a super pretty picture. BUT if you learn the industry, find ways to actually help your affiliates make money I can help you escape the “Donald Trump Trap”
(Watch seconds 36 to 48)
[hana-flv-player video=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/Aw-_x5cYGMs?rel=0&start=36s&end=48s&autoplay=0″ width=”400″ description=”” player=”5″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”true” /]
So whose ready to be industry trained?
Part 2 – Industry Training Crash Course