99% Of The Time The Problem Isn’t The Campaign, It’s The Affiliate…

Like everyone else, I struggled with online marketing for years before I did well.

I installed a banner ad toolbar on my browser and only made a few pennies. I wrote thousands of SEO articles on Tumblr, Blogger and Weebly and they all got shut down. I copied an ebook and sold it on Adwords for a week before they original author had my site closed by my web host. I failed on all of these things.

It sucks when nothing works, especially when other people are doing so well and I blamed myself. It took me a long time to be able to look back and realize what was going wrong.

I wasn’t failing to due a lack of work ethic or discipline. (I was working 12 hours a day). I was failing because I was doing affiliate marketing wrong.

I was making every mistake I could make, the same mistakes almost everyone makes in the beginning. After I was able to fix those mistakes I got much better at it and things turned around.

If you’ve been busting your ass to do affiliate marketing but still aren’t making any money, here are some of the mistakes that I used to make, maybe they will help you too.

  1. You read more than you act. It’s natural to want to understand every aspect of the industry before spending any money. But there is so much information out there that it can turn into a black hole. You could spend years studying how to swim, all the different strokes, but you’re not a swimmer until you jump in the water. There’s nothing wrong with educating yourself, but realize that continuous reading costs time and makes no money. The best way to get educated on how online marketing works is to launch a campaign.
  2. You put toys and tricks over fundamentals. Affiliate marketing and the toys that come with it can be a lot of fun. But only a few things are necessary to get started. Offers, ads, landing pages, traffic sources and a tracking. Don’t waste your time on spy tools, multivariate split testing scripts, automation software etc. until you have a working campaign. Focus only on offers, ads, landing pages traffic sources and tracking. You can play with the toys later.
  3. You expect it to be easy. Most people quit because they start with an unrealistic expectation that they can set up their first campaign, make a bunch of money and then go to the beach all day. When that doesn’t happen (it never does) they think the whole thing is a scam and go back to their day job. Start with the expectation that this is a lot of work and you’ll have a much better shot at lasting long enough to reap the rewards.
  4. You work in a vacuum. Most people around me didn’t understand what online marketing was, so I worked alone for the first few years. It wasn’t until I found a friend (an affiliate manager) to talk to every day that I started to do well. Then I built a small crew of people I met at conferences and things really took off. Find some people you can talk to on a daily basis. All it takes is one. Find them on forums or at conferences. They’re everywhere.
  5. You’re waiting for something. I remember thinking that if I could just find the secret, meet the right person or join the right forum that everything would be revealed to me. I was waiting for Superman to come and tell me where the hidden path to online riches was. It turned out it was right in front of me, all I had to do was start walking. If you’re waiting for someone or something to happen to make all the stars align – you can stop right now. Pull the trigger on a campaign, join an affiliate network, launch a site. Don’t wait for something, do something.
  6. You have no goals. Initially my goal was to “make a bunch of money online”. I had no idea how to do it I just wanted to do it. So, I spent years jumping from one thing to the next, failing at each one. Then in 2008 I wrote down some goals. I wrote out exactly how much money I wanted to make, exactly how I was going to do it and exactly how much time it was going to take. A year later I had accomplished all of the goals 10x. If you want things to change, take an hour and write out your goals.

If you can fix these common mistakes, you’ll definitely increase your chances of success 10x or more. Fixing these problems changed things for me – and I hope they do for you too.

I’ll close with some advice someone gave to me in 2008 that changed my life.

He said: "99% of the time, the problem isn’t the campaign, it’s the affiliate..."

At first, that really pissed me off. Then it sunk in. I was the problem – and that was a good thing, because I am the only part of the campaign that I have total control over.

If things still aren’t working the way you want them to – take responsibility, take action, take control.

  • Thien Kai Wei

    Thanks for this Malan, a good dose of juice to keep going. Your post is a relief and an inspiration.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      glad to hear Thien. thanks for reading

  • http://mediagenious.com Hakim

    Pretty awesome post malan as always!, I wanted to ask you about some recommended traffic sources for newbies besides POF, big enough to make 100$+/day? & what s the best to start with ppc,display…, note that i have allready lunched 3 compaigns (7search..), but i have lost 200$ & made 30$ back , any feedback would be appreciated, aaaand thanks again for the awesome webinar man toook alot of notes 😀

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Hakim. 7search is a waste of time in my opinion. For ppc / display I’d try FB, Adwords or Bing. Those are 3 big sources with quality traffic. May as well start with the best.

      • http://mediagenious.com Hakim

        thanks alot Malan for the response got my 3 landing pages ready, gona set up a bing ads account when I wake up, & lets get this compaign up & running , thanks alot man (y) Have a great day 😀

  • Zach

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Hey Zach – thanks for tuning in.

  • samrex

    Loved when you hit me with that advice on the q&a too, thanks for that man. I made a .50 cent conversion today which seems silly but was a big milestone for me 🙂

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Hey Sam – just figure out a way to spend .25 for every .50 conversion and you’ve got it made.

      • samrex

        Long way to go for that but I did get the lander Ctr up to about 18%… Just need to dial the traffic in now and find the converting targets… Man what a fascinating journey. Affmktg makes everything I’ve previously known about IM almost irrelevant and I’ve worked on some pretty intense and successful projects. This feels more like a crazy science.

  • Charlie

    I read somewhere that …”A Goal is a Dream With a Deadline”. (Maybe it was on your blog, Malan. I can’t recall.) But you’re right. We need goals. Yearly goals. Monthly goals. Weekly goals. Daily goals. Write it down on a post it and scratch them off as you accomplish each one. Keep keeping tabs. I don’t mind daydreaming at my dayjob especially when the boss ain’t around. But in this internet marketing thing of ours …we can’t afford it.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      yeah Charlie – dream on your boss’s time. Execute on your own. I like that.

  • http://www.shivarweb.com/about Nate Shivar

    Thank you for this Malan – especially #1! I’ve been drastically paring down who I read to only the best so I’m actually acting on everything I learn (and if I can’t act on it, I probably shouldn’t have read it).

    Off to get this landing page up. Thanks again!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      nice Nate. Yeah man I have to limit myself all the time. There’s so much to read and so many opinions out there that you can read forever. I try to focus on a few blogs that give me more than enough info/inspiration for a lifetime.

  • dylan

    thanks for your posts here, i read most posts of them and inspired by your posts.

    What about try 50onred for a start, i heard that leadimpact is not good as before.
    seems we can use intex and ppv traffic in 50onred.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey dylan – you can start on 50onred, i’ve never used them. i try to focus on higher quality, gigantic traffic sources.

  • Petre Veluda

    Hey Malan, great article once again. I find that after you pass the newbie mentality of how things actually work (BTW – reading a lot of books on self-improvements, business, marketing really helps), then you find yourself all alone so it’s vital to find people to talk to, people that speak your language.

    P.S. I still haven’t finished watching your recording from Sunday. Thanks for leaving it there as time difference is a pain in these cases. Hope you’ll keep organising these meeting from time to time.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      hey Petre, yeah i’m going to do them whenever I have time. it was a blast.

  • http://SonnyLanorias.com/blog Sonny Lanorias

    Awesome bro! Great post! Thanks for sharing….. I can relate 🙂 Cheers!


  • Mr Yaz

    Hey man, great post Malan! These points make a lot of success!