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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: [tweetable]”99% of the time, the problem isn’t the campaign, it’s the affiliate…”[/tweetable]
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.