It’s about time that somebody tackles the loaded question, “What is affiliate marketing about?” I call it a loaded question because people get involved with affiliates for a host of reasons- and not all of them are the right ones.
Who’s interested in making money from the comfort of their own home? Who wants to earn money while they sleep at night? I’m sure that an entire audience would raise their hand if they were asked if either of these things sounds appealing. Wouldn’t you?
However, many people find themselves skeptical in this arena due to a couple of decades worth of scams, false claims, failed attempts, and hyped up schemes. When you’re trying to recruit for or expand a legitimate affiliate marketing plan, breaking through people’s presuppositions due to previous (bad) experiences is the most difficult challenge for affiliate marketers.
On the flip side, the person interested in becoming an online affiliate could easily fail due to not having a clear idea of what this industry is all about. Perhaps they’re getting involved for all the wrong reasons. To clarify what online affiliate marketing is all about, let’s remove some presuppositions off the table.
Affiliate Marketing is Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme
Some people hit a rough patch in their finances and think they can jump into online affiliate marketing to make a quick buck. Yes, I’m sure it’s happened to a fortunate few, but when it does, it’s the exception- not the rule.
I learned this the hard way several years back after losing my job of over 20 years. I thought I’d jump in and get my feet wet and start making money in no time through affiliate marketing online. It wasn’t long before I realized a couple of things…
It takes more effort and work than what’s typically advertised, and more often than not, it takes quite a while before you start to see any real money coming your way- assuming you stick to it.
Bad Decisions Tarnish your Reputation as an Online Marketer
Some people wind up making the worst decisions possible after having established themselves in an affiliate situation. Every social outlet that they may have been involved with suddenly becomes meccas of free advertising and self-promotion.
Spamming affiliate services does nothing but leave a sour taste in the mouths of your followers. Most people know this, but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all either known “that person” or have been “that person” from time to time.
Without having a proper grip on what online affiliate marketing is all about, you’ll fall into the trap of spamming your way into a bad reputation. Eventually, you’ll suffer from a lack of trust between you and your irritated followers, regardless of the platform or how great of a product or service you’re pushing.
Half-Measures Kill Progress in Online Marketing
There are circumstances where experienced marketers will go out on several different limbs, following instincts that come with a successful career in this field.
Some people are successful enough to offer their methods to others for a fee. Creating programs that give all of the proper steps someone would need to reach a measure of success with little to no experience.
There are some solid programs and courses out there, but here is where the problems come:
When the inexperienced user or student only follows a few of the steps given, rather than following them all to the letter. Skipping steps and thinking some are unnecessary might untie the whole package in the long run.
When taking any course or following any set of instructions, half measures will either cripple earnings or wind up costing you money. Who likes putting effort into something to earn an income, only to lose money? Nobody does, yet it happens all the time when eager startup marketers step over instructions given by experienced marketing professionals.
So, what is Online Affiliate Marketing?
Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way let’s directly answer this question. Literally speaking, Online Affiliate Marketing is the process by which one earns a commission by selling someone’s products or services online. That’s the literal definition (at least the most literal layman’s definition).
But as stated above, it is more than that. Online affiliate marketing is a business- your business. It is a means by which you can earn an income measured by what you’re willing to put into it, just like any other type of business startup.
The sooner new arrivals to this field understand that they’re creating their own business, the better their experiences will be. Though many people enjoy online marketing, it isn’t a hobby, and it should be performed with a business mindset.
This isn’t to say that you’re not thinking of it as a business if you’re not working at it 10hrs a day. If that were the case, why not just find a brick and mortar job? I’m saying that treating marketing efforts as a business rather than a hobby will yield more predictable and desirable results.
Training only Helps
As with any profession, business, or specialized activity, it is wise to be trained to minimize costly mistakes. Also, proper training will save you a boatload of time and effort.
You need to know what you’re doing, or at the least, listen to someone else who does. One great example of someone who is sharing his experiences and successes in online affiliate marketing is John Thornhill.
He’s come up with a course that will help people know what to do, how to do it, for who, and when. For people who are fresh to the affiliate arena or have been thus far unsuccessful, it would be a great program to check out.
This is only one example, however, and others are similar. Training not only helps you to know what to do, but a good program will also tell you what to avoid.
Like we already talked about, it’s not difficult to make yourself a nuisance to people, nor is it difficult to get marks against you when it comes to places like Google or Amazon. So, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. This can be summed up in a term- best practices.
Best practices don’t come naturally but must be taught.
With a strong foundation that comes with training, a proper mindset about the business that you’re building, a strong work ethic, and personal reasoning that is realistic and practical, you’ll embody what an online affiliate marketer is all about.
This is a guest post from Larry Stephens if you would like to be considered for a guest post please contact me.