Blogging, digital courses, books or products, webinars, seminars, teleseminars, list-marketing, JVs, advertising, affiliate marketing?
And, the answer I’ve found is…the one you’re most drawn to.
Many different models work, but each one also takes time and most people try one for a few weeks, fail at making a jillion dollars, then move on to something else.
Well, over the last year or so, I’ve become really interested in the affiliate marketing model.
But, I’ve always had mixed feelings about the world of affiliate marketing. There’s so much bad information out there and so many questionable products, scams. really bad ebooks and courses. I know, I’ve bought most of them (research, lol).
I got a review copy (yes, yes, I didn’t pay for it, okay). I read it, and took notes. They’ve shared exactly the information and step-by-step, BS-free approach I’ve been searching for to prep me to enter the affiliate marketing world (which I plan on doing in the very near future). And, what I really enjoyed is that they went a layer deeper and got into the psychology behind each step.
But, as you guys always know, if I’m going to share something with you, I like to offer more than just a quick review.
So, I tracked down Nick, where’s he’s currently living a location-independent lifestyle in Peru and asked him some questions about the world of affiliate marketing that I’ve always wondered about.
Here’s what he said…
1). What are the three biggest mistakes you see people making when trying to start an affiliate marketing biz?
Great question, the biggest advice I can give new affiliates are as follows:
- Avoid analysis paralysis - This is where most affiliates get hung up and spend weeks or months researching before they even get started. This is common because in the affiliate industry there are so many ways to be successful it is hard to offer a concrete example that will work for everyone. That said, I find it is better to teach people the dynamics of the marketplace so they can find their own angle for success.Trying to follow someone else’s strategy won’t always work but if you can see the forces that shape the industry you can develop your own strategy for success.
- Get Started - This plays into the first question. Most people in the affiliate industry attribute their success to persistence and just getting started. You can read all you want about affiliate marketing or any business, but until you actually take the first step none of your research matters.
- Aim High – This is a major mistake I see affiliates making, even I made it when I first got started. My first successful affiliate website was about a popular fish… yea you read that right… a fish. I spent about a month working on it and while it was a great learning ground and was profitable (~$100/mo), if I would have aimed higher and targeted a bigger industry I would have a lot more to show for my effort. To this day my biggest successes can be attributed to aiming high.
2). As an affiliate, how important is it, if at all, to have a personal connection with the topic area, community or solutions?
I always recommend people chase an industry that they have experience in or are extremely passionate about. In the book I give an example of someone who had a ton of experience in the insurance industry yet he wanted to chase the WordPress theme market. While I can tell you first hand, the WordPress theme market is profitable, it isn’t nearly as lucrative as the insurance industry. I told him there really was no “right answer” it all came down to how lucrative of a market he wanted to play in.
If you are passionate or have experience in any professional industry (law, real estate, insurance, etc) those markets are extremely profitable. If you are passionate about other things (biking, golf, crafts, yoga, or even programming) there is still money to be made though the market is smaller.
The bottom line is this, you can make affiliate marketing work in almost any industry, however you have a trade off. Inherently the “fun stuff” often pays less than the “professional stuff.” The decision up to you, are you trying to create another job within your current industry or are you trying to turn your hobby into a source of income? Both are personal decisions and neither is wrong.
3). Realistically, to make a family worthy living, how many hours a day would you need to work on your biz?
As with any industry the longer and more experience you have the easier it is. Currently my business partner and I work under 10 hours a week on affiliate projects and there are times we go weeks without touching our existing projects. That said you can’t start out that way, you need to ramp up your business.
If someone started today and passionately chased their industry of choice as a “side hustle.” I would give them 3 months to paying most mortgage payments if they followed a solid blueprint and wrote profitable content (covered in the book). Within 6 months to year of serious work, most affiliates are making full time money, of course this is relative to the industry.
4). What are your thoughts on putting all your eggs in one affiliate basket, niche or what you call micro-brand?
I am pretty scatter brained and over the years I work best when I get “the fire” to work on a project. As with any business there are some boring parts to getting a new project up and running. For me, I typically launch two projects around the same time. When one gets less exciting, I have the other one to focus on. This will cycle on and off until both projects are running on their own.
As for industries, I would recommend picking two related industries, say Car Loans and Car Insurance. I would then build out both until I feel they can cook on their own and cross promote as needed. I would say for beginners, pick one industry you are passionate about and when you begin to fizzle, instead of taking a break (giving up) build a related site where you can continue to grow your audience.
5). You talk mainly about building your affiliate biz with organic traffic and say paid traffic isn’t something that’s so great for newer affiliates? Tell me a bit more about why this is true..
Paid traffic is a double edged sword, you can make a lot of money or you can lose a lot of money. I recommend beginners to work on organic traffic first because it gives them a route to build an audience which has long term value.
In order to sell a product as an affiliate to paid traffic, you often need a irresistible offer or too barrow a lot trust from another source to make the sale. With organic traffic, making the sale is often much more straight forward because you already have the viewers trust.
6). What about paying others to write for you? Can the economics of this still work?
When I am first starting out on a site, I always do the writing myself until I get a feel of what works and what doesn’t. From there I may find a writer and put them in charge of content and check back regularly.
For new affiliates I recommend the same strategy, write your core content yourself and find out what people want to read. From there use Textbroker.com and place direct orders to find writing on the cheap. When using direct orders you can get a much cheaper rate per word and sometimes can stumble onto awesome writers. Final hint on direct orders – target writers who have written 50-100 texts, they are the up-and-comers and often have the quickest turn around time.
If you have more questions about starting out in affiliate marketing, ask them in the comments below and I’ll see if I can get Nick to check in and share some answers.
[FTC disclosure - I am not an affiliate for this affiliate marketing guide. Here these guys are living the life, traveling the world, being famous and making bajillions and I don't make a dime off this puppy. How friggin' ironic is that?! It's a good thing I like both of them so much. Oh, if you're new to this blog, that was snark, I really do like these guys and wish them only success...even if Nick was looking at beachfront property in Peru when he did this interview. Okay, I feel better now...]
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