Saturday, 14 August 2010
Being an affiliate can at times be lonely, repetitive and a little uninspiring. I reckon everyone at some stage doubts whether this is really for them, not just in affiliate marketing but in life. Sometimes it's easy to question whether there really is a future in what you are doing.
Here's 5 things that are important for me as a sole-affiliate in order to keep spirits high!
1) Keep Learning
If you stop learning you no longer have a thirst for knowledge. It could be as simple as subscribing to an affiliate marketing RSS feed, or subscribing to a range of Twitter users who touch upon affiliate marketing. I read blog posts and listen to podcasts where possible.
I learn all sorts each day as I listen to what a lot of people have to say. Not all of it is useful or relevant but some is, and that's the point.
You can also learn from your own efforts. Unfortunately the best way to learn is to get it wrong. It can be hard to admit that something you have invested a lot of time or effort into just isn't working but long term it could be the best decision you ever make.
2) Mix It Up
If you do one thing day-in, day-out, you'll find you'll quickly get bored. It's the same reason a lot of people leave their jobs. Boredom sets in and the challenge no longer exists.
Make different challenges for yourself. Learn how to make a coding change or spend a day link building and the next content writing. Doing the same thing over and over can eventually be counter-productive.
It could also be that you spend different days managing different websites.
3) Make Friends
Friends can come in all shapes and sizes. Some could be regular blog readers who you email on a regular basis. It could be people you have done favours for (or vice versa). It could even be network executives or account managers. Whilst they are all virtual friends (so to speak), they are people you can have a chat with and can build up a rapport with.
Expo's are often raved about as a great networking event and Twitter admittedly makes it easier to chat to people you never used to before its existence.
4) Money Is Important...
In the words of Travie McCoy, I want to be a billionaire. If I wanted to I could put everything I have into making something a success very quickly. That would be brilliant but I could fall flat on my face.
Instead, I have had to accept that things will take time and patience. Okay I don't have the money I dream of (making an iPad more of a dream) but I have a good quality of life with a wonderful wife and great friends.
I certainly get jealous and envious both of other affiliates as well as Clickbank-type online marketers who have luxury houses, great cars and everything money truly cannot buy. It's easy to get bogged down in a "I haven't got that" frame of mind rather than a "I could have that" perspective.
It just takes a lot of time and patience (or money) - and a lot of work!
5) Walk Away
Okay, perhaps more dramatic than it ought to be but you need to take a break every now and then. Affiliate marketing can eat as much time as you are willing to feed it. Sometimes you need to limit yourself.
It's all about finding a work life balance. Perhaps it's limiting yourself to how much time you can spend on your websites at night or perhaps it's about taking a weekend, full week or two weeks off. Just remember paid employment elsewhere (usually) brings 4 weeks of holidays.
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Have seriously been lacking motivation over the last couple of months. I'm about 3 and a bit months into doing affiliate marketing full-time. I got off to a good start, doing 5-6 hours of productive work a day and I seemed know what I was doing but recently I've been quite patchy and not really been that efficient. This has in turn made me question whether I will actually survive in affiliate marketing in the long term.
Like many affiliates I spend more time looking for the next project rather than focusing my current ones and actually doing something. I go to bed late, wake up later and I think I am lacking the structure that I used to get from the 9-5. This week I hope to change that and try to plan my week a bit better too. The "Humble to do list" will be a vitally important component.
What's a typical day like for you?
Written on Monday 27 September 2010 at 13:29:31 GMT (Permalink)
This is the first comment I have left.
I have been trying to get an affiliate business off the ground for the two years or so and have a couple of sites that rank well (top 1-3) organically for targeted keywords on Google SERPS
However the traffic I send to affiliate window merchants just dosn't convert
I am not looking for a "silver bullet" solution , just some advice on how to start solving the problem.
Any advice appreciated
Written on Monday 04 October 2010 at 15:50:49 GMT (Permalink)
Sat here looking for motivation so I decided to look at my stats on AW. Didn't exactly do the trick as I haven't sold much so decided to click on your link and read your article. I can empathise with a lot of what you are saying. Nothing worse than procrastinating over what to do next.
It is a difficult task to stay motivated as an affiliate especially when taking on a new project as it can be so time consuming and a positive end result not guaranteed.
I have a love hate relationship with affiliate marketing. Like most things it is great when it works out and commissions are coming in but depressing when no one is visiting your site or the merchant's site just isn't converting!
If one can reach a balance between paid work and affiliate projects I think all would be fine. No matter how much research you do on a niche there is always the chance that you just won't make any money!
On that depressing note I will sign off. Thanks for the article I enjoyed reading it.
Written on Monday 11 October 2010 at 11:25:07 GMT (Permalink)
@rosh101uk - Sounds like you've lost your momentum. You got off to a good start but have started to lose interest. It's a common problem but in all fairness my day can vary in tasks and in length. The actual number of 'work' hours is probably quite alarmingly low.
I too have a problem with looking for the next big idea but there's the adage of never having all your eggs in one basket. For some people they have the experience, drive, passion, money and contacts to make any idea a success. For those of us who start off at the bottom and work our way up, life's a little slower. However, making a site a success is about spending time on it. The trick is to have something else you can spend time on. I tried spending all my time on one site and quickly got bored. I now have too many and am scaling back down. It's simply a case of finding out what works best for you.
@Colin Clear - Traffic is quite often fickle. I have sites that can convert relatively easily and straightforwardly with others being a pain in the neck. It will depend upon your website niche and your merchant suitability as to how well the site converts. Personally, I started off promoting loads of merchants assuming the more the merrier. I'm now of the opinion that a select few is better so as to avoid confusing my users.
Try looking at which merchants you would use if you were a customer and whether in actual fact if you landed on your own site would you click out at all? The bad news here is the brands that best convert usually have relatively poor commission rates. A general rule of thumb is the easier it is to get the sale, the lower the commission rate. Sky high commissions are more rewarding but more difficult to achieve, and the retailer has recognised this fact by setting the commission level accordingly.
@Brian Welsh - My stats aren't brilliant but I have plenty of networks like that. The trick is to look at the bigger picture. It takes time to develop an affiliate business to the scale where your account balance looks healthy. Or it takes money (PPC). It has taken me years to get to where I am but I'm not a patch on people like Kieron Donoghue, Jason Dale, Kirsty McCubbin and the likes. They are certainly inspirations and where I would like to be in the near future but for the time being it's a case of plodding along.
Staying motivated is difficult which is why I try and alternate my tasks and days. I tweet and read RSS feeds. It's not work on my sites but it is gaining knowledge. I also occasionally indulge in a bit of incentive chasing in order to add some fun to proceedings.
Having a love/hate relationship definitely sums it up perfectly. For me, creating the site architecture is fun, but adding the content is less so. However, a clever site with no content is no runaway success!
My top tip would be to stop looking too far into the future. I used to do that and worried that my new site wouldn't make millions. I've never seen a fraction of the millions I dream I will have one day. Start with small goals and build it up. Make enough to pay for the hosting. Make enough to pay for hosting and your social life. Make enough to pay for hosting, social life and the weekly shop.... and so forth. Bear in mind seasonality may be in play so you need a year's worth of stats to see where to put your efforts. Also bear in mind the time of the year can affect sales. October may see a lot of hits but no sales as people research Christmas. Conversely, November and December sales to clicks ratio may be exceptionally high. Summer is notoriously quiet as people go on holiday.
It simply takes time and the appreciation that it will take time. Unless you have a sizeable budget to throw into promoting the site of course ;-)
Written on Thursday 28 October 2010 at 10:44:23 GMT (Permalink)
Thank you to all previous commenters.
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