Friday, August 11, 2006

Coping with Affiliate Marketing Disaster (Article)

Affiliate marketing is a great and easy way to make money online, but things do not always run smoothly. Learning how to cope during times of frustration is critical to succeed.

I have yet to find the affiliate marketer who initially started their first campaign in a matter of minutes, made gobs of money immediately, and sustained that through the end of time. Some affiliate marketing eBooks and programs actually promote that their system is this easy. I admit that affiliate marketing was a bit easier in its infancy, but right now, the demand is great and the rules are a lot tougher. Anyone who says that affiliate marketing is a smooth sailing ship at all times is lying to you.

So far in my adventures of making money online, I have come across two major bumps in the road.

The first major disaster that most of us face is making our first sale. It took me three months and I spent more than $300 until I got my first $7 commission. Then I went another 2 weeks before getting a second $7 commission. I then got 2 sales in a week. Then I got 5 in a week. I finally stabilized at about 3-5 sales per day, averaging about $30 per sale. What is the lesson here? Perseverance! At the beginning, two major things happen for success:

1) You become a smarter and more educated at affiliate marketing. I can look back at the first three months and know exactly what I did wrong.
2) Patience. At the beginning, you are so anxious to make a buck that you do silly things to “make it happen”. For example, I overbid tremendously on Adwords to get more people to my site. Also, it takes time to build successful Adwords campaigns as well as building your SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) to get high positions in search engine general inquires. In time, you will target the right people and the traffic will increase naturally, all resulting in sales!

The second major disaster recently occurred to me. I had build a very stable, income producing website that was making about $100/day and attracting about 300 unique visitors per day. Then it stopped. My uniques dropped to about 100 and my sales virtually went to zero. I then did some research and found that my top 5 position on Google free listings dropped off the face of the earth. How devastating! Months of SEO and work down the tube. I panicked! I went racing for answers. Then I got a nasty virus on my computer which sent me off the rails. Three weeks I spent doing nothing but trying to “fix” my website (and my computer) and nothing seemed to improve. I was ready to second-think affiliate marketing once again…when my sales returned. I did not do anything, either.

This is just a part of the affiliate marketing world. Many people stress “multiple streams of income”, and they are absolutely right! Focusing all of your eggs in one basket is a bit risky. I now run a few campaigns and as one slumps, the others seem to pick up the slack. (Keep in mind, though, that you must get one campaign up and producing income prior to building a second one. This is one of the many mistakes I made at the beginning.)

The moral of this whole story is to stay focused! At the beginning, set yourself a goal and a plan of attack and stick with it. Do not let lack of sales and expenses get in the way of your plan and commitment. And when things do build into something profitable, be prepared for the off-week. Stay with your game-plan and do not let it distract your from you current job at hand. Affiliate marketing gives you a lot of good highs once you get to the top of the mountain, but do not let the subtle lows bring you down to the ground. As the old saying goes, you may need to take one step back to move two steps forward.

- Matthew Bredel

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