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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Monday, August 07, 2006

I Hate Spyware!

What a waste of a frickin' weekend! I was all excited about a new campaign that I was getting close to finishing up and then it happened! First it was one IE window, then 2, then I couldn't close them fast enough. My lower toolbar disappeared and the Task Manager was no longer responding. Firefox started adding new tabs. You could only imagine the explitives that shot out of my mouth!

What happened? Basically, I got lazy over time. I had a version of Norton circa 2004 sort of running in the background. I have not bothered in upgrading it either. I was too good for this. "I'd never download anything malicious". I'm smart! I control what happens with my computer. What an idiot am I...and it is costing me a bundle right now.

Two lessons here:

1) I don't care who you are and how good you are with computers, there is no excuse for not protecting your machine...especially when it comes to a machine that you conduct business on (wasn't that one of my rules about affiliate marketing: treat it like a business?)

2) As awful as an experience this is, I am going to make the most out of it! Just trying to figure out what is going on with my computer, I am learning a lot about anti-virus and spyware software. Do you see where I am going with this? So instead of just upgrading to a new version of Norton, I am spending time learning all about viruses, spyware and the best software out there to protect yourself. I am still trying out a lot of programs, but I am learning that the "popular" programs are not necessarily the best ones. Sure, they may have a lot of features, but when it really gets down to it, I need something that protects me, period! As soon as I find the best programs, I will be sure to pass on the info here.

Now this still does not make me less angry and the a-holes who write this stuff should be in prison. It is also a slap in the face to real affiliate marketers out there. Things like spam and adware just make us look bad.

You know, I can go on for days about how annoyed I am, but I won't dignify the scum of the earth that do this with any more time than they have already wasted of mine.