Affiliate Marketing Is a Team Sport

Affiliate Marketing Is More Than a Collection of Techniques

About five years ago I bought a course teaching affiliate marketing for about $2000. The course covered about everything, starting with the right mindset for success, then how to select a niche, how to find products for promotion, how to build lead magnets and a list, how to make a plan. But the course was leading me nowhere.
Now you can say: If the student is ready, the teacher will be there, and you can turn the sentence round and say “if the student is not ready the teacher teaches in vain”. I was at that time not ready, my mindset was preventing success.
Although that course discussed the importance of the mindset and all technical aspects of affiliate marketing, one vital point was missing. Affiliate marketing is a team effort, it is very hard to earn a substantial and sustainable income as an isolated affiliate marketer.

Let’s Do Some Number Crunching

Here are a few assumptions on which I base the following calculation:

  • You look for a yearly income of about $100,000 per year.
  • You have costs for mailing lists, web hosting, traffic generation of about 30,000 per year.
  • You get an commission of about $3 for each sale through an affiliate link
  • You make 20 sales for every 1000 emails you send out.
  • You promote your recommendations by sending on average 3 emails to your subscribers.

In this scenario you need total revenue $130,000. At $3 per sale this adds up to 43,000 sales per year. to get there you need to send out 2,150,000 promotion emails per year. If you send to every unique subscriber 5 emails per week or 260 emails per year, you need about 8,300 subscribers. If you send 3 emails for each offer, you need to offer to every subscriber 87 products per year.

You can vary the assumptions a bit and come to not so drastic conclusions. But this will not change the big picture.

Isolated Success is Impossible

If you want to be successful you cannot treat each subscriber the same way. A new subscriber who came just in through a free download offer and doesn’t know you at all needs different offers than a subscriber who know you for many years.

I suggest that you probably divide your subscribers into three classes:

  • New subscribers who never bought something from you
  • Subscribers who did one or a few purchases
  • Susbcribers who buy repeadetly based on your recommendations

Each of these classes need different offers. After taking care for some overlap I suggest you need 200 offers per year, or 4 good offers for your subscribers per week. To find four products you can recommend wholeheartedly no need probably review at least 12 products per week, or 2,5 per day if you work 5 days per week.

Your work schedule will look like this:

Daily:

  • Review 2.5 products like ebooks, video courses etc. for recommendation
  • Write three promotion emails per day
  • Drive traffic to lead magnets
  • Review results of your promotion and lead generation system

Ongoing:

  • Set up new lead magnets
  • Grow your knowledge and skills in your chosen field of expertise
  • Grow your authority status in your field of expertise

This is a full time job, and you might be able to do that after you have built a list of of around 8000 subscribers, although chances are that you will still have to prioritize. This might result in promoting some products which are not so good, some sloppy written email promotions, a lack of industry research and a challenge to maintain the size of the list.

But what about the time before your list reaches 8000 subscribers, when the income you generate through your marketing does not yet pay for a living and you can’t put in a full work day into your project? You still have to send out three email promotions per day, find a new product to promote every day and do some research to develop your expert status. But you have only a few hours to do that, because you need also to spend time and energy in another job to pay for your living. Sonds hard to impossible? It is.

The Solution: Burden Sharing

You will not reach your goal just by working harder. If you earn your living with a normal full time job, there is no way to work more than 3 or 4 hours per day for your affiliate marketing project without damaging the quality of your recommendations and content. You have to work smarter. So let’s have a look at the tasks at hand: where can we safe time and effort?

  • List building, setting up lead magnets and driving traffic to them has the highest priority, because a large email audience is what you need to make an online living.
  • Building expertise and authority in your field is necessary. Without that your subscribers will act only in small numbers on your recommendations.
  • Reducing the frequency of promotion emails will reduce your cash flow as soon as your email lists have a few hundred subscribers

But what about reviewing and selecting the offers you promote? What if you need to find instead of 200 products worth your recommendation only 10 products by yourself? You will now research 5 products before you recommend one, and still perform only one product review per week instead of 2 or three per day. If you find 20 likeminded and trustworthy colleagues who share the product recommendations, everyone would have to find only 10 recommendations to reach a grand total of 200. And because 40 eyes see more than two, the 200 recommendations generated by a group are probably richer than the ones you would have found on your own.

The new task schedule looks like this:

Daily:

  • Write three promotion emails per day
  • Drive traffic to lead magnets
  • Review results of your promotion and lead generation system
  • Network with fellow marketers

Weekly

  • Review one product per week

Ongoing

  • Set up new lead magnets
  • Grow your knowledge and skills in your chosen field of expertise
  • Grow your authority status in your field of expertise
  • Find trustworthy colleagues for cooperation

This sounds much better. But there is another major shortcut. What if you could join an alrady existing network of marketers instead of creating one from scratch?

Join a Mastermind Group

It is obviously much more effective to join an existing mastermind group than trying to create one from scratch. You need a group of like-minded people who are willing to support each others, share ideas, information and recommendations. If you are not an established affiliate marketer the best way to find and get access to such a group is joining a excellent mentorship program. Your knowledge and skills will grow, with it your authority status. You will find many new ideas and early access to information about upcoming products for review and/or recommendation.
The mentorship program and the people in the attached mastermind group should be openminded towards the niche you have chosen for your affiliate marketing business. And the people in the group have to be trustworthy. So you have to do a fair amount of research before joining such a group. But if you have found the right people, it can be very helpful.

How to Build an Audience

Developing relationships of trust and earning an authority status are the essential steps for building an audience. And a strong audience is a synonym for internet marketing success.

Why? Internet marketing is another word for selling information. And selling information – offline and online – needs credibility. Credibility on the other hand rests on three pillars:

  • you know what you are talking about
  • you say what you know and truly believe
  • people recognize both of the above

People who know you as an expert in your field and believe into your integrity and honesty are far more likely to listen to your advice and act on it. This is called influence and allows you to sell your advice in form of an information product and also to earn money as an affiliate recommending third party products and services.

The key question is then how to find people who like to listen to you, who consider your advice as valuable and who are willing to act on it.

The Communication Triangle

The Communication Triangle

Your communication triangle is defined by three components:

  1. You
  2. The information and advice you provide
  3. The people who listen to you

For building an audience you have to create a positive relationship between yourself, your message and your listeners.

I assume that you are ambitious, willing to back up your goals with effort, and honest. Otherwise you would read up to here. But there is something else you need to be aware of:

Communication Style
The way you communicate is important. There are many valid communication styles. But to build an audience you have to be consistent. This way you can connect to people who like your style. Others will go somewhere else.

  • Are you communicating quickly or very detailed in small steps.
  • Do you prefer step-by-step arguments along logical lines or analogies with many metaphors and pictures
  • Your preferred language is obviously important.

The Fit
There must be a fit between all three components: you, your message and your audience.

  • You have to stay true to yourself. Otherwise you cannot build credibility and you damage your physical and psychological health.
  • You have to be consistent in your style of communication and your topic.
  • You have to craft your message in a way fitting to you and your audience.

The good news is now that the internet is not a global village, but a global mega-metropolis. There are enough people fitting to whatever personality you might have. You just have to open up and look for the right people.

Fine Tuning Your Communication Triangle
Things become interesting if you are able to create a dynamic in this triangle. This comes from listening to your audience, thus learning more details about their wants and needs. Now you can do your research and fine tune your message to the questions and needs of your audience. This increases your value for your audience. They will look forward for your messages, take them important and read them carefully. Your recognition as an expert will grow, you will reach more people and your influence will also grow.

If you enjoyed this post you might be also interested in an audio class discussing in depth the relationship between a publisher and email subscribers.

Email Marketing and Mobile Internet

I remember the time when I bought my first smartphone. I did so because I wanted to be able to access my email when I was on the road. Now, why do I come up today with this old story? I want to come back to some basics, which are easily forgotten in all this noise about mobile marketing. It pays to approach new things by building on the things that are already working.

Email is the mother of mobile internet services

Today more mobile devices are connected to the internet than old-fashioned PCs. And this is not a fad, more mobile devices come to the market with more capabilities etc. The networks become faster and cover more and more areas. But it is remarkable that Google develops a new offer Email to SMS while the mobile internet explodes. And Google is a main driver of the mobile internet development.
The reasoning behind this offer is simple: extending the reach. Normal mobile phone connections are now available almost all over the world, even in rural areas where you do not have land line phones. So Google makes email service available to people in these areas via SMS, extending the reach of Gmail hugely.

Different communication needs demand different messaging modes
Google people are smart. And obviously they did not forget the basic reason for all this online and mobile services: connecting people. There are simple phone calls. There are super fast chat services, even for voice and video communications. And they are fine, if you have the required hardware and infrastructure behind you, and the time and wish to be personally available.
But then there is also information you want to access on your own schedule, and possibly keep it for the record in a searchable data store to access it easily when needed. This applies to many formal communications, like invoices, receipts etc, and for information which is worth receiving and keeping, without allowing it to control your time. This is the job of email.

Email is a Medium for High Quality Information
This means email is the medium to send substantial information, which might be stored and searched later, but does not need immediate response. The recipient can access that information almost wherever he is, at a time of his choosing and then organize and prioritize it. If you keep this in mind and choose email as communications mode only if appropriate for the information at hand, you have a good chance to reach with your email not only your recipient’s inbox, but also your recipient’s mind.
Johannes Stockburger, EzineArticles Platinum Author
How to create a sustainable email marketing system
I have published the book Email Marketing Essentials which explains in detail the technical aspects of setting up a email marketing system to promote your businesses, your products and your brand. If you are interested in using email successfully, have a look. It is available as PDF, as Kindle ebook for Amazon and in the epub ebook format suitable for Google and Apple devices as well as for most ebook readers. To find out more, click on the link below …

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