Speaking from the perspective of someone who has successfully made her living online since 1998 with affiliate marketing – and now in addition to building AM (affiliate marketing) sites, also writes, consults and speaks extensively on the subject – I've become increasingly frustrated with tricksters – um, I mean self-appointed *expert* affiliate marketing coaches and trainers – who essentially STEAL money from good people by promising to teach them how to build an affiliate “business” with almost no time, effort or money invested.
Surprisingly, although most of us know that if a promise ‘sounds to good to be true, it probably is‘, there are some who still buy into the lie.
Let me explain.
There are two different types of affiliate marketers with two very different marketing strategies. They are:
SUPER Affiliate Strategy: Build useful content sites that value customer relationships and generate traffic using a variety of methods, and:
NOT-Super Affiliate Strategy: Build all-but-useless content sites designed to trick the search engines into delivering free and easy traffic, but do not build a customer base.
If you've read either my “Net Profits Today” newsletter or the “The Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in One Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online“, you know that I teach aspiring webmasters how to build affiliate marketing businesses using the SUPER Affiliate's Strategy – PROVEN techniques to build affiliate marketing businesses that stand the test of time.
The NOT Super Affiliate Strategy
Now look closely at this basic outline of how the NOT-Super Affiliate strategy works.
- Do keyword research to determine a profitable market.
- Build keyword-rich pages to attract search engine spiders.
- Submit your site to the engines.
- Slap up Adsense ads and MAYBE a few affiliate links.
- Do link exchanges with other webmasters.
Yup. That's it. That's ALL there is to it.
So, tricking the search engines should be cheap and easy, right? “
You're right. SEO/Adsense site marketing IS cheap and easy… AND you can make some good money at it.
So, what's the problem
Well, the people who teach this strategy always forget to mention the fact that most search engine optimization techniques fail over time.
In the last year, (TOO) MANY affiliate marketers who were bamboozled into believing that they could build an affiliate marketing BUSINESS using only search engine optimization techniques to get traffic to their sites, have contacted me, desperate to learn the techniques that I teach in the Super Affiliate Handbook because they lost out BIG time.
One webmaster lamented that their income dropped from over 40K per month to a low of $800 per month, and none of their SEO techniques was working to rebuild their income. Having set nothing aside during the good times, they were struggling with their bills and frantic to get back on track.
Oh sure, you can hedge your bets by building hundreds of these sites – which is what “NOT-Super Affiliates” MUST do in order to earn big incomes. That's OK, I suppose, if you want to spend all day every day building one crappy fodder site after the next.
Take note though – I've heard of webmasters having MOST of their sites de-listed all at once.
All that work, and then they're left scrambling to pay the big mortgage that they bought into when times were good.
How frightening would THAT be?
The biggest problem with the NOT-Super Affiliate strategy is that it is a VOLATILE traffic-generating technique – NOT a SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS-building strategy.
Build a Real Affiliate Business Based on Basic Business Practices and Principles
REAL Super affiliate business coaches always teach the most basic business principles, including:
- Why you should publish contact information on your affiliate site.
- How to gain credibility by writing informative product endorsements.
- The importance of having a USP (Unique Selling Position).
- How to build a subscriber base.
- How to build valuable, long-term visitor and customer relationships.
- How to get traffic to your site immediately, using a variety of methods.
No affiliate marketer who wants to build a REAL business, or plans to STAY in business over the long haul, ever short-cuts even ONE of those steps.
So, what constitutes a REAL business?
- REAL super affiliates don't hide behind the anonymity of the web, but post REAL contact information on every page of their sites. We WANT to hear from our visitors and customers. That's how we gain laser focus and direction.
- REAL super affiliates offer REAL value to their customers by sharing REAL and RELEVANT information. Fodder is for cows.
- REAL super affiliates establish REAL relationships with their visitors through opt-in lists, by which they share information about additional products and services. This is where the NOT-Super Affiliate trainers truly fail their students. With a subscriber list, even if your traffic fell to nothing overnight (which it never does with the SUPER Affiliate strategy), you'd still have your lists of subscribers and customers to whom you could send offers.
- Lastly, REAL super affiliates use a variety of both paid and free methods to bring visitors to their sites, knowing that free traffic generation methods are rarely, if ever, sustainable.
Although building a REAL affiliate marketing business requires a greater initial investment of time, money and effort; the rewards are exponentially greater.
The Sage-Hearts.com Example
For example, I built my first affiliate marketing site, Sage-Hearts.com, in early 1998. I wrote a few reviews of online dating services and articles relevant to the subject of online dating.
I added an Aweber Autoresponder signup form to build my subscriber base.
I drove traffic to the site using a combination of pay-per-click advertising and free traffic-generation methods.
Over the years, I've reviewed and added more dating services and grown my “Singles eScene” list to more than 150,000 subscribers.
ALL I do now with Sage-Hearts.com is occasionally change the content, and send out broadcast messages to my “Singles eScene” list subscribers to tell them about new online dating sites and services.
By the end of its first year online, Sage-Hearts.com was earning well over 5K per month. Now, in 2005, it earns MUCH more than that.
You don't need to build dozens and dozens of sites, when you build each one according to sound business principles.
In the long run, I've done a lot LESS work, than those who build one site after another and constanty have to play cat and mouse with the search engines.
Better yet, I've never experienced a moment of FEAR that today might be the day that Google changes their algorithms and kills my fun.
So, which strategy will YOU choose?
- Super Affiliate Strategy – Secure your future and build a few sites with rock-solid foundations, based on REAL business principles… and then go out and play, or;
- NOT-Super Affiliate Strategy – Gamble with your future and build hundreds of spineless (list-less), seach-engine fodder sites that will collapse at Google's whim.
The choice should be simple….
See you on the playground! 🙂
By the way, if you are a webmaster whose site is failing under the NOT-Super Affiliate strategy, don't give up yet! There's still hope!
You already know how to build a site and have learned some basic SEO techniques. Those are GOOD skills. Now read the Super Affiliate Handbook and incorporate REAL business-building (SUPER Affiliate) techniques into your existing site.
You've come this far… now go the rest of the way and secure your future!
Rosalind Gardner is author of the best-selling “Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in ONE Year Selling Other People's Stuff Online. Get your copy of the Super Affiliate Handbook today!