I believe that affiliate marketing is just like heading into a tornado. heads up it can be really scary and tough out there.
For the longest time, I’ve been fascinated by storm chasing. That’s the job where a bunch of people drives around yelling into radios following tornadoes.
Storm chasers do more than just take cool pictures and videos. They also collect important data that helps meteorologists predict severe weather and issue better warnings. Some storm chasers even work as photographers or journalists, sharing their footage and stories with the public.
Affiliate Marketing and Storm Chasing?
Remember that movie “Twister?” The main characters are a group of scientists and storm chasers who use specialized equipment to track and study tornadoes.
This movie was big back in 1996. Storm chasing was one of those obscure meteorological jobs that most people never heard of until Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton blew up the silver screen.
God knows how many people found a new career after that film hit theaters. I bring this up because I’ve been watching a growing trend in the “making money” niche over the last few years.
Everyone is talking about affiliate marketing these days as if it’s the latest trendy thing. YouTube and TikTok stars are doing it, as are little old ladies on Pinterest.
It’s not new, and it definitely isn’t “get-rich-quick.” People in the online marketing arena for whom I created content decades ago are still working at it.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
This is where businesses reward affiliates for driving traffic or sales to their website. Affiliates can be individuals or other businesses that promote products or services through their own channels, such as a blog, social media, or email marketing.
People get to earn a commission on any sales generated for the company, and the commission rate varies depending on the company and the product or service being sold.
This marketing method is popular because it helps businesses increase their online visibility and reach a wider audience while being cost-effective. Companies only pay for the marketing that results in a sale. For affiliates, it’s an opportunity to earn extra income by promoting products or services they believe in.
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A Time-Tested Business Model
Affiliate marketing has been around for more than two decades, making it a well-established business model in the online world. The concept of paying commissions for referred sales dates back to the late 1980s, but the first affiliate marketing programs as we know them today began to emerge in the mid-1990s.
The first companies to adopt affiliate marketing were in the tech industry, but it quickly spread to other sectors such as fashion, travel, and finance. Today, affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry, with businesses of all sizes using it as a key component of their marketing strategy.
Many of my old clients are still working in the industry because affiliate marketing is work. It’s a business model. It’s not “set it and forget it.” I’ve made a decent living over the decades as a content creator for many affiliate marketing clients.
Over the years, I’ve paid attention, and there are definite lessons to be learned from their successes and failures.
Here are 7 lessons I learned from affiliate marketers over the years:
1 — Get Your Head in the Game
Have you ever heard the phrase “get your head in the game”? It basically means to be fully focused and engaged in a task or activity, with a clear and determined mindset.
This term is often used in sports to encourage athletes to concentrate on their performance and strive for excellence. However, getting your head in the game is relevant to any field or industry where success requires dedication, effort, and attention to detail.
If you want to achieve your goals and overcome challenges, it’s essential to be fully present and engaged in what you’re doing. This means setting clear goals, developing a positive mindset, and staying focused on your priorities even when obstacles arise.
Whether you’re starting a new affiliate business, or figuring out how to keep your sales going, getting your head in the game is a crucial first step towards success.
2 — Be Prepared to Work for Your Money
This is not a joke. I’ve written about the seduction of “passive income” in articles and blog posts to get people to understand that passive income isn’t passive.
Imagine driving down a country road and looking at a massive wheat field and thinking how cool it would be to try farming. After all, the dirt does all the work.
In affiliate marketing, your job is to get the right eyeballs on your client’s products. You’re the middleman. You’re not the only middleman. Your competition wins when you take it easy.
3 — Invest Money, Time, or Both
During my working life, I served clients with eBook production, videos, articles, graphics, and SEO. The biggest takeaway from a product rollout campaign was how much time and effort were put into it.
Product creators would have my team work on banners, scripts, sales tools, and sample content for affiliates to use in their marketing. As an affiliate, if you pass up the tools offered to you by the company, you’ll need to create your own.
4 — Relationships and Connections
Make connections and relationships, because you’re going to need them. This is one of my liabilities. I’d much rather sit in my office, making something.
Maybe it’s ADHD, but staying in touch with people takes a lot of work. I used to have people who did that. Now, I have to schedule it into my day.
5 — Fail a Lot on Your Way to Making Good Money
“If you haven’t failed, you’re nottrying hard enough.” ― Jennifer Crusie
It’s like riding a bike; you may stumble and fall a few times before finally getting the hang of it. The more you fall, the more you learn, and eventually, the closer you get to your destination.
Some of the most successful people in history have experienced countless failures before reaching their goals. Michael Jordan was even cut from his high school basketball team before becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
As Michael Jordan once said, “I have failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.” These words perfectly capture the idea that failure can be a stepping stone to success.
6 — Patience is More Than a Virtue
When it comes to success in business, patience is a really important quality to have. Patience makes us better equipped to make smart decisions, build strong relationships, and handle complex situations.
But being patient doesn’t just mean waiting around for things to happen. It’s about being deliberate and intentional in your problem-solving and decision-making.
This means taking the time to track your progress, gather information, and really think through your options before taking action. It also means being able to push through obstacles and setbacks without giving up too easily.
By being patient, you can create a resilient and determined work culture that can help you and your team overcome any challenges and achieve long-term success.
7 — Commit to a System and Stay Consistent
Reality check. Do you have trouble sticking to a process over 90 days? How about 9 days? Do you suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome?
Fess up now!
You see, like so many skills in life, affiliate marketing requires commitment and consistency. Real life has no training montage to accelerate your progress.
Picking my battles when it comes to consistent effort and working within my limitations is crucial. It’s not easy, but having a vision of the end results and knowing the steps to take to get there makes all the difference.
That knowledge has kept me consistently within my wheelhouse.
Most of my work is in publishing. I’m also great at teaching others how to create and market their products.
Marketing and sales are essential skills for business owners, and affiliate marketing is a great entry point into business ownership. If it’s treated like a hobby, it will drain you and go nowhere.
Affiliate marketing is like any other skill or process. It’s easy after you gain experience. That’s like watching those storm chasers on TV who seem to risk life and limb by charging into a tornado while everyone else is rushing in the opposite direction.
They spend a lot of time learning, planning, and figuring out all the angles before tracking twisters. You need to do the same when considering affiliate marketing as a business model.