So you went out and bought a bunch of books and online courses and learned everything you could about the affiliate marketing game before you ever tried promoting a single product.
Good for you!
You did everything right from the get-go. You were really, really serious. You had all the motivation in the world. You were prepared to spend money to make money, and you have.
You have also not seen the returns you were expecting and now, after all that effort, you’re wondering if you should pack it in, it’s natural to feel this way, at least initially.
What you do next, however, is way more important.
Before you decide to throw in the towel, you should ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I still see the value in this type of marketing?
- Do I understand the products I’m promoting?
- Is there really enough of a market for the products I’m promoting or do I just pick things I personally like without researching their viability?
- Is there ANY observable success in the way I’ve been handling my marketing?
Now, please understand that it isn’t our intention to cast blame, judge, or disparage the efforts that you have already made. Having the guts to branch out on your own into any entrepreneurial venture is admirable, to say the least.
Make no mistake about it: you are unusual among your peers.
You understand that exceptional income potential requires doing much more than the bare minimum. This is a very good thing and it’s one that we think you can, and should, use to your advantage.
If you are experiencing a setback right now, or if you haven’t been able to get a single product off the ground, keep reading.
What follows is not a magic fix-all solution, but the advice you are about to get should, at least, jog you into action enough to start thinking of ways to turn this ship around.
Scrutinizing Your Own Marketing Strategy
Although this is the part that everyone hates, it is almost inevitable that you, as a responsible marketer, will find yourself in the position of dealing with failure. Failure is simply part of the process.
Hardly anyone hits a home run their first time at bat. In fact, even the best players strike out two out of three trips to the plate.
Players who hit hundreds of homers still continually strike out. Here’s the thing, though: how many movies have been made about Babe Ruth striking out?
No one dwells on those instances because although even Babe Ruth struck out more times than he ever made it to first base, his successes so outweighed his failures that history just ignores the failures.
You need to start looking at your own efforts the same way.
Yes, there will be failures, but your successes will more than make up for them in the long run.
We have seen and heard countless stories of content marketers churning out blog after blog, video after video, spinning their wheels for months, spending thousands on advertising and coming up short.
Then, one day, just one well-presented and well-promoted piece of content went viral. The profits netted returns that wiped all the red from their ledgers. From there, their brand just kept gaining momentum.
It’s a common story and there is no reason why it can’t also be yours… if you are willing to take responsibility for your mistakes, learn from them, and make changes.
Lessons From Reality TV
There is no better example of how attitude and flexibility play into a business’ success than the barrage of “rescue” and “makeover” shows that pepper network TV these days.
Watch closely and you will see a definite pattern.
The owners who listen to the experts and accept change almost always manage to turn their businesses around. The ones who insist on clinging to their own ideas usually tank.
The question you need to ask yourself is:
Which of those scenarios best fits how I manage my business?
If you’re still reading, you are likely more motivated to be successful than you are to feed your ego. If that’s the case, don’t worry.
Success is waiting for you and we are about to give you a host of things to think about, tweak, revamp, or eliminate from your marketing equation to reach more people and move more product.
#1 – Assess Every Step of Your Marketing Strategy
You need to examine everything about the way you promote your products.
Think specifically about:
The products themselves
Are they viable and in-demand?
Would you trust the seller if it was you making the purchase?
How much do you really know about the product or the validity of the claims the seller makes about it?
The content you create
Are you doing everything yourself or are you seeking the aid of people who have done this sort of thing before?
Are you working with copywriters, graphic designers, and social media management experts or are you just winging it and hoping good things happen?
Where you are placing ads
Have you researched the ad networks you use to determine if enough of your target market will see your ads?
Are the number of impressions you’re getting commensurate with what you’re bidding for ad placement?
Does the ad company assign you an agent who can give you tips and advice for how to improve your visibility?
Your ad spend
Are you going far enough out on a limb to get enough impressions?
Are your bids too low to get good exposure?
Your social media presence
Are you actually present on your social channels or are they largely on autopilot?
Are you engaging with your audience in a way that reveals a human being behind your brand?
When people ask questions is it taking minutes, hours, days, or weeks for you to reply?
Do you secretly judge potential customers by the questions they ask or the comments they make?
Your social media posting habits
Are you posting new content at reasonable and predictable intervals?
Is that content being presented in a way that gets people to stop scrolling?
Scheduling posts and emails
Automation is a wonderful thing, but have you gotten caught up in a hands-off approach to marketing?
Come on, admit it…
Checking your metrics
Do you routinely analyze your marketing efforts to pinpoint the types of content, the social platforms, and even the times of day when your content gets the best engagement?
Keep in mind that you will never reach an audience that isn’t tuned in when you decide to broadcast.
#2 – Keep What Works, Ditch What Doesn’t
Do not keep spending money on ideas and procedures that simply do not work, even if it means letting go of your most favorite methods and details.
This isn’t about you; it’s about what the current market is demanding. It’s the market that drives your success. It wants you to be successful because that means it is getting what it wants.
Start developing a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between your product and how the market engages with it.
Even if you have a product the market desperately needs, the right people will never consider it if your approach isn’t in tune with how they will respond to it.
Again, take your ego out of the equation and deal with what the market is demanding right now.
It will communicate all of these things through what you observe about your engagement, what your metrics have to say, and the feedback you get in comments and questions from your audience.
From there, you just need to be willing to make changes (and actually make them).
#3 – Split Test, Split Test, Split Test
…And when you’re done, split test some more. The more you do to narrow down what the market wants, the more money it will start sending you. If, after you settle into a strategy, things start slowing down again, it’s time to start over.
Make no mistake: this is an ongoing process. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating and it takes a lot of energy, but it is well worth it.
Things that you can use as split testing tools include:
- Blog posts – try approaching similar subjects from different perspectives
- Squeeze pages – try and find the sweet spot between a concise call to action and the information you attempt to capture. Try placing opt-ins in different parts of the page… you get the idea.
- Emails – test messages with clear calls to action on small list segments then send to everybody if you get good engagement. Subject lines are a great place to start the split testing process here, too.
- Landing pages – experiment with different headlines and visuals. Change the placement of visuals, opt-in forms, buttons, etc. and see what people respond to most favorably.
- Social posts – try promoting the same blog posts with different visuals. This will help you discover what your target demo is really into.
#4 – When All Else Fails, Start From Scratch
Don’t get so personally involved in marketing a single product or type of product that you forget the most important part about this whole thing: it’s not about you.
What you like is irrelevant. What you want to market is irrelevant.
If your product doesn’t have enough of a market to make your efforts viable, select another one, even if it means abandoning an entire niche or industry.
Success has very little to do with our own personal likes and dislikes.
You can express and generate enthusiasm about anything, even if it’s not your particular cup of tea. We think that’s the most important lesson to take away from this: be flexible. Interact with products you like; sell ones that actually sell.
Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!
Updated: Originally published March 6th 2018
This Post Has 10 Comments
You made some very good points. Using your analytical data can give you the answers a lot of time. Split testing is very effective. Like you said keep doing it until you find the formula that works. Don’t quit to early because it takes time and a good content marketing strategy.
Nobody ever wants to talk about the failures they have. You can learn some valuable lessons like you pointed out. Your Babe Ruth analogy was a home run.
You definitely need to get into something you like. Find a niche that you enjoy. Learning how to write about it takes practice. The best advice we are going to give is click on the link that says, “click here to learn how to run your own website.” You need to learn to earn. Great article.
Thanks Ken. Yeah, Babe Ruth also held the record for strike outs…
Failure is a teacher, never let it get you down, instead, use the lessons to avoid it in the future!
Thanks for the comment Ken!
This is the most I’ve been inspired in my online business in a long time and boy did I need it. We tend to forget about the number of failures that entrepreneurs endure prior to success. I used to be in the music business and there was a saying: “After 20 years in the business, he was an overnight success.” Could you please elaborate on “split test”? I’m not familiar with the term. Thanks for the timely “leg up” that I needed.
Hey Brad. A split test is where you test two different landing pages, for example, to see which one converts best. Another example, you could split test two different product reviews to see which creates the most conversions. This is something you should do all the time, never quit split testing and your conversions will always climb, even if just a bit.
Thanks for the kind words!
I absolutely agree with you. It’s really worth revising your marketing strategy evey now and then. We get so focused on making the sales that we may easily end up just thinking everything is fine, until suddenly it’s not.
I’ve been always afraid of starting from scratch when something is not really working… but I guess it’s better to start new than to keep trying to float a boat that’s sinking, right?
How much traffic do you think a blog would need to have before it’s profitable and not counterproductive to rely on ads?
Thanks for the reminder. Really helpful!
That’s a tough question to answer since I know nothing about what you market and how much commission you make per sale, or what type of traffic you receive. A good way to test is to stop paying for traffic for a time and see if your organic visitors stand on their own for a week or two. If you aren’t happy with your compensation, start advertising again on a smaller scale to make up the difference.
Once your site stands on its own, you can cut out the paid ads. Just test, see if the momentum is there, if not, advertise until you make enough to stop.
Thanks for the comment Israel!
You have covered it all, well done.
Failure is just part of the business we are in just like you said. Going over everything is a must if your marketing is tanking, I had to do it myself and Boy what a difference once you really dive into what is working and what is not. Using metrics is key to understanding it all. Great job explaining all this, It helped me out by realizing that what I had to do is expected.
Thanks for the information
Everyone in our business will likely have to do this at least once. Failure is a positive as long as you learn something from it, never let it defeat you!
Thanks for the comment Todd!
I’m new to the online business scene, and am starting to index in google and generate traffic. I’m not familiar with split testing — is this producing two different blog posts on the same topic and posting to the same site? What is your process? I would like to learn more to grow in my success and really start scaling my profits. Thank you!
If you use WordPress there are free plugins to help with split testing. A basic split test would consist of two different articles on the same topic shown to 50% of visitors each. There is information out there on the process with respect to content marketing, do a quick Google search on the topic.
This is a good idea for an article, I will put it in the queue for a future topic on this site.
Thanks for the comment Kangaruby!