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.
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Updated: Originally published March 6th 2018