Affiliate Marketing – Secrets to Avoiding Disappointing Results

Donald Trump said, “Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.” With affiliate marketing you can make good money but you will have to work for it. That is to say, you had better learn to enjoy the “game” that is online affiliate marketing. It is not as easy as merely cooking up a winning product or punching in a smart keyword buy on Google.

What works via direct response or in traditional branded campaigns cannot be directly applied to online affiliate marketing. You have to stay tuned to WIFM (what’s in it for me) at all times. The affiliate marketing distribution channel is filled with consumers who seek unbelievable value –miracles even. They want to get skinny, have whiter teeth and get a “free” gift when they join the Gevalia coffee club for seemingly almost nothing or they will click away.

Here are three main ideas I suggest you digest before getting involved with affiliate marketing as an advertiser:

1. Do not expect to make a profit by selling a product. The nature of this form of distribution and communication prevents strange, new niche products from getting attention or more importantly, conversions on their own merit. The first sale will be a loss leader. If you insist on making a sale via performance marketing (when you pay affiliates only when they make you a sale), you need not only a traditional ad spend (or an appearance on “Oprah”) but also a way of monetizing the back-end, in other words, an up-sell. As in “would you like fries with that?” How about a shiny, green garden hose to go with that ShamWow? Affiliate marketing is best viewed as a form of speed dating. You have to look enticing enough to that new customer for her to agree to go on more dates with you i.e. visit your website and join your mailing list. You need to have a system in place before you work with affiliates so that you are ready for that giant traffic surge.

2. Your product or service must appeal to a very wide demographic. This is the best way to feel like you are shooting at fish in a barrel. Successful performance marketing campaigns answer our most base desires -the need for social and financial stability right NOW. If you have already built a brand and have a heritage to maintain, then you have a little more breathing room in terms of the kind of product you offer up. If you are launching something totally new, you had better promise to make me sexy and/or rich overnight.

3. Your best bet is a lead gen campaign but, be prepared to do several tests before you get it right. The beauty of this form of advertising, branding, direct marketing, however you prefer to structure it, is that you can do much testing at very little risk. Just keep tweaking the form. Maybe a yellow “submit” button converts better than red. Perhaps your subject lines lack pluck and verve. Be open to the process. Also know that you need to have a great website or a talented call center to make the most of a lead generation campaign. If you are not concerned about making a sale instantly make sure your website is user friendly and that your campaign performance has measurable goals so you can monitor your progress.

Performance marketing online with affiliates does not create spam, people do. Understand it and use it for good rather than just trapping consumers in acai berry, weight loss pill renewals. Affiliate marketing offers a highly effective way to get qualified traffic to the right product, immediately. Once you learn the rules of the game you will love the results.