You hear the coaches and mentors telling you you should have your own product to sell. Guess what? They are correct you should be a vendor with your own product. You then have affiliates sending traffic to your sales page, you add every buyer to a buyer’s list in your auto responder, which gives you a list to promote products to through email marketing.
So, why do I say that you should start as an affiliate marketer instead of starting with your own product? Am I some marketing guru? Do I know something they don’t? No, not by a long shot. I am simply a man that has been around for some time and seen a lot of mistakes. Most made by me and some by others. Let me explain, I started internet marketing a very long time ago. I spent over a year teaching myself how to use Dreamweaver and Photoshop and writing my eBook. I got it all put together and got me a payment processor and hosting and put it up online. I didn’t make a single sale.
Why couldn’t I make any sales? There are a couple of factors, first, I didn’t have a following. When I pulled the plug on my business, they were just starting to talk about Facebook. I didn’t have anything to teach me how to do internet marketing other than the emails I got from other marketers. Most of whom were just sending promotion after promotion. So I left the industry. I was spending money for something that you couldn’t really call a business.
Now let’s look at this practically and logically. Why did my product fail? First of all, I didn’t have an email list to promote it to. I didn’t have Facebook because it was just starting then and initially it looked like it would just be another My Space. I was an unknown in the IM world and I was trying to sell an eBook about how to use Private Label Rights to make money. I was caught in the SOS (shiny object syndrome) cycle. What I mean is, I got convincing emails that said I needed to have this to make money. Next week it was that that was required to make money. Are you getting the picture? No coach, no mentor, no social media to build a following, no list, just emails trying to sell me stuff, most of which was garbage.
Let’s fast forward now. After a ten year break from internet marketing, and open heart surgery that kept me from working for six months during the recovery, I realized that if I had stuck with it I would have had an income during my recovery from surgery. So I blew the digital dust off of the email account that I had set up for marketing only and went through it unsubscribing from all of the marketers that only sent me promotions and didn’t give me any usable content. No I don’t expect to get free coaching about how to build a business through emails, but, if a marketer doesn’t include quality content in their emails, do they really care about anything besides making money? There is nothing wrong with having a link in every email that will make you money but, you need to give something too. I learned that from a couple of mentors that I still follow.
Anyway, affiliate marketing as a starting point, as I said, when you start out, you are unknown. We now have Facebook as a good tool to build a following. I am going to use the make money online niche as an example to finish this post since that is the niche I am in. Select your niche then start to assemble an audience of followers that are interested in that niche through social media. Join niche specific groups on social media and be active in them. When someone asks a question, if you know the answer then answer it with as much detail as possible. This lets people know that you know something about it. Start building an email list. Become an affiliate marketer, but, don’t promote everything that comes out. There are two kinds of vendors, those that produce quality products, and those that produce garbage that doesn’t work. The later get away with it because most people won’t even access the product after they buy it. Those that do, won’t take action on it and put it to use, at least most of them won’t. Don’t fall into that trap. As many internet marketers as there are these days, it is still a small community and when your reputation is shot, you can hang it up.
For affiliate marketing try to get an advance copy of a product before it launches. Many will give you a review copy, or you can contact the vendor and ask to purchase an advance copy so you can go through it before promoting. Use it and see if it does what it is supposed to. Do honest reviews on YouTube and in blog posts. What you are doing is establishing yourself as someone that can be trusted. If you buy an advance copy of a product and it doesn’t work, don’t promote it. But how do I recover the money I wasted on it? You recover it in sales when you promote a good product because you have shown that you won’t promote garbage, more will trust you to buy what you do promote.
Affiliate marketing done correctly can provide an income no matter how big or small while you are creating your own product. In the MMO niche there are too many people trying to teach you how to do something they haven’t done. It gives the whole industry a black eye. When you start as an affiliate marketer, you are learning as you go. What do you learn that can help you create your own product that will teach what you have done? First of all, you learn how to drive traffic. Products about driving traffic do well because with out traffic, a website is dead. You learn about building an email list, another hot topic for a product because it doesn’t matter what niche you are in, an email list is essential. You learn about blogging and using your blog to generate sales. You learn email marketing, you may think I am repeating myself because I already mentioned list building, but, list building and email marketing are two different things. Just because you can build a list doesn’t mean you know how to effectively market to that list. Last but not least, you learn affiliate marketing. So, you now, because you started out in affiliate marketing, you have five different topics to use for your own product. Driving traffic, Blogging, List building, Email marketing and Affiliate marketing. That is five products that you can create and launch them one at a time, getting affiliates to drive the traffic for you and building another email list, a list of buyers.
So you can see that there are good reasons to start out as an affiliate marketer while you learn how to do internet marketing. Every niche has vendors, and every niche has affiliates and here is the big secret, vendors and affiliates need each other. Don’t ever look down on one if you are the other. Without affiliates, vendors would make about 20% of the sales they do. Without vendors, affiliates wouldn’t make any sales.
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