As someone who is in my twilight years I find it fascinating to watch and read the successes and failures of “wannabe” affiliate marketers.
I struggled to get any traction in this industry myself and thought it would be interesting to try to answer the question:
“What is the best way to learn Affiliate Marketing?”
As a golf coach I know from personal experience that people all have a preferred learning process or method.
I need to be shown how to do things. I am also far too pedantic needing to know the detail, why and how things work as opposed to just accepting that they do.
Other people simply go ahead and do things after being told what to do – without fear of failure or not at all concerned that they could be wasting their time on something that may not succeed.
Maybe when you get to my age there is precious little time to lose but in all honesty I have always been like this.
Affiliate Marketing is a Huge Subject … there are many facets to this diamond
Like all subject affiliate marketing embraces literally thousands of sub-niches (opportunities really) and each is a field on its own.
While you may not need to be an expert in each of these facets, you will benefit from knowing something about as many of them as possible.
The first thing you need as an affiliate marketer is a product to sell and potential customers to sell the product to.
Sounds easy enough so you take the plunge and decide this is the way to make some money while sitting on your sofa.
As you sit down on your couch with that laptop you discover that you also need a website.
And that means you need a domain name and a hosting company.
The domain name is referred to as a URL – you know what that is right?
How do you go about selecting a domain name and what is a hosting company?
Let’s start with the domain name – choose something. Anything and then ask yourself these questions.
Is your preferred website name:
- Easy to remember?
- Easy to spell?
- Available or taken?
- Relevant to your chosen product or market? Oh shoot you didn’t know you had to decide that now!
- Should you get the “.com”, “.net”, “.org” or some other version of it?What you ultimately opt for will depend on what you plan to do with the website. For affiliate marketing a “.com” is considered the best.
About now, you should e getting up from that couch to make a cup of tea as there seems to be more to this than you initially thought there might be.
With your tea in hand (or have you gone for something stronger by now?) you start wondering how you are going to get off first-base, let alone learn the simple stuff I have just mentioned.
How on earth will you learn all of this and where is the best place to start?
Don’t panic there are literally thousands of places to learn – some are free, most charge a fortune and very few deliver.
But for now let’s talk teaching and learning methods.
YouTube, PDFs or Discs? … all only skim the surface
The internet is a fantastic place to get information on virtually any subject you can think of.
The following image is a screen shot of the Entrepreneur Certification Course I took at Wealthy Affiliate University – this is just one of many courses and video tutorials offered by them.
More information on Wealthy Affiliate University follows further down.
When Internet affiliate marketing first became a “thing” it was mainly taught by means of posts/articles and PDFs – the latter being the most popular way to deliver a truckload of information and instructions in one document.
A handful of member subscription websites sprang up as places to learn all you need to know. Many of these sites died down while a few have kept going. The one I joined and recommend (Wealthy Affiliate University) has been going since 2005 and get’s better and stronger each day.
You can read my full review of Wealthy Affiliate University by clicking on the little mouse below.
Following on from PDFs came digital disks. Now you could get a library of information in a very compact parcel.
More recently YouTube has taken off as the premier place to learn anything you need to know about any subject.
The interesting thing about human psychology is we want everything for as little as possible – on this basis PDFs and discs were very popular. You could pay your fee, receive the goods and have the information at your fingertips to peruse at your leisure.
No pesky salesman to bother you but there were some sneaky up sell marketing techniques within these parcels of information … each bit of information raised another hundred questions that were’t answered.
Another PDF or disk needed to be purchased to answer these questions and before you knew it you were quite deep into your wallet for what seemed like a cheap investment when you started out.
YouTube to the rescue with hundreds of thousands of videos that provide much smaller chunks of information presented in a visual format. Once again these could be accessed any time and, in most cases, were free!
But with YouTube who do you follow, who do you believe, who is and who isn’t a scam artist?
To succeed in any of these teaching/learning formats it helps to be either a visual or reading type learner.
But in all cases there was no way to know with absolute certainty that you were headed in the right direction – that still holds true today as affiliate marketing does not bring overnight success.
The fastest way I know to make a fast return on your investment is through Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising but that requires considerably knowledge and experience – both of which take time to garner.
While there are a number of ways to learn the Affiliate Marketing ropes all of them only skim the surface.
Why is this
Well as I said the subject is huge. In addition to that the Internet is an evolving monster and what held true yesterday is obsolete today and it is essential to realize that you do need to keep up with what is changing, what is current, what is working and what is not.
For example flogging PDFs today is hard work and not as lucrative.
Disks? Do they even exist these days?
Throwing Money Down the Gurgler … getting scammed in pursuit of that “Guru Secret”
I want to start this paragraph with an emphatic statement:
“YOU DO NOT NEED TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO LEARN AND MASTER AFFILIATE MARKETING!”
A side of human behaviour that I find fascinating is our desire for instant gratification. We seem to think that if we chuck money at something it will solve the problem.
And before I go any further I must confess I am equally to blame for falling into this trap but have hopefully wizened up over time.
Unethical marketers are well aware of this need to instantly fulfil our desires and they cater to it constantly.
Behind virtually every promise of instant riches lurks a scam artist ready to empty your wallet and max out your credit card with promises of a dream future. Starting TOMORROW!
Yep its as easy as that – “sign up here and within 5 minutes of processing your payment you will receive the keys to a fabulously wealthy future and dream lifestyle”.
No prize for guessing who will be fabulously rich tomorrow.
My advice to anyone chasing shiny objects is to proceed (actually not to proceed) with extreme caution. Do your research first before you drop any money on a scheme that sounds too good to be true.
What’s in it for them?
If it is that easy why isn’t everyone doing it?
Why are they sharing this knowledge surely that just increases their competition?
Where is the catch?
Don’t get caught up in the hype – especially those that say only so many slots left and only 2 hours. These are classical marketing strategies.
It Takes Time and It Takes Dedication and Constant Application
There is no easy money in this world.
In fact if you want to do something (anything) well and succeed at it you have to spend time dedicating yourself to learning the skills required. Like in the old days when we had apprenticeship courses. You did the dirty work and learned the skills required over time. Mastering each one before moving on to the next skill.
Affiliate marketing is no different. You do not start off on the couch – that is the goal and believe me as you get into this the couch becomes irrelevant.
As you grow into it and learn you will find it fascinating and will want to learn and do more. Sure the mundane stuff that you have to do initially can be outsourced later while you go only to learn and improve your skills.
As you get better at anything in life you enjoy it more and instead of wanting to slow down you set new goals.
Whilst learning to become an affiliate marketer I have learned so much more.
Here are just a handful of the skills I have picked up through Wealthy Affiliate Universitiy’s excellent training:
- Building and maintaining a website (a must) and everything WordPress
- Search engine optimization – an essential skill (unless you want to pay others thousands to do something that is essentially very simple)
- How to flip domain names and websites
- Understanding keywords and how they help you get an advantage
- Pay Per Click and Pay Per Action
- Google, Bing and Yahoo ad sense
- Creating my own products (I have a couple of golf coaching e-books on Amazon)
- Content writing and how to structure a post or article
- Selecting a niche
- Hot markets and trends and how to take advantage of them
- Video marketing
- Social engagement and marketing
- E-mail marketing
- And so much more
All of this I learned while being a member of Wealthy Affiliate since 2006.
Do You Need A Talent For Affliate Marketing To Succeed?
An interesting question and the answer is an emphatic NO!
Having a talent is useful but it has very little to do with success.
Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, Professor of Psychology at Florida University, conducted comprehensive research and concluded that “Elite performers engage in ‘deliberate practice’–an effortful activity designed to improve target performance.”
In this instance he was referring to athletes but the theory applies equally to any skill in life.
You do not become the CEO of a large organization without learning the ropes and climbing the rungs
Dr. Ericsson’s studies found that in order to master any skill and gain success approximately 10,000 hours of “stretching yourself beyond what you can currently do” is necessary. In other words getting out of your comfort zone and doing the things you feel are difficult and possibly beyond your ability.
A couple of great books that promote and second these studies are Geoff Colvin’s “Talent is Overrated” and Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”.
there’s a very interesting website on the Internet that I followed for years called The Dan Plan. Look it up it makes for an interesting read.
Briefly the story is Dan McLaulin (a former commercial photographer) decided to test the theory and took up something he had never done before. He decided on golf of all things.
On his site you follow Dan’s progress to achieve his goal of competing in one professional tournament at the end of 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice through effortful activity designed to improve target performance.”
For the first 5 months or so he only used a putter and it was something like a year before he was allowed to take a full swing of a golf club.
Most of us want to go out there and play a full round of 18 holes from day 1
Dan resisted this temptation and his story is both fascinating and enlightening.
I doubt it would take anyone 10,000 hours to succeed at affiliate marketing but I am trying to emphasise that it takes dedication and hours and hours of application and work to succeed – not some shiny object that the so-called gurus offer.
And while it won’t take you 10,000 hours to master
There Are No Shortcuts … go where the successful marketers have gone.
Another interesting aspect of human behaviour is how often the genuinely successful people are willing to share their journey with you.
In virtually every case where someone has succeeded to become a leader in their field the story is one of perseverance, belief in themselves or what they were doing and dogged determination.
Unfortunately for many this road to riches or happiness is too hard to travel – they believe that there must be an easier and faster way. If you are one of those and find this magic pill please let me know but whatever you do don’t tell Dan!
I was very fortunate early on (in 2006) to stumble across Kyle and Carson – two young Canadians who had started a website to help aspiring affiliate marketers.
Their story is certainly one of hard work, sheer determination, a belief in what they were doing and a deeply sincere desire to help others to succeed.
Their dogged determination has resulted in them create thousands of successful affiliate marketers – many of who are today’s wealthiest internet entrepreneurs.
They always have their customers in mind and will help you choose a niche (markeet), select a domain and sell you a domain name, host it for you and show you how to build your first website.
They then go on to teach you how fill the site with relevant content, how to find and connect with your customers and how to help them in a way that brings you in sales.
Look for people like Carl and Kyle and follow their tried and tested methods to find the shortest way to succeed in this business.
Why not take a look at what their site has to offer – for free.
I must warn you that you may feel compelled to change your life (you can thank me later if you do).
Check out a handful of Wealthy Affiliate success stories today!