The #1 Affiliate Marketing Mistake You Are Making

by Keith Kogane 13 replies
This advice I hope gives some "financially challenged" newbies an "a-ha" moment - this is what I had to figure out before the affiliate/list building/landing page thing started working for me.

Don't go looking for affiliate products to promote UNTIL you have identified a market.

Now, you CAN go looking at what affiliated products are out there in order to IDENTIFY if there's a market or not, but the mistake most people make is building the affiliate campaigns around a specific product.

Most newbie guides tell you this, to do PPC and SEO on the product title etc. And this CAN be good - esp. if you're in a niche that likes reviews of specific products.

BUT! For the most part, what you want to do is market to the NICHE - the PEOPLE - identify a group with a common desire/passion, find where they congregate and where/how they get their fix.

Then, GET IN THEIR WAY. Get some content put together that interests them. Show them that YOU are a better source for their fix than wherever forum or blogs they hang out at now.

NOTE: THis isn't hard to do - you don't even need to be creating new stuff, almost no small niches really have news aggregator sites - with a little RSS and list subscribing yourself, you can become the expert source of info simply by spitting out everything that comes your way.

Anyway, back to the point - once you have the ATTENTION of the niche market - the PEOPLE - THEN you start throwing in your offers - affiliate products, special reports you charge for, JV offers. Sell advertising, hell whatever.

Focus on the MARKET, not the PRODUCTS. Get the BROAD interest, and you can sell them a TON more, a lot more easily.

Now, once you HAVE the attention of the market, THAT's when you can start doing the REALLY killer product name targeted campaigns, because by that time, you have the trust of the people in that niche. You're already going to have the backlinks from authority sites, and you can rank for your niche terms in the SERPS pretty much effortlessly.

Hope this little bit of "work smarter not harder" info helps out some of the people that are struggling.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #affiliate #making #marketing #mistake
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Giannetti
    Great post and advice keith....a great read
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  • Profile picture of the author SpicyRobby
    Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post


    Don't go looking for affiliate products to promote UNTIL you have identified a market.

    Now, you CAN go looking at what affiliated products are out there in order to IDENTIFY if there's a market or not, but the mistake most people make is building the affiliate campaigns around a specific product.
    Hi,

    I wouldn't completely agree with these points - not to build a campaign around one product and don't look for a product first.

    Let's say, you go to ClickBank.com and go to a particular category of products and look at the top sellers. These products already have their MARKETS they're being sold to --> i.e. you don't have to figure out a market, you look at what's already working and then try to take a tiny piece of the whole big market and promote that product to eager buyers!

    John Reese was talking about this strategy in one of his TS2 pre-launch videos - doing research based on the readily available information etc.

    Chris from LazyAffiliates talks about the same approach - look at hot products GUARANTEED to sell and them promote them rather than trying to figure out something new...

    Rgds,

    Robert
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    • Profile picture of the author Keith Kogane
      Originally Posted by SpicyRobby View Post

      Hi,

      I wouldn't completely agree with these points - not to build a campaign around one product and don't look for a product first.

      Let's say, you go to ClickBank.com and go to a particular category of products and look at the top sellers. These products already have their MARKETS they're being sold to --> i.e. you don't have to figure out a market, you look at what's already working and then try to take a tiny piece of the whole big market and promote that product to eager buyers!

      John Reese was talking about this strategy in one of his TS2 pre-launch videos - doing research based on the readily available information etc.

      Chris from LazyAffiliates talks about the same approach - look at hot products GUARANTEED to sell and them promote them rather than trying to figure out something new...

      Rgds,

      Robert
      Yeah, see - we agree - going for the product first is the "lazy" way to do it. Yeah, it COULD work, but the thing is, you need to have a hot product that people want to search for by name.

      Have you really TRIED that tactic, or have you just read in a couple of places that it works, and it SOUNDS good, so you repeat it?

      You specifically named Clickbank, and I want to put out a few arguments AGAINST steering marketers in that direction. Primarily, there's nowhere to grow from there.

      In my experience, not very many people are aware of any but the best selling Clickbank products. They just aren't household names. The strategy you're talking about will NOT work with 99% of the products out there. And for the products it WILL really kill for, there's already people employing a strategy for it. By the time a consumer knows the name of a product that they're interested in buying, they've ALREADY done the research and decided to buy THAT item over another. That being said, what they are going to search for is a vendor with a low price/good deal. Most of the time, that cuts affiliate marketers out of the picture (we have no control over vendor pricing).

      Now, that's the case in the non-IM, physical products affiliate world. See who bids on product names in that game - the vendors are savvy, the manufacturers have huge budgets, and so do the huge internet providers. Any mass market product name you search for will probably be dominated by the maker, the seller, and the price comparer.

      But you're talking about Clickbank. And the only "name brand" products on Clickbank are usually in the IM field because of the hype engine prelaunch buzz. So all the teeny tiny affiliate wannabees jump in and fight for their sliver with all the other people in their category. But guess what? Guess who always wins the affiliate contest? The big name guys with the lists. Guess why that happens? Because they have "juice" in the market. They have a list of people in the market with a broader interest that goes beyond just the single product.

      On top of that, Clickbank's gravity stat can be (and is) manipulated by savvy product creators. So it's not really TRUE market research. Besides, even if that stat could be trusted, it only indicates how well someone is marketing that particular product, and not how broad, how deep, how many are in the marketplace.

      Another downside (at least the way most people market) is if you find a stinker of a product (and you will), all your work is wasted. Also, you're going to be competing with all the other people marketing that product - you're not going out and finding the market - you're just trading on keywords and waiting for the market to get educated and find you.

      I'm saying that's a waste. If you get into the MARKETS and find them where they are, YOU are the one educating the markets about the products in the first place. Why are they going to go off and google search if someone they trust from their community/niche/tribe is already giving them quality recommendations.

      Dig?

      If you do it my way, you'll eat the lunch of everyone doing your way before they even get sniffers looking around.

      Now, yet ANOTHER way to look at it is YES, say you try your way and it works and you have a winner.

      Most people would say okay, rinse and repeat (another "lazy" tactic), find another product and start over.

      That's dumb. Find ANOTHER product that will appeal to the same kind of buyer, promote it to the people in your existing funnel, AND start a campaign on that product externally to pull people in to your same, more generalized information "channel". All the new people coming on off product 2, guess what? Set an autoresponder to send them a promo for product 1.

      We're not arguing about doing product specific marketing, we're just arguing over where and when you should be doing it.

      I prefer to build big generalized pools of subscribers, and a wide, community spanning sphere of influence for a site/persona. Then, when I want to do some product specific marketing and trade on a name my market recognizes, I have DOUBLE the impact any other affiliate might have because I have the product recognition paired with the "brand" I've bothered to build.

      So, compare:

      Build a campaign around the product with no equity in the marketplace...

      OR

      Build some equity in the marketplace FIRST, and THEN market every product you can find from a position of authority and power.

      See, people searching for stuff are going to want to filter the noise, and focus on the quality signal. So if you spend your time on developing a strong signal that people want to tune in to (Again, not even HARD to do in most info-starved niches) then people will ignore the other guys.

      P.S. I LOVE Chris Surfrider and John Reese's stuff BUT - think about how the strategies THEY teach will inevitably help THEM. Do those guys have products with strong brands that people are searching for? You bet. So by teaching affiliate marketers to set up traps for that traffic and send it back to them - big payday. Sure, the affiliate makes a little money too, but you gotta fight fight fight and always know what the new hot product is.

      Operating at my level, I don't have to fight with anyone over the people in the market who know the name of "Product X" - most of the time, I'm the first one to even TELL them Product X exists, and they are grateful I informed them, and they trust my recommendation. They bypass your system entirely.

      Think about that.

      Thanks for the comment though!
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      • Profile picture of the author SpicyRobby
        Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

        Yeah, it COULD work, but the thing is, you need to have a hot product that people want to search for by name.
        Hi Keith,

        Why would people want to search the product by name? The primary task of an affiliate is to make target market familiar with the product - and they most likely won't have heard about it.

        What I meant is - you look at: what's already selling = what are the hot markets.

        Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

        Have you really TRIED that tactic, or have you just read in a couple of places that it works, and it SOUNDS good, so you repeat it?
        I'm a product seller - not on active affiliate, but the whole thing makes sense because previously I tried to create info products in unknown markets, trying to figure out something unique, etc - and failed.

        Then I went out and had a look at what's already selling hot -- and created a similar product. And it was a success. So the whole concept is very similar.


        Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

        Build some equity in the marketplace FIRST
        Building equity in marketplace doesn't exclude promoting hot selling products afterwards...


        Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

        and THEN market every product you can find from a position of authority and power.
        Every product? Even ones which don't convert? I'd better go to ClickBAnk (or wherever else to look for other affiliate products -- > I just mentioned ClickBank for the sake of simplicity) and see which one are ALREADY selling hot in the same market I've built equity in and promote them!

        Rgds,

        Robert
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        • Profile picture of the author kjduarte
          Very informative post. Didn't get the a-Ha! but did get some useful information out of it
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          • Profile picture of the author Keith Kogane
            Robby - yeah I think we're in agreement now. What I was arguing against was the current teachings re setting up review sites and doing "lazy" PPC and SEO around the product name. I realize now that wasn't necessarily what you meant.

            Now, as a guy who created a product in what was obviously a hot niche, using my setup should work great for that. I haven't gotten into it, but think about it. In my niches, I have a direct line to the broad market that's buying this kind of stuff. I could do teleseminars/surveys and find out what they really want and are NOT getting in order to get leads on what new aff. products I can promote and more importantly, find gaps in the marketplace to develop my own products and squeeze out the less responsive competition.

            What my real point is (I guess, lol) is that you should work a strategy that's scalable and that you can build on and branch out. The current trend of "set and forget" "rinse and repeat" lazy tactics might get you out of your day job, but not out of a job that's work work work.

            Instead of going from product to product and not building on anything, you need to backup and focus on the market that wants the product, and really maximize profits from a niche before moving on to another product. Don't think per-product. Think of the market, and put products in that context.

            That's great for the beginning marketer, because even if you "fail" at a certain promotion, you're still A. building equity in the market, and B. Not wasting any work, because it all builds momentum and gains you attention.
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            • Profile picture of the author John Hartman
              Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

              Robby - yeah I think we're in agreement now. What I was arguing against was the current teachings re setting up review sites and doing "lazy" PPC and SEO around the product name.
              I would like to make a couple of statements:

              1) I'm one of those lazy guys I guess you would say, but my methods
              earn me six figures annually from 1 page websites. And after so many
              articles linking back to those sites they all become passive income
              after a couple of months. I work on my sites for 3-5 hours daily.

              2) Your giving mixed messages, coming from someone that is head over
              heels with auto-blogs, or am I mistaken?
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              • Profile picture of the author Keith Kogane
                Originally Posted by John Hartman View Post

                I would like to make a couple of statements:

                1) I'm one of those lazy guys I guess you would say, but my methods
                earn me six figures annually from 1 page websites. And after so many
                articles linking back to those sites they all become passive income
                after a couple of months. I work on my sites for 3-5 hours daily.

                2) Your giving mixed messages, coming from someone that is head over
                heels with auto-blogs, or am I mistaken?
                Sweet - tell me more. I'd love to hear how you do it. PM me if you don't want to share.

                If you've found something that's great and works for you, awesome. And I don't want to discourage people from trying the "product first" method of marketing if they "get it" and it works for them. It didn't work for me, but going after niches in the way I describe did.

                As for #2, if you've read up on my auto-blogging threads, my methods are very much focused on the niche and becoming an authoritative resource. There's no mixed messaging as I can tell - if there is, it's not implied.

                If you look at the start date on this post, you'll see I wrote it a few months before I ever started sharing my auto-blogging methods here, but the philosophy behind the post very much informs how I think about what I do.

                In fact, if you look at that first post of this thread, you'll see I actually mention the niche news aggregator sites don't exist in many niches (that's my autoblog method in a nutshell).

                Hope that clarifies.

                But seriously though, PM me - I'd love to talk about your method. I'm pretty lazy, but I strive to get better.
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              • Profile picture of the author aistores01
                Originally Posted by John Hartman View Post

                .....my methods earn me six figures annually from 1 page websites. And after so many articles linking back to those sites they all become passive income after a couple of months. I work on my sites for 3-5 hours daily...
                Hi John,

                I too would appreciate learning more about your methods. PM me if you don't want to provide details in a forum.

                Thanks
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      • Originally Posted by Keith Kogane View Post

        Yeah, see - we agree - going for the product first is the "lazy" way to do it. Yeah, it COULD work, but the thing is, you need to have a hot product that people want to search for by name.

        Have you really TRIED that tactic, or have you just read in a couple of places that it works, and it SOUNDS good, so you repeat it?

        You specifically named Clickbank, and I want to put out a few arguments AGAINST steering marketers in that direction. Primarily, there's nowhere to grow from there.

        In my experience, not very many people are aware of any but the best selling Clickbank products. They just aren't household names. The strategy you're talking about will NOT work with 99% of the products out there. And for the products it WILL really kill for, there's already people employing a strategy for it. By the time a consumer knows the name of a product that they're interested in buying, they've ALREADY done the research and decided to buy THAT item over another. That being said, what they are going to search for is a vendor with a low price/good deal. Most of the time, that cuts affiliate marketers out of the picture (we have no control over vendor pricing).

        Now, that's the case in the non-IM, physical products affiliate world. See who bids on product names in that game - the vendors are savvy, the manufacturers have huge budgets, and so do the huge internet providers. Any mass market product name you search for will probably be dominated by the maker, the seller, and the price comparer.

        But you're talking about Clickbank. And the only "name brand" products on Clickbank are usually in the IM field because of the hype engine prelaunch buzz. So all the teeny tiny affiliate wannabees jump in and fight for their sliver with all the other people in their category. But guess what? Guess who always wins the affiliate contest? The big name guys with the lists. Guess why that happens? Because they have "juice" in the market. They have a list of people in the market with a broader interest that goes beyond just the single product.

        On top of that, Clickbank's gravity stat can be (and is) manipulated by savvy product creators. So it's not really TRUE market research. Besides, even if that stat could be trusted, it only indicates how well someone is marketing that particular product, and not how broad, how deep, how many are in the marketplace.

        Another downside (at least the way most people market) is if you find a stinker of a product (and you will), all your work is wasted. Also, you're going to be competing with all the other people marketing that product - you're not going out and finding the market - you're just trading on keywords and waiting for the market to get educated and find you.

        I'm saying that's a waste. If you get into the MARKETS and find them where they are, YOU are the one educating the markets about the products in the first place. Why are they going to go off and google search if someone they trust from their community/niche/tribe is already giving them quality recommendations.

        Dig?

        If you do it my way, you'll eat the lunch of everyone doing your way before they even get sniffers looking around.

        Now, yet ANOTHER way to look at it is YES, say you try your way and it works and you have a winner.

        Most people would say okay, rinse and repeat (another "lazy" tactic), find another product and start over.

        That's dumb. Find ANOTHER product that will appeal to the same kind of buyer, promote it to the people in your existing funnel, AND start a campaign on that product externally to pull people in to your same, more generalized information "channel". All the new people coming on off product 2, guess what? Set an autoresponder to send them a promo for product 1.

        We're not arguing about doing product specific marketing, we're just arguing over where and when you should be doing it.

        I prefer to build big generalized pools of subscribers, and a wide, community spanning sphere of influence for a site/persona. Then, when I want to do some product specific marketing and trade on a name my market recognizes, I have DOUBLE the impact any other affiliate might have because I have the product recognition paired with the "brand" I've bothered to build.

        So, compare:

        Build a campaign around the product with no equity in the marketplace...

        OR

        Build some equity in the marketplace FIRST, and THEN market every product you can find from a position of authority and power.

        See, people searching for stuff are going to want to filter the noise, and focus on the quality signal. So if you spend your time on developing a strong signal that people want to tune in to (Again, not even HARD to do in most info-starved niches) then people will ignore the other guys.

        P.S. I LOVE Chris Surfrider and John Reese's stuff BUT - think about how the strategies THEY teach will inevitably help THEM. Do those guys have products with strong brands that people are searching for? You bet. So by teaching affiliate marketers to set up traps for that traffic and send it back to them - big payday. Sure, the affiliate makes a little money too, but you gotta fight fight fight and always know what the new hot product is.

        Operating at my level, I don't have to fight with anyone over the people in the market who know the name of "Product X" - most of the time, I'm the first one to even TELL them Product X exists, and they are grateful I informed them, and they trust my recommendation. They bypass your system entirely.

        Think about that.

        Thanks for the comment though!
        wow, you are quite a non-stop writer!

        please explain "Clickbank's gravity stat can be (and is) manipulated by savvy product creators" or is this just a possibility?
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  • Profile picture of the author archer29
    I'm new and financially challenged and instead of the a-ha I got the ding ding ding of the cash register.

    Thanks again, Keith. You da man!
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  • Profile picture of the author JLRuffin
    Actually, a hot product can work because the market or niche is already discovered. What is foolish is to build a campaign around a product that has not been tested. So in essence, a good niche market must be there before the product is made available. The key is always finding what a substantial number of people want, then providing it to them. Of course, if you can do this better than anyone else, you'll make a lot of money.
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