Empower Network, CEO Jonathan Cronstedt, shares misconceptions with affiliate marketing
When people have negative things to say to me about affiliate marketing, they usually begin by trying to convince me that it’s not a good business model or by making statements about why it isn’t for them. Instead of taking offense, I look at these encounters as opportunities to help spread the message about the industry and explain why I think they’re mistaken (in the nicest possible way, of course).
Their rationale is almost always based on misperceptions or misinformation. Here are some of the comments I pick up and why these concerns are mostly unfounded.
“I don’t have enough time to devote to affiliate marketing work.”
Affiliate marketing offers the best type of business model for entrepreneurs looking to make money and achieve an ideal work/life balance. You can make a great living and still get to have a life. Of course, it is still work, but in order to be successful in the field, you need to remember that it’s your own business. The work you put in is equal to what you get out of it.
No entrepreneur has ever become successful by starting a business and expecting it to run itself. Most would tell you it takes dedication, devotion and hard work mixed with sweat, tears and a little bit of luck. How much time you allocate to your affiliate marketing business will depend on how successful you want to be.
“You can’t make enough money from affiliate marketing.”
Certainly, everyone needs to make a living to afford necessities and enjoy the finer side of life, and no one should view affiliate marketing as a get-rich-quick racket.
Those who are just starting out won’t make as much initially as the seasoned veterans. In addition, not everyone is successful in this field. However, Empower Network provides the assistance and tools you need to get on the right path and make the process less challenging. The rest is up to you.
Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Some affiliate marketers make the mistake of promoting as many products as possible, instead of as many as they can reasonably handle. As a result, not every product gets the necessary attention it deserves and, ultimately, the affiliate marketer isn’t successful.
There are several products and ways to make money in affiliate marketing. It’s crucial to do a bit of homework and find the methods that will work best for you and your individual business style.
Some products are subscription-based, which means you can make money on the initial sale and then more again each time the customer renews. With others, you get paid when your referral provides his email or contact information. Many provide payment when the customer makes an actual purchase.
“There’s no way I can reach enough people to make it a successful business for me.”
It’s not always about the number of people you need to reach, but rather the type of audiences you attract and where they are in the sales cycle. For example, if you have 500 visitors each month but only 1 percent are actually looking to purchase and click on the product links, that won’t help you earn much of a commission. On the other hand, having only 100 visitors with a conversion rate of 20 percent will serve your business better in the long run. Simply offering interesting information to people who are just looking for information will probably not lead to conversions.
Your content will make a huge difference in this area. It’s important to provide valuable content geared toward those who are seeking additional help at various points along the buyer’s journey. Therefore, in addition to enlightening articles about your product’s industry, you may also want to include items such as product reviews, testimonials and how-to videos. For instance, people searching for comparison reviews between two different products are usually doing so because they hope to purchase the item soon.
At Empower Network, we empower small-business owners to make money online without having to deal with the technical, marketing, payroll and overhead challenges that frustrate many entrepreneurs and may cause them to give up before achieving their businesses’ true potential and success.
“You only make nickels and dimes off every sale.”
Now that more companies have come to recognize the value of the affiliate marketing business model, there are opportunities in almost every industry. As a result, you can find products to promote at various price points.
Even luxury brands are getting in on the act. If you stick to promoting products that you like, you’re bound to be more successful.
For instance, you can promote a $20 product that’s very popular and that people will purchase again and again, and make very decent commissions every month. You could also work with higher-end brands that sell expensive items which people only purchase once in a while.
Essentially, commissions can range anywhere from double-digits to four figures. Some companies will pay a commission only for the first time your referral makes a purchase, but others pay each time any given customer buys from the company.
“I don’t know how to pitch products.”
Empower Network’s signature product is a viral blogging system geared toward helping its affiliates use the Internet to grow their businesses online. It leads them from disenfranchisement through to full self-empowerment through the use of blogs, direct sales and online marketing.
There are lots of ways to get visitors interested enough in your product to click on the links. Product reviews provide one of the best methods for marketing your goods and services. They allow you to inform and persuade without actually selling, and you get paid just for making the referral. These also tend to be highly ranked by Google, so people searching for specific items are more likely to find your site.
It’s important to remember to make sure your reviews are well-written and free of grammatical errors. If not, people will perceive them as untrustworthy (if you can’t spell correctly, how good can your information be) and poor attempts at trying too hard to sell, which is very transparent to consumers.
Also, you must be truthful in your reviews. If there are aspects of a product that you don’t like or if it’s better suited to those with lots of experience and not someone who is a novice, then say so. A genuine review should read more like a commentary and less like a sales manual. It might surprise you to learn that you’ll get more conversions by discussing both the good and not-so-good features of your product.
Product launches are another tool you can use to pitch your products. Some readers like to hear about all the hot new devices and upgrades on the horizon. Just be sure not to overwhelm your audience by writing about these too often or seeming as if you’re gushing by writing about the same feature over and over.
You can also make great use of email for your affiliate marketing work. By creating an opt-in link on your site, you can collect email addresses to provide additional information and further engage your customers as they travel through the sales funnel.
Just be sure that you understand and follow all the online rules, such as always including an unsubscribe link, not sending bulk messages to a purchased list and not using the word “free” in the subject line. In some cases, these tactics can cause your emails to be classified as spam, meaning your prospects will never see them and you’ll be wasting your hard work. Extreme cases and repeat offenses could lead to lawsuits and hefty fines for you.
Having a blog is also an effective way to pitch your clients. For this, it may be more helpful if you already have a strong readership. You also need to develop great content. Mediocre information surrounded by a bunch of promotional banners doesn’t provide value, and value is what your customers want.
Another thing to remember about your blog is that you can’t take sales information and try to pass it off as an informative blog. Your audiences will always see right through this kind of tactic and lose faith in you as a beneficial resource.
I recommend that you not stick to any one tactic exclusively. Try more than one and experiment with different options to find the method that works best for you and your business.
“I have a site but can’t seem to attract more visitors.”
Search engine optimization is critical to increase your number of website visitors. In order for customers to know about you, they have to be able to find you. Knowing who your target audience is searching for and using the correct keywords can help you attract more visitors.
In addition to knowing what your customers want, you also have to know why. When we purchase products or services, it’s to solve a problem or satisfy a want. You must understand these issues for your customers and be able to explain how your product will give them what they need.
The best way to do this is to experience the product yourself. That’s why it’s so vital that you promote products that you’re already interested in and passionate about. It allows you to both better relate to your audiences and care about the success of your product.
To be successful in affiliate marketing, you have to establish a level of trust with your readers. This takes honesty, expertise and being genuine. Remember, they’re clicking on your affiliate links because they believe in you. If you provide questionable information, aren’t truthful or otherwise lead them astray, they will not be back.
Also, remember that Empower Network is here to help you. We offer Web software, marketing and leadership tools for startup, home-based, small and medium businesses.
“There’s no future for a career in affiliate marketing.”
Those who view affiliate marketing as a way to make a fast buck are typically in for a rude awakening. I regularly encounter people who believe they can enter the industry, make a bunch of money and then get out. This type of attitude will lead to neither success nor longevity.
Although relatively new, affiliate marketing has been growing steadily and there’s no indication that this will change any time in the near future. You should plan on sticking with it for the long haul in order to achieve your goals and enhance your lifestyle.
There have been many recent advances that serve to make the industry more exciting and prosperous than ever before. New advertising opportunities through social media and the possibilities presented by mobile commerce make this a great time to be involved in the field.
In addition, more businesses are using affiliate marketing as an integral part of their strategic plan and, as a result, are taking on more affiliates. They’ve come to rely on us for what we bring to the table, like solid customer loyalty and creative ways to increase market share. These are the customers, tools and techniques they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Many networks have tens of thousands of affiliates and some have even reached seven figures.
With so much happening in the field, instead of asking why would anyone jump on the affiliate marketing bandwagon, a better question is why wouldn’t you?
I’d love to hear some of the concerns people share with you about the affiliate marketing industry. Tell me about it in the comments section.
Jonathan Cronstedt is the CEO of Empower Network, LLC. Empower Network is a leading affiliate marketing and direct sales company that’s helping tens of thousands enjoy the “Empowered Lifestyle.” Jonathan enjoys travel, spending time with his wife and red wine.
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