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  1. #1
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    (2007) Food for Thought - The #1 reason why most fail at Affiliate Marketing
    Plain and simple. The #1 reason why most fail at Affiliate Marketing is this:

    Doing the AFFILIATE part, but not doing the MARKETING part.

    That's all there is to it.
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  2. #2
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    Yep. Marketing/Lack of traffic which good marketing will get you.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager
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    I think the biggest reason is expecting to much right away and then when they realize that it doesn't get you rich overnight they give up...

    Another reason that I been noticing the past couple years is just down right LAZYNESS. They expect the affiliate manager to do all their work for them. I had one affiliate actually send me his ftp login info and wanted me to update his site for him.

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    #1 reason is lack of persistence. As Thomas Edison said..."Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

  5. #5

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    Yea, but the marketing part of it is the hardest part, and most do not realize how much time and effort has to be put into it for it to pay off. Lots of people looking for the fast buck.

  6. #6
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    I agree with that sentiment. As someone who is just starting out, the pillar of all my thoughts is persistance.

    "If you are going through hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    #1 reason for failure?

    Emulating Mike and Charlie's site

    (just kiddin Mike)

    Marketing is definately a lot of work. But most times it's fun - as you experiment to see what works for you.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chet_B
    Another reason that I been noticing the past couple years is just down right LAZYNESS. They expect the affiliate manager to do all their work for them. I had one affiliate actually send me his ftp login info and wanted me to update his site for him.
    Never heard of this one. I'm sure he asked you to put your name on his commission check too, to avoid the line at the bank.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chet_B
    I think the biggest reason is expecting to much right away and then when they realize that it doesn't get you rich overnight they give up...

    Another reason that I been noticing the past couple years is just down right LAZYNESS. They expect the affiliate manager to do all their work for them. I had one affiliate actually send me his ftp login info and wanted me to update his site for him.
    Say Chet would you mind...

    lol

  10. #10
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    biggest mistake I made was making a mall site thinking people will come and buy, buy buy!
    Free Tips for newbies: No one searches for "shopping malls" online unless they are looking to go to one in the rick and mortar world and they are looking for the address of the place.

    Billy handing your card to the cocktail waitresses at the casino does not count as marketing. smart business yes but not marketing
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  11. #11
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh
    Plain and simple. The #1 reason why most fail at Affiliate Marketing is this:

    Doing the AFFILIATE part, but not doing the MARKETING part.
    Good point, David.

    Would you say that it would be different for merchants (supposing what you've mentioned above is applied to affiliates)? Would merchants mostly fail because they are doing the marketing part, but forgetting the affiliate component along the way?

    Geno

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
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    Not all affiliates know how to market or even where to learn how to market. So....as an affiliate manager isn't your job to try to teach your affiliates how to do that. Not do it for them, but help to teach them. Think some affiliate managers just assume that affiliates know things and the affiliates don't ask the affiliate managers cos they're afraid they'll think they're stupid or that the affiliate manager will talk over their heads.

    Do think a lot of affiliates do expect that they're gonna become rich and don't realize all that's involved with it when they start and probably get frustrated cos they don't know how to do it or even start and then just give up when they don't get the results they thought they'd get.

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    The answer is the same whether it is affiliate marketing or learning a new subject in school or career in life.

    C - O - M - M - I - T - M - E - N - T

    THE END
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  14. #14
    Affiliate Network Rep Danny K's Avatar
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    Do you mean the "marketing mix"? It many times comes down to semantics and how an individual understands what "marketing" is. I dare say that it might mean different things to each of you that are making good revenue. Marketing no longer has the same PPPP meaning that it once did. Although, it still is a part, the Promotion function has been it's increased meaning.

    To some of you it is more Content Creation, to others it is more the matter of getting the right mix of link/offerings? And there's content in that too, right? Is "design" considered marketing? That's your (p) package and image.

    What about the technical knowledge hurdles that individuals need to accomplish?
    Even the shopping for the right configuration and how to not pay too much for software and services. Wouldn't you consider this also one of the larger challenges? Even if there are more simple and GUI tools to organize and publish, they still need to be found and learned. Many of the best affiliates I've known come from other high-tech occupations so I feel there is an advantage. Give me more retired engineers.

    The affiliate who wants AM to ftp in for him is posturing. He's probably making enough and knows how to negotiate from that point if he cares. But if the AM is hungry he might do it. Why wouldn't he try to get him to do that? That's an attempt at Efficiency.

    Sorry, no apologies for trying to seem smart before I cross the "threshold" (hello 500) ;-)
    Danny K. - Network Administrator, Digital River- oneNetworkDirect.com, Email: dkautt@digitalriver.com

  15. #15
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    The number one reason people fail is not lack of marketing, it is lack of work. If they DID work enough to make a site someone wanted to come to, the second point of failure would probably be lack of marketing.

  16. #16
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny K
    Do you mean the "marketing mix"? It many times comes down to semantics and how an individual understands what "marketing" is.
    Definition of terms would be good. "Affiliate" and "Marketing" are closely related.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  17. #17
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh
    Plain and simple. The #1 reason why most fail at Affiliate Marketing is this:

    Doing the AFFILIATE part, but not doing the MARKETING part.

    That's all there is to it.
    Great post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chet_B
    I had one affiliate actually send me his ftp login info and wanted me to update his site for him.
    Chet, on my first program we offered free websites which I would personally build, zip up and send to affiliates. I had quite a few ask me to then unzip and upload for them, etc. One even went so far as to demand I make him a logo to go with the site I just sent him! He was incensed when I said no. Some people...
    Eathan Mertz

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  18. #18
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne
    The number one reason people fail is not lack of marketing, it is lack of work. If they DID work enough to make a site someone wanted to come to, the second point of failure would probably be lack of marketing.
    Sometimes affiliates become frustrated when tools such as "make-a-page" or another affiliate program's equivalent don't work -- if a tool the affiliate relies upon doesn't work, that's frustrating and the affiliate's attention might be diverted elsewhere. Heck, Linkshare has been known to bump off affiliates and then blame the affiliate for a "voluntary deactivation!?#$%^&" so then is such an affiliate driven with enthusiasm for the program?

    Other times the individual product pictures are not good enough

    There are many reasons on the Merchant/Affiliate Program side that are to blame.

    You can't market an item on the Internet (a very visual platform for reaching people) that has a less than desirable picture -- that kind of thing makes the affiliate walk away.
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  19. #19
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne
    The number one reason people fail is not lack of marketing, it is lack of work. If they DID work enough to make a site someone wanted to come to, the second point of failure would probably be lack of marketing.
    What about invalid links and out-of-date product feeds that tell the user/visitor when clicked that the merchandise is sold out?
    Is the affiliate to blame or the merchant?
    If the affiliate works with less-than-desirable tools (provided by the merchant) is it the affiliate's fault?

    What if the merchant only provides crappy banners? Is an affiliate really supposed to be gung-ho for such programs?

    It's a quid pro quo situation (Latin for something for something) in order to work.
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  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager
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    But if the AM is hungry he might do it. Why wouldn't he try to get him to do that? That's an attempt at Efficiency.
    More of an attempt at laziness... If an AM is hungry enough then he/she is better off just making thier own site rather than spending all their time doing the affiliates work and paying a commission to him on top of it. Kind of defeats the purpose of even having an affiliate program if an AM would do something like that.

    Chet, on my first program we offered free websites which I would personally build, zip up and send to affiliates. I had quite a few ask me to then unzip and upload for them, etc. One even went so far as to demand I make him a logo to go with the site I just sent him! He was incensed when I said no. Some people...
    It's like the more you give the more some people want from you without effort on their part. The biggest mistake I made when I was an OPM was creating the Dynamic Template... that thing caused me more "support" havoc than I could handle and utlimately drove me out of the OPM business, for the most part. I created a monster and I hate that thing.

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    Danny - good points indeed. Though my commitment post may seem vague, in fact it encompasses all of the points you raise, as well as the points raised in most posts in this thread.

    If the person is committed to succeeding at marketing, s/he can handle the challenges. I am not at all a technical person. Never wrote a line of code in my life, barely know how to size pics for uploading, know nothing about designing web sites (other than laying out a conceptual site map). I knew nothing about PPC prior to four years ago. Knew nothing about quality scoring, nothing about optimizing pages, SEO, knew nothing about the value of "content" or how to optimize pages using keywords, tags, titles, descriptions etc etc.

    What I did know is - that what I don't know, I can recruit others who do know. If the new affiliate cannot fund them on his/her payroll, there are plenty of tech types who are happy to participate for a percentage of the business and revenues. In this case, the new affiliate has to be willing to release a few peanuts from his hand in order to get his hand out of the peanut jar - but it beats failure, and often leads to many more great opportunities. Networking is a huge part of succeeding in marketing of any kind.

    My strengths have always been marketing and idea development, networking ideas, sales, and business management, though it was all offline marketing. Seven years ago we began our entry into the internet and slowly migrated from offline marketing. Our programmer, who is a contractor has been with us for 8 years. He was a fresh graduate from DeVry in 99. We called him in to do a small project for us, and I immediately identified him as being someone who could handle our programming functions, network admin, and in some cases even build sites, though that is not what he does. He started at an hourly and percentage of ownership because he too wanted to build something, and I recognized that as an opportunity for us both to benefit by networking our specialties.

    I also had a young man from Iowa who was a great graphics guy. I recruited him to handle web site design. He spent five great years with us helping to build our online businesses. My son Zach came into the biz 5 years ago, and then four years ago, another son (Jeremy). Each serves areas of the businesses and functions that I do not do - or do not know how to do. As for SEO, we retained an SEO person with a minimal upfront and built in performance bonuses. We are now putting together a limited partnership in which he will handle the SEO functions and in turn get a percentage of SEO revenues.

    I have been learning PPC the past four years, and I am still learning it today. The more I learn, the better positioning our PPC listings get, the better positioning and quality score etc etc. I also write the marketing text, which I enjoy doing and do it pretty well.

    The reason I bring these things into the discussion is because I have built businesses for 32 years, and in every instance, I had to learn things I did not know before, find people who knew what I did not know, and surround myself with peers who each had a value to add.

    That is what I mean by commitment. If a person is committed to building success online, the opportunities are there, and the expertise in each area is available to those who seriously pursue it. If a person does not, then they are not truly committed to an end result of success.

    In the case of a one man show, it is more difficult. But if a one man show needs expertise from the outside, if s/he is committed to making it work, that expertise can be found and there are many ways to handle remuneration.

    That is what I mean by commitment.
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  22. #22
    Mama in Charge Anne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhia7
    What about invalid links and out-of-date product feeds that tell the user/visitor when clicked that the merchandise is sold out?
    Is the affiliate to blame or the merchant?
    If the affiliate works with less-than-desirable tools (provided by the merchant) is it the affiliate's fault?

    What if the merchant only provides crappy banners? Is an affiliate really supposed to be gung-ho for such programs?

    It's a quid pro quo situation (Latin for something for something) in order to work.
    I am fairly certain most affiliates throw in the towel before they even find these tools. The original statement was regarding why MOST affiliates fail. Some affiliates , though, probably give up due to the reasons you mentioned, of course.

  23. #23
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne
    I am fairly certain most affiliates throw in the towel before they even find these tools. The original statement was regarding why MOST affiliates fail. Some affiliates , though, probably give up due to the reasons you mentioned, of course.
    MOST affiliates don't use those tools? What do they use?

    If an affiliate doesn't know how to work with PHP & data feeds, the affiliate probably has figured out the "get a product image tool" from the Merchant.

    Even so, there are still merchants who don't offer product images or the tools to get them (i.e. Make-a-Page, I forget what CJ calls its thingy, you know what I'm talking about...often those Affiliate Program tools are either not provided for or something is wrong with them at one point or another--it's amazing when all the Affiliate Program tools are working correctly).
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  24. #24
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    Lack of traffic due to not knowing how to market their site to get that traffic.

    You can work hard, you can have all the commitment in the world. You can have the nicest looking and best working site on the internet. If nobody finds it, you're going to fail.

    You need to learn how to generate traffic and the more sources the better. If you're only getting it from one source it's kind of like hopping around on one leg. Some people are good at hopping around on leg but most will eventually fall. You ever see a dog with just 3 legs? They still get around pretty good. Get more legs, more sources of traffic so if you lose one, you're still in the game.

    People fail for all sorts of reasons but if you're getting good traffic you should be making good money. If you're not, the problem isn't the traffic, the problem is you haven't figured out how to monetize it correctly.

  25. #25
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
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    People fail for all sorts of reasons but if you're getting good traffic you should be making good money. If you're not, the problem isn't the traffic, the problem is you haven't figured out how to monetize it correctly.


    Agreed, and if s/he doesn't know how to improve conversions to monetize, there are folks who do. The newb can work something out with someone who does, and learn from the experience. It all is still encompassed by commitment. If a person wants it bad enough, they will persist and learn.

    Not everyone will succeed at it, nor does everyone succeed at opening their own business of any kind. 90% + fail. After 35 years in the marketing and business environments, I know that most CAN succeed, but they did not because they lacked the commitment to learn, share, network, recruit, keep trying and keep learning.
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