Why You Are a Failure

If you are new to affiliate marketing you may be trying to figure out what niche or vertical you want to dominate.  If you aren’t, then you need to be.  Affiliates who focus their energy in one vertical have much greater success than a scattershot approach to promoting multiple products in many niches.

Focusing your efforts, in any endeavor, not just affiliate marketing will make you more successful.  When I speak with new affiliates the overriding theme that comes up is “where do I start?”.  This is a crucial question for new affiliates to answer because it can mean the difference between a successful career as a publisher or one that sends them back to technical school to become a welder.

So where do you start as an affiliate?  Everyone asks, what’s the hot category?  What offer is killing it?  There is no easy answer to this.  I suggest starting with your passion.  Then it will make it seem less like work and more like something you would probably be doing anyway, except now it is with a purpose.

Passion is what makes it possible to work a couple of extra hours a day or week to get your affiliate business off the ground and producing results.  The lack of it makes affiliate marketing drudgery.  I don’t discount that there are many successful affiliates who do not have a passion for subprime debt, yet do well at that category.  Is it possible to be passionate about sub-prime debt offers?

The passion I am speaking of, is the passion for creating something out of nothing and then watching that grow and improve steadily as you add more expertise and experience to your work.  It is passion that guides super-affiliates to dominate a niche.  It is passion that drives new and innovative ways of connecting with the right audience.

As an affiliate, focusing your time and efforts is essential.  The affiliates with the worst track records are those that jump at anything new or fail to completely immerse themselves in the niche they are attempting to have success with.  Constantly hopping from one niche to the next will only doom your career as an affiliate.  Success as an affiliate is more likely to come when you focus your attention on only one or two niches.

Even greater success comes when you start linking like niches together to create a user experience flow that you control, but the end user still feels like they are in control of their own destiny.  The game is to keep your visitors engaged throughout the time they are on your website or blog (and beyond with using email and social media links).  This means finding out what interests them and then delivering it.  If you allow your traffic to seep out of your control you will miss the opportunity to make a sale or generate a lead.

For example, if you have chosen bicycling as the niche you want to play in, you will first need to narrow down what are the most profitable categories within the bicycling niche.  While selling fully assembled bikes may earn you the highest commissions, you may find that your users are more interested in trying out a bike before they buy, which is hard to do in an online space.  But when you consider that bike shops sell more accessories than they do bikes, you may want to devote a good portion of your time to creating an accessories storefront in addition to promoting the sale of fully assembled bikes.  Finding new and innovative products to bring to your audience will endear you to them and encourage them to come back often to check out your latest finds.  In addition, there are many subcategories within the bicycle sales world, such as alternative bikes and trikes.  Each of these subcategories has loyal fans you need to connect with also.

Choosing what color your parachute will be is priority number one as an affiliate.  Without focusing your efforts on a specific niche you will almost always lose the passion because you will not realize the success you had imagined.  By focusing your efforts and really delving into the subject matter to see where consumers are trending you can increase the likelihood that you will have success as an affiliate.

Without focus and passion, your parachute will probably not open and, well, you’ll coming crashing back to earth bruised and bitter.  And when you crash, you lose the passion that drew you to affiliate marketing in the first place.  The key is to keep pushing deeper and deeper into the niche you have dedicated yourself to and you will eventually find a pocket of consumers that responds to your hard work and effort.

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Jim Lillig

Jim Lillig is a performance marketing veteran. Starting his own online consulting business in 1996, Jim has been instrumental in growing the affiliate industry from the ground up. Jim currently is the EVP at Wheaten & Wheaten, a full service digital agency located in Chicago. Wheaten maintains two CPA networks, www.adfoundry.com and www.safetynetmedia.com. You can learn more here: www.jimlillig.com.

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  1. Jim,i like your in depth analysis on how to get started in affiliate marketing. But i would disagree on the are you said that one should focus on one niche as an affiliate.

    well, i may agree with you that new affiliate could start doing that. But if one already knows his onions in the business, one can promote as many as he handles.

    1. Hoover, You are 100% correct. The newer affiliate needs to learn by doing one niche really well. They then can start to clone that success in other niches when they “know their onions”. The point is that a scattershot approach at first usually does not pay off, as the newer affiliate has yet to “pay their dues” in the process of trial and error (i.e. learning)that all affiliates eventually have to go through.

  2. I had someone contact me about this yesterday. Their question was “I am want to start a blog, can you tell me what I should blog about?”. No, I can’t. I don’t know what you like or dislike, and the ability to make your blog successful will fall down upon you keeping active. The problem is that to many people have heard that you can make money online and are running towards it, but have no clue the amount of time and effort that it takes to start from the ground up and be successful. They spend less time reading articles like yours, and more time reading the ones that are filled with make 2G in four hours online! Hopefully more will find this article and take it to heart before starting out.

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