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Why Most Affiliates Fail… and What to Do About It

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It’s no secret that out of the hundreds of thousands of new people who decide to try affiliate marketing every year, only a small percentage ever make enough to quit their day job or significantly change their lifestyle. Is it because affiliate marketing is too competitive, too hard for non-techie people, or just not all it’s cracked up to be?
Having met many successful people in the affiliate marketing world, and knowing what I know from working at ClickBank, I don’t believe that any of those are the reasons why most people don’t make it as affiliate marketers.
In my opinion, success as an affiliate marketer comes down to two factors: dedication and perseverance.


Dedication and Desire

If you were seriously thinking about taking up a new craft or skill, something you’d never really done before, and wanted to get good enough at it to make a living, think about how dedicated you’d need to be.
Let’s take golf as an example—if you wanted to make a living playing golf, do you think you could just go out and hit 100 golf balls a few times a week and expect to be on the pro tour any time soon?
No way! Pro golfers hit literally thousands of shots a day, every single day, whether they want to or not—because that’s what it takes to be great.  They study the game, they try to identify their faults and fix them, and most importantly, they develop or find a training system and stick to it—for months or years on end. Because that’s what it takes to be great.
According to author Malcolm Gladwell, who studied exceptionally talented and successful people in his book Outliers, found that being in the top tier of almost any endeavor, whether sports, business, or the arts, requires incredible dedication and work. He found that people at the absolute pinnacle of their craft have all put in at least 10,000 hours of work over the years.
Hopefully it won’t take you anywhere near 10,000 hours to become a successful affiliate marketer, but you need to approach your efforts as if it will. Many people buy an Internet Marketing training system, read it and get really excited, then either don’t actually follow the system to the letter, or do it for a week or two and give up if they don’t see results.
People that follow marketing systems to the letter, day in and day out, are very rare. But they are often the people who really succeed, and sometimes even develop their own system that works even better.


Pick a System and Follow It

Over the years, I’ve seen many affiliate marketing training systems, and with a few exceptions, their advice is usually very good. However, the techniques they teach can be tedious, repetitive, and usually take weeks, if not months, to start showing results. Just like golf training, or learning a musical instrument, or anything else that requires dedicated effort and perseverance.
I’ve talked to quite a few affiliates over the years that tell me, “I’ve been doing this for months and haven’t made any money! I’m ready to give up.” Sometimes they’ll even tell me they’re using a training system I’m familiar with, and are disappointed in its results.
Whenever I talk to someone like this, I’ll ask questions like:
  • How many articles have you written and posted?
  • How many niche websites have you built?
  • How many hours did you spend researching a niche and keywords before choosing it?
  • How many backlinks do you actively try to build each week?
Typically, the answer is “Not many” or “I’ve never really done backlinking” or “I picked a niche in a few minutes.” Having seen many of the top training programs out there, I can guarantee that they don’t promise success if you don’t regularly write articles, do serious niche and keyword research, and consistently build backlinks!
It would be like a golf instructor telling you to hit 300 chip shots every day, but instead you only do 10 shots 3 times a week. Can you blame him that you’re not getting any closer to your goal? Or is it a matter of dedication and desire?

Making the Time

At this point, you might be saying, “That’s easy for you to say. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” For a very small number of people that might be true, but according to the Nielsen Company, the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV every single day. Imagine how much you could accomplish in your Internet Marketing efforts if you used 1 or 2 of those hours each day to focus on the kinds of tasks I mentioned above!
Remember the 10,000-hour rule? Think about how much quicker you’ll get to that level of success if you dedicate your time and focus to becoming great at affiliate marketing, rather than trying it for an hour or two here and there without a real system or plan.
Fortunately for you, with a high level of dedication and perseverance, it’s not going to take a decade of practice to become great, like it does for athletes or musicians. It can be much quicker (though not overnight or in a few weeks). Depending on the amount of time you spend, it could be anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. In the grand scheme of things, to reach your goals and change your life for the better, isn’t it worth skipping some TV every day?
If you’re really serious about becoming an affiliate marketing success, maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “Have I been doing everything I can to make the dream a reality?” If not, there’s no time like the present to start!