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The Challenges of Starting an Affiliate Marketing Business

May 31, 2008
You've decided to start an internet affiliate marketing business. Maybe you have one company that you are associated with, perhaps you have several. Maybe you have joined a program that is more like a 'home based business in a box' where you start multiple affiliate marketing businesses through one program. With all of these scenarios, you will face many of the same challenges.

The most important challenge you will face is how to attract traffic to your website. You may have the most marvelous product, fancy website, and unbelievable compensation plan, but if you cannot get people to see your website, you will not make money. Learn from the beginning that internet marketing is a numbers game.

Assuming you are hoping others will 'sign up' so that you can build an organization; remember that you first need to have people look at your website so you can expose them to your opportunity. Of those, a very small number may express interest by giving you their name and email address. Of those, only a very few will actually sign up. Then, of those that sign up, only a few of them will actually take the business as seriously as you do. So you can see that you need to generate a lot of traffic to your site if you want to start making some money.

Learning to drive traffic to your site will become your 'work' in this type of business. Hopefully your company has marketing tools and suggestions for marketing the opportunity. Some of the better opportunities offer free information on SEO (search engine optimization), social networking, article writing, blogging, traffic exchanges, etc. There are also free tools available online. There are free newsletters you can subscribe to. There are free videos on YouTube and on company websites. There are plenty of free articles online.

Take advantage of the free education that is available, recognizing that with each free tool will be a sales pitch of some kind. For now, avoid the temptation of signing up for every other opportunity that looks good. Just use the free materials offered to increase your knowledge base. When you have more knowledge about marketing on the internet, you can always go back and sign up for the businesses that you think would be best for you. If they are legitimate, they will still be there.

Another challenge that you will probably face is remembering all your usernames and passwords. I use a browser that remembers many for me and I have an Excel spreadsheet with many of my websites, referral links, usernames and passwords on it. But my most valuable resource is my index card file. I highly suggest you keep some kind of card file, rolodex, or notebook where you keep all of your important information written down in case you should lose your information on your computer.

The hardest challenge to overcome, though, is discouragement. You probably won't make a lot of money right away. You may not make any money at all for months. Maybe you've responded to an ad for a company that has claimed to 'Guarantee Lots of Money in the Next 90 Days.' Maybe after ninety days you haven't made much if any money. What are you going to do? Complain? Sue? Quit?

Choose your company wisely. Consider the fact that in many compensation plans, there are bonuses that are given to people that sign up a lot of people right away. Perhaps the ad you responded to earned your sponsor a big bonus. He might not be exaggerating when he shows his big paychecks on his website. But if you are not able to duplicate his success, you will quit and move on, as will many of the others that sign up.

You will be wise to investigate and find out if there are many others who are successful in your company. Many companies have leader boards that you can see which will give you an idea of how many sales others are making and maybe even an idea of how much money they might be making. I like companies that have a forum where affiliates can exchange ideas, marketing strategies, successes and failures. Hopefully, you can get access to the forum before you join and then you can ask your burning questions. Check to make sure there are recent posts so that you can have an idea if the company is thriving or not.

Expect to be disappointed at first. If you quit, you'll never know how successful you could have been. If you don't make money right away, don't waste your energy complaining or blaming the company or product. Step back from the situation and look at your numbers objectively. Then work harder to generate more traffic to your website. You will not be wasting your time. You will be developing skills that will help you with other affiliate marketing businesses you start in the future. You will also be able to help others benefit from your experience.
About the Author
Marcia Arnett is a retired RN working from her home in northwest Connecticut. For information about starting an Affiliate Marketing Business sign up for her free Affiliate Marketing Newsletter and receive six free books about making money from home.
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