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The Downside of Affiliate Marketing

Feb 26, 2008
Affiliate marketing is one of many new online business opportunities. It began about 10 years ago and has grown astronomically since. An affiliate works by introducing new clients to online merchants. In return, they are paid a commission for each purchase made by customers they have introduced.

It is an attractive proposition because the set-up costs are very low. You do not need much more than a computer, a desk and an internet connection. You do not need your own product and can even make a start without your own website.

Other advantages are that you can work from anywhere in the world and choose your own hours. You do not have the risks of processing payments, the hassle of handling and shipping goods or the nasty business of dealing with customer complaints.

But, before you quit the day job and choose affiliate marketing as your business model, there are one or two things you should know. In theory anyone can earn money at internet marketing but in practice many aspiring affiliates fail. Here are five pitfall points you must think about.

1. Affiliate marketing needs huge investment in time
Research is essential to affiliate success and this is inevitably time-consuming. Further, if you do not have money to invest when you are starting out, then you must use free techniques, such as article marketing, to drive customers to your pre-selling web pages. This can involve writing anything from 10 to 100 articles for any one campaign. Your articles do not need to win prizes for literature but they should make sense and have valuable content. This takes time.

If you are not a techie and set out to build your own website, then that is likely to be time-consuming too. And once your site is up and running you must keep it fresh and continually build backlinks to boost its Google rank. Then there are regular emails to your opt-in list, daily posts to your blog and weekly updates to your Squidoo lenses. All take time.

2. It is easy to lose focus
When affiliates give up, it is often because they have failed to plan and have lost sight of their goals. The internet is full of distractions and, when you work at home alone, you are all the more likely to waste time on useless activities. Unfocused activities will not make money and you will become frustrated. Disappointment can be avoided by proper planning and discipline.

3. Be prepared for failure
In spite of all your best efforts, some of your campaigns will fail. When this happens, it is hard to stay motivated. But you must. Analysing your failure will teach you lots of valuable lessons. If you persist, you will emerge wiser and stronger and more likely to gain an edge over the competition.

4. Goalposts will shift
Internet marketing is an evolving environment and affiliates must be ready for change, whether this involves new Google parameters, new opportunities to capitalize on, or new techniques to learn.

To give yourself the best chance, it is a good idea to hook up with a membership program that will let you rub shoulders with expert marketers, teach you the essentials and update you on new developments, provide coaching if required and moral support when the going gets tough. There are a number of these programs around and the best of them are well worth the membership fee.
About the Author
If you have the right training, however, you can overcome any pitfall in the affiliate marketing world. Some of the best training comes from Wealthy Affiliate.
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