Whenever I get an email from a newer affiliate asking for advice on a site, it usually contains a 14 paragraph, in depth explanation of what they were thinking of doing and why no matter what route they take, it might be the wrong route because [insert reason generated after hours of contemplation here].
How can doing your research and looking at your plan from various angles possibly be a reason for failure at Internet marketing? When you become so worried that your next course of action will be the wrong one that you do nothing. A condition commonly referred to as “analysis paralysis”.
Before you fall victim to analysis paralysis (assuming you already aren't), you should realize a few things. The reality of being an affiliate marketer is that you're going to make mistakes. You're going to buy domains at 2 a.m. that you later look at going “what the hell was I thinking?”. You're going to sign up with affiliate programs that never make you money even with a well trafficked website.
You're going to build at least one website in your career (if you're a long term affiliate, it will be many, many more) that gets no traction and in the end, has to be called a loss. You will have many bad business ideas.
But here's the thing, you don't want to be afraid to make those mistakes because, guess what?
YOU WILL LEARN SOMETHING FROM EVERY MISTAKE YOU MAKE.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” – Wayne Gretzky
You don't need to do everything correctly, you just need to do it:
- Find a topic you're interested in entering
- Do your keyword research
- Do your competitive analysis (more on that in the coming weeks)
- Make sure there are several affiliate programs and multiple advertisers in the space
- Figure out how you can define a POD and compete long term in the space over time
- Create a realistic budget within your means
- Create a marketing plan (not a 14 page document, a quick bullet list of who you can reach out to will work)
- Develop the alpha version of the site and ensure that basic SEO requirements are met
- Start marketing that site
- Keep improving it, keep marketing it
- Keep your eye on the ball
Will you make mistakes? Yes. But being your own boss (what most affiliates aspire to be) sometimes requires making decisions based on the information you have and not the information you want. To me, making no decision is worse than making the wrong one.
Make the decision based upon your best efforts to gather the information you need to make one and if you're wrong, don't be afraid to admit it later and change course. Don't let the fear of being wrong stand in the way of your success.
Last up will be the fifth post in the Reasons you fail at affiliate marketing series which explains what I believe to be the most common reason for failure, focusing on the “thrill of the chase”.