In this time of a down economy, who couldn’t do with another income stream? Those of who’ve been online for a few weeks or longer, realize that not every offer of income potential is quite what it seems to be.
James Nardell and his team at Shopster have been writing a series on myths bloggers have about affiliate marketing. This is the second in that series to help us all avoid some potholes on the information highway. (Does anyone still call it that?)
Myth 2: It’s Best to Start Affiliate Marketing with a Crash Course
A Guest Post by Raymond Lau
Is a crash course from a leading affiliate the best way to ramp up fast on affiliate marketing techniques?
Sort of. When looking for a crash course in affiliate marketing, the key words are “buyer beware”. While it is entirely possible to learn good fundamentals from a beginner’s course, there are many resources out there that are either misleading, out of date, or entirely loony.
A misleading technique is one that worked for someone, once, under circumstances they either cannot reproduce or cannot adequately expand. Avoiding this is as simple as doing your homework: look back at the history of the technique itself, and who is presenting it. The best business is built upon a stable foundation that can adapt to changes in the market. Learning the processes and habits of a fluke will only lead to troubles down the road.
An out-of-date technique is just as useless to you when starting out. Changes in affiliate marketing happen all the time, and as a beginner you simply cannot afford to start your business without a step ahead of the competition. Why even bother entering the race in the middle of the pack, where business winds down to the lowest bidder? Affiliate marketing is about innovation.
Of course, among the throngs of dead ends there are some shining examples of solid, easily-accessible courses from people who know what they’re doing. They’re not that hard to find (hah, they’d better not be!) and it takes virtually no time to get started with their guides.
Some are free, like the “Affiliate Masters” guide by Ken Evoy (http://aff-masters.sitesell.com/AffMasters.pdf) which thoroughly covers the potential beginning of your affiliate marketing life and provides a wealth of links to other solid resources.
Others, such as the Affiliate Marketer’s Handbook by James Martell, or Rosalind Gardner’s How I Made $436,797 in One Year Selling Other People’s Stuff Online, require an up-front investment but come with backup support and counseling by the authors themselves, allowing for a much more personal experience that may more thoroughly ingrain the fundamentals.
Whether you go for the free route or decide to pay for the information, there are three simple questions to ensure that what you’re learning will help you and your business:
1. Does it suit you? Look into the history of who is teaching and what they are saying. Make a judgment on whether or not what they’re teaching can be adapted to the markets you want to enter.
2. Is it stale? It’s one thing to learn a stable set of basics, and another entirely to clog your brain with dated information that has been reworked and improved upon since it first came out. Research the techniques offered to confirm they’re still relevant to today’s market.
3. What do you expect? Just because the course you’re taking promises to teach you the solid how-tos of affiliate marketing, don’t go in thinking you’ll get rich quick. By now you should know that “instant profit” is only made by people taking advantage of others who are looking for it.
Raymond Lau is a marketing analyst for Shopster.com — a company that provides Web sellers with a dropship product source and e-Commerce storefront tools to build their online business. Shopster gives retailers and affiliates access to over 1 million products they can sell on auction sites or their own storefront. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, James and Raymond!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!