How to Make Money in Affiliate Marketing

dollar-sign.jpg1) Go micro.

2) Bridge the gap between the ABW flavored affiliate marketing community and the CPA network flavor of affiliate/performance marketing.

3) Leverage the tremendous amounts of inventory inside of the affiliate and CPA networks in a relationship with the tremendous (and exponentially growing) amounts of ad space available on the emerging media platforms.

4) Read the Long Tail.

5) Stop trying to reach consumers by letting people reach you.

6) Blog

7) Read blogs.

8) Listen to podcasts and watch Ze Frank.

9) Pull, don’t push.

10) Own your niche.

26 thoughts on “How to Make Money in Affiliate Marketing”

  1. “8) Listen to podcasts and watch Ze Frank.”

    Very few understand the strength of community like Ze. As a marketer, I am continually amazed by what he does with his viewership. The guy has left one hell of an “emotional aftertaste” impression on me…

  2. This may come off as snarky, but I don’t mean it to be, and I’ll say it anyway.

    How come someone who has so much wisdom and knowledge of a good affiliate marketing formula, if not THE formula, is looking for a job?

    Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things?

  3. “ABW flavored affiliate marketing community”

    Can you define exactly what that is?

  4. Wish I could define it, Jonathan. But definitions place limits on things, and you can’t really do that with a community like ABW.

    I can describe it as (in my opinion) vibrant, varied, independent and incredibly deep in terms of content. It’s not a place for everyone (no community is), but it is a good barometer of how varied “affiliate” marketing really is.

    I think communities such as ABW are the future of marketing, as well.

  5. Nope…

    “I see something equally vibrant yet far more useful for a wider group of people.”

    It’s the communities that focus on the niches (ask someone on the street what affiliate marketing is) and are micro that will be/are the key. Small is beautiful. See Ze Frank’s forums.

    Most people who actively use and interact on ABW can’t really be grouped as “fascist.” Sure, there’s some who prefer hegemony of thought and practices and yell at outsiders/naysayers, but that is a small small minority.

    Woody Guthrie had it right…

  6. dude, you can’t throw out a word like fascist and neutralize it with a smiley!

    >> There’s less of a “market” for knowledge and wisdom such as Sam’s. The market for it does exist — in the form of an entreprenurial endeavor (IMO). Isn’t this what affiliate/publisher-side affiliate marketing is all about?

    That’s sort of my point. Actually, I wasn’t asking why nobody wanted to pay Sam for his knowledge. I was asking why he doesn’t do something with it and take control of his situation.

    >> That is, why don’t more people care to take it more seriously rather than treat it as online marketing’s junior leagues?

    I guess that’s because the vast majority of affiliate marketing is bush-league. It’s a great big open event and anyone can try out. A few make it big.

    >> I suppose because Sam, and those who think like him (there are not many!), remains un-discovered

    Ironically, one way to get discovered is to perform as an affiliate marketer. Start producing and you’ll get their attention right quick.

    But then there’s the saying, “those who can’t do consult.” I didn’t say that, someone else did. 😉

  7. “What I’m really getting at is not a “wider” group but a more diverse group of participants in terms of skill sets and interests (i.e. those who, at least, do not fear and/or rebel against change and innovation).”

    What he actually means is a place that he hasn’t been chased out of yet. ABW probably has the widest group. Everybody from people just starting out to those making millions a year. It’s where affiliates post. Where network reps post like LS, Performics, SAS etc. Where affiliate managers post. Where a lot of merchants have forums. There are lots of people going to the Affiliate Summit, there is even a forum for that now. It’s the #1 place people go for their affiliate news according to a recent survey I read from Linda, Revenews was #2. There is some afternoon reality for you 🙂

  8. Who said I didn’t run a few affiliate sites? 🙂

    That’s how I’ve been paying the bills at the moment. The sites aren’t raking in the money, but I’m doing some interesting things with them that I’ll be blogging about soon enough.

    No worries… I test (most) of what I write here. Consultants are about as needed as professional SEO optimizers and analytics experts… neither of which provide anything useful (in my opinion).

  9. That pattern you notice Jeff is reality. Another pattern you might notice is me backing up my posts with examples. I quoted you and then showed you the error of your ways. That’s been a pattern throughout the years too. How about quoting me and then trying to disprove anything I just posted? You can’t.

  10. yeah, I was joking with that mis-quote just as the people who used it before me likely were. Thanks for the consult on the phrase origin though. What’s my fee? 😉

    >>Who said I didn’t run a few affiliate sites?

    Nobody. That’s what I was asking. Glad to hear it.

    >> snark alert

    Uh oh. Raise that to snark attack Jeff!

  11. Great point, Brian. Hopefully our conversations here will ripple out and take on a life of their own and eventually reach the newbies. Hmm… maybe I should start a CPN Lite blog targeted at that demographic… hmm… I think I will!

    Awesome link, Jeff. That’ll be the first post on CPN Lite. Too long.
    costperlite? Maybe.
    costpernewbie? A little insulting.


  12. It is not as though (Jeff Molander’s question) any network could just call up and say “Hey Sam, we’d like to hire you… can you just start with that top 10 list you have and let us know when you’re done?” 🙂

  13. It is interesting that in the A Listers crowd that sort of thing happens, though. Edelman picked up Steve Rubel (and another blogger just this week), Microsoft then PodTech picked up Scoble, etc and basically brought them on board to be a public face for the company and a brand-identified blogger personality. I’m no Scoble or Ruble, but that is a dream job.

  14. Sam said” No worries… I test (most) of what I write here. Consultants are about as needed as professional SEO optimizers and analytics experts… neither of which provide anything useful (in my opinion). ”

    First- I really don’t think pure performance is a model that supports objectivity- it tends to support “sales people” who have a vested interest in not being objective. That is one area the “industry” took a wrong turn. It failed to support objective, good quality publications, or to nuture them- instead each company choose to push their own educational agendas. It rewards VOLUME and not innovation. (Some say innovation will bring volume- not always so.) Again why don’t networks provide tools to enable “affiliates” or help publishers use the model in a way that is supporitive? I have no idea.

    Consulting- WHAT? I disagree Sam. A good consultant can save a company a lot of wasted money and effort…of course a good consultant, like a good teacher, has to be willing to lay it out flat and tell things that a client might not want to hear, they need to know the terrain, they need to have experience “doing” and not armchair quarterbacking. I have no qualms paying a trained consultant in something I don’t understand- although ultimately I don’t think a good consultant can replace “experience”- e.g. rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty they can help in a number of ways. Why pay them? Because like all humans they have to eat, have shelter, etc.

    Next you’ll say all information should be free…wait you have! Sam I looked around it already is free- mounds of it lie everywhere…Just not rounded up and tidied in a bow and synthesized, tons of great information escapes me daily and I weep for that I cannot absorb it all!…yep all that information you want given away is already probably out there. You can aggregate RSS feeds all you want, you can through algos at it, in the end it takes a good human mind (like yours!) to point out what might be significant. I am proud to call you one of the people who shape my thought.

    As for CPN’s station- networks worth their salt should work out a deal with CPN- a good deal, with the message being- we support good information, we support quality over quantity- we will get behind these efforts because they are needed to give an industry clarity- let’s brainstorm that at the summit. Most will not because their priorities are out of order. ..What can you offer a network or an advertiser beyond a banner ad? Alot IMHO. Then again how can you innovate? How can you provide them something different and special? I would stop with new domains and rehash format of what you have.

    A heart will not be enough…

    Note: Wayne reminds Sam to book his plane flight so he will be in Vegas freezing along side Mr. Porter sans deodorant in the desert.



  15. That’s a great list Sam. I like to think that’s exactly what we’re doing with BlogKits, especially with the new stuff coming out in a few weeks. It’s gonna be a fun ride for sure!

  16. A good consultant will be able to tell the client what NOT to do and suggest at least one, if not multiple things the client should do. Success is often a combination of factors that come together. Not all those factors are WHAT to do, but WHEN to do it.

    A consultant can not make anybody successful or rich and that is also not his job. A consultant can help to overcome a lot of the issues that are not known to newbies and clear the way to make somebody successful. Keep in mind that most of you, including me, are biased because we do things already for a long time. Something that is obvious and simple for us, is not necessarily simple for somebody who has no personal experience in this industry.

    For Jonathan and Jeff would be something like the Sumo matches at the party at SES San Jose last year the right thing.
    Maybe Shawn can prepare something for Affiliate Summit in Vegas hehe.

    Answer to the post: 1-10 and 1000s more can, if done right and at the right time.

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