Joseph Ratliff Writer, Researcher, Thinker

Category Archives: Affiliate Marketing

3 Traits You MUST Possess To Be Successful With Your Affiliate Business…

I get emails all the time from hopeful affiliates asking me things like:

“If I do ______ , how much money will I make?” (it’s not a job, it’s a business)

“Can you give me any pointers on this SEO stuff?” (in one email?)

“Have you ever used __________ to __________ , and how can I generate 1,432,544 visitors to my site by doing the exact same thing?” (are you even ready for that much traffic in the first place?)

All valid questions, as there is no such thing as a stupid question…but 95 times out of 100, the person asking these questions isn’t even ready for the answer, or to take action on the answer (very important).

Here are only 3 of the traits you must possess or develop first, before even worrying about “figuring the whole business out” beforehand…

(not to say you can’t “learn as you go”, but that is a little bit more challenging)

Trait #1 – A willingness to take real, calculated risks.

Oh I can hear my email program lighting up now.

Yes, affiliate marketing is a business model. Notice the key word there? Business.

So, since it’s a business model, there is risk. You could make money, and you could fall flat on your financial face and never make money.

The ebooks being sold won’t tell you that in their sales pages, because if they did, it would take your focus off of the “dream” being sold to you (more on that in a minute).

So you can look to minimize risk, but you can’t let that process of “minimizing” paralyze you from taking action and building a site, running a PPC campaign etc…

You have to seek a balance, and understand that even the most successful “super affiliates” fail at least half the time (sorry, hate the term “super affiliate”, we’re all people who wear our underwear under our pants right?).

But if you only see the success people are having, it blinds you to the reality that those same people are failing too. The difference is, they keep moving forward, knowing there’s risk involved.

Big subject, I know, but I wanted to open your mind a little.

Trait #2 – Understand that yes, this is selling.

Affiliate marketing is selling for commission online (and offline), period. Yes, review sites are selling, PPC is selling, even SEO is selling (someone has to read your optimized text before they take action right?).

If you aren’t comfortable with selling, this business isn’t for you.

With that in mind, the stereotypical image that comes to mind when you read the word “selling” is that guy named Jim Gleamingteeth who has a sparkle in his smile selling you a used car, right?

Wrong. Selling isn’t that at all. In fact, when you sell properly, you are simply matching solutions up with buyers. It can actually be the most low key activity you do.

It does require that you understand persuasion, but not in the nasty way at all…you just have to be able to put your offer in front of the right people, then lead those people to the next step in your affiliate process.

One more thing, notice I wrote the word people a lot in this section. Selling involves you and people, not hiding behind your computer screen.

Trait #3 – You can’t have the end results before you begin.

Oh man, this is a biggie.

If you had a passion for playing baseball, and wanted to make the Majors, how on earth could you expect to do that without getting drafted, going through A, AA, and AAA first…and if you’re good enough to be “called up”, join a Major League club?

Same applies to affiliate marketing (or any business for that matter).

I don’t give a hoot what any course or ebook tells you, you will not become a “high-earner” and have the lifestyle of the successful until you’ve paid your dues…period, end of story. There aren’t any magic buttons, there are no shortcuts, folks this is business…and businesses are built, not awarded.

Now, if you’ve built successful businesses before, have the resources and skills to “jump right into success”, then you could be an exception to this. But if you are one of these rare individuals…you’ve already paid your “dues.”

If you aren’t one of the rare individuals, and you think that any “super affiliate” has success because they got there overnight, think again. It just doesn’t work that way folks.

Now I know that some of you will read this post, and think to yourself, “Blah, blah, blah, I’ve heard that before.” Some of you will think “That’s sound advice”, then return to your hunt for the next “magic overnight recipe” (which is usually gaming the system, and is short term income). Don’t call me when the money runs out.


I hope this post actually helps and inspires more people than that. I hope you’ll actually understand this, and build a long-term, stable business.

That’s what I really want from you, to move forward after reading this…and offer the most value you can (while getting paid for it of course).

A HUGE Disconnect From Offline To Online When It Comes To Affiliate Marketing…

I’m noticing a HUGE disconnect as it applies to the “affiliate marketing” industry when it comes to the management and recruiting of affiliates.

I’ve read an awful lot of complaints etc… from merchants about the quality of affiliates, some hurtful comments about “ethics” and paying commissions, and the like.  All of these could be solved by a seemingly simple technique used in the offline world when it comes to recruiting and developing sales people.

Because that’s all that affiliate marketing is…commissioned sales (you do pre-sell).  It’s just the online equivalent.

It’s not the full-version of offline sales, as you don’t actually “sell” the item being promoted in most cases, you let the merchant do that.

But still, the following could help merchants recruit/develop quality affiliates:

–Interview them. Either online or over the phone (novel concept, using the phone).  You can set up an interview designed and implemented to qualify out those affiliates you wouldn’t want involved promoting your program anyhow.

–Train them. Another novel concept, actually providing quality (not cheap) training and development programs that your hired affiliates can use to learn how to presell your products.  I’m not talking about skimping here either, don’t just throw up a bunch of cheap-ass videos and expect your affiliates to want to watch and “go make you proud.”

I am talking about monthly training webinars your affiliates MUST attend to remain affiliates for your product.  You offer valuable data, training, masterminding, etc…etc… here, and really connect with your affiliates, instead of acting like the typical, lazy merchant (if you’re not offering much).

–Fire them. That’s right, if you don’t see performance from your affiliate, fire them.  Have set parameters in place where it’s clear to the affiliate what is expected from the outset…and if they don’t meet those expectations, they can “hit the road” as they say.

Affiliates who sign up and don’t perform at all are doing you no good just sitting there.  So, don’t let them sit there.

–Motivate them. On the flip side, actually put effort into motivating and retaining good affiliates.  This is business, so have incentives in place for performers, along with real prizes in contests, cruises, masterminds etc…etc… all designed to keep your top affiliates wanting more.

In other words, for you lazy merchants out there, quit treating your affiliates like dirt.  If you actually put the effort into cultivating the relationship with your affiliates…it will pay off.

I’m realizing this is turning into a deep subject, so more on this topic in later posts…I have to think about this a little deeper. 😉

Where Does Your Focus Exist?

As humans, we sometimes fall into the trap of trying to find the shortcuts.

You know, the kind of shortcuts where we do the least and get the most.

When it comes to the people that visit our affiliate websites every day, should we be looking for shortcuts?

Provide a site that delivers some info, and gets the most “ROI” from that activity in terms of conversions?

I don’t think so.

Instead, I feel we should be looking for ways to deliver “just a bit more” than expected…as there are people visiting our site, and not just search engine robots…right?

Since the search engine robots don’t visit our affiliate links and help us get paid affiliate commissions…why focus on them? (and no, I’m not just talking about the SEO vs. writing for people debate)

The same people who complain about having their sites “Google slapped”, and their accounts banned, I will bet most of them are looking for the shortcuts mentioned above (doing the least to get the highest ROI).

Folks, there are far fewer examples (if any) of people getting Google slapped with a real, content-rich, and value added website than there are those who get slapped looking for shortcuts and ways to “game the system”.

That alone would tell me which side of the fence I want to be sitting on.

If you want to keep looking for that “magic shortcut” or “little trick” to gain traffic in the short term, by all means, go ahead…while you continue to chase money…the rest of us will build stable, long-term income.

Harsh reality? Yep…

Do you need to change the way you approach your business?  Up to you.