Too Many People Trying, And Failing, At Making Money The 'Easy' Way

Discussion in 'Making Money Online' started by stevepalladous, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. stevepalladous

    stevepalladous
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    I checked this section of the forum out for the first time today, and it surprised me how many people are trying to make money online using the old fashioned, standard affiliate techniques that used to be very successful in the past, but are no longer as easy as they used to be. Rather than answer dozens of thread separately, I thought I'd try to add something of value in a longer form format here. If your model is to build a simple site with a shopping feed plug in, dump a bunch of affiliate products on it from Amazon or other similar source and then hope to get rich, then this thread is for you as hopefully it'll get you thinking about some better alternatives.

    Why the old ways are tougher now

    Firstly let's look at why the old ways are tougher now. Firstly, Google and the other search engines have cracked down on 'thin affiliates'. If you search for 'thin affiliates, google' you'll find tons of articles about this so I won't go into it in too much detail here, but long story short, if you want to put up an affiliate site, it has to offer a LOT of extra value compared to what you would have had to do in the past. For that reason, this older strategy, is now much tougher than it used to be. One could argue that it's even tougher than many situations where you actually build and sell your own product online.

    The key is you have to offer something unique, engaging and capable of actually building and retaining it's own audience to guarantee success (note that some clever marketers, black hats and expert SEOs with years of experience can still succeed with relatively thin affiliate sites, but if you're not succeeding already and are unsure why, then you're probably not one of those people). That's a lot of hard work but I'll give an example below of succeeding that way.

    Example affiliate business - Poker

    Before the change in the US law forced us to close it down (lost players meant the budget and motivation to continue were gone) I ran an affiliate business in the Poker sector. It's one of the most competitive online (probably only behind more general gambling, pharma and drug treatment) so building out a site with a few site reviews and affiliate links was never going to cut it.

    You can read the full case study on the Palladous homepage (see my footer for my site) but in short the strategy was broad, and as follows:

    • Create a training site with high quality poker training videos, both by myself and by guest instructors
    • Become an instructor at a small, low stakes poker training site (the ideal customers are there as they'd not been playing long enough to have all their rakeback and other deals locked down)
    • Build a poker community through a chat room - initially I had paid 'guests' hang out in there to welcome new members
    • Produce shorter, free, versions of my training and host it on pokertube, youtube, vimeo, dailymotion etc (dailymotion isn't as big now so I wouldn't bother with that these days)
    • Write lots of reviews of poker sites
    • Newsjacking - I regularly picked up on popular news stories in the poker industry and covered them on my site, hit them on Digg (Reddit might be today's alternative), and made parody/comedy videos to share on forums that wouldn't allow the direct link to my articles
    • Built a real training product to sell on the site as well as the affiliate business

    That should give you an idea of the extra level of work you should invest to make your affiliate business stand out - I built a real brand, where I was known as an instructor. We made real content, and video that was unique and of value to the audience that would buy the products we advertised, and we also built our own real product that we could sell (at greater profit) than the affiliate offerings. Most importantly we built a community and reason for people to come to our site instead of generic review sites.

    Beyond affiliates - thinking more deeply about making money online

    Having skills to sell or something to offer the market can be the most powerful way to make money online. Rather than look for affiliate deals and trying to skim a few percentage points off the top by getting some traffic that could have just as easily bought the same thing anywhere, think about what you can offer. Are you a great writer? Designer? etc. Almost everyone has some skills - and if you don't there are dozens of free courses online where you can learn everything from coding to video editing.

    Once you've decided on a skill that you want to use, you need to research your market and come up with an offering. Perhaps you decide to offer a podcast editing service including marketing it, doing the jingles, helping them put the advertising together for their sponsors etc to help businesses market themselves, after you've completed a free online audio editing and production course. It's likely that your 'per sale' value of that offering is much higher than for a generic affiliate site - sure it's not passive income immediately, but over time you'll be able to grow your offering and start to hire staff to do the 'actual work' while you focus on marketing.

    Naturally you then have the whole spectrum of marketing available to you including but not limited to:

    • Search engine optimisation and advertising
    • Social and social advertising (this is cool - you can target things insanely accurately on social)
    • Networking - from social, forums to live networking at your local business Chamber or going to mixers
    • Video marketing and sharing
    • Competitions and other incentives for businesses to share recommendations and your content
    • Podcasting to your target audience

    Hopefully this article will help you understand that in the current market being a successful affiliate is more than popping a site up with some offers that anyone could buy anywhere - you have to add real value. On top of that, by digging deeper into your interests and skills you might have better opportunities for building your online business by building your own product.
     
  2. atlantisrocks

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    Great post. Adding value to the Internet to get your site ranked well takes time and dedication.

    Unfortunately, people are still looking for the quick buck. They believe it is possible, if only they knew the secret key that unlocks the floodgates of wealth.

    Most people refuse to believe that the "secret key" is their own efforts and dedication. They want some magical 3-click software that makes them rich.

    You must be dedicated, enthusiastic, and persistent to be successful in business -- even an Internet business.
     
  3. MatthewOlszewski

    MatthewOlszewski
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    Times are changing, google is changing. On the Internet market from year to year is increasing competition. Not surprisingly, it is increasingly difficult to make money online in an easy and simple way. Unfortunately, in modern times in order to achieve success in business online you need to work hard. Very useful post by the way.
     
  4. RTSteam

    RTSteam
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    Great post, even though I am not in the field of affiliate marketing, I really appreciate what you have shared. This knowledge you have given would still be useful to me, especially since I also have friends who are trying their hands at affiliate marketing.
     

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