Evolving As An Affiliate Marketer – Are You A Dodo Or A Galapagos Tortoise ?
The Dodo is often cited as a prime example of natural selection – the species had certain flaws that ensured it didn’t survive (being fearless or foolhardy in the face of humans being a major one). Apparently 99% of all species don’t survive but that’s another story. Conversely the Giant tortoises found on the Galapagos Islands have survived for millions of years and despite humans best efforts to make them go the same way as the Dodo, currently they are still with us. It seems to me that affiliate marketing can also suffer from natural selection and some forms of it will last and others will become extinct. Maybe that’s being a bit harsh but let me explain.
I was reading a great series of posts by Davin Ogden about affiliate marketing models and he has 4 distinct models. The anonymous and one niche methods are effectively Dodo affiliate marketing. Given the current changes in SEO they need to adapt or they will become obsolete.
Anonymous and One niche marketing primarily rely on Search engine traffic and they need to convert the traffic in “real time”. In other words a visitor has to buy something based on what they read on the affiliates website or the marketer doesn’t get paid (make money).
Examples of these types of sites are Clickbank product review sites or Amazon affiliate sites. They review an ebook or a physical product and stick a juicy big link to the website where the visitor can then buy the product that was reviewed.
They do not develop a relationship with their visitors so can’t get more than one opportunity to sell to their visitors or sell more than one product.
By far the better approach is the expert and entrepreneur models.
With these models there is much more emphasis on connecting with people interested in the niche that you are working in. This requires a lot more work than the previous models but if it is done right it can be far more lucrative and easier to run once it is primed. Dare I say, it can also be more emotionally rewarding too if you really care and want to help people in the niche.
Both models are fairly similar, the major difference is that the entrepreneurial model sees you switch from being predominantly an affiliate to being an affiliate and product creator in tandem.
But both models require that you develop a deep understanding of your niche market and the people you are trying to help. It’s safe to say that the niches will be evergreen niches like health, relationships and making money.
These niches are eternal and people have fretted over issues within each of these niches since the dawn of mankind. With this said, the expert model will typically “drill down” into a very specific sub niche of the main three so that they can really target a group of people with a problem to solve.
They will do extensive research on who these people are. They will even go so far as to learn their language – the words that they respond to and use in everyday conversation as opposed to Spanish or Swahili or what not.
With this kind of research in the database, the expert and entrepreneur will craft a website that speaks to these people and offers them solutions to their problems. They will deliver value up front, often in exchange for an email address.
The email address will allow the expert/entrepreneur to build on the burgeoning relationship. The expert will go above an beyond merely just sending out emails every once in a while. The expert/entrepreneur will host webinars, give away free products, answer personal emails, educate and show his/her personality. In short the expert/entrepreneur will become a leader in the niche – the go to guy.
Of course this is quite an investment in time and takes some skill to get right. It’s a more studied approach than the first two models which are more of a “see what sticks” model of affiliate marketing.
For people new to internet marketing, it’s understandable that the first two models are more attractive initially because they offer less risk, require less skill and offer faster reward. But ultimately everyone wants to end up at the expert/entrepreneurial models if they want to make a full time living from internet marketing and affiliate marketing.