The Affiliate Marketing business thrives around the belief that three qualities – easy, profitable and sustainable – are just waiting to be uncovered. Look at the average bizopp sales letter and you’ll see it summed up in a nutshell.
“How I Earn $6904/Week On My Laptop With One Simple Secret Trick!”
Such a title ticks the three boxes that matter most to a sucker on the verge of quitting his day job to chase said dream.
Is it easy? Have you not seen how well I mine on Runescape? All Internet be easy to me.
Is it profitable? $6904/week…fuck, tell the kids we’re moving to Hawaii.
Is it sustainable? The guy’s Clickbank stats just keep rising. This time next year, we’ll be trillionaires Rodders!
Sarcasm may be dripping off this page, but make no mistake, this is the naive attitude that drives many an ebook launch.
In my opinion, only two of those qualities can ever exist in tandem. You can have an affiliate campaign that is easy and sustainable, but it won’t be very profitable. Or you can be driving huge profits for the long-term future, but it won’t be particularly easy.
Then you have the most dangerous combination in our industry.
Easy and profitable…but absolutely not sustainable.
This could be applied to a Plentyoffish campaign that peaks and perishes in the space of a weekend, but there’s nothing spectacularly dangerous about that. More importantly, it could be applied to a number of darker marketing practices that many of us are now familiar with.
The fake blog is a great example of easy and profitable, because it pinpoints the reason why sustainability can never follow.
Our challenge, as affiliates, is to come up with new and inventive ways to reach the skeptic mind. The flog was mighty successful in blurring the lines between advertising and believable testimonial. Many would argue, myself included, that it was far too successful. If an advertising practice becomes so commonplace that any half arsed marketer can spin a profit from it, you can be sure that it won’t be long until that practice becomes the most detested in the industry.
Did anybody expect such a profitable marketing trap to stay viable after affiliate marketers rushed to abandon conventional landing pages in favour of it? Every legitimate business with a weight loss product to sell was going to react unfavourably to a bunch of cowboy affiliates stealing their market share. That’s your first problem. The second problem is the customer.
When one customer feels ripped off, not many people are going to pay attention. When thousands of customers feel ripped off, reputations start to suffer. In the space of a few months, the snowball effect of broken trust amplified by relentless affiliate campaigns had driven a successful marketing ploy to the precipice where it had to fail.
The flog itself, controversial as it was, needn’t have crashed and burned as emphatically as it did. The marketing logic behind it was sound but ultimately too easy to execute, and too open to abuse from the affiliates who based their businesses around it.
Zero barrier to entry + very easy + very profitable = definitely NOT sustainable. Anybody with a grasp of basic economics should be able to work that much out.
I’m not trying to provide an obituary of the flog here, but rather a simple explanation of why “get rich quick” tactics will never be sustainable. They may exist, but they typically involve the bending of rules in such a way that the associated risk is never going to lead to the stress-free life in a hammock that you were promised in the stock photos.
If an easy moneymaking ploy becomes too profitable, it will draw attention from a) The customers and b) The competition. At this point, the ethics of the ploy will be called in to question. This is where they normally disintegrate. But even if your ethics are sound, the competition will soon catch on and copy. With increased competition comes less profitability – or simply a much tougher time making money.
Easy, profitable and sustainable affiliate marketing campaigns are never going to be published in an ebook or handed to strangers who haven’t busted their balls in pursuit of the same knowledge. It would be foolish to believe they even exist.
So you have to ask yourself: “What am I going to focus my business on?”
Easy and sustainable… without the lucrative rewards of more ambitious projects?
Sustainable and profitable… with a receding hairline from the stress of finding the magic formula?
Easy and profitable… and I’ll worry about the future when my luck runs out.
It’s pretty obvious which category most affiliates fall in to. But is that through choice or a complete disregard to the sustainability of the marketing they practice? Who knows, who cares.
For the rest of us, the challenge isn’t simply to be profitable. But to be so profitable that we can afford Wayne Rooney’s hair surgeon after finding that magic formula.
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Check out Filthy Rich Mind, a general lifestyle improvement blog and the latest in my long line of projects. Love you long time. Thanks for reading.