Are you the kind of affiliate who shuns daylight, appears offline on AIM, never responds to emails and does everything he can to avoid conversing with the shadowy bastards known as his competitors?
We work in one of the most accessible industries imaginable. If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’re online. And if you’re a good one, your ego has probably exploded to the point where you’re not hard to find. I often wonder why newbies rush to buy ebooks from self appointed gurus when they could speak to those same gurus free of charge in the space of a basic AIM window.
Networking is free knowledge, ladies and gentleman. And yet it’s a subject that divides opinion for many marketers out there. Partly because it’s confused with the trait of time wasting, and those who do anything possible not to have to actually work.
For me, networking isn’t just a case of wanting to learn more about my industry. It’s an element of human interaction that I’ve missed since I jacked in my day job. While it’s pretty rare that you’ll find me piss-arsing my day away with idle chit chat on AIM, I do feel a regular need to speak to new people and to understand different paths that others have taken to find success in affiliate marketing.
But why is it important? Who would choose to spend an hour networking over the important split testing of their latest Facebook campaign?
If you’re the kind of tombraiding CPA urchin who makes his living through the constantly shifting dynamics of traffic arbitrage, then you definitely need to have an ear to the ground. Networking is your way of staying ahead. Much more so than the practical affiliate who develops long term projects with milestones stretching in to 2011 and a disregard for his daily ROI.
It’s tough for me to sit here and preach the importance of developing relationships. The popular word is that if you’ve stuck your weary eyes out of the rabbit hole long enough to engage in a 10 minute conversation on AIM, you’re simply not working hard enough. That’s bullshit. There can be no excuses for not taking a moment to integrate yourself with your peers, to seek out new business and to actually network with other like-minded individuals.
Oh and by the way. Some affiliates seem to preach to the crowd that they work 16 hour days, more or less Monday to Sunday. So they don’t have time to network. That’s real nice. But you do realize that just because you’re plugged in to the Internet and your modem is flashing, it doesn’t mean you’re actually working – right?
If your breakdown of a 16 hour day equates to 3 hours of keyword research followed by a WickedFire binge from lunch through to moonlight, then you’re probably not reaping the benefits that a dumbarse motherfucker “working” 112 hour weeks probably should. Your net working day can be established by subtracting “time spent chasing skirt on Facebook” from “hours spent building out campaigns”.
I am certainly not one to knock the hard working affiliates who strike through their to-do lists whether the wife has gone in to labour or not. It takes commitment and great discipline to stay focused on your goals. But without keeping an eye on your peers, you’ll never know how relevant those goals are to business success. Simply put, we work in an industry that evolves too quickly to be out of the loop.
Christ, I took a two week break not too long ago and the first thing I did upon rebooting my Mac was to Google search “is affiliate marketing still for real?”.
Networking and sharing knowledge means you’ll never have to buy another ebook in your life. Why? Because it puts you in touch with the REAL people of this industry. The people making money every day. The people making money before the lame ebooks have been outsourced for creation.
I like to think of it as a spider building his web. Broadening your horizons and spinning that web might not reveal any immediate benefits. You might even feel like you’re wasting your time while you could be out chasing after riches. I’ve certainly felt that sensation while aimlessly discussing Cheryl Cole’s sex appeal with Andrew Wee in the past. But when a knowledge bomb drops, when tomorrow’s big niche lands, you want to be there to catch it. And if you don’t make an effort to integrate yourself with real affiliate marketers, to reach in to every corner where opportunity might land – well…
You’ll be a hungry spider?
Yeah fuck that anecdote, it’s been a long day.
My point is that somewhere on the horizon, chugging towards your doorstep, is the same kind of gravy train that most of us were too slow to capitalize on in 2008 when it was loaded with acai berries. My excuse for missing out was simple. I didn’t really know about it. And by the time I did know about it, I was too late.
If you can establish working relationships with the right people in the right places, you WILL see that next gravy train coming. Whether you jump on for the ride is probably a matter of how intuitive you are.
The next time you find yourself stargazing at the promises of Mr Guru McBullshitsalot’s latest ebook, stop and think for a moment. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of buying a book that this smug bastard dreamed up six months ago when his methods actually worked…you could talk to him now and find out what he’s currently doing?
And there lies the power of networking with real affiliates. You will learn far more by simply being connected with the right people than you will by purchasing their products or reading their blogs. Make an effort to establish actual business relationships. Without them, you’re simply the pawn they’re trying to sell to or the sheep us bloggers like to write to.