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Super affiliates and their earnings claims


If you're into affiliate marketing, no doubt you've come across a ton of reports, blog/forum posts and information products where the person has claimed to be making huge dollars as an affiliate, aka a super affiliate; leaving you green with envy. 

Treat all such reports with a grain of salt; particularly if you're an affiliate marketing newbie. Here's why - but I'll also offer you the real secret to making decent bucks as an affiliate, absolutely free of charge :)

Lies, damned lies

Often, it's just total lies - there's really no other way to put it. It's often just a hook to sucker you into whatever is being touted, or grooming you for purchasing a product in the future. Often sales pages for a product stating "let me show you how I make a thousand bucks a day from affiliate marketing" are owned by people who have bought the product and site from the guy who actually made the thousand dollars a day - mostly by selling the product and site :). You'll find tens of thousands of these get rich quick sites scattered throughout the Internet.

Don't rely on scans of commission checks either as proof of income or revenue generated. These are easily falsified.

Capital outlay

Consider there may be a large sum of money the person has outlaid in order to make that cash. For example, Dude A claims he made 100k, but what he doesn't tell you is that he spent 60k to make it on promoting the product. Dude B makes 55k but only spent 5k. While Dude A might seem to be the high flyer, Dude B is the more successful affiliate when it comes down to it as his ROI (Return On Investment) is far higher. 

Some affiliates aim for quality over quantity. It's not uncommon in PPC (pay per click) for instance for some affiliate marketers to spend 7 bucks in clicks in order to make 10. That's not really profitable unless you're doing volume, and it's this sort of approach that's also helped to contribute to high PPC prices today.

Investment of time

Something else to bear in mind is time - two guys make a thousand bucks, one spends 40 hours to make it, another spends 20. The first guy crows about the thousand bucks, the second keeps quiet. I'd rather learn from the second person myself - but so many of these guys fly under the radar; which is really a smart thing to do when you think about it. 

The other issue is that some of these self styled super affiliate have been in the game for a very long time. They've spent years honing their approaches - thousands upon thousands of dollars; and likely lost a lot of time and money in the process. This is pretty normal as part of the learning curve, regardless of how many "secret reports" you buy. Some of this information may shorten the process to profitability, but be prepared for the pathway to success to be a lengthy one. Of course, there's luck; but if you operate on that principle, you may as well also try a visit to the casino :).

One-hit wonders

I've seen this scenario happen often - an affiliate experiences moderate success in a single program and suddenly assumes they are the bees knees. Emboldened by their feeling of superiority they then go on to create courses and information products on how to make a ton of cash from affiliate marketing. That first program is their only claim to success and the strategies they outline in their products (aside from the affiliate marketing 101 stuff) only work well for that particular product *at the time* they were marketing it; yet they portray the "secret strategy" as being unique.

Inner circle strategy

Often what the super affiliates and marketing gurus who sell information products won't tell you about is what I call "inner circle strategy". It works on the principle of networking with their affiliate buddies and wealth building on wealth. There's big dollars to be made using it, but you need to be semi-successful as an affiliate first before you'll get an opportunity to even get a foot in the door of these little clubs - learn more about the inner circle strategy.

Press release tips

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The real secret

Most of the information you need to make a decent income from affiliate marketing can be found for free; on sites like mine and many others. Affiliate forums are also a great place to gain insight. While there are some high flying super affiliates out there who are highly successful in their own right and have the midas touch; remember all that glitters is not gold and sometimes the gold has to be mined using a lot of blood, sweat and tears - and that's what you should be counting on as a newbie in the world of affiliate marketing. My approach has always been - think content before profit.

In any affiliate program, it's the top couple of percent who generate the most sales - over 90% will make next to nothing. It's very much like any other aspect of life where only a comparative few achieve excellence. In affiliate marketing, you just need to find a niche that gives you the best chance of being in that top couple of percent; so that's where having a genuine passion in a given area can work to your advantage. 

Love boats? Focus on that. Are your pets a passion? Develop sites around your favorite pet breed; create original useful and informative content, build up a mailing list, keep in touch with your subscribers with RSS feeds and email newsletters; follow some basic social media and search engine optimization principles and the traffic will come. Then hook into the affiliate side of things; running offers relevant to your topic. 

It is easy on the face of it, but there is an investment of time - but it's a lot lower risk and very rewarding as you'll be working in an area you actually care about. Once you have a handle on that, other forms of affiliate marketing will be a lot easier to generate from.

Another important point to bear in mind - just because an affiliate marketer writing on the topic doesn't claim to making 6 figures a year or doesn't publish scans of huge commission checks; it doesn't they aren't. I know of quite a few unassuming affiliates making huge money on the web and offer great advice without the boasting. To my way of thinking, the guys that brag are setting themselves up for all sorts of grief; they can become a target for all sorts of weird folk.

While I don't shed a tear for greedy super affiliate wannabes who fall flat on their face, it always saddens me when someone who is really struggling with making ends meet falls for these various gurus' spin on how to be a super affiliate and buys their products. When they haven't generated revenue in the first couple of months, they feel defeated, worthless.. and often totally tapped financially due to buying the products "guaranteed" to make them rich. Basically they wind up in a worse position than when they started. 

Money is important in life and business, but so is time - equally, if not more so; so ensure your time is being spent effectively and not being wasted soaking up spin from shysters.

Caveat emptor.

Related:

Successful affiliates
Traits of an entrepreneur
What affiliates want
The Inner Circle strategy
Search optimization tips archive
Affiliate marketing tips archive

Michael Bloch
Taming the Beast
http://www.tamingthebeast.net 
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