by: Cary Christian
Only five percent of online marketers ever make a profit from
their efforts. I'm sure you've read this statistic in one form or
another more than a few times since you've been online. I'm not sure I
have ever seen hard data on how this statistic was developed, but I believe
it is more than likely correct.
Of more interest to me is the "why" behind that number.
I believe there are two types of answers: those that are more or less
obvious, and those that are not. Sometimes it is a combination of the
When we first created the Peak Small Business Center we spent
a lot of time, effort and money evaluating affiliate programs and traffic
generating programs. In many of the affiliate programs we joined, we
approached them just as many of you probably do: we advertised the affiliate
website, used the recommended advertising or at least a variation thereof,
used the type of advertising the affiliate program recommended, etc.
To the greatest extent possible, we followed the
recommendations of the program because we were specifically testing the
potential profitability of the program as the "normal" affiliate would
Needless to say, the results were appalling!
Our experiences with these programs and our participation in
the recommended manner highlights the obvious reasons people fail, many of
which I've discussed in previous issues of this newsletter. Just to
review, here are a few of them:
1. Using the same ads that 95% of the
other affiliates use.
2. Advertising the same affiliate site
that 95% of the other affiliates are advertising.
3. Using the same advertising sources
that 95% of the other affiliates are using.
Yes, there is some correlation between those 95% numbers in
items 1 through 3 and the fact that 95% of affiliates fail. That's the
But let's assume you have countered those three problems by
developing your own ads, creating your own site to pre-sell the affiliate
program and are using your own advertising sources rather than the ones
recommended. If you're still having trouble making any money, we
encounter a whole new set of obvious answers to the "why" of it all:
4. The program itself is flawed.
5. Your ads, while different, are still
not good enough to close the sale.
6. Your pre-selling site doesn't do the
7. Your advertising sources are not
If the program itself or the products represented are flawed,
there is not much you can do about it other than cut your losses and find
better programs and products. But that's a whole separate subject!
Most people, however, make their gravest mistake when the
"obvious" problem they are facing lies in items 5. through 7. Creating
your own site to pre-sell the program, developing your own ads and finding
your own marketing sources are key to realizing a profit from affiliate
programs, that much is true. But once people have done those three
things and success doesn't come relatively quickly, what do they do?
They quit and move on to another program where the process is
This brings us to the most pervasive problem, the one that is
not obvious to most people: a lack of perseverance.
As I stated earlier, we began testing programs by marketing
them in the same manner that most "normal" affiliates would. When that
yielded nearly nothing, we began to gradually change our approach to the
pre-selling, value-added, "use our own ads and ad sources" approach.
The effectiveness of our efforts increased immediately, but not nearly
enough to be considered satisfactory. I would say we were at breakeven
or slightly profitable at that point.
And that's where most people quit.
If making positive changes to your approach begins to show
better results, you have to realize that you've just reached the starting
point. You're doing things right at this point in time. You just
need to fine tune your efforts to get the most from them.
Take your ads and develop several different variations of
them. Experiment with different subject lines or descriptions and
modify the content from one to the next. Place them all and track them
to see which ones work. Learn from the experience and figure out why
one version works better than another.
If one advertising source is not working, try several others.
Again, track your ads religiously to see which sources are working and which
Modify your pre-selling website. Create several
different pages to send people to and alternate your advertising between
them. You don't need a separate domain, just a separate page on the
This is not easy work! There are so many combinations
of ad, ad source and webpage that it can take a while to find your best
combinations. It takes perseverance. If you continue to work at
it and to refine your marketing efforts, you will be profitable.
Continue to do this with each new program or product you affiliate with, and
you will eventually develop multiple streams of continuing income.
More importantly, you will have developed a personalized
approach you can quickly apply to any new opportunity that interests you.
Einstein said that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99
percent perspiration. There is no magic bullet or secret formula.
People who succeed are willing to work at it long enough to make it work.
That's why no "guru" can give you the secret to success online. The
"secret" is nothing more than a willingness to work, to experiment, to learn
from your failures, and then work some more. Once you understand this
"secret," your chances of success will increase dramatically.
(c) copyright 2003