Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?


So this is a question that comes up all the time.

I have heard people ask this just about every year and the answer is no, it’s not dead, but it has changed.

And like any business you have to change with it or go out of business.

So the business model hasn’t changed at all. Some folks think that affiliate marketing is becoming too saturated, but truth is, there are a lot of untapped markets to dive into.

You as the affiliate are still the one who introduces folks to a product or service and for your efforts you earn a commission if that person decides it’s what they want.

So that part hasn’t changed, but I guess that thing that keeps changing is the method in which it happens.

We have seen a lot of affiliates bit the dust in recent years, paritcularly over the last 3 or so year when Google unleashed the penguin and panda algorthimic updates. And as a result many affiliates who had poured their heart and soul into their online business also saw it disappear overnight.

Which is why so many affiliates ask the question is affiliate marketing dead. And since a lot of affiliates were choosing to promote a product or service by ranking pages in the search engines, a lot of them were hit.

Organic Traffic

As I mentioned eariler, a lot of affiliates lost their entire incomes overnight, due to the updates and many cut their losts and went on to do something else, however there was a number of affiliate who were left untouched and these are the guys that we all should take lessons from.

A number of blog owners were unscathed from the updates and when I analyzed the reasons why, I saw that they didn’t have any or many backlinks, but many of them were authority blogs. So that was something that set them apart from all the affiliate sites that were crushed.

These authority sites seemed to rank regardless of backlinks and a closer inspection revealed that they seemed that their power came internally. Almost as if they were self powered.

Imagine that, not having to do any backlinking at all, and ranking for just about any term you want, purely because Google saw your website as an authority in your niche.

Well, seems this is possible, but not without a lot of hard work and perseverance. Of which most people run away from.

This has caused those who are trying to game the search games to lcontinue looking for that silve bullet to rank webpages as opposed to creating your own power source to rank on demand.

Paid Advertising

Google a few years back decided to ban affiliates altogether from using Google Adwords, which limited the PPC market somewhat and saw affiliates move towards other paid advertising streams like pay per view (PPV) and other small PPC platforms like Bing and Yahoo.

However, Google soon realized that they had made a huge mistake limiting Google Adwords from affiliates and is now encouraging affiliate to come back once again.

They are offer free advertising coupons to encourage affiliate expenditure.

A little late.

So it is starting to look like affiliate marketing might start to take off again.

What has been your experience?

Please leave me a comment below.

Online Marketing 101


Okay, so I didn’t go to college to get a marketing degree, so granted, I’m no expert when it comes to teaching anyone the in’s and out’s about marketing, but what I have come to realize is that one of the main goals online is to appeal to a certain group of people.

Around a decade ago, when it was a little easier to game the search engines, you could put up a website and write a whole bunch a content and target anyone and everyone out there.

Like the now famous saying goes, from the movie Field of Dreams – “build it and they will come” , was certainly true back then, because it was relatively easy to get placement on the primative search engine.

However, search engines have become a lot more sophisticated these days, but not only that, people who use them are typing in more sophisticated keyword phrases.

You see, as we evolve and get better at using search engines, our search phrases become more targeted as we learn what phrases bring back the best search results.

So not only are the search engines bringing back more user friendly content and content that is more specific to our needs, we are also adapting to the search engines and better defining our search phrases.

It’s A Dance

You could say that is it kind of like a dance between them and us.

The search engines learn what we (as humans) expect to see in the results and we adapt our search phrases to hone down on our search.

So all of this brings us back to targeting a specific group of people. Some may call it a niche, some call it a pocket of people and some an audience, but either way you look at it, it call comes down to identifying who you want you website to appeal to and then designing your website to cater for that market.

So as the search engines and searchers (us)  start to collaborate and do this back and forward dance, search becomes more and more specific.

As such you have to become more specific.

Learning how to do this can definitely be a challenge, but what I have come to realize is that all of this can be taught and therefore learnt.

You just have to find the right mentor and training program to be able to take advantage of it.

How To Identify Your Niche

This seems to be a place where most people get stuck, primarily because they’re not sure if their choosen niche is of any use or will actually make them any money at the end of the day.

But what I have been told is that you can literally make money in any niche.

Even the most obscure of niches.

Whilst I am new to all of this, I just have to take their word for it, until such time I have enough data to suggest otherwise.

Most mentors say that if you can make money in just about any niche then why not look at a niche that you have a passion for.

That makes sense, because why not turn your passion into a business.

I mean wouldn’t it be cool to create a business on a hobby?

Lot of people do it, and instead of going to work, you’d be doing something that you really love to do.

Most people love their hobbies, but can only spend a couple of hours on it in their spare time. Imagine, do it as a job.

Steve Jobs

I remember watching a video on Youtube from Steve Jobs who said that you have to be passionate about your business, because business is hard.

Most people give up when the going gets tough, but if it’s something your passionate about then you’d stay the course.

Idenitfying your niche is important because all your other design decision steem from it.

For example, what your websites layout should look like.

All you have to do is look around at your competitors to understand what design options they’ve chosen and why they’ve chosen it.

Some of the design options they choose can actually offer a lot of insight into how you could structure your own website.

Therefore taking note of what happening in the online world could pay big dividends at the end of the day.

What’s Your Competition Doing

Always do a little research in the marketplace to understand what your competitor is up to.

You need to ask the important questions, the why questions.

As in why have they structured their menu a certain way, why have they place only certain menu items a certain way.

The way they designed their website could not only provide you with the insight you need to create your own design, but it can also help you to resolve some of the same issues lyou’ll come across in your business.

For example, you might find it difficult to get people signing up for your newsletter.

So what you can do is, look at a similar website in your niche that has this already setup and look at the language they use to get people to sign up for their newletter.

You could also look at what they’re giving away in their newsletter also and maybe copy them.

So if they give away an ebook then you could do the same.

I like to also add an About Me page so that people can get to build a connection with you.