Granted, making money online with affiliate marketing isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago, but it’s still one of the easiest ways to earn extra income or even build a home-based business for yourself. But it’s also easy to kill your affiliate marketing business potential if you get struck with the S-O-S plague that’s running rampant in the industry today…

S-O-S, or Shiny-Object-Syndrome, isn’t a virus, but it’s sure spread like one throughout the affiliate marketing world and, in fact, throughout online marketing in general. In fact, sites have popped up and become very popular just pushing affiliates to promote every new launch that comes along – often offering a variety of new products every day.

How do you know if you’re suffering from S-O-S? Take a look at what you’ve sent out to your audience for the last week, the last month… Is there a pattern to your messages, a logical flow of resources to help your followers continually build their business or move forward in their niche? Or do your recommendations jump all over the place with nothing connecting them except that each was a new launch, a first opportunity to get a link in front of them?

If it’s the former, you’re legitimately trying to help your audience and leading them towards their own business or personal growth – a recipe for success. If it’s the latter, though, you’re falling victim and taking your fans with you.

What’s so wrong about promoting each new shiny object as it comes along?

1) It makes it obvious you’re in this just to make money, with no concern for the well-being or progress of your followers.

2) It’s not a sustainable business model for affiliate marketing as a business, since there’s no inherent growth trajectory. To succeed in building your business you need to help them build THEIR business, and you already know having them grab a bunch of unrelated products will do them no good.

3) One thing about new launches – by definition, the products are untested. Some will be a hit while others will be a dud. Once a person buys a couple of duds through your link, that formerly hot targeted prospect will be but a faint memory and no longer a source of income for you.

4) These types of products are usually quickly assembled and rushed to market to fill a currently perceived need with little or no thought to longevity. The reason they’re marketed through this type of system is to maximize the immediate return from them – after all, isn’t that why YOU’VE been promoting them too? So all of the effort you put into getting your link out there is rendered useless as soon as it’s no longer a hot item, no longer worthwhile. You’ve effectively cut yourself off from any residual profit potential from the days or weeks you’re pushing these products.

5) Your income stops as soon as you do. You’ve become a hamster on the affiliate SALES wheel instead of a professional in affiliate marketing. And you’re certainly NOT building your home-based business – in fact, quite the opposite. As people tire of the hop-scotching and you lose credibility, you’re also going to be losing opt-ins as they find more value in the messages from your competitors. And as your audience shrinks and your circle of influence dwindles, so will your profits. You’ll find yourself doing more and more work for less and less income. Take a look around online and you’ll see a lot of marketers in that boat now, while more professional marketers sail on by them.

This isn’t to say there’s never a time to promote some of them… If something launches just when you’re in the middle of teaching about the subject you may find it advantageous to get your link out there. Especially if the product is being released by a marketer you know and trust. The point is don’t make them your focus – plan out your promotions, be sure you’re leading your audience towards their goals and use only those that aid you, and them, along that path. As is the case with any marketing your sales, and thereby your profits, will be in direct proportion to how effectively you help your customers along their chosen path.

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At first glance, affiliate marketing looks like a tough business to prosper in. You may ask how you can succeed and profit from affiliate programs when there are so many other people selling the same products or services. Actually, there are many ways to beat the competition, but the first thing to realize is that the affiliate marketing competition isn’t as fierce as you may think.

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First, you should know that of the people who sign up for an affiliate program, only about 10% of them will actually work to market the product or service. The other 90% either won’t do anything at all, or won’t do anything the correct way. So, your affiliate marketing competition isn’t as fierce as you thought it was.

The question, however, is how you can get ahead of those who are indeed marketing the product or service. Let’s start with your website. Even all of those who are actively trying to market the product or service won’t bother to have their own website or blog and domain name. Simply having these puts you ahead of many of the affiliate marketing wannabes.

Next, look at the sales copy that is used to sell the product or service when someone clicks on your affiliate link. First, is it effective? Will this sales page actually make sales? Second, note that all other affiliates will be directing traffic to a page that is identical to this one, no matter how they do that directing. For affiliate marketing success, write your own sales copy, and put it on your own site, and from there link to the affiliate sales page.

How can you better serve your affiliate marketing prospects and customers? Go the extra mile. Write articles, free reports, and short ebooks and give them away to prospects, and make sure you include your affiliate link. Submit articles weekly to the various article directories as well, and contact e-zine publishers about publishing your articles.

Another effective affiliate marketing strategy is to offer a bonus that nobody else is offering. You will have to create the bonus yourself, but you also have the option of purchasing a resell rights package or product that relates to your niche, and giving it away to customers who order through your affiliate link.

Look at what your affiliate marketing competitors are doing – and make sure that you are doing that and more. Keep a constant watch, and always make sure that you are doing more or offering more than they are, and you should always beat your affiliate marketing competition.

Remember that even though affiliate marketing is an online business, it’s still a business. And like any other business, affiliate marketing success requires time and effort – the more you put into your affiliate marketing business the greater your affiliate marketing success and profits!

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Professional affiliate marketers know that when you are choosing affiliate products and services to promote, you should use extreme care. By not being careful when choosing which affiliate programs to promote, you will be doing a major disservice to your current and potential customers, as well as yourself.

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Successful affiliate marketing involves a bit of front-end research… First, you want to look at the product or service. Is it a good product or service that will solve a problem or fulfill a desire that your market has? Is there are return policy? Is it priced to sell and is there added value? As a customer, is this a product or service that you would by for your self?

Will your customers be served? Is there a customer support ticket system or a toll-free number, as well as a support email address that your customers can use? You do not want to ruin your own affiliate mrketing credibility by offering a product or service that will not serve your customers well, or for which your customers will not be supported properly.

Once you are sure your customers will be well served, it is time to think about yourself and your needs. Is the affiliate commission high enough? Look for affiliate programs that pay at least a 30% commission, and preferably ones that pay 50% if possible. Is there the potential for a residual affiliate income? What about commissions from affiliate’s who sign up under you?

Next, read the affiliate agreement, as well as the terms and conditions. Will you be able to promote the products or services in the way that you choose? How often will you be paid and what method is used for payments. Under what circumstances will you not be paid.

Are sales and clicks tracked, as well as affiliate commissions owed and commissions paid? Is there a support forum for affiliates and/or an easy way to contact the affiliate manager? What about promotional materials? Are you provided with banners, sales letters, ads, articles, and free give-a-ways?

Finding out all of this information shouldn’t take more than just a few minutes of your time, and it is time well spent. Many hours and lots of potential affiliate commissions have been lost simply because affiliates don’t take the time to choose their affiliate programs with care. Your affiliate marketing is a BUSINESS – and like all businesses, doing your due diligence is a necessary part of affiliate marketing success!

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“No Experience Necessary?” If you’ve been in the affiliate marketing game for at least five minutes, you already know that experience is necessary if you hope to be successful in affiliate marketing. You may not need experience to sign up for an affiliate marketing program, but you definitely need a degree of skills and/or knowledge to sell the product as an affilaiate!

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The good news is that there is not a long learning period to learn how to do affiliate marketing successfully. If you pay attention to what others are perfectly willing to teach you, learning affiliate marketing is essentially a series of ‘hands on’ exercises that lead to success.

There are many, many courses available about Affiliate Marketing. Before you purchase a course, you should ask questions and get recommendations from other people that you trust concerning the course or courses in question. Some of the affiliate marketing courses that are available are outstanding, while others are pure junk.

It is also important that you purchase more recent courses, as opposed to those that were published in the past. The Internet changes fast, and the way affiliate marketing is done on the Internet changes just as quickly.

Some of what worked in the past will always work, such as article marketing, but other affiliate marketing techniques are out-of-date and no longer effective, like free classified advertising and free for all links advertising.

Essential things you need to know to be successful at affiliate marketing include: how to write ads, how to advertise in ezines, how to write articles or have them written for you, how to choose great affiliate programs, and possibly how to do teleseminars and make joint venture deals.

Also, do not assume that once you finish an affiliate marketing course you will not need to take another one in the future. As marketing changes, you will need to learn new skills. Stay up to date on the most current technology, as well as the most current affiliate marketing techniques. Schedule learning time weekly and keep practicing your craft – experience online is the best way to develop your affiliate marketing skills!

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