"The things we knew we knew explain our successes less than the things we didn't know we didn't know explain our failures." (Anonymous)
So what's the explanation for the over 90% failure rate for those who try affiliate marketing? Is affiliate marketing a boon or a boondoggle for aspiring Internet entrepreneurs? A very compelling question! So, lets take a close look at why this is happening.
The Internet abounds with wild claims of fast and easy riches through affiliate marketing. Inspiring get-rich-quick stories and convincing (but often questionable) testimonials lend credibility to these claims and excite the imagination of countless budding entrepreneurs thus driving tens of thousands to the Internet seeking their fortunes online.
While it's true that the Internet offers abundant affiliate marketing opportunity, it is also true that only a fraction of those who actually try it will ever succeed. Most will crash and burn after experiencing the frustration, and discouragement they will feel when they discover that the hype they were being fed was leaving out the most important part of the equation.
What they were not being told was the technological expertise they must possess in order to exploit those towering affiliate marketing opportunities! This is what all those aspiring affiliate marketers didn't know they didn't know and it explains why so many fail!
What accounts for the over 90% failure rate of new affiliate marketers is the high-tech know-how they didn't know (because no one ever told them) they must have in order to succeed! This missing link is known as the wall of technology (or technology trap) and it just so happens that most affiliate marketing wanna-bes lack the high-tech know-how needed to breach this formidable wall. In fact, until they reach it, they don't even know it's there!
So just what is this wall of technology and what is it made of?
Specifically, the wall is the framework (or infrastructure) of technological components that make up today's high-tech affiliate marketing web sites. The little known fact is that these web sites usually integrate at least seven key technologies (SKT) that are essential for any affiliate marketer to succeed in today's competitive environment. Each of these SKT (as found built into the websites of successful affiliate marketers) is outlined below:
1. An HTML editor (To create, set up and edit, online, an affiliate marketing web-site)
2. An auto-responder (To create a positive personal relationship with customers and build an email database or customer list for future sales)
3. Sales tracking software (To monitor advertising and sales results over time in order to evaluate promotional efforts and fine tune sales campaigns)
4. Audio & video hook ups (To build the persuasive power of the pre-sale message and keep pace with competition)
5. Split testing software (To test one headline and/or sales copy against another in order to find the most effective approach to the market in order to increase conversions)
6. Credit card processing (To automate customer payments for their own digital products and/or other affiliate products)
7. Dashboard software (To observe, evaluate and control the functioning of their website or sites)
In addition to the SKT there are a few other skills conveniently left unmentioned by the hierophants of hype (sometimes euphemistically referred to as "the Gurus") that an aspiring Internet entrepreneur must master before even attempting to become an affiliate marketer. These little discussed and seldom mentioned (but absolutely critical) computer and Internet skills are listed below. You should, at a minimum, know how to...
a. Use a mouse
b. Point and click
c. Surf the web
d. Use search engines to find products and services
e. Understand and use keywords and phrases
f. Conduct effective keyword research
g. Keep a "favorites" list
h. Find an available (and suitable) URL
i. Register a URL once found
j. Find a competent web host
k. Use HTML (or at least be familiar with it)
l. Save, cut and paste data
m. Download software and eBooks
n. Un-zip downloaded files
o. Operate an email account
p. Use a word processor
q. Use a spreadsheet
r. Create a PDF file
s. Use PPC (pay-per-click) advertising to build traffic
t. Use article marketing to build traffic
u. Write effective pre-sell copy
v. Create and execute a successful Profit Plan (if you
even know what that is)
If you are beginning to realize that you may not know as much as you thought you did about what it takes to succeed at affiliate marketing, and if the SKT are beginning to look more like a bitter pill than a piece of cake, you may be having second thoughts about affiliate marketing as a get rich quick enterprise.
If after thinking things through, you conclude (as most of us ultimately do) that you simply do not have the high-tech know-how (or the desire to develop it) to integrate the SKT into your own high-tech affiliate marketing web site, congratulations. You have just hit the wall!
Now is it beginning to make sense to you why over 90% of those who try affiliate marketing ultimately fail?
So now what? Throw in the towel? Bad-mouth the Gurus? Apply for a job at the post office? Well, don't jump off the Tallahassee Bridge just yet; you still have three possible paths to follow. Fortunately, all three can ultimately lead you to success and help you avoid being one of the 90% of affiliate marketing entrepreneurs who will fail! Each pathway, however, require effort, application and most of all, your realistic expectations! So, here they are:
THE THREE PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS
1. The High-Tech Path:
This path is for those very few entrepreneurs who are willing (and technically gifted) to invest a great deal of time (2-3 years), energy (late night study) and a little money (several hundred dollars or more) into learning HTML and all phases of Internet technology required to master the skills necessary to single handedly integrate all SKT into their affiliate marketing web site. This path is the longest and most arduous but can also be the path that is most rewarding and conducive to the greatest long-term success.
2. The Buy-Tech Path:
This path is for those wealthy entrepreneurs who have (and are willing to spend) the 15 to 20 thousand dollars (and often more) it will cost to buy the technology and have a custom turn-key web site with all the SKT designed and integrated into an affiliate marketing money machine by an experienced and competent web-site developer. This is the easiest path if money is no object.
3. The No-Tech Path:
This path will soon become the favorite of aspiring newbies and all those technologically challenged but highly motivated and determined Internet entrepreneurs. It is a new emerging path that was not possible even three short years ago. However, because of the Internet's enormous appetite for technological innovation, simplification, and automation, high-tech has now become low-tech and low-tech is rapidly (even as you read this article)morphing into no-tech.
A case in point is the recent development of at least one web site software package that integrates all SKT into a single "turn-key" website (A Business In A Box) specially designed for the technically challenged and newbie affiliate marketing entrepreneur.
New no-tech software systems of this type are destined to become the progenitors of a new breed of self-reliant, self-directed and self-made multi-millionaires who no longer need high-tech know how in order to succeed.
Each of the above three pathways can lead to success for the affiliate marketing entrepreneur. The degree of success however, will always be a function of the unique qualities, aspirations and talents of the individual entrepreneur. To your success!
JR (Jim) Riddell MA has been a college marketing instructor, advertising executive and business consultant and has started several successful businesses before becoming an Internet entrepreneur and mentor. You can learn more about
the No-Tech Path at my website, http://www.thenotechpath.com!