Affiliate Marketing vs Own Product, The Wrong Choice Can Cost You Dearly
Affiliate Marketing vs Own Product?
When starting an online business there are many pros and cons about developing your own product vs affiliate marketing where you sell a ready developed product as an “affiliate” and take a commission on it.
Developing your own product is a legitimate way of making money online that is promoted by many Internet coaches – and there are good reasons they do this, because these are skills that students can use over and over again.
Which is great – if you want to keep on turning out new products.
So it comes down to being very clear in your purpose…
Why Do You Want An Online Business?
If you are deciding whether to go into affiliate marketing vs own product production, you may like first of all to ask yourself this very basic question:Did you start an Internet business to make money online? Or to learn product creation? Click To Tweet
Please think carefully about this, and share your answer in the comments!
Now it may be that you DID start looking into Internet Marketing because you had a burning desire to inform the world about a particular subject that you already are an expert in – for instance cat training.
If this is the case, there are many excellent coaches who will teach you….
How To Create An Online Product
You will learn how to….
- Research the market-place
- Become an expert in a specific topic (unless you already have expert knowledge)
- Target a suitably sized niche
- Gather together an interesting and well-structured collection of information
- Format it attractively as an eBook, videos – or maybe both
- Devise sales copy to pique visitors’ interest
- Create a blog to write about your subject
- Produce a lead capture page
- Put together a website to sell / deliver the product
- Devise a series of auto-responder messages to follow up undecided prospects
- Create banners of various sizes
- Come up with an up-sell offer to maximize profit at point of sale – plus appropriate website
- Persuade other affiliates to market your product – give them at least 50% commission
- Drive traffic to your offer
- Provide good after-sales support to manage the inevitable glitches
- Probably other steps I missed
Whew. How long will that all take when you’re starting as a newcomer to Internet Marketing, maybe doing it part-time?
Then What Happens?
You tell your coach and other affiliates about your product – with LUCK, they promote it madly; they make lots of sales on which you earn a percentage of the “takings” that varies from 50 ideally right down to 0% because “You will get the buyer’s details on your list”. Yes – it happened to me about four years ago, I got 0% commission when I sold “my” product via my coach’s list.
Actually, “my” product was “assigned to me as part of the package” rather than something I created – in fact I never even received a copy of “my” product. When I made suggestions to correct errors on the sales page they were ignored, and the coach stopped answering my support tickets and calls.
It wasn’t just me who felt like this – there were others, and last I heard some of them were banding together to take him to court. Funnily enough he seems to have disappeared from the Internet Marketing scene altogether.
So…. back to my abortive product launch: those buyers never bought from me again, because they presumably felt more connected to my coach than to me.
So, on a typical product launch….
- The initial sale frenzy probably lasts a week.
- Then the next student is clamoring to get their product promoted.
- Yours is forgotten, but you have a list of buyers now. So you promote the next student’s product to your list, people who are also on your coach’s list – remember?
- Your coach is offering his customers a mega bonus that you can’t compete with, so he’ll probably get the sale.
- You pick up crumbs from your product promotion
- Then oh dear – your product is out-of-fashion …. time to start the whole product creation process again
- By the way – your masterpiece sold for the princely sum of $9.95 before affiliates’ commissions!
Are You An Expert?
Before I get completely misunderstood, let me reiterate that an expert in their field can deliver a good and original product. So learning how to create your own product is an excellent way to go for someone in a specialized niche. Or perhaps you have a REAL skill that many lack.
But for those of us learning and promoting Internet Marketing products, you need to BECOME an expert in the topic of your product.
Sadly I’m honest enough to admit that while I know a bit about “xyz”, there are many online marketers who know more about it than I do. So why would I try and sell readers MY product when my gut feel is that there are better ones out there?Should you REALLY create your own Internet Marketing product? Click To Tweet
Product Creation Was Wrong For Me
When I first started in online business, I took another coaching program even earlier than the one described above. At that time I made what I now think was the wrong choice and I did actually develop my own product.
- I was so new to everything on-line that the learning curve was just too steep and although I didn’t actually give up, because the product is still online and sells occasionally, even now, years later I haven’t recovered the development and coaching costs.
- Crazily at that time I had no idea that affiliate products existed! I had no inkling there were such excellent products already produced. I could have saved myself an awful lot of time, money and grief – and probably made more money in the long-term, even though I was sharing the commission with the product developer.
- I could have got more products to market faster, had I not wasted time developing my own products.
- I could instead have learned the REAL skill I needed – marketing to targeted customers.
Instead I plunged in, woefully ignorant and assumed Internet Marketing would be far easier than it actually is. Like a lamb to the slaughter I handed over my “learn to create your own product” cheque and expected to be in profit in a few months.How to fail with product creation - OR how to avoid my mistakes! Click To Tweet
It wasn’t a complete disaster because I did learn a vast amount from the first coaching program, and I produced an eBook that still sells. So actually, I just need to put some more work into the marketing and update the product to 2016 standards. Note to self – driving traffic is the real skill to master:-)
However, the total overwhelm mode that I went into, from the product and website creation, nearly ended my Internet career prematurely even before I got to the stage of driving traffic to my offer.
It wasn’t that there was anything inherently BAD about that first training: it was just too complicated for someone at my skill level in Internet marketing, when trying to build a business part-time.
Several years older and wiser, if I were to start again I would learn affiliate marketing before product creation. That’s a personal opinion and many will disagree with me.
Update With 2015 Results
Glutton for punishment, I had another go, to see if my improved blogging skills would make it any easier to develop and sell my own product. Here’s what happened.
In late 2014 / 2015 I was persuaded, again, to produce my own product to “brand myself” as an expert.
It still wasn’t a great success – and this is what I felt the main reasons are:
- There are thousands of products in the Internet Marketing niche
- Some are (frankly) rubbish, but some are of such high quality I can’t compete with the resources I have available
- I am painfully honest about the fact that although I have learned a lot over the years, many other people are more expert than I am
- I felt a fraud saying I was an expert in “xyz” when I KNOW there are better products I can offer to my readers
- I / you STILL need to learn the same marketing skills for promoting any product, whoever produced it
So, in my opinion, unless you really are an expert in a very tight niche, I still consider that in the battle “own product vs affiliate marketing” the clear winner for people starting an online business, is affiliate marketing.
Then I Did Some Very Simple Maths….
The maths of trying to earn a good income from low priced affiliate marketing products just don’t work out. For instance – if you’re selling $27 products, and looking to make $3000 per month from your blog – to replace your regular income – that’s over 100 sales a month you need to make. Ouch!
And with the price of advertising so high these days, you can’t even make up the shortfall by taking extra paid advertising.
If you’re not convinced of this, I have a $20 training (The Big Commission BluePrint) that will spell it out for you in great detail – and explain what you should be doing instead.
No Need To Make 100 Sales A Month
Instead of attempting to make 100 $27 sales each month, I have revised my marketing mix to include some high ticket commission items.
With the done for you business (Exitus Elite) that I am promoting – where commissions of $500 – $1000 can be earned – that 100 sales a month is much reduced. It could even be as low as 3 sales per month, given some other income.
You might think it’s harder to sell high ticket products, but I’ve struggled as much to sell a $10 product as to sell a high ticket product.
Furthermore – I have identified some “sales funnels” where your customer is “stepped up” from low price products to the higher ones, using earnings from the lower price products to fund purchase of the higher ticket products.
Because all the marketing materials in the Exitus sales funnel have already been produced for me I can just concentrate on generating traffic in any manner I choose. After all, that is the skill that all online marketers need to learn, whether as affiliates or producing their own products.
Do you agree or disagree? Please comment.