Affiliate Marketing vs Own Product?
In this post I show how you can learn affiliate marketing free, and explain the long and painful journey in my online business that brought me to this conclusion.
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 to follow such a course, because these teach skills that students can use over and over again.
This is the ideal way to make money online if you have a good idea. But you'll struggle badly if you're just churning out ‘me too' products, hardly any different from those produced by others who are probably more skillful than you.
The best product creation course – in my opinion – is this one >> Click here for a free product creation webinar.
So it comes down to being very clear in your purpose.
What Type Of Online Business Do You Want?
You can choose to create your own product, OR promote a ‘done-for-you' business and take a share of the profits. The latter can be affiliate marketing or network marketing.
If you are deciding whether to go into affiliate/network 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, be clear that you need many skills.
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 autoresponder messages to follow up undecided prospects
- Create graphics banners of various sizes to promote your product
- 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 to learn when you're starting as a newcomer to Internet Marketing, maybe doing it part-time?
You will learn these quickest following a tried and tested course such this one.
Are You An Expert?
I had a bad experience with product creation (NOT with the course I now recommend) but let me assure you that a real expert in their field can deliver a good and original product and make money from it.
I tried – and failed at – product creation because my product (in the health niche) wasn't specialized enough. And I came to accept that that wasn't the right route forward for me.
But learning how to create your own product is an excellent way to go for someone in a specialized niche. Especially if 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 in my heart I know 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 a coaching program because I made what I now know was the wrong choice and I did actually develop my own product when what I SHOULD have done was gone for affiliate marketing. (You promote someone else's product and take a share of commission when you make a sale.)
When I created 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 I DID make some product sales but never enough to 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” fee 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, but I'm in no hurry to repeat the exercise because I'm not the master of any particular skill/niche.
So affiliate marketing is the best route for me – and driving traffic and building a list of people interested in your product are the real skills to master:-)
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.
Several years older and wiser, if I were to start again I would take a training course such as this one. The real gem is in the webinar you're invited to attend. If you haven't got time right away, still register, as there'll be an invitation to a recording.
Another Try At Product Creation
My first experience of product creation in the health niche was as a complete newbie.
Glutton for punishment, a few years later on I had another go, to see if my improved blogging skills would make it any easier to develop and sell my own product, in the Internet Marketing niche. 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 selling someone else's product. This could be affiliate marketing or it could be network marketing (aka MLM).
But the problem is that income from affiliate marketing can be slow.
I Did Some Very Simple Maths….
By trying out a few affiliate marketing programs I learned that even with affiliate marketing there are right and wrong ways to do it. By which I mean, profitable or costly ways!
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 extra income – to replace your regular income – that's over 100 sales a month you need to make. Ouch! Are you anywhere near that level of sales yet?
So – either look for a product that brings in a decent commission, or temper your expectations!
Were Things Better In 2019?
Affiliate marketing (of one kind or another) is still easier than producing your own product and (unless you have a real niche market) possibly more profitable. But driving traffic remains the puzzle, and with the price of advertising so high these days, to tempt customers with free or low-priced offers it's tough to cover the cost of generating traffic and hard to even make up the shortfall by taking extra paid advertising.
So I am now profiting from the learn affiliate marketing free training in this free affiliate marketing course
Social marketing with your own Facebook was the buzz-word of 2019, but – apart from some very clever social media marketers – I wonder just how many sales are being made, as opposed to relationships being forged where actually everyone is just trying to sell their own products to their new “friends”.
Update 2020: I started making sales via social media – so I can say that it works. But it's too time-consuming for me. And beware of making too many very nice friends (who are more skilled at marketing than I am) LOL But, if you like the idea of free traffic from social media marketing you'll find an extremely helpful module in the course just above.
Warnings About Affiliate Marketing and MLM
Although some people have the time and patience to build big incomes creating their own product, it didn't work out for me and affiliate marketing / MLM (multi-level-marketing) have been the best solutions for my situation (still working offline full-time).
I'm not currently promoting any MLM because the one I was promoting changing the business plan! Which is the biggest danger of an MLM.
However, it's now a single level affiliate program and I still use and promote their business, earning a monthly income, so that's another ‘plus' for affiliate marketing. It's a Share Club and the monthly subscription is less than $100. If that appeals, learn more here.
Nevertheless – there are a few pitfalls to beware of – and these apply to both affiliate marketing and MLM.
- Avoid start-up companies, go for a well-established business – but not one of the “giants” that ‘everyone' has heard of.
- Stay away from companies where you need to hold physical stocks of products and even give them away free as samples
- Unless you're a super-salesperson, don't commit to monthly sales targets (such as MLM businesses)
- Find a company where you can take a penalty-free break if a family or work needs your attention
- Choose an affordable service with longevity and mass appeal – otherwise you'll spend most of your time replacing distributors who “quit” because building a business is virtually impossible
Update 2021 – My Perfect Affiliate Marketing Company
The advice above still stands, and I have recently added a new product / service that is the perfect affiliate marketing company because you can earn decent sized commissions, even as a free member.
You might say that's the same for ANY affiliate marketing product, but the company I have chosen provides essential business tools – FREE.
There are tools that every online business NEEDS. Although they usually take a while to realize they need them. Then when they realize they need them, they find they can't afford them!
But with this company you can start an online business with tools that others are paying hundreds of dollars a month for. You only need to upgrade to be a paid member if / when your business grows to the extent that you need the more powerful options available – by which time your profitable business can afford to pay.
Otherwise, just use the free account forever!
PS – it's free to become an affiliate for this company and profit from their ‘learn affiliate marketing free' training. When you open a free account, you will earn money giving away the free tools to someone who later upgrades. It was over a year from opening my free account that I finally upgraded and earned money for my ‘introducer'!