How To Have Better Affiliate Marketing Skills

Internet Marketing CollegeLast week we looked at new opportunities that come with lifelong learning. I suggested that, unless you're ready to hibernate from all progress, learning cannot stop the day you leave school / college. It must be life-long.

As an aside I noted that in the list of jobs that didn't exist 30 years ago, several of them were skills that anyone starting an online business must master.

Here's my list again, with the addition of a few other skills needed to run a successful internet business.

  • Blogger or Web Developer
  • Image Designer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Lead Generation (see my sorry story below)
  • Autoresponder Management
  • Website Security Manager (and maybe website repair after hacking)
  • Video Producer
  • Web Copy-writing
  • User Experience Designer
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Product Creation (unless you become an affiliate marketer)

The above are just some of the skills I found I needed to build a successful online business.

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Starting An Online Business

Many experts recommend learning product creation.

I've written at length about my reasons for NOT recommending that you create your own online product (as a beginner). The main reason is that, in my experience, the average wannabee Internet Marketer just wants to find a way to earn an extra income, rather than learn blogging and all the other skills above.

Many who go that route drop out along the way. Others (like me) create the product but never cover their costs.

risk-px-250Creating your own product is completely different when you have some internet marketing training and skills behind you – and some expertise to share.

Until then, if you are a newbie internet marketer, I recommend Affiliate Marketing as the lowest risk way to start an online business.

When you are successful at generating traffic and making sales, you will have a head start if you then create your own product.

Skills Needed By An Affiliate Marketer

So… being an affiliate marketer cuts “product creation” from the list – other than, perhaps, a free report to use as a lead magnet.

But that still leaves a whole list of skills that you'll need to be a successful affiliate marketer.


No-one mentioned all that when you signed up for JVZoo, ClickBank or any other affiliate marketplace.

If you were anything like I was a few years ago, you imagined you could just sling about a few affiliate links, place some adverts and coin it in.

Perhaps you could ten years ago, but even by the time I started looking into starting an online business this was totally unrealistic.

Lead Generation By PPC Advertising

My sad story….

My wake-up call for Pay-Per-Click advertising came early. I took a “Product Creation” course. It advertised that if a total beginner (as I was then) spent ten hours a week for six weeks, they could launch and profit from their own product.

After spending way beyond those 60 hours, I finally produced my own product and website and THEN had to start marketing it. The first lesson was PPC advertising (it was a few years ago – I doubt anyone still recommends that as a strategy for beginners).

I placed a few ads and lost my entire advertising budget with ZERO sales of my $17 ebook. Not a happy bunny, I insisted that the coaching company place my next advert for me to demonstrate how it should be done. They put their top PPC man on the case and he didn't make a sale either. With those results I fled the PPC scene, bruised and battered, never to return. (And that was before I learned about competitors clicking your ad to use up your budget.)

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and now I can see several things I should have done differently, but that's not the point of this story. The point is that “lead generation” is just ONE of the skills needed to run an online business, and even a coaching company's top advertising man got it completely wrong.

Why Affiliate Marketers Fail

You know those adverts that “promise” beginners can grab some affiliate links and make money. Unless you're already very skilled online, it's just not true. Here are a few completely basic reasons why:affiliate marketing sales funnel

  1. Without a proper sales funnel / follow-up system where you make money on the backend, you'll lose your future sales to the product creator.
  2. Unless you have a high-ticket product in your sales funnel your commission just can't cover the cost of acquiring a customer
  3. With low-ticket products only, you need a huge number of sales to generate a decent monthly income.
  4. Without a completely different website to the standard affiliate site for the product you are promoting, ad-blindness will quickly set in. Soon you'll be just another “me-too” using the company's replicated website.
  5. Are you a successful “sales closer”? If yes – great. If not, how will you close those high ticket sales?

How To Have Better Affiliate Marketing Skills

Above are some of the reasons why you need to have better affiliate marketing skills than the adverts imply. After all, an advert that asked you to master all those skills before you made a sale wouldn't have many takers.

So where does that leave aspiring Internet Marketers? Where does it leave me, in fact?

stress-fot-webWell, I'm a competent blogger, I've out-sourced a few videos and banners and Yoast plugin is “my” SEO.

I fumble my way impatiently through social media marketing, but I know my copy-writing needs work.

As for developing my own sales funnel…. I probably COULD do it if I set my mind to it, but frankly I have been getting worn out with it all.

What was meant to be a part-time business to ease me into a comfortable retirement, has ended up taking over my life and even impinging on my offline business.

Yes, there are places I can out-source the work, but the costs mount up. So I've often tended to DIY (and make a botch of it) instead of hiring experts.

Relieving The Stress of Affiliate Marketing

It's no real secret that I've found part-time online business more stressful than I had imagined it would be.

And if I have struggled, I doubt I'm the only one. Yet I would dearly like to help other newcomers to online marketing (part-time or full-time) to avoid the stress and heart-ache I have been through.

But I can't know everything, so how can I pass Internet Marketing skills on to newcomers?

Alternative Way To Have Better Affiliate Marketing Skills

Light at the end of the tunnel….

I have found these courses by acknowledged experts in their field – some on subjects I will probably need to learn about myself.

There's almost certainly an area you need to brush up on, so check them out and see which one suits you best.

To improve your Internet Marketing skills Learn More About Internet Marketing College (affiliate link) here.

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I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Ravi Chahar - October 3, 2016

Hey Joy,

Affiliate marketing is one of the main focusing points of many bloggers. People blog and promote others products.

As you have mentioned above about creating our own product. For a beginner, it’s hard. Because the promotion of the product is needed.

There are many skills required to be an affiliate marketer.
Thanks for sharing with us.

    Joy - October 3, 2016

    Hi Ravi,

    I’m glad you agree that creating your own product is tough for beginners. My sales never even recovered the cost of the coaching, which was disappointing to say the least. I still promote the product, gently, but somehow it took so much out of me that I lost heart with that particular product.

    Especially when I realised just how many excellent affiliate products there were on the same topic 🙁

    Well, you live and learn…. but from painful experience my advice to new online marketers is to learn to drive traffic to an affiliate product before you decide to create your own product. Online promotion skills are what you need first of all.

    Thanks for your visit.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Amar kumar - October 4, 2016

Hey Joy,

Affiliate ads pay per action, which means that readers will need to click on the ad and then either sign up or register for something, or make a purchase before we get paid for the action. The more relevant the ad is to our content, the higher the likelihood visitors will click on the ad and perform the desired action. Most publishers know about advertising, sponsored posts and getting paid directly from brands, but many publishers are not fully monetizing their sites. Affiliate marketing is a way to earn more money and promote many different brands without having to go out and form a relationship with each.

We could do a post about our favorite plugins and include affiliate links to any paid ones. Many affiliate programs will allow us to promote products directly on social media. We’ve seen fashion bloggers directly link to buy pages on Facebook, Many conferences or events have affiliate programs. It can be as simple as a discount code that if someone uses our code, we’ll make money to a more formal setup. Eventbrite makes it easy to set up affiliates because it’s easy to create a signup code and then track when someone uses that code to sign up. Then the conference organizer will pay us a percentage of the total sales. Eventually, thanks for sharing your thought with us.

With best regards,

Amar kumar

    Joy - October 5, 2016

    Hi Amar,

    Thanks for your additional ideas on affiliate marketing, and I hadn’t even thought to mention CPA networks, which are another similar approach.

    I suppose it’s hard to strike a balance between fully monetizing your blog and not making it too salesy. I once had a blog that was just covered with sales banners and it looked awful. Needless to say I didn’t make any sales from it. Difficult balance to achieve.

    I appreciate your extra suggestions.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Mandy Allen - October 4, 2016

Hi Joy, I agree, internet marketing is a really hard world to be part of. I do believe an awful lot of people are just talking the talk and don’t actually make money online, or benefit from the programmes they promote. I have a principle that I only promote products that I benefit from and have personal experience of. I have never made a penny though, but I do enjoy blogging and hope that one day something I do or say will pay off!

Enjoy the journey!

    Joy - October 5, 2016

    Hi Mandy,

    I’m sure you’re right, there’s an awful lot of lies and hype out there by people just wishing they’d made money online. Fake it till you make it.

    I had a very big success in a network marketing program about six years ago when I was making a four figure sum each month – which was wonderful until the company shut down, literally overnight. Which was NOT wonderful.

    I stayed well away from it all for several years after that. Since my return I have had some success with Premier Cashback and affiliate marketing, but never replicated the success of those early years.

    Thanks for your honesty. Like you, I enjoy blogging and I’m sure that with your integrity you will be successful – but it’s certainly not the walk in the park that everyone makes out.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Robin Khokhar - October 5, 2016

Hi Joy,
It’s really a pleasure to read your blog posts always. This post is well worth reading and helped me to learn some things.
thanks for sharing.
have a good day.

    Joy - October 6, 2016

    Hi Robin,

    Glad you found the post helpful.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Chery Schmidt - October 7, 2016

Hello Joy! Awesome Awesome Post! Seems like we have a lot on common my friend! HEHE PPC Advertising No Thanks! I too lost a bundle with this one..

As for affiliate marketing! All I can say is if it were easy everyone would be doing it!

Great Share!
Chery :))

    Joy - October 7, 2016

    Hi Chery,

    LOL – I think we’ve both “been round the block a bit online-business-wise”.

    I wish I knew when I first started what I know now – but life is ever thus and at least I learned from those mistakes instead of quitting. Affiliate marketing isn’t easy, but there are ways to ease the pain.

    PPC advertising – grrrr. Reminds of a story about a friend’s off-line business. Nothing to do with the Internet other than that she was getting a nice lot of bookings from her Google adverts. Then suddenly the bookings stopped and she started maxing out her budget. Turned out her competitors were just clicking on her ads. Yes, it’s fraud, but who’s going to spend the time and money to get it stopped?

    Anyway – you and I have much better strategies than PPC now.

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Have a good weekend. I’m excited because my grand-daughters are coming to visit 🙂

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Peter Beckenham - October 8, 2016

Hi Joy,

Let me say I just love your authenticity and brutal honesty. This is a rare thing in our “dog eat dog” online marketing world.

Affiliate marketing has been good to me. I’ve had my share of 4 figure days but I will never claim to be making those figures on a daily basis….like many marketers we see online.

In fact, just today this guy on Facebook chat was telling me how much he was making with some list building offer he was trying to promote.

However, when I asked him about his click thru rates he didn’t know what I was talking about. Finally it came out then he had only been promoting this offer for 4 days and was following a scipt given to him by the vendor!

Enough said.

Thanks as always for sharing your experiences and your expertise Joy and I am delighted you’re you’re feeling at home with the perserverance network.

Best wishes from the remote Thai village marketer


    Joy - October 9, 2016

    Hi Peter,

    Great to see you here again.

    Well, brutal honesty is in my genes as a Yorkshire lass 🙂
    For too long I felt a failure because I was sure I was the only online marketer not coining it in on a regular basis, but it’s now becoming clear to me that most average marketers aren’t even covering their costs. The example you describe is classic.

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I have been taken in on more than one occasion by what can only be described as lies, because I was too “honest / naive” to imagine that others would ever lie to me. Hah 🙂 However, I’m narrowing my focus down to those who I know I can trust, and learning some questions to cut through the “you know what” 🙂

    At the end of the day having a clear conscience is more important to me than making a sale. Just today I was “chatting” with someone who clearly thought I could give him a job (probably because of my offline business). I guess some would have conned him out of his last $xxx with some pipe-dream. Instead I told him I had no jobs, just businesses with start-up costs. I’ll probably never be rich, but least I will sleep soundly 🙂

    Yes, I am feeling at home with the perseverance network. Those of us who are working at it will get the benefits in the end.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

David Merrill - October 8, 2016

Nice to see you finding your way forward, Joy.

I think it’s crucial for most people to find others to work with and learn from. It can be a “team” like the one you’ve described, or a mastermind group, blogging network or even private 1-on-1 coaching.

They all work.

The key is… it’s almost impossible to get great results if you try to do it all alone. And not nearly as much fun 🙂

    Joy - October 10, 2016

    Hi David,

    Welcome back 🙂

    Yes, I’m pleased I am getting a better direction than I have had before.

    Because I only work my online business part-time it’s very difficult to try and do everything by myself – so it’s saving me a lot of time to have found a team where I can work with like-minded people, towards the same goal, yet we all contribute different skills.

    I agree there are other ways, such as coaching and blogging networks. The problem I have found with blogging networks is that they need a lot of time to participate and the bloggers are probably working towards completely different goals. However, coaching can be a great solution to get accountability and encouragement.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Rajkumar - October 8, 2016

Great post mate, I think the talk war between AdSense and affiliate marketing is on another side, the problem with current affiliate marketers is they consider both google AdSense and affiliate marketing pretty much same and which obviously isn’t true. Converting your traffic in to sales is where one can become a true affiliate marketer where as in AdSense you just have to get clicks to get paid.
Thanks for the post, keep writing great stuff.

    Joy - October 9, 2016

    Hi Rajkumar,

    Yes, using Adsense and affiliate marketing are very different skills.

    As soon as it dawned on me that I was doing all that blog writing and promoting, to attract a reader to my blog and have them click AWAY from my content, earning me a pittance, that was the end of Adsense for me.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Edward Thorpe - October 9, 2016

Hi Joy,

Wow! It’s an adventure trying to keep up with you. Nice description of the stress that comes from climbing the online business learning curve.

As you said, even the smallest business must have similar operational tools and strategies as does a big ones. Business set up takes time, money and skills that the average person just doesn’t have. Maybe why so many of us are persuaded by good copy.

Anyway, it warms my heart that you’re so willing to lift your social veil and let readers see your growth – good or bad. You’re a brave Lady! Another reason to continue admiring you…

    Joy - October 9, 2016

    Hi Edward,

    Haha – well, I know I do tend to go at 100 miles an hour, but each step is a lesson learned that takes me further along the same path. I think it was you who once commented that we both like to do things THW (The Hard Way).

    Once I saw that whole list of jobs that didn’t exist 30 years ago, and realised I was trying to do them all as a solopreneur it was a small step to deciding that wasn’t a route I wanted to pursue.

    Life is too short to be struggling to learn all those new skills at once, when there are others on the same “path” as me who are already good at them. So we can share the load and I hope I am able to support them with my blogging skills.

    I have had good and bad steps along the way – but having spent years thinking I was the only one not making thousands a month online, I feel I owe it to others to share the truth that there’s no easy way to get rich online.

    Thanks for your kind words 🙂

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Mary Sloane - October 9, 2016

Sounds great Joy and yes it is interesting how even when it is for their own good people struggle to do their part.

It is sort of like PAC it is for your benefit if you become an “approved Author” but it takes producing an article a month and lots of people won’t do it.

it is sad that people will work for a boss fearing loss of their paycheque but they won’t work for themselves to earn the money that could set them free.

Self discipline is becoming a lost skill set I fear

To great success


    Joy - October 10, 2016

    Hi Mary,

    It’s a shame people won’t do their part – but at least in the group people who don’t contribute will not get added to the rotator.

    Apparently there are two types of motivation: extrinsic where you are being controlled by external factors such as paycheck; and intrinsic where you are doing things because you enjoy them, and they lead to fulfilment – such as pursuing a course of study. I guess entrepreneurs are intrinsically motivated.

    But loss of self-discipline is another very important factor too.

    Yes, to our success!

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Sue Bride - October 9, 2016

Hi Joy, even if you don’t create your own products there’s a lot to learn, isn’t there? I’ve not used PPC advertising and it seems I saved money! I did try safelists and TE’s for a while with absolutely no success.

I’m wondering how you spend an hour a day promoting the team? Is this mostly by talking to people?

    Joy - October 9, 2016

    Hi Sue,

    Yes, so many skills to master that it’s no wonder that apparently 97% of affiliate marketers fail.

    I do a little on safelists and TEs, because I figure that many newbies start there, but I can’t claim much success in converting leads to sales – yet. Hopefully as I follow-up with my auto-responder some may see the light!

    The beauty of the team is that we can each play to our own skills, without having being “forced” to do things we’re weak in. I suspect that the most successful marketers are those who actually talk to people, although I’m not a great talker myself. I do offer subscribers a one-to-one chat to see what’s the best route for them, but very few take up the offer.

    So mostly I write, because that’s what I’m best at. I do my blogging, and some text posts on Facebook or other similar social networking sites. I use Twitter etc and I like/comment/share posts of other people in the team. I do emails to my own lists (not every one promotional, obviously) and I have a variety of standard emails that go out to safelists – that’s pretty automated so doesn’t take long.

    We save time overall because there was a time when I was trying to create my own images, to stand out from the crowd. It could take me an hour to come up with a rubbish image, whereas now professional looking images “just appear” in the group faster than I can use them.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Donna Merrill - October 9, 2016

Hi Joy,

Affiliate marketing is probably the most popular way to monetize a blog.

Yes, it requires certain skills, but the business model is simple.

Blog about a topic, and talk about (and include your affiliate links for) products that are relevant to that topic.

Beyond that, it’s all about getting your content (ie., your blog posts) in front of your target audience.

The content marketing is where the most time comes in. If you don’t have the time and/or skills to do that yourself, it’s always great to join some kind of group like you’ve teamed up with, or a coaching club or even individual coaching to get you over the finish line.


    Joy - October 9, 2016

    Hi Donna,

    Affiliate marketing combined with blogging is the most enjoyable way for me to build a business online, because I enjoy the writing. The marketing I see rather as a necessary evil, but hey-ho, I’m getting better at that.

    Time is certainly my biggest “shortage”, followed closely by my inability to create attractive images. So, Matt creating images for the team solves two problems at once.

    I know that one of the functions of coaching is to keep people accountable. On that score there are certainly a few in our group who could do with a good dose of coaching! I will try and point them in that direction.

    Thanks for your continued encouragement.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

DeeDee Lynn - November 5, 2016

Hi Joy. This was a very interesting blog post. I’ve done some PPC with Clickbank products – have a good course on how to do it. I’ve made money from it, but it wasn’t building my list. I’m going to revisit it after the first of the year.

I’ve never heard of competitors clicking your link to use up your budget. That is so wrong!! I would never think up such a thing, let alone do it.

Thanks for sharing this information. There is a lot of meat for me to chew on here.

    Joy - November 6, 2016

    Hi DeeDee,

    Yes, you pointed out a good reason why I didn’t continue with PPC / Clickbank – not list-building. In fact, quite the opposite because I was passing sales to the product provider, I was building THEIR lists, and they got any high value backend sales. I think most people are wise to this now.

    My poor daughter-in-law was totally gutted when she found out what her competitors were doing. She’s one of the most honest people I know and it’s a dirty trick they played on her. But that’s what some people are like unfortunately.

    Glad you found it interesting.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Muhammad Mairaj - January 21, 2017

Hello Joy,

First of all many thanks for sharing with us an amazing post about affiliate marketing. I totally agree with all the points which you have discussed in detail. Hopefully, this astounding guide will help us a lot.

Keep writing 🙂



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