I hear them all the time…excuses for not getting started with affiliate marketing. Or excuses for why people are giving up on affiliate marketing…before they really even get going. Today, we’ll explore the five most common excuses and why they shouldn’t hold you back.
I call these excuses the “Big Buts.” (Cue childish giggles…)
They are big because they are holding people back from experiencing all the benefits of affiliate marketing. They are preventing new business owners from bringing in significant and much-needed revenue. They are keeping people from enjoying the lifestyle that an online business can give them.
And they all begin with the word “but.”
The problem with most excuses is that they are rarely true.
I hate to break it to you, but you aren’t all that unique. You are not a special snowflake.
There are hundreds or even thousands of people trying to do the same thing as you. And many of them are succeeding wildly.
They have the same challenges. They have the same doubts. They have the same questions.
But they find a way around those challenges. They overcome those doubts. And they get answers to their questions.
In other words, they take action in spite of their obstacles. They don’t let their “buts” drag them down.
Here are the 5 most common excuses we hear from new affiliates (or those who’ve given up on affiliate marketing).
1. But I Don’t Know How to Sell
This is the most common objection to promoting affiliate offers.
This is a myth though. We all know how to sell.
As Zig Ziglar put it:
Selling is essentially a transfer of feelings.
That is it. That’s all that selling is.
There’s an exercise I like to take people through when they say they can’t sell. I ask them to tell me about their favorite restaurant.
What happens next is eye-opening. They describe the drive up to the restaurant. They tell me about the interior. They describe in detail the atmosphere, the service, and oh, the food. They use vivid language and they get excited to talk about their favorite place to eat.
After a few minutes, everyone in the room wants the same thing…to eat at that restaurant.
I describe the process in detail in this video:
You see…you can sell. You already do it every day.
This is one excuses that just doesn’t hold water.
2. But I Don’t Know My Avatar
For some reason, this is the second most common excuse people have for not promoting affiliate offers.
They don’t know their avatar so they don’t know what to promote.
But here’s the thing…affiliate marketing actually helps you determine your avatar! By promoting different offers and seeing which ones resonate over time, you learn something about your audience. You learn what they like and don’t like, what they’ll buy and won’t buy, and what topics they are most interested in.
This tells you something incredibly valuable about your avatar.
That said, here is a quick exercise you can go through to create an initial avatar. In Module Two of my No Product No Problem course, I deliver an in-depth lesson on this, but here is the short version:
How to Quickly Create an Avatar
First, give him a name. (NOTE: For simplicity, I will use the masculine pronoun. Your avatar might be a male or female…or you might have two)
My avatar’s name is PETE. Always in ALL CAPS to remind me that everything I do here is for him, not me.
Second, ask “What are his values?”
Spend a considerable amount of time thinking about this.
Next, ask “What are his goals?”
Where does he want to be in 90 days? In one year? In ten years? In other words, what does he aspire to be, do, and have?
Next, consider “What are his information sources?”
Where does he learn as it relates to your topics? What podcasts does he listen to? What blogs does he read? What magazines does he subscribe to?
Then explore his challenges and pain points.
What keeps him up at night? What keeps him from taking action (like these 5 “buts”)? What causes him stress, worry, or frustration?
Lastly, fill in demographic information.
This could be anything you want to list about him.
Is he married or single? Divorced or widowed? Is he working a full-time job? Did he go to college? What is his income?
As I mentioned above, my avatar is named PETE.
Here’s an outline of PETE:
3. But I Have a Small List
So you’ve got a small list…or no list…can you succeed at affiliate marketing?
I’ve seen it time and time again. Someone with less than 2,000 people makes $10,000 in an affiliate launch (I’ve done that four times myself).
Or John Meese, who made $5,359 in one month with only 1302 subscribers.
Or someone with 500 people makes $3,000.
Or…someone with 0 subscribers making their first sale (or dozens of sales as happened recently in the Ziglar Family launch).
Not only is it not impossible to make money with a small list, but it is very doable if you remember three things:
First, Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
If you are just starting out, stop comparing yourself to others who’ve been doing this for three years or longer.
There are two quotes I remind myself of every time I get discouraged when I see others who are ahead of me doing well.
Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
Here’s the full excerpt from Jon Acuff in a post he wrote for Michael Hyatt years ago:
Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
One of the great temptations for us as leaders and dreamers is to compare the start of our new adventures to the middle of someone else’s. You work on your first book and pick up Max Lucado’s 14th book and say, “Mine isn’t as good.” You post your first blog post and look at Michael Hyatt’s 100th and think, “Mine is nowhere near as great as that.” You give your first speech and watch Ken Robinson’s 1,000th at TED and think, “I’m not great like that.”
It’s true. You’re not. Yet.
And the second quote is from Steven Furtick:
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
Remember, you only see people’s highlight reels. Whether it’s on social media or their blogs, most people are only posting the finished products. They are posting their good stuff.
You don’t see the late nights, the stress, and the crap that comes out first. But trust me, it is there.
Second, Focus on the List You Do Have
In other words, stop complaining about what you don’t have, focus on what you do.
Nurture the heck out of your small list. View it as an opportunity to really invest in a small group.
You can learn a lot from a small list.
Third, Do Your Own Thing
Remember, your audience follows YOU.
When you have a small list, focus on cultivating your voice. Don’t spend a lot of time learning new marketing tricks or tactics. Spend time getting your list to love you.
Don’t use a small list as an excuse to not get started. And don’t use it as an excuse to not succeed.
RELATED POST: How to Succeed at Affiliate Marketing with a Small List
4. But My Audience Doesn’t Buy
This excuse is more mental than anything.
The reality is that your audience does buy…a lot of stuff actually…they just aren’t buying from you or through you.
If you struggle with your audience buying, watch this lesson from my No Product No Problem course:
You can also download the video and audio version below.
Here’s the key takeaway though…if you learn to sell, a funny thing happens: your audience changes. (Or at least it sure seems like they do).
And the last “but” excuse…
5. But I’m Afraid I’ll Lose Subscribers
My typical response to this is: So what?
That may sound harsh, but really…so what if some people unsubscribe?
I got a tweet recently that made me scratch my head:
No disrespect meant, but what did this person expect?
The more you email, the more unsubscribers you will have. It is that simple.
The more you promote, the more unsubscribers you will have.
The more you email about blog posts, the more unsubscribers you will have.
The more you email about free guides, the more unsubscribers you will have.
The more you email people to ask for their questions, the more unsubscribers you will have.
More email = more unsubscribes. Always.
But here’s the thing…so what?
Please get this deep down: Subscriber counts mean nothing in and of themselves.
I’ve seen people with lists 1/10 the size of others destroy them in affiliate contests. I’ve beaten people with lists 5-25 times mine numerous times. Ray Edwards regularly beats people with lists 5-10 larger than his. (Here’s how Ray does it)
If someone unsubscribes because you make a relevant and helpful offer, why would you want them on your list in the first place?
REMEMBER: You are running a business. Businesses sell stuff. Businesses make money.
Yes, create value. Yes, give a lot away for free. And yes, ask them to buy something from time to time.
If someone never buys anything, they have no business value. They are dead weight on your list.
I love this quote from Noah Kagan:
Likes don’t pay the bills. Sales do.
The same can be said for email lists.
Lists don’t pay bills, sales do.
Have no fear of unsubscribes. If you are offering relevant, helpful, valuable offers and someone unsubscribes, let them leave.
These are the five most common excuses for not doing affiliate marketing or giving up on it.
All five are purely mental barriers. Once you overcome those mental barriers, you will be on your way to affiliate marketing success.
You already know how to sell. Start acting like it.
You now know how to create an avatar.
A small list is no reason not to get started.
Your audience DOES buy stuff…and now you know how to sell to them.
And unsubscribes…who cares?
What are the biggest excuses you’ve used for not starting affiliate marketing or giving up on it?