9 Hard Truths Every Affiliate Marketer Must Use To Earn More Money

As someone who has been making money online for over 5 years, one of the things I’ve discovered is that most so-called bloggers and affiliate marketers are not taking their online business seriously.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you kill your maid or frown at all times. All I’m saying is that running an online business is not for kids. It requires a change in your thinking and how you handle situations every single day. You’ve got to be daring. Brave.

I want to briefly share with you the 9 hard truths every affiliate marketer must use to earn more. When you start applying these rules (sounds better) then you’ll never beat your head in complaints.

There is no partiality online. Those who are making a living online are probably doing something you’re neglecting. Come to think of it, the World Wide Web is large enough to contain everyone and the money flowing can reach you if you stretch forth your hands. Really.

Do you really want to earn more money and live the internet lifestyle? Don’t frown at these hard truths because they’re the lifeblood of affiliate marketing. Ready? Let’s go…

1.   You can’t do without Google

Last week I heard someone complain bitterly how Google killed his business. He angrily resolved to forget about Google and look for alternative services.

The first question I asked him was, “are you sure you can totally forget about “G?” What about their email service (Gmail and Adwords, Adwords Planner, Youtube etc).”

The earlier you realise that Google is big enough to grow your business, the better for you. As an affiliate marketer, you may decide to drive traffic from another source, but that would cost you a lot of time and money. Don’t be tired of optimizing your sites. It’s worth it.

Yes, you may have done it right and still got penalized in the past. Don’t give up too soon. Start again and this time, be more careful – the reason for SEO marketing education.

Google Analytics alone provides a lot of insights partaining to your website. If you want to make more money online, utilize Google’s wealth of helpful resources at all times.

The sweet part, you can host your websites on different locations from one single hosting account. Trust me, this will boost your rankings and income. All you need is Host9 Hosting Plan.

2.    You must build a list

For the umpteenth time I want to say it again. Maybe you have something blocking your ear drums (no apologies) – email marketing is the wave of internet marketing and has always been. Go and ask around, interview super affiliates and they’ll tell you that the real money is on the list.

Really, it is only that the statement is not entirely true. Having thousands of people on your email list can’t bring in the money, but the relationship and friendship you’ve developed with them over time. That’s why hard-selling your subscribers is a wrong marketing approach.

The real money is made when they start trusting your word. At that point, you can recommend better products and services and have your merchant account swell up.

It’s hard truth because most people don’t like the stress of list building and follow up. Here’s my advice to you: start loving it or you’ll continue to struggle for peanut sales on the front-end.

3.    Marketing is more powerful than writing

marketing online

Let me say it again: A crappy content or product can make you a lot of money if you know how to promote it to those who desperately needs it. Mind you, I’m not advising you to create such kinds of products but you do get my point.

In 2012, I lived with guilt on a regular basis because my content were neglected. Yes, I do put a lot of thoughts and research before writing a piece of post. At the end of the day, you’d get 10 – 20 comments and maybe a handful tweets and Facebook shares.

If you want the real money online as an affiliate, then pay more attention to marketing. Just like Derek Halpern admonishes, “publish less but helpful posts” and your business will grow massively.”

4.    100 targeted traffic is better than 9999 generic traffic

Another hard truth. If you’ve a money site, then quit using every channel to generate prospects to it. You’d utterly fail and complain at the end of the day. What you must do is simple: find the right websites and networks and run your campaign.

The truth is that a website that receives 100 visitors a day will generate more sales and leads if those visitors are ready to buy. They must have a problem that’s bugging their precious minds.

On the other hand, if your website is about fishing rods and you drive 9999 visitors who needs golf shots, I can assure you that failure is certain.

Therefore, as you promote any affiliate product/service, send only those who have intentions to buy or try. Aha, if the 9999 visitors are targeted, then congratulations. But if not, give me the 100 or even 9 ready-to-buy prospects anytime.

5.    Market research is the first step

You can’t create a product without first researching your market. You can’t build a niche site without knowing what people truly wants. It’s about the language of your target audience. What they’re saying in the silent when no one is watching them.

If they had money right now, there is a need that must be met no matter how much the solution is. Do your market research first before running a facebook ad, or doing SEO. It comes before everything else in affiliate marketing.

6.    You can’t do it all alone – outsource

No need to waste your time on this. If your business is on the fast lane, outsourcing is the only way to take it to the next level. In fact, it’s possible you outsourced if not you’d not be where you’re right now. That’s the truth!

And if that’s the case, don’t stop there. The definition of success from my old friend in the woods is “when you find the road to success, don’t take shortcuts any more. Follow it till you get to the top.”

Get other people involved in your business. Okay, I’m not an expert at outsourcing, but I do know that you can get awesome resources online to guide you. My own is to motivate you to just do it.

7.    Writing articles builds your confidence

Earlier I did mention that marketing is more important than writing articles, which is the truth. But I didn’t tell you that writing is also very important because it builds your confidence.

When I started my freelance writing business in 2012, I didn’t realize the effect of writing guest posts and getting featured at authority blogs.

Fast forward to 2013, I was able to build a handful of niche sites that spills money on autopilot. Of course I outsourced a part of the content writing project, but I was in total control of it and did more work than my part time VA.

No matter what you face, don’t quit writing. Whether or not you get applauded for it, never conclude that you’re a failure. Writing will help you in the nearest future to build that needed confidence for product creation, niche marketing and negotiation. Move on to the 8th truth…

8.    Recurring Affiliate Offers are Better

I love affiliate programs that pays me every month. I know you don’t like it. Yes you hate it if not why are you not promoting a recurring offer.

Did you know that the same effort required to sell a one-time ebook is the same effort you need to get someone to join that resourceful membership site?

Stop working hard for peanuts. Affiliate marketing is a profitable business model if you do it with all your might and smartness.

Let me give you an advice: Instead of working hard to sell that latest software/ebook/theme that pays out $65 only once, go and promote an offer that pays out $30 every single month. You’ll double your income significantly and work less.

9.    Spread your net, you may be penalized

My fingers needs to rest. But I’ll not fail to remind you of this hard truth: Google may decide to penalize you even if you do everything right. I’ve read grudging testimonials of people who lost their rankings as a result of the Penguin updates even when they didn’t build spam links.

My new site also got penalized. But you know what – I haven’t built a single backlink to it from any source. Just the on-page optimization and BAM – I was screwed.

If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’ve to understand that running an online business alone is a risk. And lack of adequate education at it is RISKIER.

And not just from Google. Even your best goals could fail without you being the culprit. But whatever happens, learn to rise up strong again and begin from where you stopped. Those who quit don’t win and if you must win, then never you quit.

Do me a little favor…

I’ve poured my heart into this post. I know you’ve benefitted tremendously and you can’t wait to take action on some of the nudges happening on your inside.

All I ask is for you to share this post, leave a comment and if you want to see more of what I do, visit contentmarketingup.com. See you at the top!

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43 thoughts on “9 Hard Truths Every Affiliate Marketer Must Use To Earn More Money”

  1. Thomas Owen says:

    Michael, this post is an absolute corker! I 100% agree with every single point you have made, this is a superb list of essential truths! Not just for the new marketers but also the more experienced! You have really hit the nail on the head with this post.

    I’m still new to the world of Internet Marketing, fortunately for me it only took 6 months!!!! To realize that building an email list is of huge importance, and thats quite a short time compared to some!

    And marketing is so much more powerful than the content and writing! You could have the best product out there with the best sales copy ever written but if you don’t have the marketing skills to drive the traffic its a complete waste!

    Thanks for sharing this gem of a post!

    1. John, I couldn’t agree more -Ditto!

    2. Ugo says:

      I am so Sorry Thomas.

      This is a good post. But it is not a ‘corker’ as you describe it!

      Most Internet Marketers – even ‘n00bs’ – are fully aware of the message that the 8-point list-post above delivers.

      What this post fails to accomplish (and so many other posts just like it) is go into any level of useful actionable and practical detail.

      For example. The word ‘marketing’ (not counting market or marketer) is mentioned no fewer than 11 times. But if I was really really new to all of this, I would still have no clue what the definition of marketing is. Or how to market. Am I doing it correctly?, I would wonder.

      So I am an Affiliate Marketer. So I want to earn more money. So I read this post. So we have 8 ideas that give me the reader ‘hope’ but alas, no real substance…


      1. Thomas Owen says:

        No need to apologize Ugo, thats my opinion as the above is yours. Our opinions on this post differ, no reason to apologize at all buddy.

        I totally disagree with your point that most ‘n00bs’ are aware of the 9 point list covers, for more experienced marketers like yourself, maybe this list would not apply to you, My opinion is that you are never too wise to learn something new! (Or be reminded of something you forgot). As for new marketers, this post is in my opinion a great starting piece of information.

        The post is already a long post, if Michael was to go into more detail covering each of the 9 points he would have an eBook! Check his site out, theres one for free there!

        I think its meant as an informative post, not a “step by step” follow me system.

        My $0.2c

      2. Hi Ugo, of course there are other posts we’re published in the past the defines marketing and the various types. This post is aimed at those who are familiar with the word “marketing” and wants to increase their earnings. You may have to search this blog for such posts. Thank you so much for reading…

  2. Simon Chow says:

    Michael please suggest how to get laser targeted paid traffic that converts like crazy. Thanks

  3. Charles White says:

    Hi John, I believe in what you are saying. I run an offiline business that helps consumers with credit cleaning. My biggest pain is that I don’t know how to do a website and I got ripped off several times for the website. I am trying social media, but i like your take on affiliate marketing. I guess I am learning as i go. Have a great day!

  4. Stanley Parko says:

    Really, John? You worked in this field for 5 years and this is your latest article? Come on.

    1. John Chow says:

      I’m not the one who wrote this post.

  5. Linda Tong says:

    Great piece John. What I like most about this article is that you covered about Google, writing more to become more confident, and marketing.

    I liked the fact that you pointed out about Google and about their Penguin updates, penalties as well as the other services they provide. Too often I read about the disgruntled Google users and them sounding off about going elsewhere without thinking about the other services and products we utilize.

    Writing is a skill that can translate over to many areas such as getting the word out about your product and having it translate into income. Often times there are too many loopholes in the article about the product that it leaves me wondering if it is really worth investing my time. It’s not a matter what you say but how you say it.

    Although I have not invested a lot of time and effort into marketing I believe it is one side of the business too often webmasters lack drive in. Be brief, to the point and again is not a matter of what you say but how you say it. Don’t bore the masses and be passionate about you do.

  6. Benjamin LH says:

    So. where is number 7? I see two 8’s though 😉

  7. Alex says:

    Great tips you’ve outlined here. So easy to think one could do without google but the earlier you realise it’s germane to your business the better.

  8. Paul says:

    Excellent guest post Michael. I agree with all you have written and number 8 is my favorite. In the beginning my writing was poor but the more I wrote the better it got. Plus, it has given me confidence…not only in my writing but in my relationships with other marketers, customers, and offline friends.

    Guest posting is something I want to do but my research has found pros and cons about this type of marketing. Do you or John have any ideas on how it should be done or if at all?

  9. Tony Curtis says:

    Good post, some interesting views on things affiliate marketers should be looking at.

  10. Michael says:

    I didn’t figure out that John did’t write this post until I read the first few comments. John’s email read like it was his post.
    Does anyone know what Michael was talking about with hosting your sites on different locations from one hosting acct. I went to host9 but didn’t see that as an option.

  11. John,
    Great post -keep them coming!
    Very useful information to act on.

  12. Tony H says:

    Great post John, these are all very true truths I wish I had learned early on. You live and learn!

  13. In my own opinion, i believe alot when it comes to Affiliate and Information marketing online.
    Number (7) catches my attention and focus; Writing articles to builds your confidence!
    I believe in article writing, because the more you write the more confidence you’re building and believing on yourself.
    Thanks Micheal for putting this up, we learn everyday to become perfect.


  14. I. C. Daniel says:

    Who’s the guy that Google killed his business? Got penalized or what?

  15. Victor says:


    Since you didn’t write this article, why did the initial email give me the implication that you did? This is a true bait and switch, my trust level in John Chow dot com has dropped.


    1. John Chow says:

      Read the email again. It said I have a new blog post for you to read. No where did it say I wrote it. John Chow dot Com have three staff writers. It’s not all me.

  16. Amen on marketing. Learned this one the hard way, till I started commenting on 100 or more blogs daily. Then things worked out nicely.


    1. I. C. Daniel says:

      Do you have a list with those 100 blogs, can you point me to them buddy?

      1. Hi IC, no, I do 100 different ones each day, with a few sames here and there 😉

  17. Sunday says:

    These are hard truths indeed! The marketing aspect of any business brings the money. Thus, it becomes necessary to apply marketing tips and strategies effectively.

    If only newbies would change their attitude by creating and sharing valuable content to a targeted market, there is no doubt that they are more likely to make more money online.

    I completely agree that: Marketing is more powerful than writing and 100 targeted traffic is better than 9999 generic traffic. So, it is important to carry out effective marketing research before engaging in affiliate marketing!

  18. Hi John
    Writing articles,as you say is definitely a time consuming option.But I guess I’ve heard itso many times that itmust be good.Riting good content surely takes a lot of time that can bespent on other aspects of marketing.
    Recurring affiliates are aother thing that consumes a lot of time ,and money.I guess we only have to stick it out all the time.

  19. Hello Mike,

    Your points are quite interesting and I must say, you always provide information packaged in a concise and matter of fact manner. Do by all means keep it up!


  20. faisal says:

    Most ignore these important bits!

  21. Bob Loder says:

    Nice job, John! Complete & to the point.
    I like your style . . .

  22. Dan says:

    Nice one is good that your letting people know the truth about affiliate marketing

  23. Ann07 says:

    There are various ways to earn money online. However, you will not be successful if you will not take them seriously. It only means that you should be mature enough on running your business.

    I agree that the facts given above should be considered by affiliate marketers in order to earn much more money online. These are all indeed hard truths.

    I like everything about this post!

    Great read! 🙂


    By the way, I found this post shared on Kingged.com

  24. Azmir Ismail says:

    A nice post to reiterate or remind every marketer the basics of successful internet marketing. Didn’t notice that it was not written by JC, but hey no biggie, it is the lesson learnt from the content that counts.

  25. Big Mike says:

    Ummm…there are plenty of affiliates thriving without Google, and there’s plenty of traffic outside of Google…stop peddling that myth!

  26. Adel says:

    Hi John, you are amzing guy, and your Blog post as well.

    Best Regards,

  27. Christene says:

    Great post. I totally agree with outsourcing the work load. My blogs got to a point where they have top rankings and loads of traffic, still the profit is not as much as expected because I spend too much time creating content and too little on building a list and relationships. Thanks for the wake-up-call.

  28. Peter Bate says:

    Hi John,
    So many truths great post John,something like this needs to be pinned at the side of our desks so we can keep on referring back to it now and then,as I’m sure all of us forget now and then to do all of these points.

    Regards PeterB

  29. Great post…thank you very much
    Nice one is good that your letting people know the truth about affiliate marketing

  30. Jared says:

    Fascinating read, Micheal. I’m brand new to affiliate marketing, so I need all the advice I can get. Everything you’ve said makes perfect common sense to me, so I have no doubt that you’re correct. I’m gonna bookmark this page for future reference.

  31. Affiliate sales are the best ones when it bless with recurring profit. Definitely this doesn’t come easy with all the competition out there.

    The article got transformed as a tip to flourish as a blog too. Google is king of the search engines and visitors coming from organic traffic are better at converting.

    One needs to be extra cautious at each point, as you listed to not get hit by any havoc.

    Anyway, I found the link to this article on kingged.

  32. I knew John Chow didn’t write this post. It was too good and actually useful. Well written.

  33. metz says:

    “Running an online business is not for kids.”

    I agree, however, I have read several articles, some kids from all over the worlds are making money online so.

    Anyway, the first number is a huge revelation for me. I know How big Google is, but I wasn’t that aware about your take. Though Google could be the reason, still Google will help right? In addition, it will always start from you if you’re willing to accept your mistakes and correct each.

    Indeed, these are some hard truths.
    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social bookmarking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  34. Hi Great Mind,
    I shall be happy to have a booklet in which each of the points is explained in details with adequate illustrations- at some reasonable costs…

  35. Christine says:

    Great post you got here! Marketing does matter and will always be important in earning money. Now I could take a break from focusing much on content.

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