More Than Just a Piece of the Pie

pie_chart“Sir, why is it that you don’t sign up as an affiliate for some of the software we discuss?” I launched our discussion quickly, feeling rushed since we had not met on yesterday’s holiday.

“By affiliate, I assume you mean promoting and selling someone else’s product for some percentage of the sales price as compensation, Watson,” The Detective replied.

“”Quite so, sir. It strikes me that it could be quite profitable.”

“You might be correct in your impressions Watson, and I must admit it is sometimes tempting. In fact, I would say in general if someone believes in the product, and has the marketing wherewithal to properly promote and sell such a product, affiliate marketing does have distinct advantages over trying to write your own product,” The Detective replied.

“I am confused sir. If there are advantages for these arrangements, then why are we not pursuing them?” I asked.

“Ah Watson, an excellent question. Let’s look at some of those advantages,” The Detective began, indicating he was warming up to the subject, and I should probably just sit back and go for the ride.

“The big advantage of course is that you do not need specific domain knowledge, you can utilize the knowledge of the author of the product. This also means (often) that you do not need to be concerned about support. Of course the big thing is you don’t have to create the product. That can be a ton of work.

“That said, you still need to be pretty skillful at copy-writing, since you need to interest people, and you need to know as many traffic drawing tricks as possible. However, if you have the skill, there can be a decent source of income in affiliate programs.

“But, the copy and the traffic aren’t the things that concern me,” The Detective paused, and gave me his customary look to ensure I was paying attention.

“So what does concern you sir?” I asked, reassuring him that I was indeed paying attention.

“Elementary my dear Watson. There is an appearance and a commodity that I must always be aware of: lack of bias, and time.

“Bias is something that most likely few others need to worry about. However when you are in the business of coming up with solutions  that sometimes involve using software, having a profit bias to one software package or another could be, let us say, a  limiting factor in your ability to propose the most effective solution for a particular problem. You know what they say Watson, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

“I could look past that issue, since often the feature sets of various software packages are quite similar, and with proper procedures most operational glitches can be worked around.

“There is an issue I cannot ignore though, and that is time. Any decent marketing campaign must be conceived, written, tested, measured, and tweaked. I cannot afford to take time away from the work I perform for my clients, and my own marketing, to do the requisite work to make an affiliate program truly successful. It is difficult to just dip your toe into a marketing campaign. Either you are looking to win, or you are just dabbling.

“Being an affiliate marketer can be quite lucrative, and if your joy is in the marketing of things rather than the creation of said things, then by all means, take that challenge on. But as one of my mentors once said to me you cannot be both fish and fowl. Are you an affiliate marketer, or are you a life coach, a personal trainer, a marketing detective, or whatever your passion is?”

“So we keep the options open for our clients, so they can choose what best suits their needs.” I offered.

“And the same for ourselves. Quite so Watson, quite so.”