Affiliate Marketing: Diversify or (Potentially) Die
In affiliate marketing, as in life, it is extremely exciting to find a partner that you can count on. But unlike in life, there is no such thing as marriage in affiliate marketing. No affiliate partner will or can or should promise to stay with you forever.
This is not to say that it's not important to form long-term partnerships; it is important to do exactly that. However, it's foolish to rely upon one particular partner to provide your affiliate marketing income. "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is a cliché because it's true.
Affiliate marketing diversification, though, is not as simple and obvious as working with more than one partner. Real diversification is a mindset--and a very profitable one, at that.
Partners Go Bankrupt, So Can You If You're Not Diversified
Smart affiliate marketers work with partners whose products and/or services are the best-priced in their respective markets. Why? Because if you are referring people to a health store that charges more for a potion made of Acai berry than other health stores, your clicks won't convert. It's just too easy for customers to open up another browser window and price compare. Plus you'll lose credibility with your audience over time. Which will drive down your ranking at the search engines, and so on. In the world of e-commerce, having the lowest price is a must.
But what do you think happens, sometimes, to companies that charge less than the competition for the same products? They go broke. Trust us, it happens.
Prepare yourself for that possibility by working with no less than two partners for each sector you cover. If, as more affiliate programs are requesting these days, you must sign an exclusivity agreement before qualifying for a certain appealing program (and we don't recommend doing this, BTW), make sure that you at least have other potential partners on your radar.
The sudden bankruptcy of an affiliate partner can be a traumatic event, not only because you really liked working with those guys, but also because you needed that money.
Diversification at the Search Engines
Google is one of mankind's finest creations, no doubt. But it's not the only company doing search, and it charges well for its greatness. Augment your Google pay-per-click campaigns by paying attention to and experimenting with other search engine marketing techniques.
Yahoo has made strides. Microsoft's new Bing platform is interesting. Ask.com has a loyal user base. Some brilliant British mathematician guy named Stephen Wolfram is trying hard. Facebook and MySpace are developing some compelling search marketing products.
Google's great. But it's not the only game in town.
Diversification into Income Streams Other Than Affiliate Marketing
It may seem strange that a website dedicated to affiliate marketing would suggest that you not rely on affiliate marketing for all your income, but being strange is better than being wrong.
Think about ways your website can make money other than and in addition to affiliate marketing. From selling services to selling an information product such as an ebook to selling display ads, there are plenty of opportunities to monetize content.
Go ahead, consort with the other fish in the sea. Affiliate marketing won't mind at all.