How to Break the Research then Failure Cycle or …

Research then failure cycle… Joe’s Black Box Approach To Affiliate Marketing Success.

So there I was posting to Kirsty’s (excellent) blog mentioning my binge personality and how I try to ride my positive waves of enthusiasm and resist those pesky stat checking urges when I realised I’d made my own personal breakthrough in time management and that inspired me to put this blog post together.

Back in the day I was a product designer. Coming up with designs for complex products on demand for products we could never hope to fully understand is a creative process punctuated with dry spells and brain freeze. To work around problems I used to “black box” them which basically means leaving what goes on inside the box to take care of itself and moving onwards towards your final design.

I’ve just realised I’ve been using this same black box technique to work smarter as an affiliate, except the ultimate goal is to make more money in less time.

If you have to “think inside the box” get someone in to help – in affiliate marketing projects that could be a coder, graphic designer, SEO service, PR agency, etc. The benchmarks I use to gauge my success are the output from three black boxes:

  1. The PPC black box: How much I’ve spent on PPC (if any) in a month.
  2. The Commission black box: How much income I’ve made in the same period.
  3. The Bank account black box: The bottom line in the bank account.

So long as I’ve spent (a lot) less on PPC than I’ve earned in commission and the bank account shows a general upward trend that’s usually enough analysis for me so while I’m moving on with my global domination plan hopefully you’re all trying to work out the answer to affiliate marketing success (which, to save you wondering, is 42) buried deep inside those black boxes.

As Kirsty points out in her 13 Reasons You’ll Fail At Affiliate Marketing in 2009 blog post this is where many people fail.

I used to carefully research niches but using my black box approach, which appears to be the exact opposite approach to Smingle’s (also excellent) help and advice for newbies and people who need a kick up the backside in 2009 forum thread, I can get something online within minutes of coming up with a new idea without doing ANY research.

Sometimes it’s a blog or a simple website but so long as it’s live you can jump straight to measuring whether the idea works or not and come back to it on the next wave of enthusiasm – or not. As a wise man once said “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”

Go On, Open The (Black) Box!

I remember being unemployed during the 80’s recession so it was easy for the credit crunch to infect my thinking and I’m prepared to admit there are times when more detail is useful.
I’ve opened the Bank account black box, analysed my outgoings, and cut costs.
I’ve also opened the PPC black box, chopping some PPC networks altogether, and reduced the cost per click and squeezed some extra traffic out of the same budget on others.
I’m still keeping the lid firmly shut on the Commission black box because I can be really anal about stats and I’ll get very cross if I start looking too closely in there!

Instead I’m going to keep my SAD symptoms at bay by pushing ahead with all my projects and coming up with new ideas – failure is not an option.


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