Last Thursday, Amazon sent out their new fee schedule that is going into effect March 1, 2017, for their Amazon Associates.
That Friday, I received three emails from bloggers about the change and what you should do.
So why write this post?
Because none of those bloggers have the skin in the game that you and I have.
They sell services, or they sell sites.
And they are diversified (as we all should strive to be).
So their pain is lower.
(Caveat, Perrin, And Gael put together a pretty good podcast discussion on the fee change before it was confirmed. I know that Perrin does well with the Amazon Associates program.)
Getting Past The Pain (Biohacking Your Brain)
Fear is the enemy. As Warren Buffet said this week in his annual letter:
“Many companies, of course, will fall behind, and some will fail. Winnowing of that sort is a product of market dynamism… During such scary periods, you should never forget two things: First, widespread fear is your friend as an investor, because it serves up bargain purchases. Second, personal fear is your enemy. It will also be unwarranted.”
Right now there is some widespread fear.
Frankly, I think the affiliate marketing bunch is a pretty resilient, optimistic crowd.
We’re used to dealing with Google’s and Facebook’s whimsicalities on a monthly basis.
We don’t scare easily.
But, I also know that I’ve had my moments.
They range from staring blankly out the window while my cursor blinks to trying not to snap at employees or family members over every little thing.
In order to move quickly past these moments, I focus on three areas:
1. Physical – Gym. Veggies. Sleep.
You need these, and never more so than when you recognize that you are under stress.
You know this. I know this. But in case you need some external research, here is one on the link between exercise and depression and diet and depression and sleep and depression (This one is fun because a lack of sleep can cause “down” moods but stress and depression can cause insomnia.Good luck.).
I’ll do a video on this soon because falling out of a peak state is the worst thing that can happen to an entrepreneur.
But learn that anytime depression hits you MUST maximize these three areas.
2. Emotional – Mental Gameplan
I’m not going to pretend to be a psychologist.
Uncertainty is hard for the emotions.
Entrepreneurship has a lot of inherent uncertainty.
And you need to start downloading a lot of positive outlooks.
This daily discipline helps to form positive neuropathways which mean I can reach a peak productivity state more quickly and stay there longer.
I know where happiness is, and that’s help me find it, even in the dark.
3. Gaining Certainty
Tony Robbins talks about certainty all the time.
The Bible says it this way: “where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Right now there is a lot of UNCERTAINTY. What used to work, doesn’t work so well anymore.
When you are uncertain, you are pinned down.
Regain your certainty by going over the fundamentals:
- Find good offers
- Find good angles (keywords)
- Take massive action
The game is still there. It is still extremely lucrative.
Audience + Something To Sell = The Oldest Game In The World.
You’ve just got to stay in it.
Setbacks and The Mental Game:
Recognizing The Time Costs Of Diversification
When I posted about the change on my wall, I got his with comments like this one from my facebook buddy (and longtime fellow online-income-chaser):
Diversification is awesome.
One of the reasons I haven’t diversified more is that it takes me away from SCALING and GROWTH.
There are two trains of thoughts:
- One Basket
- A Bunch Of Baskets.
As a busy dad, I’m a fan of finding one basket and watching it (or not watching it and playing around. I do that, too).
“The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”
– Andrew Carnegie
After all, what if you “diversify” into 20 Amazon sites? And then Google happens.
The best advice I’ve received on Diversification is to stay narrow and focused on growth. From there you use your PROFITS to diversify.
That way YOU and YOUR TIME can stay focused on the area that gives you the best bang for your buck.
And your profits can take the risk of trying new things.
You can alway get more profits.
You can’t get more time.
And your time is very inefficient when you are learning something new.
So If I take my time away from SEO to learn Facebook ads… I’m likely to lose six months time investment in “learning” (Failing).
But, with enough money, I can invest. I can hire someone who already knows how to win with Facebook.
There are a few reasons why I got caught with my pants down this week. Some of those are errors that need to be corrected. Some of those reasons are just a matter of bad luck.
If this had happened three months from now, I believe it would have been a non-event for me.
I’m confidence that this is a 6 month setback. That’s all.
8 Things I’ve Considered Doing To Diversify
There are so many ways to make money online. (Here’s my buddy’s list of 200 ways you can make money online. )
My goal is to find systems that will integrate easily into current skills.
- Find New OffersI’ve been typing in my top brand names plus the word “affiliate” into Google and finding a lot of offers outside of Amazon.Keep in mind that as we switch away from Amazon, we are going to lose ancillary purchases (and, possibly receiving a lower conversion rate)People can’t buy Dildos with their treadmills when they are shopping at Sears.com quite like they can when Shopping from Amazon.But in most of my niches, those sales are less than 10%.And, a commission jump from 8% to 9% is a 12% increase.Which negates the ancillary sales argument, provided the new site converts well.
This has it’s downsides. You have to find vendors; setup sales tax id’s a build a more complicated site. Oh, yeah, and upload products!Time suck.But there are a few of my top sellers that I will likely look at dropshipping.And, most e-commerce stores suck at SEO. So if you want to switch from Affiliate to eCommerce, you’ll be finding much lower competition.But just be prepared for the insane front-end work of getting a site off the ground.Anton Kraly has a darn good dropshipping E-commerce course that I am a member of.
- Add Email MarketingDo you collect emails? I don’t.My sites see 200,000+ people, and I don’t collect emails.I suck. I know.So I’m building some opt-in boxes, and super-simple email offers that I can blast them with for the first month.We’ll see how it goes. I don’t envision my niches converting well on the ebooks and stuff you typically pitch in an email.But I’ve also found a lot of cool coupons and stuff that I can pitch, which might make for a fun weekly email.(Keep in mind that Amazon doesn’t want you sticking their aff links in your emails.)
- Go Into New NichesGarcinia Cambogia, anybody?Seriously, we love the product niches because the “big dogs” are busy chasing E-cig money and leaving us alone.But you’ve cut your teeth, and now you know SEO. You know marketing. You are making a profit.Maybe it’s time to re-examine some of those niches you’ve passed over.I will say that I believe the remaining Amazon categories with an 8% commission will become very competitive over the next 18 months.So if you want to chase those products, go now. You want the jump on the competition.Conversely, I think a lot of the guys who took a cut down to 4.5-5% will hesitate to build links and promote their sites.In 18 months, the competition in those lower-commissioned niches should be easier to break into. Get your content up, let it age, and nine months from now start promoting the heck out of it.
That’s my game plan, anyhow.
- Go Double or Nothing
I picked up expired domains with Trust Flows of 12+ in my niches. Second (and third) sites are going up this week.Amazon might have cut me by 25%, but it’s going to take me a couple of days to rewrite my content and put the second site up.It seems like an easy way to boost my sales by 50%
- Pivot (Learn Something New)
I’m working a few hours a week to try learning Facebook ads + dropship.I hate it. I hate the business model. I hate that it takes time away from what I’m good at.But I also hate being defenseless. That 4 hours per week I spend on this new program helps me sleep at night.I wouldn’t recommend a full-on pivot. That’s bad business.But a limited pivot MIGHT be ok.But don’t do it.This is bad advice. Stick with what you know and what is making you money.The grass isn’t greener on the other side.But I’m personally doing a limited pivot.
- SEO + FBA (Or Local, Or Etsy Or…)
If you know SEO, you can drive traffic to anything. I met with an MLMer this week and — as much as I hate MLM — I might be pimping some “super juice”.We’ll see.I’m game if they’ll let me drive traffic.You could send traffic to an Etsy shop. To products made by a local business that you get an exclusive on.you could launch an Amazon product and send SEO traffic to it.When you have traffic, the opportunities are endless.
- Boost Untapped Capacity
My wife has wanted to start an affiliate site.So this week we got her site going.I can take some of my less productive hours and pinch hit with her, chasing the kids while she works on her site.We’re optimizing.The same goes for your existing content. Run through and grab position 0. Or optimize your call to actions in the meta descriptions.These kinds of tweaks can offer immediate boosts.And it only takes a few boosts like that to mitigate any loss Amazon handed out.
This change is not going to be easy, but this is the business. In business we have setbacks.
This is normal.
Welcome to 2017. Let’s do this.
What’s YOUR game plan? Let us hear it in the comments!