Digging in the Dirt of Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Digging in the Dirt of Affiliate Marketing Strategies

How Much Effort is Enough when you’re Digging in the Dirt of your Affiliate Marketing Strategies?

~ guest article by Dave Cottrell

So many people wonder just how much effort they should expect to put in to implementing their affiliate sales program before they begin to see success from their affiliate marketing strategies. How much effort is enough when you’re digging in the dirt of your affiliate marketing strategies?  My answer is, “Just enough.” Just enough, that is, to make the first sale. Then just enough more to make the next sale. Then just enough more to begin to make some real money. Then just enough more to hit their income goals. If you keep on doing just what it takes, it will be just enough to get you to the next level. That’s all you have to do.  

How Much Effort is Enough when you’re Digging in the Dirt of your Affiliate Marketing Strategies?It may seem like an old cliche, but it’s true. Most people quit, right about the time they would have begun to see success, if they had just gone that extra little bit. An old salesman I once worked with in door-to-door sales told me that if it takes knocking on 100 doors to make one sale, then you should work like the dickens to get the other 99 out of the way so you can make that one sale.  Some of the old door-to-door sales strategies are good ideas to add to your affiliate marketing strategies arsenal!

It’s kind of like the trip I took, today, to an archaelogical dig my wife is working on up the Lynn Valley, here in BC. When I got there, I saw a bunch of people digging around in the dirt on their knees under the trees in that mountain forest.

They would carefully dig up the soil a tiny trowel scrape at a time, put it in a five gallon bucket bit by bit until the bucket was full, then they would take it over to another station where they would sift it all through a screen. I could have told them their excavations would go a lot faster with a real shovel and a wheel barrow, but that would have been counterproductive.

You see, they were looking for artifacts, not to get the dirt moved. They would screen that dirt bit by bit and bucket by bucket, often finding nothing. But every now and then, their efforts would be rewarded with a small artifact or two. Some of those artifacts were REALLY small and looked a whole lot like the dirt, until they were carefully sifted out and examined.

The other thing that was very interesting is the fact that once they begin to find artifacts in one area of their dig, their success rate goes way up, because they know where they are more likely to find more artifacts in a greater concentration.

I wonder how many people approach the way they develop their  affiliate marketing strategies like somebody with a shovel and a wheelbarrow on an archaeological dig, rather than the expert carefully sifting for artifacts? Creating a great looking blog with all the latest widgets, photos, videos, etc., etc., may seem like a really good idea and look really great, but if you lose sight of the fact that your purpose is to sell something, it’s just a great looking website! You’ve successfully dug a big hole, but you forgot that the purpose was not to dig the hole, but to sift the dirt that came out of the hole for artifacts!

I wonder how many people quit digging after the first couple of buckets in the affiliate “excavation” come up empty? The site I visited, today, has been excavated for many years by the archaeologist in charge of it. Every year he comes back to cover a little more of the ground he has mapped out on the site, and every year he and his team discover more. Eventually, he will be able to write a very interesting book on the folks who lived there.

But if he approached that site with the same kind of strategies so many people use in their approach to affiliate marketing, there would be little holes dug at random all over the site, and probably no artifacts to show, at all. If they simply gave up every time they sifted a bucket of dirt and found no artifacts in it, about all they would likely ever find would be dirt. But they do just enough to find an artifact, no matter how much that “just enough” is, then repeat the process again. By doing so, they have discovered many artifacts, some of which I had the privilege of examining in their field camp, today. They have found some really interesting stuff!

Affiliate marketing strategies that work are work; make no mistake about it. Furthermore, you don’t work for eight hours and then go home and get paid. You might work hours and days and weeks, and yes, months before you get paid, but that’s just how much dirt you have to sift through. Once you get enough sifted, though, you will know where to dig for that much richer bucket of dirt, and your “just enough” will take you to the next level.

Like the archaeologist at that dig, you have to really want it, and you have to really enjoy the challenge of getting there, if you want your affiliate marketing strategies to work. But if you are willing to put in the effort and sift through all the dirt without giving up, the rewards will be great.


  • Thanks Dave for this article. It is a great analogy compering affiliate marketing to archeological work. I think you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. The more people understand that process the easier it will be for them to continue when it feels like nothing works. As long as they keep digging, they will find this little piece of gold which will keep them going for a while, until they find another one. The more you dig the better tools you will employ and better experience you gain.

  • I never thought of affiliate marketing in terms of archaeology before, but ya no kidding affiliate marketing is very much like that and it can be time consuming and require many skills as well as learning how to be methodical. Having many skills to get to that “great discovery” is also required and it all takes time and patience.
    If you have learned those skills and have created a good plan of action, then giving up is not an option, sometimes you might have to change where you dig, but if your product is good then affiliate marketing can be a way to find that big treasure.
    An awesome post Dave !

  • Hi Paul! I’m glad you’ve been finding some “nuggets.” Your experience is very valuable, and you can use your ability to find them to help others find them, too. In turn, they may be the ones that end up helping you unearth that “boulder” you’re looking for!
    Dave Cottrell recently posted…Who is your Target?My Profile

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  • Great post. Many of us just hear of the earnings stories or testimonies of others in affiliate programs. We never take our time to dig into the other side of the story i.e the effort and the patience required. Simply put we assume they joined the program today in the morning and by the next morning they made their first sale. What those super affiliates don’t usually tell others is how long they had to wait to get their first conversion. Affiliate marketing is a patient game if you really want to succeed.

  • The wonderful analogy of “finding a Pocket of Treasure” is so correct. In marketing sales we consistently find that “cache of Gold”, the system that clicks, after seemingly spending days in the “desert”
    We always discuss the Journey of Business Development, which will many time be blown off course; but with the right navigation tools (knowledge and masterminds) it is NOT difficult to get back on course
    Chuck Bartok recently posted…Are you on Track for 2013?My Profile

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