When I was younger, I dabbled a bit in network marketing. It’s a different kind of “network” and “marketing” from what we are usually familiar with in the social media world. No, it’s not spreading news virally through Twitter. It’s not blogging about your latest service or product offering. Back then, when you said “network marketing” it usually involved a multi-level marketing scheme, where you enter into a direct-sales network through a purchase or membership. And then you earn by either recruiting other direct-sellers, or through your commissions by selling products.
The important thing with that kind of setup was that you get to build up a network of “downlines” under your own account, and then a percentage of the sales and the referrals of members down the line are credited to you. Some networks over-emphasize the value of earning from directly selling their products, but then actually the bigger income usually came from the commissions, assuming you’ve built up of a good network structure under yourself.
I never got to earn much (or at all) from that kind of set up, and I guess it kind of says something about how good or bad a salesman I am. Or was, at least.
But from the advice of so called experts I’ve listend to, and books I’ve read, one thing they would suggest is for you to go catch the big fish, and they will do the legwork for you. So you’re a bad salesman? But if you have even just one really good salesman (or good recruiter) in your network, and you’re eligible to get commissions from his sales and his downline sales, then you’re bound to make it big!
How does this apply to affiliate marketing?
This rings true, too, if you monetize your blog through affiliate schemes, or if you’re selling a product or service through affiliates. To some extent, at least.
Take for instance a service like Performancing Ads. As an incentive to members, we offer an affiliate program, in which users get a percentage of any money spent on the system, whether on ad revenues by referred publishers, or ad money spent by referred advertisers. Imagine if you refer a blogger who’s really aggressive in selling his ad spots. Or perhaps you refer an advertiser who shells out big bucks to advertise on member blogs. The potential for earning through commissions is great.
Just make sure you get that one great person to sign up under you, and you’ve struck gold.
This goes to show that it’s not how many people you know that counts. It’s who you know that counts. And in many ways, it’s not just who you know, but how well you know people that will count in the end.
However, in most affiliate programs out there, the concept of having “infinite” downlines might not be there. This means you don’t necessarily get commissions from referrals of referrals of referrals and so forth (that way, the system would be unsustainable and would fall on its own weight). Most of the time, you only get commissions from the first level, or from those you’ve directly brought into the system. Nonetheless, my point here is that if you’re selling or marketing anything online, one of the first things you should focus on is catching the big fish.
Get in touch with the big bloggers, or the folks popular in the social media. Show them your product or service. Give it to them for free. Give them the opportunity to earn from it, even. If they like it, and if they can benefit from promoting it, then you’ve got yourself a winner.
If I recall correctly, I probably earned close to zero bucks in my brief stint doing network marketing. I even had to spend some money, and much time and effort trying to learn the system and trying to sell the idea. But I always try to look for the good things out of any situation; there never is any real failure unless you don’t learn anything. And in that case, the lesson I learned is that the power of networks is in the connections, and in how you use those connections.
Social media is all about connections. How well you use these will define how well you can earn from it.