Here at Revenue Performance we often get asked to help teach people about performance marketing and over the years we have learned that the first thing to do is see if the questioner has a few basic attributes, because if they don’t, all our experience shows that they will fail. We’ve gradually boiled it down to six: key skills that form the basis of success in performance marketing. Quick. Write down your own list of six and see if they match ours. Let us know if we have missed any that you think are critical.

1. Don’t Be Dumb – a little publicized aspect of the affiliate marketing industry is that all the dumb people fail. They may succeed for a short while, or they may work hard and get a little traffic to their blog, but ultimately they will fail. The industry is too fast-moving, too ruthless and too competitive for the less-bright among us to survive for very long. Pretty much every super-affiliate or successful network founder is super-smart (if any reader has nominations for the dumbest member of the affiliate marketing community, please send them to me. perhaps we could create an award?)

2. See Opportunities – this is where the big bucks come from. It doesn’t matter what affiliate business model one adopts, if the market sector or product that you are promoting is dead, then you won’t make money, end of story. Online marketing gurus spend hours trying to explain how to chose domain names or telling newbies that they should "sell their passion", but really, it’s just about finding good opportunities. If you’re marketing via a blog, then make sure you know your market and know that it is vibrant. If you’re arbitraging CPA deals, then learn how to find new, cheap traffic sources. Finding opportunity – and having a feel for whether it’s real or not – is a key attribute for success.

3. Move Fast – you will hear lots of people saying that affiliates need to work really hard but the truth is that it’s much more important to be able move fast when you need to. Slow and steady work will lead to success in the long term only so long as the market doesn’t change or Google doesn’t modify its search algorithm. Imagine someone taking a “sensible” approach to slowly building a keyword-rich SEO-optimized Acai berry-based healthcare website: while they were plodding along, the industry effectively pillaged the sector and moved on to better things. The best affiliates are not only good at spotting an opportunity early, they also move like lightning to exploit the heck out of it.

4. Know How To Juggle – successful affiliate marketing has a lot of moving parts. From knowing how to write good ad copy; to understanding the mathematics of commissions, EPC and conversion rates; all the way through to the complications of running one’s own business, it’s not a simple job. Juggling all of the daily tasks that are required is a skill in itself. Some of it can be outsourced, but then there’s another layer of management required so outsourcing is rarely a magic bullet for this problem. If you can’t juggle you’ll drop your balls and, as my grandfather told me once, that’s never a good thing. 5. Network – there are some good affiliates who are the proverbial 15 year-olds eating Cheetos in their mother’s basement with zero social skills. But not many. Most good affiliates find that networking with other people in the industry is a core part of their skill-set, enabling them to work more effectively with their networks of choice and allowing them to to be tipped off to new opportunities as they arise. It’s hard to keep up with the herd-leaders if you have no idea who they even are.

6. Have A Plan B – affiliate marketing changes constantly. The FTC, Google, New York state, Amazon, various State Attorneys-General, patent trolls, California, fraudsters, corrupt networks and Russian mobsters are just some of the people that have screwed affiliates over in different ways in the last couple of years. As an affiliate, if you don’t have a Plan B you are living on borrowed time. Your business model could be invalidated overnight. Be careful out there. So there we have the Revenue Performance Top 6 Performance Marketing Skills.

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