What makes a great learning community?
There are so many different assets that make up a great training and learning community that if we took the time to list them all out we probably would end with a book. For the sake of this post, I am going to focus on three general features that are the most important, training, tools and the community itself. This is the foundation of any affiliate marketing academy and it will be the life’s blood of the good ones that stick around, grow and evolve with the ever-changing landscape of affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing Academy Training
Actually, before you even get to the training a huge red flag to any of these academies is whether they are transparent about what they have to offer as well as how long do they give you to decipher what they are transparent about. In other words how much of the goods are they giving you up front and how long do they give you to go through it all. Time and time again you will see these 7 day FREE trials. On one hand, this is the one industry where you do get free trials. Try walking into Walmart and asking for a free trial of the latest coffee pot; ain’t gonna happen. On the other hand in our industry, it is used in such a way to create urgency. Most of the time, even given seven days most folks do not have enough time to go through a whole program to decide whether it will be useful to them. The best affiliate marketing academy platforms that I have seen and experienced are the ones that offer both a free and premium version with enough goodies loaded in the free version to allow you to work with it and decide if, in fact, the premium version would be worth it. Most of the time it will allow the beginner and intermediate marketer to take their time and work at their own pace until they are ready to move on to the more advanced topics and skill levels. Companies who present their product in this manner are very confident that what they have to offer will look better and better with each foray into its features and tools.
Once working with the training not only does it need to be comprehensive but it needs to be done in such a manner that does not overwhelm the average person trying to make inroads in this industry. The number 1 killer of enthusiasm and hence success in this business is overwhelming information. I have been around this game for a while and I still suffer from it. So the training information needs to be organized in small chunks of information, easily digested in short periods of time with benchmarks at each interval to measure and realize your progress. You would be surprised at how many online training websites lack this basic formula.
Finally, you need to see personal progress in real time with the training. If you are not getting anywhere such as your site being indexed or traffic increasing or even making a few sales as you progress through the training then something is wrong. I will admit most of the time failure is due to lack of effort and activity on the user’s part but if you are busting your rump and not even the slightest changes are happening, there is again, definitely something wrong.
Tools are usually what set these places apart. What does the community offer you in order to act on and build your online presence according to the way you are being taught. I am not saying the if a community merely offers you the education and none of the tools that they are necessarily a bad training service but it sure is nice when what you are being taught is easily actionable by offering the tools to practice and build with right at your fingertips. If you are being taught to do keyword research, build landing pages and a list but you have to get all of that done with tools outside of the service, it might be a bit more of an effort and a cost. However, if some tools are given to you to use such as keyword research tools, hosting at cost and other website tools, it makes life a lot easier.
Not all of these are tools are going to be available in all the online training academies but there should be at least a modicum of tools that parallel the education you are getting. In other words, if they are training you on keyword research it would be nice if they gave you access to a keyword research tool to use as you practice the techniques you are being taught. In Wealthy Affiliate, they have a tremendous amount of tools to go along with their training and they are there for all premium members for a ridiculously low price of .81 cents a day. From an amazing keyword research tool to hosting, domain email SSL certificates and domain name all for $13 a year, you just can’t beat it. But some most amazing tools are inherent in the simple but genius way they set up the community, your profiles and the way you can interact with each other.
Below is a video that demonstrates just one amazing aspect of the use of how this community is set up and how you can take advantage of not only the training but the invaluable experience of others who have trodden before you and created their own success using the very training you are.
The Community itself is what makes the training come together
I have seen too many training programs that offer so much in the way of training but do not set up or structure their platform in such a way that everyone can learn from each other. As you can see in the video this is one of the most valuable ways of learning and evolving in this industry. In the video, I reference a young man who is an online acquaintance and mentor of mine in our community. Now if I only had the ability to read about his latest successes and learn from them, that would be all well and good but look at how much more of a value-add I am able to receive by not only looking at where he is at now but where he came from.
First of all, there is an immediate relatability factor in reading some of his early posts before he started having all kinds of success. How many of you would like to have the ability to go back, almost in a time capsule kind of way and see where exactly your mentors and gurus that you love, trust and learn from came from. Where they started not from them telling you but from you reading real stuff they published years ago when they were as green as you are now. But wait, not to stop there but to then go from that original post all the way through the posts that were written over the period (in this case 2 years) that he was developing his success. Right up to the latest post where he made over $7000 on one sale date. How valuable would that be to you?
Tool Add-ons that make the program and set trends
So great now you have a structure that allows you to go back and read all you can about how some great and successful members you follow, actually developed and created their success. Their journey is right there in front of you for you to follow. So what do you do with that?
As if this was not enough to give you what you need to get you on your course and run with it there is just one more major feature that comes along with this brilliant structure design and that is affiliate links to every single blog post of yours and any member in the community. I have not tried this yet but I bet that a member could literally post on social media, run ads and such with nothing but affiliate links from all these amazing blog posts and build a whole business on that alone. Imaging that, simply cut-and-paste a blog/affiliate link into a social card (link) create posts and ads on all of your social media and the traffic would be enormous. It would be a ton of work and it could get expensive if you run social media ads but if you were savvy enough I would venture to gain your ROI on those ads would be tremendous.
Finally, your own blog posts that are created on Wealth Affiliate are indexed in google quite frequently as well. The site has so much authority when written with good keyword research they are ranked on page one regularly. Again, the blog post itself is an affiliate link so let’s say you have created a post such as this one for the key term affiliate marketing academy and you write that post well and it ranks that ranking actually is an affiliate link. If someone clicks on it they will receive a lifetime cooking and you are in business. What affiliate program does this? I have never seen or heard of it before ever in the business. It is trendsetting and just now I am starting to see other programs offering this same feature but no one does it as well and as seamless as Wealthy Affiliate. I am also an affiliate for ThriveThemes and although they have a way to create a link from their blog posts it is will very manual and technical.
It comes down to using what’s available
Everything I have spoken about here and in the video is really innovative and progressive information that in and of itself is fairly useless. It all comes down to how much you have the desire to succeed and will you follow the program to make it succeed for you. Very few have had the experience (I am talking about anything in life) of going after a goal they have no idea they can accomplish and accomplishing it. Once you have done this, human nature dictates that you will be unstoppable. I call this Cognitive Momentum. It is so tough to get there and for those who have, they want so much to tell about that experience to others so that they can have it too because it is truly the stuff of life. Unfortunately many will hear but few will listen and even fewer will act.