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5 Affiliate Marketing Lessons I Learned From a Thai Village Headman

affiliate marketing lessonsGetting your head around the key affiliate marketing lessons is an enigma.

It’s a business model where success (or lack thereof) often defies explanation.

I mean what can be that difficult about promoting and selling another person’s product and being paid a commission for it?


It should be one of the easiest and less complex ways to get started online. Agree?

But the mind boggles with the failure statistics quoted about this seemingly simple and easy to perform business model.

Somewhere between 87 – 97% failure rates are quoted everywhere online so where is the problem?

I live in a remote Thai village and have been online now for some years – that’s when the local internet connection gods are being kind to me. It’s a bit of a lottery trying to connect each day!

Although my focus is now on blogging, I have experienced success with affiliate marketing and plan to continue to use this strategy in the months and years ahead. .

Just recently I watched in amazement as our village headman, our leader, our Obordor brilliantly handled a particular situation.

If he was online his actions would have surpassed even the feats of the best super affiliate.

Our Thai Village Leader – A Potential Super Affiliate!affiliate marketing lessons

Let me briefly share with you the story of our village roads project.

And yes I can already see you thinking what is the heck has this got to do with helping me become a successful affiliate marketer.

Be just a little bit patient with me and all will be revealed and a lot of your affiliate marketing problems will be resolved.

Picture if you can a small village carved out of the jungle years ago by my wife’s great, great grandfather.

Our village is called Ban Dong Yang and it contains a rich blend of cultures as it’s located in far NE Thailand and only a few miles from both the Laos and Cambodian borders.

In the monsoon season our dirt roads make it practically impossible to get anywhere unless you have a four-wheel drive vehicle or a congenial buffalo handy.

At a recent village meeting organized by the leader, he proposed a major project to upgrade the main village dirt roads.

However, for most people in the village this did not seem to be a major problem as they were used to never going anywhere at that time of the year.

They rejected the offer almost unanimously.

 “The Situation”

With limited available local government funds some of us had complained for years about this road problem and got little or no response.

We did not think the leader’s proposed project was at all possible and it did not seem to grab the interest of the majority of our village folks.

We had all but given up on the chance to have better village roads.

“The Deal”

Undaunted by the initial village disinterested response, our village leader whose name is khun Surat, went about achieving impressive results by applying simple yet remarkably effective marketing skills.

He approached and negotiated a deal with a nationwide raw material supplier.

The company agreed to provide the road material supplies and an experienced supervisor plus required machinery at a very low cost.

In return, we would provide all the required labor to the company free of charge for the six weeks construction period. Plus we would provide an additional fifty people free of charge for one week that the company could use at its discretion in the local area.

The village leader also proposed that we would supply all the local company employees and their families with rice for the six weeks road construction period.

Our village had just completed one of its most successful rice harvests and, with no local employment opportunities we had normally hard-working labor idle for a few months.

This idleness often created problems and our village leader wanted to avoid this difficult problem.

The village leader also knew that the raw material supplier was looking to expand its operation and needed more labor to successfully open two new outlets in the district.

affiliate marketing lessonsGetting Down to Business

The village leader held another village meeting and using great leadership and marketing skills, he communicated his plan in a very clear step-by-step way. This included the specific requirements of our village workers and their families.

He then also explained the potential employment opportunities for our village people that existed in the monsoon season in the nearest city to us.

These non-skilled labor roles were in the building industry and the companies were also happy to provide free transport to and from the village each day.

Because of our unpassable roads, these jobs had never been considered possible previously and although menial, they would provide very valuable extra incomes to our village families.

He also introduced the Chairman of the nationwide raw material supplies who spoke to the audience in both Thai and Khmer (we use both languages here).

He announced he would be staying the night in our village so people could ask him any questions they wanted.

He also outlined in great detail the planned benefits his company would provide to some of the village youths on completion of the project.

This was a winner as the biggest worry for the parents of our remote and very poor village, was the future of their kids.

The whole road project outlined was a wonderful surprise to all of us and we resoundingly agreed to the proposal.

The Results

We got our cement roads completed in very quick time

Twenty three of our local village boys, who were just finishing high school, were offered apprenticeship positions with the nationwide company. This was very important as there are no regular employment opportunities in our village.

The raw material supply company successfully launched their two new outlets. Fourteen of our village people have remained with the company in paid employment positions, including three as supervisors.

The project was also completed well under budget and we used the savings to completely renovate and re-stock our village shop much to the delight of all the kids who now had ice cream available.

Have You Identified the 5 Key Affiliate Marketing Lessons Yet?

Let me help you out here…

1. As an affiliate marketer you should realize that people do not buy products but rather they buy solutions.


2. As an affiliate marketer you need to build TRUST and CREDIBILITY BEFORE you sell anything.


3. As an affiliate marketer you need to differentiate yourself from the hordes of other affiliate marketing lessonsaffiliate marketers out there or be swamped in the internet morass. Be honest, original and identify a common bond with your audience.



4. Key affiliate marketing lessons include your target audience, your niche market, has to know they have a problem that you can solve with your affiliate offer or they will not be interested.


5. Another of the most important affiliate marketing lessons is that you should only promote relevant products from reputable vendors and if possible provide a valuable bonus.


See The Picture Now?

The village leader knew the village was not interested in a new road until he pointed out the benefits of being able to earn more money in the nearest city that would be available once the roads were passable.


He very cleverly explained to them step-by-step the process and got them to accept that they did have a problem that needed resolving and that his “affiliate deal” with the raw materials supplier was the solution they needed.


The village leader knew the local residents did not trust anyone from “outside” so he persuaded the company Chairman to stay overnight in the village and be available to everyone. 


affiliate marketing lessonsThis also gave the company chairman credibility with the village and immediately differentiated himself from every other “outsider” who had ever visited our village before.

Especially politicians who magically appeared for an hour or so promising the world at every election time and then disappeared forever.



Finally the leader had negotiated a bonus deal for 14 people in our village with “the product vendor”, the company chairman on behalf of his “subscribers” – our village.   

A Takeaway For You: One of the simple affiliate marketing lessons we need to learn is that as an affiliate marketer you really don’t have to sell anything.  If you can create the vision and the influence required to win over your audience you will be a success just like the village leader did so successfully!

Can you see now why these 5 affiliate marketing lessons from our Thai village leader must be understood and implemented by any affiliate marketer if they want success?

Update: The reality about successful affiliate marketing lessons were expressed in the commnet on this page by one of my mentors, Adrienne Smith, when she said “Once again this all boils down to know, like and trust. People can get their foot in the door when someone they know refers them. No one and I mean no one likes to be taken advantage of and that’s what’s been going on for a very long time when people purchase things from people they don’t know and companies they aren’t familiar with. It’s just the way things are I’m afraid that’s why we have to be different.”

Your Turn

I know how busy you must be so many thanks for your comments.

What challenges have you faced as an affiliate marketer?
Are you aware of the dirty little affiliate marketing secret that is probably keeping you broke as an affiliate marketer?
Do you know the deadly mistakes most affiliate marketers make?
If you are not getting recurring commissions with your affiliate marketing and would like to know more about this then please say so in your comments below.
Are you aware of the 3 major profitable niches for affiliate marketers?
Do you know how to use scarcity and urgency ethically to increase your conversions?



Peter Beckenham

I'm an Aussie entrepreneur who lives and runs his online sales & marketing coaching business from a remote Thai village. I help small businesses to build authority, attract quality leads and generate sales If you enjoyed your visit with me then SUBSCRIBE TO MY TRIBE where you will get lots of tips, ideas and practical, down-to-earth information about how to make the most of your online business journey.

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  1. Hi Peter,

    This is an interesting case study of how a trusted problem solver can leverage his authority and leadership to bring about a desired result. Notice, too, that the desired result not only benefitted its promoter, but those who took a chance and joined in with him.

    Affiliate marketers must make sure that WHAT they are trying to sell will really benefit their customers. Then, they must offer bonuses, assistance, customer service, continued support… anything they can to improve the chance that their customer actually puts the product to good use and has his/her life improved as a result.

    Don’t just get it in their hands, show them how to open and use it to THEIR benefit.

    Affiliates need to be much more than sales people, they need to be catalysts. This earns them trust and repeat business from loyal clients, customers and clients.


    • Hello Donna and welcome back,

      The key is TRUST and in the example I used the village leader knew that the solution would benefit everyone but they needed help in recognizing that fact.

      The message to be gained from this for affiliate marketers is to differentiate yourself from your competitors in the minds of your prospects, by not just being a problem solver but someone who can lead people on a journey of discovering their own potential.

      Thanks as always for your great feedback Donna – always much appreiated


  2. Hey Peter,

    What a wonderful story and fabulous idea that your village leader came up with. This is the perfect example of how things are done to help others online and offline.

    Once again this all boils down to know, like and trust. People can get their foots in the door when someone they know refers them. No one and I mean no one likes to be taken advantage of and that’s what’s been going on for a very long time when people purchase things from people they don’t know and companies they aren’t familiar with. It’s just the way things are I’m afraid that’s why we have to be different.

    We’re the ones that have to stand out, we’re the ones that have to help them realize how we can help them, we’re the ones who can solve their problems with our solution.

    I love this post and I’ll definitely be sharing it as well, great job Peter.

    Hope things are going well for you today in your village. I know not having electricity for seven hours wasn’t easy. I’m sure though by now you’ve learned to adapt.


    • Hello Adrienne – always great to have you visit with me.

      I totally agree with you re the “know, like and trust” factor but sadly I think many affiliate marketers, although aware of these critical relationship issues, only pay “lip service” to them.

      Way too often you see an affiliate marketer promise the world in order to get the sale, only for the customer to discover that that marketer has up and left once the money hit their paypal account.

      Great affiliate marketers not only sell by creating a vision for thir prospects and solving problems but also by simply being there for them once the sale is made…this alone will differntiate you from most of the failing affiliate marketers out there.

      Glad you liked the post Adrienne and you should know I told the village leader about this post and he laughed and said “khun Peter I dont understand the internet but if I helped you with something then I am happy” – what a great mindset!

      Thanks again Adrienne – always appreciate your visits and your wonderful contribution to my posts


    • Well hello Sue Anne and welcome to my place,

      Great to have you visit with me but no marketing is not all over!
      Its just the way you go about it – give more to get more as they say!

      I am a firm believer in giving the prospective affiliate marketing customer as many reasons as possible for them to consider a particular offer.

      This does not mean adopting the age-old “predicting and overcoming potential objections” but rather getting the prospect to understand why they are thinking of purchasing a product or service.

      Doing this alone will differentiate you from the masses of affiliate marketers out there as you become a real person, someone who shows interest in them and someone they can possibly relate with.

      This not only helps you convert the prospect into a customer but with continued relationship building they may well become multiple customers and/or advocates for you and your business – and that to me is the pinnacle of affiliate marketing.

      Best wishes and thanks for our visit Sue Anne


  3. Interesting article! It’s unusual to find such a different take on affiliate marketing and I had no idea that you live in such a remote village. I imagine the cost of living must be really low so you can save up quite a lot, not to mention that fresh air and peaceful atmosphere. One of my goals is to travel around asia and support myself with my freelance writing business. I think it’s doable, I’m almost there, only need a few more regular clients.

    • Hi Timothy and welcome back to my place,

      Thanks for your feedback as always – actually I was just wanting new online marketers in particular to understand some of the “ground rules” behind affiliate marketing. Far too often affiliate marketers are way to eager to push and sell and as a result wonder why they fail.

      It’s not that difficult to understand provided your mindset is one of creating valuable relationships first and not just “sales prospects”

      As one of my other commentators, Kim Willis, correctly pointed out, to be a successful affiliate marketer requires vision, passion and conviction – and the communication skills to convey these things to your affiliate marketing audience.

      Yes the cost of living here is very low if you don’t want to purchase (in my case) any products from Australia as then you can pay an absolute fortune!

      Fortunately I love Thai food and the cost of pork ,chicken, fish and beef is far lower than my home country of Australia.

      I wish you well with your travel goals Timothy – you should team up with my mate Ryan Biddulph who specializes in living that lifestyle.

      Best wishes and thanks again for your visit – always appreciated


  4. Hi Peter,

    Great to be back here after the Xmas holiday break

    And what an inspiring story you’ve shared here. The village leader is one smart dude for sure. In fact, it demonstrates once again that any beneficial change requires vision, and a leader with the courage, imagination, and persistence to promote the cause.

    All five of your points are spot on. I also want to say something about vision. If we expand people’s vision of what is possible with our solution, amazing things can happen. In the business context, employees who would never embrace a dramatic change will fulsomely support it if the leader shows them how the change will benefit them.

    Same thing with customers. I’ve lost count of the number of times customers who had previously told me they only had a small amount of money to spend, miraculously find 20 times their stated $ limit for my product solution. How did it happen? I expanded their vision of what is possible with my product.

    Back to your story…..

    The village leader enrolled others into the vision, which is a pre-requisite for human progress. (Give people a stake and they will support it.)

    Love it!


    • Hi Kim and welcome back mate,

      Always delighted to have your great feedback.

      You are right when it comes to vision as so many people around us may not see the potential of opportunities and need our help in identifying it for them – and building their passion for it at the same time. This is classic ethical selling and something I am extremely comfortable with.

      Kim you raised a really interesting issue when it comes to people’s perception and preconceived ideas about their purchasing. It’s amazing how many times I have also seen folks at first, quite reticent about spending any money, then somehow find the extra funds required to get a solution to their problem.

      In fact I did that myself today in a discussion with a mate of mine who approached me about a particular leadership program! And yes I found the extra funds over and above my initial planned investment with him because he helped me see opportunities I had never considered.

      As both bloggers and affiliate marketers we need to keep a balance between creating and providing exceptional value whilst at some point in the relationship, asking for the order!

      Both parts are essential to our success and prvided we have the vision like shown by the village leader, there will never be any conflicts in our business modus operandi.

      A win-win scenario with customers delighted and excited to get valuable solutions to their problems and we get great satisfaction for a job well done…and get paid to boot!

      Thanks as always for your thought provoking comment Kim

      All the best from a remote Thai village


  5. Hi Peter
    So next time I come visit you I can expect a top notch concrete road all the way down to your house 🙂 555. This is a great post and I’ve tweeted it to. You can always learn from “real life” experiences and apply to the online world.
    Looking forward to come up to Sisaket some day this spring to see you and your wife.
    See Ya

    • Hey Claes,

      Great to have you visit with me mate and yes the roads have much improved.

      But we still need a few extra meters of cement to make it all the way to our home front gate. Almost thewre…lol

      Thanks for the social share on Twitter – appreciate that very much.

      The lessons our village leader displayed were nothing short of brilliant when it came to convincing the village folks that they did have a problem and that he had the perfect solution for that problem.

      Can you imagine what he could have become if he had the education opportunities that the rest of us often take for granted.

      That’s why my mission to help the kids here to achieve a better education is the “WHY” that drives my blogging and my affiliate marketing.

      All the best and thanks again for the visit – look forward to catching up with you my man


  6. Hi Peter!
    Congratulations on yet another excellent blog post. I love the way you connected a seemingly unrelated real life story about your village headman to all of our challenges as affiliate marketers. It made for a riveting read and helped bring the five marketing lessons you were highlighting into sharp focus.
    I think we are all guilty of sometimes being totally immersed in our online worlds and forgetting to stand back and look at things from a real world perspective from time to time.
    Thanks for reminding us to look to our daily life experiences for valuable lessons which can help further our online goals.
    Cheers Mate!

    • Hello Anthony and thanks for your visit to my place.

      I always appreciate your valuable feedback and with the topic of “affiliate marketing” we have so many things we could focus on.

      The village headman by the way has never owned or opened a computer in his long life but as you can see from reading my post, he truly has all the inherent marketing skills required to be a super affiliate marketer.

      It was amazing to see him work his magic with his audience as he went out of his way to provide such great value and relationship building experiences.

      It was like watching a master at work – yet this was a 74 year-old guy who has never traveled further than the very next vilage about 4 miles away in his entire life. An amazingly perceptive guy who could size up a situation and present a solution that people simply rushed to endorse.

      Oh to be in that position every time with our affiliate marketing – what a joy it would be.

      Thanks again Anthony

      Best wishes as always from a remote Thai village blogger


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