11 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes You Must Not Make

Affiliate marketing is a very lucrative online business. It’s one of the ways folks make money online without ever going through product creation and all that it involves.

All you do is identify a product, sign up to its affiliate program, promote it, generate sales and get paid commissions.

Affiliate Marketing Sounds Easy?

Up to a point… however it relies on one simple but essential factor – Traffic!

If you can’t drive targeted traffic you are going nowhere!

No point in sending a Fitness Offer to people who signed up to a blog about Knitting & Crochet and vice versa.

Likewise if you Buy Traffic (pay per click or Facebook advertising) you need to know your audience and what motivates them!

Back in 2012 in Affiliate Summit’s AffStat Report affiliates where asked how they typically drive traffic to their website…

Affiliate Marketing

In 2012 at least 60% of affiliates are using “blogging” as their primary method of “driving traffic” to their website.

But Affiliate Marketing has changed!

Sure, blogging still works and you should use it – but these days it requires a more sophisticated approach, better research and above all better writing!

affiliate marketing

11 Reasons Why Many Bloggers Fail at Affiliate Marketing

The truth is most bloggers fail miserably at Affiliate Marketing.

1) Many bloggers think they know Affiliate marketing already

This is one of the craziest reasons bloggers fail at making money with affiliate marketing. Once you think you ALREADY know something, you completely eliminate your chances to acquire new knowledge.

I know the Internet is full of free offers on Affiliate Marketing but many of these are obsolete. (written in 2012 or earlier!) Those things that worked some years ago absolutely have no impact in today’s world of content marketing.

I clearly remember my early days when Article Marketing on ezinearticles and web 2.0 properties like squidoo used to flourish. We worked with article spinning tools, stuffed articles with keyword, got links from spam sites, etc and all that worked for a while. But times have changed.

In order to survive in today’s online marketing world, we have to be opened to new things and adapt to changes through learning. Seek out the best training you can find, ask for recommendations and BUY it!

At this stage in a post you might quite rightly expect to see a recommendation for an Affiliate Marketing product – but we are not doing that here because as we said, products and techniques change regularly and what we recommend today may not be appropriate a year from now. We will however recommend a Facebook Group that everyone should join if you are serious about Internet Marketing – Internet Marketing Super Friends. It is not just about affiliate marketing, there is lots of tips on everything to do with Internet Marketing and a real wealth of talent regularly posts.

learn affiliate marketing

Successful blogger and affiliates are always learning – they never assume they know it all!

2) They promote products just for the money

This is the Ugly Side of affiliate marketing – promoting any product just for the commissions is unethical. For starters try every product you promote out yourself and ask yourself, would I buy this?

Now assuming you have found a product you want to support, how can you be confident that your readership will want to know about it?

For starters, from publishing articles on your blog you can do some useful market research.

=> Try to identify the articles on your blog with the highest number of social shares.
=> Identify the articles with the highest number of comments.
=> Identify the articles that are most linked to.
=> Identify the articles that drive the most clicks from search engines.

And of course, you can also find out what your readers need most by running a survey on your blog.

the Ugly Side of affiliate marketing – promoting any product just for the commissions is unethical.

The more relevant the product you promote, the more your chances of generating sales and commissions.

3 – They don’t invest in required tools

There is no business you can successfully do online without investing in the right tools. For bloggers who want to succeed in affiliate marketing, there are a couple of tools you must get in order to positively affect your sales. Some of these tools include;

=> Premium web hosting for fast speed
=> Professional fast loading theme
=> Premium product review plugins that support user-generated reviews
=> Popup Domination
=> SEO tools – for example Plugins like Yoast

And very importantly…

They don’t keep up to-date with changes in the marketplace. Technology, SEO and Social Media are changing all the time – please accept that what works now, may work differently 6 months from now.

4) They have no knowledge about the products they promote

This one is a close relation of promoting a product just for the money! How can you ever sell anything effectively without knowing the product. Would you buy a car from a salesperson who did not own a car?

As an affiliate marketer, the best affiliate sales I have ever made have come from a product I use myself. This is the best way to position you to make more money from an affiliate product.

If you promote a product you are using, you are going to promote it from the stand point of a happy user. You will be able to demonstrate how it’s helped you out. Remember readers love ‘stories‘ and the story of how you found and fell in love with this product is one of the strongest persuasion strategies. (But remember it only works if it is authentic and genuine – I strongly discourage ‘made up’ stories.)

One More Tip:
Most product creators will produce a sales letter – professionally written by a skilled copywriter but remember, people buy from people, so I encourage to add your own introduction (video is good) when promoting a product. Just saying ‘check this out’ rarely works – give people a reason why they should check this out!

5) They just do what others do

If you want to make extra sales, you have to distinguish yourself from other affiliates.

So many affiliates just do a Copy and Paste – don’t do that! Be an innovator – come up with an angle others have not.

Have you spotted a benefit that others have not? It might even only be a benefit for you and a few others, but add that benefit and chances someone else will see that as a benefit also.

Additionally – and this is very important, add your own STORY as to why you got involved with this product…

I recently read the success story of one mother who started online simply to make enough to pay for horse riding lessons for her daughter. This was of course targeting the Newbie Marketer and it also had that all important ‘feel good’ feeling.

Other things you can do…

For instance;
=> Add a special bonus for your readers
=> Offer a special discount code from product author
=> Get co-branded sales page from author

Successful Affiliates are innovators – always be looking to add value to the offer, in terms of either a special bonus or better still in my opinion – reveal an angle or a strategy that no one else is talking about…

Affliate Marketing - Innovation is change that unlocks new value

6) They lack strategies that work

Now, this point is closely related to point 5 above. If you use your brain as an affiliate blogger, you can always come up with promotion strategies that others don’t have. Most affiliate marketing platforms today allow vendors to generate special coupon codes for their affiliates. The best part is that most vendors are ready any time to get a unique code for you. With this in mind, you can always negotiate special deals for your readers.

One of the things I did in the past that generated some crazy sales is that I arranged a product-focused interview with a vendor on my blog. This enabled me to phrase questions that triggered appropriate answers to provoke more sales. You must always think of such new strategies and do things differently on order to make more affiliate sales.

7) They do feature-based reviews

Buyers want to know – WIIFM = What’s In It For Me?

Yet so many product reviews concentrate on the FEATURES rather than the BENEFITS.

As Theodore Levitt said “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want to buy a quarter-inch hole!”

And for those of us old enough to remember – Mr Levitt also said: “Kodak sells film, but they don’t advertise film; they advertise memories”

Get it?

Don’t concentrate on the features – focus on the benefits!


Features Tell, Benefits Sell

The raison d’être of any affiliate product you promote should be to solve a problem. If that problem solving capacity is not underlined in the review, you are missing the point of the product!

8) They completely neglect SEO

For most bloggers, without huge budgets, SEO is the single best source of targeted traffic. Yes, Social Media also works, but my experience is that SEO brings the most targeted traffic.

How to not neglect SEO?

=> Do keyword research before doing an affiliate product review
=> Target the right buying or problem solving keyword in your review posts
=> Do proper OnPage SEO on your product review posts
=> Promote product review post on social media to generate likes, tweets, and shares.
=> Create backlinks to product review posts
=> Check out the best SEO Tools

The more traffic from search engines you get to your review posts, the more the sales you are able to generate.

Remember SEO changes all the time – it is no longer about trying to fool search engines, (Black Hat) rather it is about working with search engines to provide information in the best possible format. On this subject make sure to check out Schema.org for a set of extensible schemas that enables webmasters to embed structured data on their web pages for use by search engines. This is the new SEO!

9) They don’t promote products with recurring payments (and commissions)

Put simply when promoting products you have a choice of promoting a One Time Payment product or a product that requires a recurring payment (Software or membership usually). Of course you will have a mixture of both but whenever possible I like promoting recurring payments that pay me commissions for the life time of the recurring payment. Payments are usually monthly but sometimes quarterly or yearly renewal options pay out also.

To earn recurring permissions…

Identify membership sites in your niche that have affiliate programs and focus on promoting them to your audience. In addition there are software and hosting companies who pay out recurring commissions.

10) They don’t have a targeted list

One of the mistakes I committed in my early days of blogging was that I started my blog without building a list.
It’s generally said “the money is in the list” and and that’s true to an extent. But if your list is poorly built, you are never going to see any money from it.

Something not so frequently mentioned is:

Not All Subscribers are Equal

Some subscribers just because of how they found you are more likely to buy than others…

In other words, quality usually beats quantity. I have seen bloggers be tempted to buy or rent lists but it should be avoided. I could go into great detail about why you should avoid – but HubSpot have a pretty good blog post on it.

A targeted list of 1000 subscribers is better than a mix-up of 10000 subscribers. If you want more subscribers and more targeted traffic write posts directly related to your visitors problems – which demonstrate your knowledge and experience. Then when you have a product that solves those problems you have targeted subscribers who are more likely to convert to sales.

11) They don’t focus on Content and Targeted traffic

To succeed in Affiliate Marketing you need:

=> Quality content
=> Targeted Traffic

As a blogger and an affiliate marketer this matters more than anything else.

Yet, so many bloggers concentrate on things like design and the colors and size of fonts when really their priorities should be quality content and relevant search engine traffic.

There is no point in having the best theme and being hosted on the must robust server on planet earth, if you don’t have content that attracts readers who then subscribe to your list.

One Final Thought…

To succeed as an affiliate marketer you should always be learning – and this website has lots of resources for that.

In addition to links on list building and general blogging this website has lots of links on how to produce engaging content and content that gets shared.

To Your Affiliate Marketing Success,

Enstine Muki

Author Bio: Enstine Muki is an affiliate marketer and blogger. Follow him on Twitter

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