7 Most Common Affiliate Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
One of the most effective ways of earning money online is affiliate marketing, especially if you don’t have your own product. Affiliate programs are relatively easy to join, and with them, everybody has a chance to make a profit over the Internet, so more and more people are entering into this arena. But, you should be aware of affiliate mistakes.
In this post we will talk about common mistakes that affiliates make, but first, just let me make a little introduction in affiliate marketing and its programs for beginners. I will be brief about it here, because you can read about it in detail in the guide “Affiliate Marketing Strategies“. If you are experienced affiliate, please skip this introduction paragraph.
Affiliate marketing is the form of marketing where you refer potential buyers (prospects) to the product or service that belongs to somebody else and when that ‘potential buyer’ or company buys the product or service, you get a commission on sales based on prior arrangement with the producer or merchant of the product or service for your recommendation.
Please make a distinction between the producer’s own, in house affiliate program, and affiliate program network (platform) that gathers producers and connect them with affiliates. I prefer the second option for many reasons which I explained in the guide “Affiliate Marketing Strategies“.
Like many other online opportunities, affiliate marketing has its own traps and the way things are done, and affiliate programs differ in their nature. So, there is a lot of space to make mistakes which can cost you enthusiasm, if you are a beginner, or can cost you some profit if you are already active with this marketing method. Either way, it is wise to acknowledge common mistakes that are made and avoid them. Let's examine those most common mistakes.
Affiliate Mistakes – No. 1 - Choosing the wrong affiliate program
Affiliate programs are programs/platforms that create partnerships between business owners (producers and service providers) and online entrepreneurs that promote their products and services. This partnership helps business owners to increase their sales, and it also helps online entrepreneurs to generate extra income.
Affiliate programs are a good way to make money online if you don’t have your own product, so you promote and sell other peoples’ products for commission over the internet, no matter if those products are physical or digital. The decision is on you which program you want to join and which kind of products/services you want to promote. This should be related to your area of expertise.
The question is - what is the right affiliate program for you? You shouldn’t rush and pick up first program you stumble on. Take your time and do some research. Carefully choose affiliate program you want to join. Not all affiliate programs have good reputation and quality products on offer. Furthermore, not all affiliate programs are legitimate.
In the process of evaluation, please consider following -
- Look for experiences of people that use that affiliate program
- Check out websites that are known for scam seeking and reporting, and check there if certain affiliate program is listed and why
- Read all of the rules, terms, restrictions, and guidelines associated with that affiliate program before signing up
- Consider the commission they give you for sale before signing up
There are scammers who are using affiliate programs as fronts for their scams. You need to be sure that you join legitimate, well-known affiliate program. You need to protect yourself. Read more in “Affiliate Marketing Strategies“ guide, section "Be Aware of Scams". I use the ShareAsale affiliate program for a long time now. I recommend this company.
Affiliate Mistakes – No. 2 - Choosing the wrong product
Many people are eager to start earning with affiliate marketing, and they don’t do much of the research on which product will fit them best to promote, so they end up choosing the wrong product. They choose the product that affiliate platform says is the best without considering their niche market, their audience, and themselves. The product they choose might be in demand, but not appealing to their audience.
Take some time and do some research. Your starting point should be how you feel about the product. Choose a product in which you are truly interested in, a product that appeals to you. Then do some research on the popularity of that product and how the product will appeal to your audience.
Of course, product or service you are willing to promote should be directly related to your niche, and people will have interest to look at your offers. That’s the reason why your audience is visiting your website/blog. On the other hand, promoting a product that you are passionate about and knowledgeable is easier than promoting one that you don’t know much about, just for the sake of the profit.
To have success in affiliate marketing, you need to choose the right products for your website/blog and to promote them right way. Many new affiliate marketers fail to earn money from affiliate marketing because they choose the wrong products to promote.
Besides, the product you choose to promote will reflect on your business and your reputation as an online marketer. This is why it is very important that you take the time and thoroughly examine, at least, few affiliate products first. When you find one that you can stand behind, promote that product.
For more, in detail, information on product selection, please visit “Choose the Best Affiliate Product for Your Website/Blog” section of “Affiliate Marketing Strategies“ guide.
Affiliate Mistakes – No. 3 - Joining too many affiliate programs.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, affiliate programs are relatively easy to join. So, many people get tempted to join multiple programs thinking that they will multiply earnings. Well, it is nothing wrong to be part of many affiliate programs, but that is not advisable for beginners.
Joining multiple programs will prevent you from fully concentrating on each one of them. Your attempts to promote each of them equally and with the same level of quality will fail. Here is why. The maximum potential that you can achieve with each of those affiliate programs will not be realized and your potential income will be crippled.
When you are starting with affiliate marketing, the best thing to do is to join just one program and put your best efforts in product analysis and presentation. Get to know the product well and promote it enthusiastically. This is the only way that you do quality promotion and get good results.
When the time comes that you see reasonable profit coming from your promotions, then might be a good time to join another affiliate program, or move to another product or service. There is no need to rush things, especially not with affiliate marketing. Do it carefully, but surely, step by step.
Affiliate Mistakes – No. 4 - Not Being Familiar with the Product or Service
The main task of an affiliate is to promote a product and/or service to prospects in order to make a sale. To achieve this effectively, you need to be able to present the product thoroughly to convince prospects to buy it. So, it is obvious that you need to be familiar with the product. Don’t promote a product that you don’t know, or even worse, a product or service that you don’t like.
If you are not able to purchase the product, then do research. Browse the Internet and collect all the information and users’ comments (very important). Start with original producer of the product.
It matters a lot which product or service you choose to promote and on what medium you are doing promotion. I promote some hosting companies, because I use their services. I also promote keyword research software, auto-responder providers, etc. because I use their software or services.
I encourage you to write reviews and guidelines on how to use a product or service, so that people have all the necessary information they need to make a decision to buy it or not. When you are in this process of choosing and promoting product(s), think first about benefits to your audience. Never recommend products that you, personally, are not satisfied or familiar with, no matter how high affiliate commission is. Think about your reputation and credibility.
For more information, please visit “The Best Tip for Affiliate Marketing” post.
Affiliate Mistakes – No. 5 - Not Cloaking Your Affiliate Links
The affiliate link is a URL that affiliates get from the producer or merchant, which links from whatever promotional medium affiliate uses to merchant/producer’s sales page. That link is unique for each individual affiliate and is used to point people to the producer’s web page.
There are many reasons to cloak your affiliate links. The reasons are –
1) They look more friendly
2) They prevent affiliate link swapping - It can reduce commission hijacking
3) They will save you a LOT of time in the future
4) They avoid search ranking penalties
5) They avoid problems with social media
6) They trick ad blockers
In this post, I will not describe those reasons because I already described them in “6 Good Reasons to Cloak Affiliate Links” post. Please visit that post to read about how to mask your affiliate links and why you have to do that.
Affiliate Mistakes – No. 6 – Not Writing Product Reviews
Product or service reviews and guidelines are very important part of affiliate marketing. I mentioned that earlier in this post. There are many reasons for that, but one of those reasons is that the potential buyer is already aware of the product or service and is ready to buy it. So, he or she is just browsing around to get more prove that they made right decision to buy it.
If you, as an affiliate, don’t have an review of the product or service, or you don’t have any guidelines how to use that product or service you will miss the opportunity to sell and make profit for yourself.
When you write a product or service review be comprehensive and include all information that is relevant – good and bad. I explained it all, in detail in “How to Write a Product Review” post.
Affiliate Mistakes – No. 7 – Flooding Sidebars, Content and Newsletters with Ads
When we talk about promotion of an affiliate product or service, one of the biggest mistakes that an affiliate can do is to flood his/her website/blog or email/newsletter with banners and ads.
I, personally, will call this a crime against common sense and insult of intelligence.
Just look at it personally. I don’t know about you, but when I go to some supermarket, and when they flood me with their nonsense ads and promotions, I feel that my intelligence is insulted. Why I feel like that? First of all, I know what I need, and I know why I come there. If you are hitting me with ads, and pushing me to look at something that I am not interested in, you are a very bad marketer, or you are a spammer.
Yes, I used the right word, spammer. If you want me to buy something that I don’t want, and you pursue me with that narrative, you are a spammer.
So, be moderate when you promote. Don’t be pushy. Present what you are promoting and leave space to the potential buyer to decide.
Many affiliate marketers make these mistakes, and they are not happy with the results they are achieving. So, my advice to you is to try to avoid making the same mistakes.
Time and patience is the key. Take the time to analyze options and make your affiliate marketing strategy and check if you are in the right track. You need a proper marketing plan and strategy, and test it both constantly until you arrive at the solution that works best for you. Test all your approaches that you offer to the audience.
With affiliate marketing you need to be persistent, consistent and patient.
Of course, there are many other things that affect affiliate marketing and your performance, and I talk about it in my other posts. Please browse this website to learn more.