9 Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Many readers think making an online content is simple task and website owners should offer free content like Wikipedia. Unfortunately, this is not true, even Wikipedia needs donation and funding to survive online. All bloggers need money to maintain their website starting from hosting to publishing content. In addition, fulltime bloggers need to generate revenue for their life. The easy way for bloggers to make money is to display advertisements or sell affiliate products. If you are a blogger looking for making money through affiliate selling, here are the common affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
Well, in our earlier articles we have explained what affiliate marketing is and comparison with Google AdSense advertising. It is difficult for many of us to make our own digital or physical products to sell online. On other hand, many product owners struggle to get customers due to poor marketing knowledge. Affiliates bridge this gap by marketing the products using their quality content. Depending upon the product, as an affiliate, you will get commission for each sale from the product owner.
Affiliate marketing can save lot of time for product owner and generate handsome revenue for you as an affiliate blogger.
Why Affiliate Marketing is Not Easy for Bloggers?
Though you do not need to make any product, affiliate marketing needs trusted website. You may need to work for years, in order to build a trusted blog. After having a blog with decent traffic, you should avoid making certain mistakes to win in affiliate war.
Remember, we say it “affiliate war” as millions of bloggers try to do the same stuff for earning money. Therefore, you should learn from other’s mistakes instead of making mistakes yourselves.
9 Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes
Here are the top affiliate marketing mistakes you should avoid.
- Falling trap with online articles
- Starting without goal
- Applying for each and every program
- Choosing wrong affiliate products
- Selecting low conversion products
- Getting poor commission for sale
- Not collecting leads
- Ignoring tracking reports
- Not following affiliate disclosure guidelines
1. Falling Trap with Online Articles
“Make your first $1K in one week” – how attractive this title looks? Well, affiliate marketing is not such easy thing, especially for beginner level bloggers. You can for sure explore the power of affiliate selling by reading various articles on the internet. We also recommend to find the success stories for the bloggers in your niche, so that you can follow similar strategies on your blog. However, we strongly warn to be away from those funny blogs showing income reports and providing misleading information.
- We have not seen an income report that shows how many hours of work required for earning that much money. In fact, those blogs will be running for many years to reach that level. As a beginner, it does not make any sense to follow them.
- It is for showcasing and a marketing tactics. Blogging is done as a passion and making money is a second step in that. 100% you will fail – if you start blogging by looking into an income report.
Therefore, understand your own situation of where your blogging journey stands now and how to take it to next level.
2. Starting Without Defining a Goal
Every action needs a defined measurement to track the progress and success. Depending upon your blogging niche and traffic, you can define the affiliate target and start working towards it. For example, if you have a blog getting 1K visits per day, you should target converting one sale from that. This single sale should generate $100 so that you can make comfortable living and build your blog further.
One sale from 1K visitors is a mere 0.1% target. We strongly recommend to start what you can achieve. Your initial success can give a big self-confident and boost your hard work. Launching your blog without any target is one of the major affiliate marketing mistakes bloggers do while trying to make money.
3. Applying Each and Every Affiliate Program
This happens due to curiosity in making money. However, it does not work for two major reasons.
- Many affiliate programs have traffic requirement. They will reject your application, if your blog is not getting sufficient traffic. Getting a rejection email at the start may hurt your confidence.
- Many programs will change the links and provide offers seasonally. Therefore, you can’t manage hundreds of affiliate programs and links.
- You can promote products based on your blog’s niche, which is generally limited.
The solution is simple – understand your readers and choose products that can easily convert on your blog.
4. Choosing Wrong Products and Promotion
This is a simple rule – choose products that matches your blog’s niche and audience’s interest. There are individual sites as well as a marketplaces to offer affiliate products. For example, if you are blogging about WordPress then go for webhosting companies, themes and plugins that allows affiliate selling. If you are using a marketplace like ShareASale or Clickbank then choose the relevant products for promotion.
Selling computer security software on a WordPress tutorials blog will not make any sense. Instead of randomly choosing your product, check the relevancy and ratings to choose a sellable product. In addition to selecting products, it is also essential to promote the products on timeline manner. For example, hosting plans will sell well during Cyber Monday and Black Friday seasons. There will be huge offers during this seasonal sale that will be an attractive buy for your readers.
Related: Download free SEO guide for beginners.
5. Low Converting Products
There are hundreds of products available for affiliate selling in any niche. Instead of picking up a product on your own, checkout the product page, reviews and customer ratings. Think of whether you will buy the product from any other website. Unfortunately, resellers offer poor customer service that can affect the overall product’s reach. These type of products may not convert well as it is possible to sell directly through the original owner.
Choosing a low converting product not only impact your revenue but also consume your time in wrong direction. Thus avoid this common affiliate marketing mistake to save your effort and spend time in planned direction.
6. Low Commission Products
Remember low converting is different than low commission. Many products offer 5% to 10% of commission which may be less than $10. You have to spend lot of time and even money in promoting the product. At the end, your expenses maybe higher than the commission you get. Target and find the products that offer +50% commission for each sale.
Web hosting and SEO agencies are best examples for this case. For example, popular SEMrush SEO company pays you $200 commission for each sale. The best part is that you do not need to worry about different services they offer. You can make $6K per month by simply targeting a single sale per day through your blog’s traffic.
Therefore, avoid choosing low commission merchants and products while not worrying much about the product price.
7. Not Collecting Leads
Capturing the leads is one of the most important and essential part of affiliate marketing. As mentioned above, this could be one of the reasons product owners search for affiliates as they could not find enough leads themselves. The traditional affiliate marketing relies on converting your blog’s traffic to an affiliate sale. Instead, directly reaching your leads collected through subscription can provide better conversion result.
Make sure to offer a newsletter or email subscription form on your blog. It is also a good idea to offer a free eBook and collect the leads from the online store. However, you can’t simply spam emails to subscribers containing affiliate links. In order to be a successful affiliate, you need to send emails that is trustworthy and not completely promotional.
8. Ignoring Tracking Reports
Measuring the progress is the final stage of an affiliate marketing process. This helps you to understand where you are exactly standing compared to your goals. You can get various tracking reports from the affiliate owner’s website or merchant’s marketplace. For example, ShareASale offers different report using which you can track traffic, conversion rate and the commission earned.
Remember, you should also keep track of the expenses (time & effort) spend on affiliate marketing. Many ignores the time spend (like the infamous income reports) on promoting the products. You can’t spend unlimited time for getting a meager commission.
Initially, you may have to spend more time in setting things up. However, over the time you need to track profit and loss to make sure you are on the positive side at the net.
9. Not Following Affiliate Disclosure Guidelines
Since many product owners operate from USA, there is a legal need for the affiliates to follow disclosure guidelines. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency that defines the guidelines for affiliate selling in USA. The best option is to declare at the end of the article if it contains promotional links.
In addition to FTC disclosure, make sure to read the affiliate contract before you sign up for any program. For example, many popular programs do not allow you to promote their product page with your affiliate links through direct advertising in Google or social platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
Not following guidelines may result in forfeiting of your earnings and terminating from the program.
As you have read, affiliate selling will earn you commissions only when avoiding the 9 listed affiliate marketing mistakes. Otherwise, instead of making money you may end up in losing your own. Start with clear strategical plan like goals, blog’s niche, products to choose, platform you prefer, commission percentage and conversion rate. Monitor your progress and make changes if something not going well as per your plan.