Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money, and fairly easy if you’re focused and willing to put in the work to build a profitable business. That being said, there are a few pitfalls of affiliate marketing that can put a damper on your success – or even ruin your reputation. We’re going to discuss 5 of those pitfalls today, and if you’re like me, you’ve probably been guilty of at least one of them on occasion!
Because nearly every market is competitive today online, it’s no longer possible to just become a publisher and believe you can sit back while the money rolls in. It just doesn’t work that way. If you really want to make money with affiliate marketing, you have to be willing to “learn the ropes,” and to act on what you learn. If you’re a “newbie” to the game of affiliate marketing, this post applies to you, too, because you want to avoid these pitfalls. Okay, here we go!
Top 5 affiliate marketing pitfalls and fixes
#1 – Signing up for every program related to your niche
Many affiliates sign up for every program under the sun related to their niche. While it’s a good idea to promote two or three products/services that you believe would be useful/valuable to your readers, it isn’t a good idea to promote 8, 10 or even more products. When you go overboard, your visitors will notice that your site seems to be overly promotional – and the search engines will, too.
Focus on valuable content, and promote a few quality products gently. Try to choose offers that are best suited to the needs of your readers. And remember, you’re not “stuck” with the products you choose – you should test to see which products have higher conversion rates.
#2 – Promoting products that aren’t relevant to your website
Search engines pay attention to the relevancy between your niche, content, and the products/services you offer – and so do your visitors. You don’t want to send a mixed message, or confuse your visitors. If your niche is dog training, you absolutely do not want content on your site (or banners, ads, etc.) promoting breast enhancement pills! Your readers may be offended, and it will absolutely take away from your credibility.
Stick to content that your readers want, that is on topic. Choose credible affiliate programs that are relevant to your niche.
#3 – Throwing advertising rules out the window
We’ve all seen banner ads, email messages and other advertising that make huge (and unbelievable) promises. A buying customer doesn’t usually realize that you are an affiliate; they look at you as the merchant, and trust that you offer reputable products. As an affiliate, think about the banners and other forms of advertising the merchant offers before you begin using them. If it sounds like a bunch of “hype” that you may not be able to live up to, think twice before using that advertising medium. Never make unsubstantiated claims, as it may come back to “bite” you in the form of dissatisfied customers – and potential legal problems.
To avoid this pitfall, simply make sure that the language used in advertising the product is ethical, and avoid overselling. When writing product reviews, as many affiliates do, be honest and transparent – and never steal content from the vendor’s original product site to use in your review. It may be against policy, and Google may see it as duplicate content as well.
#4 – Failing to commit sufficient time or resources to affiliate campaigns
No matter how much you wish it were true, you cannot throw up an affiliate site, put some content on it, links to products, banners, etc. and expect to make money. Successful affiliate marketing requires sufficient time, money, or both. The more affiliate campaigns you run, the more resources are required. In order to reach a certain level of success, you’ve got to promote and market your product which can be done through article syndication, list building, social media, forums, blogging, pay-per-click ads and more.
How can you avoid this pitfall? Know how much you can do depending on your lifestyle, job, kids, etc. If you need an hour each day for each affiliate campaign, dedicate “x” number of hours per day according to how many campaigns you are running. If you don’t have the time to manage promotions and marketing yourself, outsource the work.
#5 – Unrealistic expectations – or, abandoning ship too quickly
You cannot become an overnight success in affiliate marketing, although we’d all love it if it was possible! So many marketers build a website and begin affiliate marketing, only to abandon ship when they don’t see results in a week or two. This isn’t how it works, especially considering the sheer volume of competition in most markets today. Building successful affiliate marketing campaigns takes time and patience.
Quick fix? Set realistic goals, and make them small ones. Say you want to make $20 per week, and grow to where you are earning $50 per week within a 6 week time span. This is doable! And once you reach your goal, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction, which will inspire you and motivate you to work harder. Don’t enter affiliate marketing with the expectation that you’re going to make $1,000 per week right out of the gate. It just isn’t realistic, and will lead to disappointment.
If you don’t have patience or don’t feel you can dedicate your time and energy to affiliate marketing, maybe it’s not for you. If you do have patience and are ready for a different kind of lifestyle, one where you don’t have to answer to a boss 5 days each week, affiliate marketing is definitely a way to reach your dream of becoming self-sufficient – but it won’t happen overnight. For me, knowing that it IS possible to reach 5 figures a month is incentive enough to keep giving it my best effort!