When I first started in affiliate marketing, all I wanted was to just make money. Off I ran in every direction, trying everything, with no real idea of the mistakes I was making that could very well affect my chances at long term success.
Through my years of experience with both affiliate marketing and teaching other affiliate marketers, I have come to the conclusion that there are 7 big mistakes new affiliate marketers make.
Let’s talk about these mistakes in more detail.
1) Selling Rather Than Helping
Yes, the word “marketing” is part of the phrase affiliate marketing, but for the most part, our job as an affiliate is not to sell — that is the job of the sales page our affiliate links lead the reader to.
When I first started, my overwhelming (and totally naive) impulse was to fill my pages with words and links that screamed “BUY THIS NOW!”. I didn’t help the reader learn why they should have this product. I only wanted them to click a link which would hopefully lead to a commission for me.
People want to hear from other people when making a decision to buy a product or not — that’s why the reviews on Amazon products are so powerful. Those reviews are genuine feedback from people who (usually) have absolutely nothing to gain if someone buys that product or not.
When we talk more like an unbiased reviewer rather than a high-pressure salesperson, we will find we make more sales and people will come back for advice on other products in the future.
2) Too Many!
This is another big mistake I made when starting out — joining any and every affiliate program I came across. While I absolutely do believe in cultivating multiple streams of income when working online, there is a point where you have too much to deal with and it becomes unmanageable.
Choose your affiliate programs wisely and don’t overload yourself.
3) Not Testing
Whenever I choose to promote a Clickbank offer (for example), I put myself in the shoes of a potential customer and opt in to test the vendors’ follow up sequence.
I learned this the hard way.
Nothing breaks a reader’s trust more than being led to a promotion that will blow up their inbox. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and see what will happen if they follow your advice.
4) Not Tracking
This was a BIG mistake I made when I first started out. I began my affiliate marketing career using free-to-make web pages on a site called Squidoo (and I still do this to this day).
I am fond of promoting Amazon products on these pages, but would forget to use unique tracking affiliate links on each page.
Why is this a mistake? Very simple — when you make a sale, you want to know WHERE the sale came from. This enables you to know which pages are converting well so you can grow and scale that campaign.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what. You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
Yes, making any commission is cool, but knowing where and how you made that commission is what makes you a better marketer. It lets you grow and scale your campaigns — as opposed to working blindly.
5) Not Comparing
One of the best converting tactics I use to sell affiliate products online (especially physical products from Amazon) is to compare the “main” product with two other similar products.
When people are in buying mode for a physical product, they tend to have their options narrowed down to 2 or 3 and need help making the choice that is best for them.
By comparing the “3 Best Widgets For _______”, I not only help my readers make a choice, but I also have my affiliate links there for THREE products instead on only one.
Over time, when I track that web page, I will be able to see which product is most interesting to readers and move the best converting product to the top of the page for better CTR.
Comparison web pages are not only very popular and helpful for readers, they are also very profitable for you.
6) Make Money Online Products
Perhaps you’ve seen this before. You’re in a “learn online marketing” type forum. A person publishes a post complaining that they can’t make a dime online. But in their signature line they have something along the lines of “I Made 50 Million Dollars with This” followed by their affiliate link.
It happens all the time. Please, don’t be that person.
If you’re new and you want to promote products in the Make Money Online arena, don’t make false claims that it made you money. In fact, don’t make false claims at all!
Sure, talk about the benefits of the product/training — maybe even why it sounds awesome to you — but don’t try to trick people. You will ruin your credibility.
7) “Oh Look! A Butterfly!”
This is the biggest downfall for any new affiliate marketer. In fact, it can cause really big issues for seasoned affiliate marketers as well.
It is all too common to be working on one thing when all of a sudden, something “shiny” comes through your inbox or is mentioned in a forum you frequent. Then off you go chasing some new idea to make money online.
Ignore the “butterflies” that are sure to fly by on a constant basis. They will just distract you from your project/campaign at hand. One completed and profitable campaign is worth so much more than 50 almost half-finished campaigns or projects.
Affiliate marketing is a business that requires self-motivation and focus. For many of us, these are learned skills. Once you are aware of the the mistakes that can cause a lack of profits and productivity, you will be better able to grow your business and be profitable long-term.
Best of luck!!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.