- by Adrian
In the world of affiliate marketing there are many things that can lead you away from success.
Today I will be discussing the ones that I personally see the most. I will let you know why they are problematic, and what you can do to avoid them.
If you are brand new to affiliate marketing try to avoid the top 11 mistakes that I am going to inform you about. If you are not new, but you find that you are still struggling then there is a good chance that you are guilty of a few of the things in the list below. Here are the top mistakes made by affiliate marketers.
1. Shiny Object Syndrome
What is Shiny Object Syndrome? That is when you jump from one marketing idea to the next because of how attractive it looks. Maybe what you are currently trying is taking longer than you like or maybe someone sold you on how easy it is to promote the next thing.
No matter if your reason is more because the next thing is easier, or if the current project is too hard I can tell you that if you keep moving from idea to idea then you will never give any of your ideas enough time to come to fruition.
People tend to have the idea that marketing online is going to be quick and/or easy.
Normally it’s neither.
Maybe you heard the story of someone who made over $10000 a month within 6 months. Those things happen, but they are very rare. More than likely you will work more months before making your first sale, and it will be over a year before you can make a full time income.
What can you do to avoid being a victim of not knowing when to make an exit?
I understand that you don’t want to waste months or longer working on something that won’t be successful. I would suggest that you try to paint a realistic timeline of your goal, and break that down into smaller goals with deadlines. I’d also suggest having an exit point.
In addition try to find out what you will need to be successful for an endeavor before you start. That can also save you the time of stating something and then realizing that you don’t have the resources to see it through.
If you do decide to go on with current idea you may have to give up watching your favorite tv shows, hanging out with friends and other things you like to do, in order to make your entrepreneurial dream a reality. I’m not saying you have to give up your friends and family completely, but they might not be able to see you as much.
Some of you will ask, “How long will it take?”. That is a commonly asked question, and there is no answer that I or anyone else can give you. It will depend on what you know, how fast you can obtain certain skills, your available time, how much money you can invest to speed things up, and other various factors.
2. Not Going Deep Enough When Selecting a Niche
Sometimes in an effort to try to make sure no sales are missed beginning marketers try to get in front of as many people as possible. This seems great because a larger niche means more potential products and services that can be promoted. The person that won’t care for product A, might like product B.
However the problem with this idea is that you are likely going wide, and you can normally do better by going deep.
Any one niche can have several subniches and people in those subniches can have different problems, motivations and fears. That makes it easier for you to write to them.
As I state below when I discuss the important of marketing and sales the better you know your ideal customer or avatar the easier it is to sell to them.
I’m going to give you an example by using the weight loss niche. If you stand on the corner and say “Hey I can help you lose weight” you will surely get a lot of attention, but many people will also ignore you. They have already tried it, and found it too hard. They may also want to lose weight in a certain way.
On the other hand let’s say you focus on mothers who want to lose weight. You can pinpoint all of the reasons why she wants to lose weight, and all of the obstacles that are in her way.
Maybe she feels like her husband doesn’t look at her the way he did before she had kids.
Maybe she just wants her old figure back because she is used to making head turn in public.
Maybe she wants to work out, but doesn’t have the time, and a product is promising fast result, even if she only has one hour a day to work out. Maybe she doesn’t have the time to cook healthy meals anymore. The list goes on.
Then you were on that corner you didn’t know exactly who would stay and who would walk away, but now you know who is more likely to stay.
3. Not Being Honest in Reviews
Don’t be like the guy in this picture, whose only goal is to sneak into the customer’s back pocket and take their money.
One of the best ways to see how good something is would be to compare it to something else, and if you can compare it to something that has a perceived high value that is even better. When doing this I would suggest choosing 2 or 3 similar products. Compare them objectively, and have affiliate links for all of them if possible.
If you recommend one over the other be sure to give your honest opinion, and don’t just push the one that will make you the most money. Sometimes, even if you have a well written review the customer will still check other people’s reviews to see what others have to say.
They may also have even already checked reviews on other sites before coming to your site.
Below is a real life example.
A few years ago I was online, and I came across a review for a product. I went on Amazon to check it out. When I got to the review section I saw some decent reviews, but most of them were 2’s and 1’s, and on Amazon.com those are low scores. So while the product did work for some it also made many people unhappy.
The person who wrote the review that sent me to Amazon made the items sound like it was almost perfect, and never mentioned the lack of customer satisfaction. Needless to say I didn’t return to their site for their opinion on anything else.
You don’t want to be that person who sends visitors away from your site away forever, but if you’re dishonest that is exactly what can happen.
4. Chasing the Money
Many of us have things that we could talk about all day long. If you can choose a niche like that for yourself then writing, podcasting, or making videos will be a lot easier. If you don’t have something that you can currently write about, then I would suggest that you choose something that you would like to learn about.
If you have to force yourself to write about something the quality of your work will not be as high, and it will be difficult to find motivation to do anything. Many times you will find yourself doing everything except writing on your blog. This is what happens when you only think about how much money you can make.
Yes, some people can create content for things they don’t care for, and it will still be great, but they are the exception rather than the rule, and even then many of them are not happy doing so.
5. Not Building Your Email List
Other than shiny object syndrome, which was mentioned earlier, not collecting email addresses is one of the most common mistakes I see in affiliate marketing. People will often post a link that leads directly to the product or services’s sale page. All you are doing is building a list for someone else at that point.
Some of you are wondering why you should try to collect their emails.
A person who makes a purchase based on your recommendation is someone who is more likely to do so again. They are definitely much more likely to purchase based on your recommendation than someone who is brand new to your site.
If you can keep them informed and engaged through email marketing about related products and services you may be able to get them to buy from you again and again.
Even if they are only a one time buyer you staying at the center of their attention could lead to shares of your website on Facebook, and you could get backlinks. If you just get the sale and never contact them again you are throwing money away, and as business owner that is not what you want to be doing.
6. Low Quality Content
This is a problem for many affiliate marketers. What normally happens in this situation is that the affiliate marketer knows they need to write content. Sometimes they have been told they need to publish content every day.
This pushes them to sacrifice quality for quantity. I disagree with this practice because Google wants the user to have the best experience so they will reward quality over quantity. Brian Dean at Backlinko.com does a great job of getting ranked, and he doesn’t have a ton of content.
Often people ask themselves “How many blog posts can I write in one week?”. The question should be “How much high quality content can I write?”.
Depending on how much you know about the topic you may need to do some research, and that may take some time away that would go to the writing of the articles.
Ideally you want to create content that is better than anything on the first page of Google for whatever keyword you are focusing on. If you are not sure of how good your content is then have someone read what you wrote, and compare it to at least one of the top 3 articles on Google.
How to Avoid Low Quality Content
Long paragraphs that read like novels are a bad idea. When you write online you need to break up your content into more manageable chunks. I would suggesting keep paragraphs to 3 sentences. This is something I still struggle with now. I often have to go back and rewrite things so I don’t break this rules.
You can use list and images to break up long paragraphs into something that is easier to read. Another way to do it is to break it down into subsections.
Content that people are excited to share, and can actually help them is what you want to be know for. If you are writing what looks like a carbon copy of what is on any other site there will be no reason to return to your site.
Last, but not least proper grammar is important. If you have too many mistakes, sometimes even one, people will leave your site.
7. Writing for the Search Engines
There was a time when it was more beneficial to do things such as keyword stuffing, and write for the search engines if you wanted to get ranked quickly. Those times have gone. I’m not saying that you should’t plan for keywords at all, but overall your writing should be written for the reader. Search engines such as Bing and Google are advanced to the point that they can figure out intent based on the surrounding words.
You shouldn’t do this just to help the user, but because if you don’t write for the user it could be seen as trying to game the system, and you site could be penalized. The can cause you to drop very far in the rankings or disappear completely from Google. Seeing as how they are the primary source of search based traffic it would likely have highly negative effect on your business.
8. Not Tracking Stats
Always track your sales and leads. You need to know where the sales came from, and where your leads are coming from so you can know which ads are working and which ones are not. If you are using WordPress then Pretty Link Pro can help with this. Pretty Link Pro can also cloak affiliate links, which is another important step to take.
In addition, there are other programs that you can not only use to track links but to see which sales pages or landing pages are converting the best. One of these is Clickmagick. Another one that I have used before is Clickmeter. At the time that I tested them neither one was significantly better than the other so I would suggest looking into both to see which one is better for you. There are other options, but I have only tried these two.
Not everyone needs all of the features that Clickmagick and Clickmeter have. Many people can do well just by using Google Analytics. An example of this are people running websites that won’t require sales pages.
9. Not Learning the Basics of SEO
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization. That is how you get ranked in search engines such as Google and Bing. You don’t have to be an SEO wizard, but it does help to learn the basics. I was going to write a long article about this, but there are two articles on this that are well written, and they will serve you well.
The fist one is from Neil Patel, and he explains what SEO is and things you should do.
The other article is from Searchenginewatch, and it has good information on steps you can take to get better rankings.
If you ever come to a situation where you have to write in a manner that is good for SEO vs what provides a good user experience then choose the user experience. A good user experience leads to shared content.
10. Depending Only on SEO
SEO is a great source of traffic. It does take time for it to bring results. However, once it starts working you can get traffic coming to you at a consistent rate, and it can make you a lot of money assuming you don’t get penalized by Google.
The problem is that you can be penalized by Google, and it can hurt pretty badly. There have been many businesses that no longer exist because they dropped off the first page of Google, or got deindexed while having SEO as their only source of traffic.
Maybe you’re wondering what you can do to avoid the same fate. I’m going to suggest other traffic sources such as the list below.
- Facebook ad
- Facebook business page
- Your own email list
- Bing PPC
- Google Adwords
If you can’t afford to invest in paid traffic that is perfectly fine. The point I’m making more than anything else is to eventually have more than SEO as your only source or traffic. You don’t have to start today, but it is something you should consider in the future.
11. Not Understanding Marketing and Sales
This is something that nobody with a business should ever overlook. Getting better at both of these will allow you to get into the mind of your ideal customer, which is also known as an avatar. When you know who are you writing to it becomes a lot easier to write for them.
This was shown in my example with the mothers who wanted to lose weight after giving birth.
Understanding who you want as a customer and communicating effectively leads to them becoming more easily convinced that you have their best interest at heart. That leads to greater trust, and they are less likely to second guess any recommendations you make.
How do you get better at marketing and sales?
There are several books on the topic of sales and marketing. If you’re reading this, and you aren’t sure if you will become an affiliate marketer or go into another online business then learning about marketing and sales may be even more beneficial to you.
In addition to books there are free videos on youtube, and also online courses. I am going to warn you to be careful with any online course. The material is often good, but there is also a level of exaggeration. You’re not likely to become an expert upon completion of the course. Putting the information into action is what will elevate you above other marketers.
Focus on giving your visitors a good experience, and set yourself up to be able to continue to market to them with more good experiences, and the sales will come. If you focus on the money, more than you focus on actually helping then the money will continue to evade you.
If you want more information on affiliate marketing then be sure to check out my guide to affiliate marketing.