The beauty of affiliate marketing is that anyone can start a website or blog and promote products through it. You don’t need a lot of money or technical knowledge to become an affiliate. All you need is some hosting and an idea for a website or blog. This low barrier to entry is both a blessing and a curse. The majority of people who try affiliate marketing fail to even cover their hosting costs because they make one or more of the following mistakes:
Choosing a bad niche
Some niches, such as video games, dvds, and the adult markets, are notoriously difficult to make money in. Some, such as dating websites and weight loss products, are thought of as highly profitable niches. It’s a good idea to keep profit potential in mind when you are considering what niche to work in, but it should not be your only criteria. If you love video games, you might want to run an affiliate site in that niche even though competition is fierce.
In contrast, if you’re convinced that weight-loss products don’t work, then you’ll have a hard job selling them to your website’s visitors, and probably wouldn’t have fun coming up with clever marketing slogans for your PPC campaigns, so there’s no point becoming an affiliate for the latest slimming pill, no matter how high the eCPM.
Remember, affiliate marketing is a full time job, so you may as well promote something that you actually like.
Monetizing too early
Affiliate marketing is not a new concept. Every niche—medicine to motor homes—is saturated with affiliate websites. If you want your site to succeed then you must give your visitors a reason to stick around and read what you have to say. This means that you need lots of interesting content. Advertisements are not interesting content. Do not try to monetize your site unless you have at least a few weeks worth of interesting, informative or funny blog posts, articles and tutorials up there for people to read.
Focusing too much on sales
Unless you’re running a pure online store, you should not focus your efforts on sales. The most successful affiliates are not the ones who try to persuade visitors to buy every product they promote. The best affiliates focus on helping their visitors through reviews, news, tutorials and other informative articles. They provide their visitors with unbiased information and then let people decide for themselves which products they want to buy.
Promoting too many products
If you are running a price comparison website, then by all means, import the entire product listing of each merchant you work with, and provide links to every single one of those products. If you’re running a blog, however, stick to one or two products. Promoting too many products confuses your visitors, clutters up your website, and dilutes your own promotional efforts. It’s better to get several sales from one or two products than it is to have twenty or more product links up on your website, with none of those links converting.
Many novice marketers make a huge push to bring in traffic and generate sales, then, just when things are getting going, they decide that their site is successful and they can now let it run on “auto pilot”. Every website needs some maintenance. The single most important thing that every affiliate should know is that you should update your website with fresh content at least a couple of times a month, and you should never stop learning, testing, and tracking the success of your programs.
**editor’s note** I have tried numerous affiliate marketing sites with mixed results. I recommend that you test them out to see how they convert. The following affiliate sites have worked well for me so far:
- shareasale.com This site not only pays when people purchase through your affiliate links, but some of their merchants offer bonuses for posting about their content – no sales required.
- Amazon Affiliate I think that this program is successful because people trust Amazon. If you add links naturally into your posts you are more likely to convert browsers into buyers with Amazon.
- Logical Media This site is great for coupon/deal bloggers and those who like to promote via social media sites.
What mistakes did you make with your affiliate marketing? What programs work best for you?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.