Affiliate marketing is a lucrative business if done right, but even relatively small blunders that are made in the beginning can snowball on you. To make matters worse, sometimes the devil is in the details, and a fairly minor oversight can have a significant impact on your website profitability.
Whenever you start something new, mistakes are unavoidable. Luckily, when it comes to affiliate marketing, there’s plenty of affiliate guides that explain how to start, but oftentimes we don’t see the forest from the trees and some fairly obvious information gets overlooked.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 4 common mistakes that beginners make that can easily be avoided:
Thinking that affiliate marketing is easy and fast money
Yeah, it isn’t rocket science, but creating an affiliate website of any kind requires effort, time, and commitment. This is by no means meant to scare you, but rather to encourage you to be patient if things seem to move slow at the beginning.
There’s a fairly large number of steps that you have to take in order to create and grow a successful affiliate site.
First of all, you need to have a solid infrastructure. Choosing a good domain name, good hosting, good WordPress theme (or a theme on any other CMS you want to use) all should take some thought. It’s not a bad idea to try and create some form of a long-term strategy for growing your site.
What type of a website is it?
How are you going to promote it?
What kind of content are you going to create?
These, and many other questions might seem both overwhelming and like a chore at first, but they can really help you in the long run. Affiliate game is a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to pace yourself.
Spreading yourself too thin
It might seem like a good idea to try as many affiliate programs as possible. After all, the more options you have, the more potential revenue?
Unfortunately, there comes a point of diminishing returns and joining in too many programs might do you more harm than good. Not only can this be a managerial nightmare, it also has an additional downside:
In order to use affiliate programs, you need to promote products and services. The more programs you’re a part of, the more items you need to review and promote. You create significantly more work for yourself and you’re also losing out on building a good relationship with your audience.
Simply put, it is better to do an in-depth review of a small number of products than just brush up on a ton of random, unconnected stuff. In the first case, you give your readers something of value and they are more likely to trust you and your judgement – you build authority.
Of course, all this does not mean that you should put all your eggs in one basket, and multiple sources of revenue are encouraged. As long as these programs are compatible and don’t hinder the quality of your content and your communication with your audience, you are good to go.
Not tracking and testing
Focusing on quality of your content is pretty much a mantra of today’s marketing. But there is also a technical side to be taken into account. It is paramount to know at least basic SEO practices, and learn how to use analytics and track key metrics.
You need to be willing to test and experiment. Ironically one of the mistakes that people often make is focusing on never making mistakes and playing it safe. It doesn’t require a lot of analytical knowledge to have a functional website, but every little bit of knowledge and effort you put in helps you squeeze out additional performance and revenue.
At least, knowing and utilizing basic analytics concepts give you valuable feedback and insight into how your website is performing and why.
Working in a niche that you hate just because it pays well
The best way to build trust is by preaching what you believe in. In case of affiliate marketing you can do without it, but it becomes a completely different ball game then – a much, much harder one.
While you don’t have to love the niche you’re in, you need to at least find it interesting. Since your content needs to be valuable to your readers, you need to both have something to say and make it easy on yourself. Contrary to popular myths in affiliate marketing, every niche can be lucrative.
For that reason, a lot of professional marketers suggest that you review and promote only products that you have personally tried and liked. And that’s a good advice. Not only will you sleep easier at night, you’ll also build a more successful business.
Humans are creatures of emotion, and we can often pick up on subtlest of hints when it comes to how someone feels about what they are saying. Yes, you can work around this in theory, but is the additional effort required to fake passion really worth it?
I promise you that the time you have to put into something you’re conflicted about will be much greater than for something you’re interested in. That seemingly higher profit margin will actually go down the drain really quickly, when you account for that additional time invested.
Again, you don’t have to love your niche. Just don’t hate it.
Obviously, there are more mistakes that a beginner can make. Some are really stupid and obvious, while others take years of expertise to catch. The most important takeaway is that this is normal, and these stumbling blocks should be taken as a learning experience.
Don’t be afraid to try things out and test new ideas. Of course, don’t go all out and always create some sort of a safety net and a plan b for your marketing strategy and business.
If you’re on the opposite side, running your own business, you might be thinking of creating an affiliate program for affiliates who will promote your products/services. One of the best affiliate software on the market is Post Affiliate Pro. With an affiliate software you’ll be able to easily track clicks, sales, calculate commissions and manage your affiliate workflow.
Affiliate marketing isn’t an express train to immense fortune, so sit back and enjoy the ride!
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