So you’ve heard the stories of how affiliate marketers made thousands – millions! – from the basements of their homes. Yes, thank you, Internet.
If you haven’t come across any such success story, suffice it to say that they’re all pretty inspiring stuff: stuff that you, as an affiliate marketer, will want to carry with you as evidence that there’s no better, more effective, more independent way of making money on the Web. Indeed, affiliate marketing is an amazing opportunity. There are loads of easy-to-join programs, endless lines of hot, trendy products to sell, great resources and tools to use, and desirable amounts of commission to earn.
There are just as many horror stories, though. In the mad rush to leverage the power of the Internet and sell products via the affiliate marketing platform, many have lost more than they gained. Many did not become millionaires. Many quit. Many just took their talents to South Beach, or to the local Burger King.
So, if you’re an affiliate marketer, make sure you avoid the same campaign-killing mistakes that many have made. Mistakes like:
Jumping on the bandwagon: It’s easy to be swayed by merchants into choosing their shiny new product or app. After all, if it’s shiny or new, it will sell, right? Well, not really. Not unless it’s a product you actually know enough about, and believe in, and will dedicate your time and effort to selling.
Not choosing a niche: Or, more plainly, promoting too many products. If you’re an affiliate marketer, you’ve got to have a specialization. Don’t barrage your readers with the unique selling points of a new iPhone app in one article, of herbal medicine for diabetics in another, of a lullaby-singing doll in another, and so on and so forth. Settle with one or two products to start with. Then research your chosen niche.
Joining too many affiliate programs: Networks galore! Merchants galore! The endless affiliate marketing platforms and resources that one can find on the Web would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, if only it also automatically brought forth dollars galore. But it doesn’t. So don’t spread yourself too thin. The key to success is choosing one or two campaigns that you can fully dedicate yourself to.
Talking BS: Trust us – the audience will smell it. If you’re trying to market a product that even in your most vulnerable state doesn’t appeal to you, then don’t expect your readers to readily trust your opinion. They won’t believe your sales talk. They won’t click on that affiliate link. Not even if it’s a product for which there’s crazy demand. On the other hand, if you sincerely believe in, appreciate, and celebrate the value of the product you’re selling – irrespective of demand – you become Michael Jordan selling basketball sneakers: a qualified, trustworthy authority.
Not using the product: See above. Audiences will smell it if the affiliate marketer is full of it. So distinguish yourself by having the confidence that comes from knowing that the product you’re selling is of great value – not just to readers, but also to yourself.
Failing to leverage E-mail: It’s cool to do article marketing and Twittering and Facebook-ing. But don’t forget to power of this thing called E-mail. Remember that? Your E-mail subscribers list is composed of contacts and prospects who’ve actually signed up to receive information from you. By its very nature, this list is a great – yet awfully underrated – source of leads. So unbury that list, establish contact, and engage. If you don’t have one yet, add a Subscribe/Opt-In form to your site ASAP.
Spamming: Oh, and about that mailing list? Don’t feed them that canned precooked meat. It will only ruin your reputation as a marketer.
Failing to follow up on leads: It seems obvious enough, right? But some marketers don’t even have a system, or a “next step”, for when a person has expressed interest in the product. Get ahead of the affiliate marketing game by paying equal attention to the targets you’ve hit with your first stone.
Believing everything’s for free: Okay, so there are many great free tools and services out there for affiliate marketers. This could only mean there are also greater paid tools and services. Invest in these, and don’t let yourself get restricted by the limits of freebies. At the very least, get a web host and register your own domain. Not only does this make your site look professional; paid services and premium plans also give you better control of how you do business.
Not testing and not monitoring: A lot of affiliates check their stats daily just to find out how much they’ve earned. But few actually take the time to check out and try to understand all-important performance data like click-through rates (CTR), visitor information, popular pages, referring sites and links, etc. Even fewer have the sense to make the right adjustments and conduct the right tests to improve their campaign. Our advice? Never stop testing and never stop monitoring. With a few tweaks you might be on to realizing your bread-and-butter program.
Believing that affiliate marketing will get you rich quick: It won’t. Like any other job, it takes time, effort, plenty of hard work, a good measure of ingenuity, and, yes, your very own financial resources. But yeah: unlike any other job, you can work your way to success right from the comfort of the basement of your own home.