Most affiliate marketers fail.
That’s a terrible way for a site that teaches and sells affiliate marketing related stuff to start a post, but it’s true.
I read somewhere that 90% of people who get involved in this business do.
In my experience of being hands-on with affiliate marketing and being active inside of different affiliate marketing communities – I believe it.
Heck, I’ve failed many times myself.
The point of this post isn’t to create fear.
Nope. Besides, that’s no way to run or build a business.
The point of this post is to help those who may have been struggling to get on the right path and start winning at affiliate marketing.
17 Ways To Avoid Failing As An Affiliate Marketer
Your reason for wanting to actually succeed as an affiliate marketer may be different than mine.
For me, it started out as curiosity.
“Do people REALLY make money online?”
Soon after realizing that people actually do and affiliate marketing can help, my goals became a bit more serious.
At first, I wanted to make enough online to fill up the gas tank or buy some groceries with money earned online.
Small, doable goals.
Though small the thought of earning actual money – from home – using a laptop, blew my mind.
That was then and a lot has happened since.
Some wins and some fails.
An example of a win would be that I’ve been able to earn affiliate income each and every month for years now.
An example of a failure is how one of my websites lost 10x its value, in less than 12 months.
I kick myself to this day over it.
Now my goals are much different.
I want to help others build digital assets. But if I’m serious, what I really want is to prove the doubters wrong and make a decent chunk of change along the way.
And yes still help others build their own money producing websites.
Anyway, the point is your reason for wanting “this” to work may be different than mine.
Get serious about why you really want this to work. Is it to:
- Pay off debt
- Take your family on vacation
- Go to restaurants and not have to worry about the bill being too much
- To end the paycheck to paycheck cycle
- To prove the doubters wrong
Get serious with yourself. Why bother with all this in the first place when you could be watching Netflix or playing video games?
Knowing or remembering why you want to win at affiliate marketing can go a long way.
Whatever the reason, you can do this.
We’ll tackle some of the not so obvious first.
Bring The Confidence
We’re building authority sites. Niche sites, but becoming an authority is the goal.
Meaning you want to be the go-to guy or gal in your niche.
If your site is about hearing loss, you don’t want to just be known for one or two decent articles but be the go-to for all things hearing loss or protection.
People will jump onto your email list, trust the advice you give, and gladly buy your recommendations. But first, you need to build that trust.
It starts with confidence.
Even if you’re not a “professional” (yet) in your chosen niche.
You have all of the information you need to achieve authority in your niche right at your fingertips, thanks to the internet.
By the end of this post, you will have all of the confidence, as well as a gameplan, that you will need.
Don’t Skimp On Content
To sell the merits of your products, you need to show that you actually know them.
Without a clear idea of product purpose, key attributes, benefits or detailed product reviews, you won’t be able to pique the interest of potential customers or snag a sale from visitors who’re ready to make an immediate purchase.
Tip: Limit the number of ‘buy’ links to avoid appearing aggressive; this tactic has also been seen to increase other forms of engagement such as ‘likes’ and ‘comments’.
Focus On Keyword Research
Get long-tail keyword ideas from product reviews and product-related queries as targeted searches indicate high purchase or buyer intent.
Here are some great affiliate marketing keywords that show buyer intent:
- Best XYZ / Best XYZ for ABC (ex. Best Kids Bike / Best Kids Bike For A 5-Year-Old)
- XYZ Review (ex. Guardian 16″ Ethos Review: single product or brand products review)
- Product A vs Product B (ex. Guardian 16″ Ethos vs Co-op Rev 20)
- Info Keyword (ex. What size bike for 5-year-old?)
These are keywords that can provide the quickest results as an affiliate including keyword formulas with high buyer’s intent.
Pushing products and forgetting to follow-up is a failing strategy.
Try to reach out to your leads via email newsletters or on social media.
A focus on building relationships is helpful from the viewpoint of converting buyers into advocates and driving up referral traffic.
Track Your Efforts
Leverage affiliate marketing tools provided to you and also consider free solutions that help identify best-performing products and campaigns.
Unless you measure results, there is no way of knowing what to improve and how to divide your focus between different website marketing strategies.
There is no silver bullet to succeed at niche affiliate marketing. As long as you give customers what they want, create trust and ace the keyword game, you should have no problem generating healthy monthly sales.
Most people even skip on analyzing their own analytics.
Your own Google Analytics (a free tool most people use to gauge traffic and how people interact with their site) is a gold mine.
Quality Affiliate Training
I don’t understand taxes, nor do I care to learn them.
So I pay a professional to help me do my taxes each year.
Sure I could learn them, but if I wanted to learn, I again would likely pay a professional to teach me.
What are some things you pay a professional to do? Gym? Personal trainer? Cosmetics?
Paying for quality training should be seen as an investment.
Many people fail to realize this and like to bootstrap things.
Though it could work, why not seek out someone who knows and teaches affiliate marketing.
Don’t just follow anyone’s advice. More on this later…
Having The Wrong Mindset
Affiliate marketing, or online business in general, is not some get rich quick “thing”.
Sure there are few that seem to get lucky and experience early success but affiliate marketing shouldn’t be viewed as a quick solution to any financial problems or as a means to strike it rich.
It should be approached for what it is, a real business opportunity that WILL require a commitment of time, learning, and funds.
The success stories you see and hear are often is the result of hard work and process that goes on “behind the screen”.
Selling vs Helping
After creating my first website, the very first thing I did was look into how to add a store or storefront.
After all, I need to sell things if I want to make money right?
It didn’t take long for me to realize how flawed this approach was.
Nobody cares that you have a website and want to make money.
But if you can serve a certain group of people that preferably share some of your same interests, then you can do well in this business.
Here are the two steps you need to keep in mind as an affiliate marketer:
Step 1: Build a community
Step 2: Monetize that community
Affiliate marketing is a means to monetize that community. Just be sure to offer awesome products and services.
Giving Up Too Soon
For any newcomer, I would give myself a timeframe of one full year to learn and implement what you are learning in regards to affiliate marketing.
Don’t expect too much in terms of monetary results during this time.
Though you should expect to have learned many helpful things like:
- How to choose a niche
- How to do keyword research
- Adding images to your site
- How to join high-converting affiliate programs with fair commission rates
- Writing content and growing a blog
There’s a lot you can get done within a year’s time.
Don’t be surprised if your niche site, that you’ve been working on and following quality affiliate training for, begins to gain traction and people are visiting or you begin earning affiliate commissions.
Come With A Gameplan
I like to come up with a gameplan now for each affiliate site we create.
Before, I would sort of wing it. Find a niche that looked sort of good, do keyword research at random, write whenever I felt like, and so on.
Now I won’t even purchase a domain name for a niche until we’ve assessed competition, have content planned out with at least 10 starter keywords to begin building our site, a schedule for publishing content, and you get the idea.
Instead of becoming stuck and even possibly abandoning the site due to lack of motivation, I just look at my calendar and say “Oh, it’s Tuesday, today we need to publish a 1,200 word article for Niche Site A”, and that’s it.
Spend a weekend or a week if needed to see how you can better plan your current or next affiliate project.
This happens every so often.
I’ll get an email or message from someone who can’t figure out why their site isn’t “doing too well”.
So I’ll usually ask if I can take a look.
Clicking on their link takes me to a site with pink or flowery backgrounds, heck, one person even had a baseball field tiled background which could easily make one dizzy every time they scroll.
Long story short, simplicity is your best friend.
White background with dark text often works best.
You don’t need to fit as many ads as possible, or have a slow-running slider because YOU think it looks good.
Often times excess ads, sliders, and images will slow your site down.
Do you know what happens when your site takes too long to load?
People leave and find similar content, rightfully.
Poor loading times, excessive images and ads, distracting backgrounds are all harmful to your site’s user experience and even SEO.
So, keep it simple. With white background and dark text.
That’s my advice at least.
Choice of Domain Name
It’s important that your domain name closely related to or makes sense with your niche site.
Relevancy is important especially if you plan on making an authority site.
If I’m looking up fishing tips and land on a site called Best Makeup Tips I’ll likely question this persons ability to actually help me in what I searched for… and sanity.
Relevancy is the name of the game and can help build immediate trust with your readers.
Choosing the right domain name can even give you a headstart with a new site!
Shiny object syndrome in internet marketing is where basically you chase opportunity after opportunity.
It really speaks to those who have a hard time focusing in on one project, investment, or task.
Thinking because you gave one thing a chance (for 2 weeks) that it must not work or be a scam.
Remember, in the ‘Giving Up Too Soon’ portion we recommended giving yourself at least a year to focus in and learn affiliate marketing while practicing what it is you are learning.
If it this point you aren’t experiencing much results or feel that it is not for you, at least you gave it a real try and learned new (valuable) things.
Beats the hell out of chasing the next thing after the next things and your wallet will thank you too.
Following The Wrong Advice
I see a lot of blind leading the blind out there.
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t know everything when it comes to internet marketing or affiliate marketing.
But I am putting my money where my mouth is by actively building affiliate websites from the ground up and even investing my own money in a team to help me research, manage, and put these sites together.
I want to make sure that what we teach at Affiliate Rocketship is practical and gets results.
It’s important to me.
You have others who got lucky (once) and are instant affiliate experts and gurus.
I’ve sold affiliate websites for 4 or 5 figures, I’ve made over 50k in one year as a result of ONE of my affiliate websites, but this doesn’t guarantee that others can replicate the success of that single site.
So, I still have to make sure what I teach can be replicated by others.
Fact: Just because someone experiences success with one website, in one niche, doesn’t mean it will work for others. Nor does it make them the best teachers.
Talk Less, Do More
Action is the name of the game. Simple.
It can be easy to get caught up in always learning, but unless you start doing, you’re not going to see any results.
There are always new things to learn when it comes to affiliate marketing:
- Social media marketing
- Blog writing
- Web design
- Video marketing
You can always work to improve on your skills.
But don’t forget to put these into action.
There’s a difference between people actually dedicated to their craft and works hard at it and somebody who just says they do.
You can usually tell the difference in the end result or how long a person lasts.
The good news is you don’t have to master each craft and can delegate tasks you’re not good at or don’t have time for like writing content, graphic or logo design, etc.
Affiliate marketing is a business model.
You are starting a business.
It will take some money to get started, but not much.
This is why I love recommending affiliate marketing to others just getting started.
There’s low overhead and it’s a great way to learn the ins and outs of how online business works.
If you’re not in a good place financially right now, starting an online business may not be right for you – at this time.
You don’t need to get out a loan to start an online business or go into serious debt, in fact, your first year can cost you as little as $100 or so to operate (for web hosting + domain name).
But another wise place to invest in is training, a keyword tool and outsourcing (which can wait til you have the budget).
I did everything on my own for the first 2 or 3 years and then started investing by working with freelancers and spending hundreds of dollars each month for help…
You want to be in a good place financially (have enough to pay bills and afford food, etc) before investing in online business – steady income coming in, bills taken care of, and looking to build something from there.
Come from a place of stability and not scarcity.
If you wish to win at affiliate marketing be prepared to learn new things and put the effort in.
This is true for any business or “side hustle” you wish to see success in.
Some of the things I love (Yes, love) most about affiliate marketing is:
- Low overhead
- Ideal online business for beginners to try
- No clients, meetings, dealing with other people
- Always new things to learn to help growth
- No limit on how much you can earn!
These are some of the things that have kept me around for the last 5 years as an affiliate.
That and the monthly commissions.
If you find yourself struggling as an affiliate don’t count yourself out just yet.
Follow the advice given above to help you turn things around.
Maybe you’re in the wrong niche, maybe your offering crap products, or maybe you have been trying to “sell, sell, sell” instead of helping your readers.
People know when they’re being sold to.
The key to winning at affiliate marketing is to first build up an awesome community (or gain a steady amount of traffic) and then to offer awesome products and services.
What are your thoughts? What other things that affiliates can try to help increase the chances of success?
We’d love to hear from you!