Bloggers and internet marketers who have been into online marketing for years are familiar with affiliate marketing, and also with the fact that it is the most lucrative way to earn money online.
To define, Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest forms of marketing wherein you refer someone to an online product (not necessarily yours) and when that person buys the product based on your recommendation, you receive a commission.
Many online companies who sell products such as shoes, web hosting spaces, or some other service, usually offer an affiliate program. You can simply sign up for the program and get your unique tracking link.
Now, whenever you are writing about their product or promoting it, you can simply use your special tracking affiliate link to recommend the product/company.
Affiliate networks play a crucial role in effective affiliate marketing programs.
As affiliate marketing has evolved to become more sophisticated and complex. Both advertisers and publishers turn to affiliate networks to help manage their programs.
In addition to providing tools to help plan, execute, and measure affiliate campaigns, affiliate networks are also the leading way advertisers find new affiliate partners.
If you’re just starting out in affiliate marketing, it will probably be helpful to understand exactly how the whole process works? Who does what and when money is made?
If not, then you could be very well going downhill and wasting your time.
To help you out with it, here are some of the mistakes that people make in affiliate marketing and how to overcome them.
1. Going for bigger projects without knowing the competition
There are many individuals who like to take on big challenges to make bigger profits. If you’re a beginner in affiliate marketing, it is better to stay away from the competitive areas.
Take this for example; you signed up for a boxing gym three months ago and you’ve been going four times per week. You’ve been into friendly fights against a few guys at the gym and you’re thinking about going to do a small professional stint at a local fighting competition.
It is only a three round fight, and it’s against guys you’ve been in the ring before. But, they will still try to knock you out.
Why? Because it’s a fight.
So, who would you choose as your opponent? Some professional guy who already holds a championship or someone who started a week after you?
Obviously, you would go with the other option. Because a defeat from the first guy will be a serious one.
Similarly, in affiliate marketing, if you’re going to bigger projects, the risk involved is higher. And, you can only deal with it if you’ve actually earned anything from it.
Starting out small will build your confidence and it will be easier to compete with.
It’s hard to directly compete against someone who has months of data, the highest offer payouts already, and solid relationships in the industry.
Established affiliates have bigger earning potential and more experience of the sectors; they know the platform inside out with a powerful network of contacts.
Adult sites make up a big proportion of the web. So, if you run dating campaigns in US, CA, UK, AU, you’re fighting against guys who have millions of dollars to run campaigns.
You can try to fight these guys as a newbie, but you will be wasting your time.
When you’re first getting started, you need to look for industries/traffic sources with less competition. Instead of promoting high pay-out offers, maybe you’ll want to promote app installs.
The profits are still good, but they are too small to attract the ultra-competitive affiliates.
Also, it is best to stick with low pay-out mobile offers when you’re getting started as they’re easier to convert and get you the data you need with a much smaller budget.
2. Not testing enough offers
In an affiliate program, you will find hundreds of offers to sell, but not all will be profitable for you.
Most affiliates do everything right, except for this step.
If only a small portion of an offer is profitable, what’s the logical thing to do?
The catch here is to test as many offers as you can. Draw a margin. Like, if 1 out of every 20 offers is profitable, create separate sets of 20 such offers and try them out at regular intervals.
Like, I normally prepare a sheet and list down the affiliate offers with their EPC, search volume, competition, and selling price (image below). This helps me filter the affiliate offers that would be easy for me to rank for and make profits with.
You can also find affiliate offers related to your niche at OfferVault.
Still, the question remains, how do you know which offers to focus on?
The first thing that you can do is ask your affiliate managers as they’ll be able to give you a list of the best converting offers on their network.
Then, let them know what type of traffic you’re running; whether email, search, Facebook, mobile, etc., and they will be able to tell you which offers are working well with that type of traffic source.
[su_box title=”Please Note” box_color=”#d0cbcb”]Make sure you read promotion guidelines carefully before you plan your campaigns. Sometimes email, PPC, and incentivized traffic are not allowed.[/su_box]
Also, just because something works well for others doesn’t mean it’ll convert for you as well. Maybe someone else is getting a higher payout or they have a more optimized funnel than you.
The only way to know which offers work best is to test, test, and test.
There are people who have been in the industry for more than 10 years and still follow this basic principle of testing as many offers as they can. The more offers you test, the faster you’ll build a profitable marketing campaign.
Once you find a solid offer, make sure that you test it across multiple affiliate networks to boost your ROI.
3. Focusing on Too Many Traffic Sources
There are a lot of traffic sources you can use to make money with affiliate marketing. This gives you a long list of choices to make.
However, it also becomes harder for new affiliates to enter the market.
Newbie often thinks they’ll stumble across a profitable campaign if they find the best traffic source.
Mobile traffic, native traffic sources, and Facebook are all solid platforms for affiliates, but you need to become a master in any one of these.
Since there are so many traffic sources out there, it can be hard to choose one to focus on.
Either you could be promoting lead generation on Facebook, app installs on mobile, and clicks on new products on search or doing all these at the same time.
As a newbie, you can’t manage a load like that, and you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s like trying to get into the Olympics for a high jump, shot put, and sprint all at the same time.
The whole point of affiliate marketing is to learn a traffic source. You get to know it inside out:
- what works well on there, what doesn’t,
- what sort of customers you can get,
- how to target, etc.
This means that you become a master on that platform and you know exactly what you can run there to make a ton of money. (By master I do not mean certified, it simply signify having firm knowledge about the strategy you follow).
Also, remember that there’s no right traffic source. A channel/referring source that brings traffic for one does not necessarily bring the same amount of traffic for other.
Likewise, for some affiliates, Facebook and Twitter might bring huge traffic and for some, it can be medium, Reddit and so on.
You need to put in time and efforts to make a channel drive traffic to your website or business.
Some experts even say that it is better not to focus on any traffic source. Just keep the working knowledge handy and rest you can variate.
4. Being Too Perfect for Landing Pages and Ads
Every affiliate marketer has about 95% of his/her campaigns with landing pages.
Some might not be redirecting links to another webpage, but even if they do, it’s normally only because they are on a tight deadline or it’s a branded app or product that doesn’t need pre-selling.
Using landing pages means wire-framing, designing, coding, revising, and uploading to the server.
In this case, you might think that you will need to spend hours crafting the perfect landing page. Affiliates spend days making sure everything is perfect, the color scheme matches up with rules of color theory, and everything is seamless.
But, this is a bad idea!
Rather, it is better to have something workable than fixing the color and design issues on the page.
You need to make data-driven decisions. You will know if a landing page works well or not only after you test it.
So, test the landing page several times.
There have been instances where an ugly looking landing page has managed to get the best results.
So, ultimately it’s all about the kind of information that you are putting in and the links that work correctly whenever they are clicked.
Also, the offering to the users is important, because nothing comes before giving out a little. Just get a landing page up and running and worry about fine-tuning it after you get some data.
You’ll be surprised which landing pages convert the best.
5. Spending Too Much Time Researching
If you start depending on hundreds of online sources to guide you through your affiliate marketing program, you’ll be left confused. There are hundreds of private forums and Facebook groups that have thousands of posts about it.
However, this is not the best way to learn.
Imagine you want to learn Japanese. How do you do it? You download an app, maybe you buy a textbook, or you hit up a Meetup.com group in your city to meet some locals doing the same thing.
You wouldn’t spend days Googling “how to learn Japanese” and weeks going through forums and blog posts reading about it.
Just the same way all you need is a suitable program to follow and start practicing each day.
Find a blueprint to follow, then, just start launching campaigns and learn by doing.
My Final Thoughts
You can only learn so much by reading from other affiliates, even if they actually know what they’re talking about. Almost everything you learn will come from your own testing, your one-on-one masterminds, and meeting people at affiliate marketing events.
One more valuable tip is to learn skills as you need them.
Like, if your first step is to build a landing page, then study up on copywriting or headlines, then go and write them.
Next, you want to get your tracking sorted. So, read a tutorial on how to use tracking tools, and then set up your campaigns.
After you get the data back, you want to learn about statistical significance. So, read an article on that to learn how to make good decisions with data.
Learn skills as you need them; otherwise, you’ll never get started doing the actual work.
Just start, and figure things out as you go.
Everyone who is into affiliate marketing does a few mistakes initially. If you have too, just pull yourself back up and learn from the mistakes.
Bearing continuous losses in affiliate marketing can be cumbersome for few, and they might even leave it forever.
The best you can do is to keep yourself updated and learn from the examples.
Hope, your affiliate marketing goes really well.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below 🙂