When you read about affiliate marketing, do you envision someone sitting on a tropical beach with a laptop, sipping a cocktail?
That’s the impression many people get because promoters make the business look simple.
That claim is valid in a sense. You sign up to an affiliate program, promote a product, make sales, and earn commissions. That's how easy the gurus say it is.
It’s an excellent way for anyone to make money online without creating or owning a product. Done right, you can turn it into a very lucrative business.
Still, some studies show that less than 10% of those involved in affiliate programs generate 90% of the revenue. So, why are the majority of marketers barely earning any income from their efforts?
Most of them are making fundamental mistakes that can be avoided.
If you're a newbie, you can learn from others’ experiences. Here are eight of the biggest pitfalls you should be aware of when starting.
1. Taking Things Lightly
This claim may sound elementary, but the reality is that many marketers don't take internet marketing seriously. They sign up for a program that’s filled with hype without knowing what they’re selling. Then, they spam social media with too many links to their affiliate page.
Every successful marketer knows that people rarely buy from any link they see. So, if you’re throwing mud at the wall and hoping some of it will stick, then you’re in for a rude awakening. Sure, you’ll make a few sales, but it won’t be enough to keep you in business in the long run.
Preparedness is essential. It’s your responsibility to study and understand the industry before you begin.
2. Having the Wrong Focus
When you’ve done your homework, you’ll know that affiliate marketing success depends on one key factor: getting targeted traffic and converting it into sales. If you have a system for lead generation, your chances of making it is more promising.
However, many people make the mistake of focusing on how much money they want to make. That’s the recipe for trouble. Instead, if you concentrate on developing your target market, the income you desire will come automatically.
It would be best if you emphasized helping your prospects and not try to sell them something. Remember that customers have one thing in mind whenever they see an ad. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)? Your job is to communicate to them how you and your product will benefit them.
3. Not Having a Mailing List
The next step after you’ve got lots of traffic is to convert it into customers. Most marketers leave money on the table because they don’t send their prospects to a mailing list.
Experience shows that most people don’t buy a product the first time they see it. The Marketing Rule of Seven says that a potential buyer needs to hear your message at least seven times before deciding to make a purchase.
You can typically only reach out to someone more than once if they’re your subscribers. Use this communication channel to develop a relationship with your target market.
Building a list isn’t easy, and it can be a daunting task for beginners. However, the pay-off is worth the effort. You'll find many online tutorials that'll teach you how to do it.
4. Choosing the Wrong Products
Most newbies get carried away with wanting to get started. As a result, they pick every product they think will be profitable and run with it. You have to resist the temptation to do the same or you’ll end up promoting merchandise you know little to nothing about.
Offering multiple items is a mistake because you won’t be able to position yourself as a solutions provider. Instead, you’ll be approaching the wrong market and be seen as spammers.
Researching the types of merchandise to sell is equally important as studying the market. You have to exercise due diligence before taking action.
5. Selling Too Many Products
Don’t make the mistake of promoting too many items. You’ve probably subscribed to an online newsletter and then received lots of different offers from the same person. This type of behavior shows that the seller’s only interested in getting money from you.
Selling everything under the sun may seem a good idea, but you’ll be better off narrowing your focus. Sticking to a few items allows you to validate and know each one in detail. You’ll then be able to offer your honest opinion, making you an authority that people can trust.
Focus on establishing yourself as an expert instead of someone who peddles merchandise.
6. Having Only One Traffic Source
One huge mistake that most marketers make is to rely on only one source of traffic. Although you can earn from the leads you get through Google, it’s risky. The popular search engine frequently changes its algorithm, and your business might be badly affected by one update.
It’s the same if you’re counting on one social media platform. Entrepreneurs using Facebook ads for marketing have found their accounts suspended for reasons unknown to them.
Just as investors are advised to spread their risk, you should do the same by having multiple traffic sources. Some of the options to consider are:
- Paid advertising
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Guest posts
7. Lack of Knowledge
Although you don’t need any academic qualifications to be an internet marketer, you’ve got to acquire the necessary knowledge to succeed.
The process may appear straightforward. You’re told to join an affiliate program, choose a product to promote, and earn commissions after you’ve made a sale. However, it’s more complicated than those few steps.
Most gurus don’t tell you is that to be successful, you’ll need to have a system in place. You’ll only know what to do if you’ve done your research.
If you want to remain in an extremely competitive industry, you’ll have to cultivate a learning habit. Without knowledge, you’ll be working at a disadvantage.
8. Being Impatient
Every business takes time to develop and grow. Affiliate marketing is no different. It may appear simple, but you shouldn’t expect to succeed overnight.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs are inspired by the success stories they’ve read. Then, when they don’t see results in the timeframe they’ve set, they quit. They don’t realize that the people in those testimonials have already put in the necessary time and effort.
Internet marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a legitimate way to earn an online income, but you’ve got to go through the process. There are no shortcuts.
Knowing this before you embark on your plans will enable you to steadily build your business. Don’t rush through it and fail before you’ve even had a chance.
How to Succeed in Affiliate Marketing
As you've seen, the business is all about generating traffic and converting them into sales. Your responsibility is to do that optimally.
Start out on the right footing by not making the mistakes discussed. Keep your eye on your goal and never stop improving.
As it's a multi-billion dollar industry that's growing, there's potential for success. You've just got to mimic what the successful ones do, perhaps even improve upon it. Do it well, and your efforts will pay handsome dividends.