This article has been contributed by Zoe Devitto.
Did you know that the global value of the affiliate marketing industry is an estimated $12 billion? That’s a mouth-watering amount, and it’s no wonder everyone wants a slice of the pie.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re bound to make common affiliate marketing mistakes.
You have to do it right, or no amount of hard work and passion is going to help you make more than a few dollars with affiliate marketing.
Spending on affiliate marketing is expected to grow up to 10% over the next few years, making it lucrative for bloggers, social media influencers, and content creators everywhere.
Read on to learn the challenges of this method of earning money and what you need to do to get it right.
Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with affiliate marketing is to be under the illusion that you’re entirely informed on how it works.
Image source: JustLearn WP
In order to make the best of your sales targets, avoid the following critical mistakes.
1. Choosing the Wrong Product
The number of products you can choose to promote via affiliate marketing is staggering. It’s critical that you select the right ones as your choices will define your success in the affiliate marketing industry.
When you’ve chosen the right products and niche for your site and ideas, you will be inspired to create more content and activities related to them.
It’s easy to do a quick search of the most popular products for affiliate marketing, and you’ll get hundreds of thousands of results.
But that would be a mistake. You shouldn’t decide on a product, or products, just because of the money you might make from them.
You need to be excited, passionate even, about the products you’ll be promoting. If you’re not, you’ll lose interest after a while, and the quality of your promotions will suffer for it.
Decide what it is that you love most in life – are you into art and graphics? Fine Art America and Art Discount (UK) are just two of the fantastic art affiliate marketing programs you’ll find.
Do you have a passion for animals? Consider high-quality affiliate programs like Zooplus or Petco.
Choose products from the niche(s) you love, and you’ll enjoy your affiliate marketing endeavors. When you enjoy what you do, it will show, and your promotions will perform a lot better.
2. Promoting Too Many Products
Just because you’ve found your favorite niche and you’re feeling excited about it does not mean you should go all out and promote hundreds of products.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and select too many affiliate products for your ‘collection’ but try to stay level-headed.
Trying to sell and promote too many products will eat up your time and lower the quality of your promotions.
All this could, and most likely will end up in fewer sales, defeating the point of getting started with affiliate marketing in the first place.
Always go for quality over quantity. Choose a handful of the best products and put all your focus on them. Commit more time to just a few products, and your endorsements, reviews, and other affiliate marketing content will be high-quality.
Having too many products you work with can also create the wrong impression on people who visit your site or blog. They’ll see the horde of products and might conclude that you’re just doing what you do for the money.
If you’re hoping to have a massive affiliate marketing project with dozens of products, start small and work your way toward more products. That way, you can ensure that every product is approached with the care and attention it deserves.
Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of affiliation through first-hand experience, you’ll be more prepared to handle many products.
At this point, you’ll have to keep track of many items, so it’s a good idea to have a quality database management system. You’ll be able to better monitor the ones you are promoting and have an idea of which are bringing the most revenue for you.
Image source: SaaS Scout
3. Having Limited Knowledge of the Products
How can you effectively sell a product if you have no faith in it or don’t even know how it works? Your lack of insight will show, and you won’t be able to convince anyone else that they should buy the products.
Be informed about what you’re promoting, and you’ll see more clicks and sales.
If you want to promote makeup products, test them yourself before recommending them to others. If you want an affiliate program with a pet accessory brand, start trying out their products, so you know no one will be disappointed when buying them.
You may think that your personal stories about your experiences with products are boring, but buyers appreciate them. Folks who don’t know much about the products and need the information will gladly hear all about what you think of them.
Detail how the product helped you or how it changed the way you do things. Give them actionable ways of using the product and show how it does in real life. Everyone knows that advertisements glorify products – it’s the reviews by real people that paint accurate pictures.
Remember that all the ‘I fell in love with this product’ stories you can conjure up will fall flat if they’re not genuine and authentic. Don’t make things up for the sake of selling a product; people will eventually catch on.
Image source: Neil Patel
If you’re running your shop through Shopify, there are many apps you can install to help boost your sales without any cheap gimmicks. They’re easy to use and will help you build a successful affiliate marketing strategy.
4. Not Verifying the Quality of Products
Affiliate marketing is about long-term results, and if you want that, you have to avoid losing customers. A quick way to lose potential and current customers is by selling inferior or broken products.
Your job as an affiliate marketer is to ensure that the products you sell are not scams or dishonest.
If you neglect this part of your affiliate marketing journey, you are sure to lose more customers than you can ever build up.
Before you choose the products you want to sell, do thorough research. Check out the product as well as the seller.
Find reviews from people who have purchased the products from the seller so you can see what their experience with it was like. When looking at reviews, do your best to ensure they’re authentic and aren’t outright lies.
One definite way to be certain that the products are what the seller claims is to buy one or two for yourself. This form of product testing is often forgotten as a crucial step by affiliate marketers.
You can review the product on your website and be honest about the product. If it’s a good one, you can promote it with a clear conscience. If not, tell your audience the truth and move on to something else.
By doing so, you maintain integrity with your audience and can build stronger relationships with customers that appreciate your transparency.
5. Making Feature-Based Reviews
When you buy a product, you want to know the benefits of using or owning it.
For example, knowing that a printer can push out 100 pages a minute is cool, but knowing that it can print all your favorite photos in HD color is more enticing.
It’s often difficult to see the difference between a feature and a benefit but think of benefits as the ‘human connection.’
As with the above example, the fast-printing feature is what the printer is capable of. The HD photos make it popular because of the value of a memory printed out in high-quality.
There’s a marketing saying, ‘features tell and benefits sell.’ Keep this in mind when you’re promoting your products, and they’ll sell better.
Another thing to remember is that people buy products because they solve a problem for them. If you don’t underline the products’ problem-solving abilities, people won’t be as interested in them.
Consider having a real-time sales dashboard as part of your marketing arsenal to make sure you know exactly where you stand at all times. This way, you can keep track of all your marketing strategies without getting lost.
If you’re having trouble with getting this right, do yourself a favor and examine other blogs or websites that are part of a marketing affiliate program. Look closely at how they do promote the products, and, if possible, look at how people react to them.
Are they using specific ways of writing? Do they share videos related to the products? Are there particular elements they rely on to promote their products?
Learn from your competition, but don’t copy them. You won’t have as much success if you’re not original and genuine.
6. Forgetting About SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential in all marketing branches, including affiliate programs. With that said, many affiliate marketers neglect to consider the importance of SEO on their blogs or websites, especially SEO activities specific to affiliate marketers.
Most bloggers don’t have massive budgets, so SEO is one of the best ways to pull in traffic. Social media certainly also works, but for targeted traffic, SEO is the best source.
You can do a few things to make sure your content is optimized for search engines, even if you have no real knowledge of this kind of undertaking.
Before you write an article or review about a product, do keyword research. Many free keyword research tools can help you with this. Once you know the keywords associated with the product, work them into your content naturally.
Don’t try to stuff your article with keywords – it doesn’t make for enjoyable reading, and people will quickly catch on.
Create backlinks to your review posts so people will be guided to your content from other sources. This adds credibility to your website and will help you rank higher in the search results. When you rank higher, you’ll enjoy more traffic, and more traffic means more sales.
7. Not Creating Quality Content or Traffic
Two essential things you need to be a successful affiliate marketer are quality content and targeted traffic.
And yet, many bloggers and content creators are stuck on their websites’ aesthetics – colors and fonts and snappy design.
Not even the prettiest font in the most eye-catching color will make up for poor and unimpressive content. Always make sure that your affiliate marketing content is top-notch quality so people can enjoy it and want to come back for more.
If you’re not a great writer, you can always look into content curation to get high-quality content for your website.
To make sure your effort is paying off, you should consider getting feedback from customers. Knowing how your visitors feel will help you grow.
There are many low-quality, keyword-stuffed, boring blogs on the internet. Don’t let yours join the ranks and instead make your site or online store stand out for being well-planned and awesome.
It can be quite a daunting task to build an online store, but you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve with the right tools.
Nail Your Affiliate Marketing
If you put enough time and hard work into your affiliate marketing plans, nothing can stop you. Choose a niche that you’re excited about, and pick products from that industry. Focus on having just the right amount of promotion and adapting smart SEO tactics.
When you do all this, there is no reason why you can’t have a killer affiliate marketing strategy that will bring in lots of money.
About the author: Zoe is a content marketing strategist for SaaS brands like FollowUpBoss, Mention.com and more. On the personal front, Zoe is a pho enthusiast and loves traveling around the world as a digital nomad.