Imagine you’re a blogger looking to start monetising your platform and make some bucks from your blog. One of the most common ways, of course, is through ad programmes like Google Adwords. However, if you’re a product reviewer or someone who writes about consumer goods, you could have another highly lucrative stream of income – affiliate marketing.
In essence, affiliate marketing is a system where you tie up with an affiliate programme like Amazon Associates and redirect people to the affiliate partner’s website after product reviews and the like. When the reader makes a purchase from the affiliate partner after being redirected from your platform, the programme pays you a small amount as thanks. For example, if you review a pair of headphones and post an affiliate link to Amazon where readers can buy them, each time a reader makes a purchase, Amazon will pay you a certain amount of money. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Marketing alone hasn’t helped Amazon grow into the giant online shopping destination it is today. It also took a great deal of customer goodwill to multiply its customer base. Honest customer reviews have helped Amazon build this goodwill, and the same principle should be followed for affiliate marketing.
There are several successful bloggers – like John Chow, Harsh Aggarwal, or Pat Flynn – who use affiliate marketing to great effect. It is a highly lucrative way to make money online, especially for internet marketers and bloggers. However, ‘affiliate marketing’ covers many things, and as a novice, it can be easy to get confused with aspects like picking up the right products or niches, choosing the right affiliate programmes, or deciding the types of websites to design.
Here are five common mistakes new affiliate marketers must avoid to generate a healthy income from their affiliate programmes:
Choosing the wrong product
You will find it hard to thoroughly review/write about a product that you don’t care about. There are bloggers who review and refer products based solely on the commission rates they earn. Commission rates are important, but they can’t drive your strategy. As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing runs on the basis of relationships and goodwill. So pick a product that you love using or truly believe in. People will be drawn to your platform if they sense honesty in your product reviews. Once you have established a steady stream of readers and customers who trust you, earning from affiliate marketing will become a lot easier.
Trying to do too much, too soon
When you talk or write about more than one category of product, you’re most likely diluting your brand. Trying to cover too many product verticals at the same time detracts from the value associated with each of the products you want to sell. Instead, try dedicating your focus on one product type at a time. Doing so will help you build a reputation and a speciality, which will make it easier to earn affiliate sales from people who come to you for your specialised inputs. Of course, once you have built a strong base with one product vertical, you can expand your range in the future to amplify your reach.
Similar to trying to hit too many verticals, many novices also make the mistake of signing up for too many affiliate programmes. There are many affiliate sites out there like ClickBank, Rakuten, CJ Affiliate, Amazon Associates, JVZoo, FlexOffers, ShareASale, and more. Signing up for too many of these can create confusion with readers who are unsure which platform can offer them the best deal. Less certainty means fewer purchases means less income. There is no harm in creating multiple streams of income, but remember, speciality and loyalty will serve you much better in the long run.
A difficult-to-comprehend website
If your platform does not attract potential customers either due to low loading speeds or too many ads, it’s time to reconsider your website design. Check out some of the best websites by top bloggers and affiliates and analyse how they have managed to make those sites functional so as to optimise sales. Make your portal user-friendly and incorporate elements that raise brand value without detracting from the user experience.
As successful web designer Cameron Moll once said, “What separates art from design is that design is meant to be...functional.”
Writing poor quality content
Writing lengthy and rambling content that is solely aimed at driving sales has become a bit of a cliche these days. Work on writing relevant and crisp content that catches your audience’s interest and drives them towards the product. Your users will be likelier to make a purchase through your affiliate link if you write about the stuff they want to read and present it concisely. Lastly, make sure you post regularly to retain audience interest in your platform. Failing to write regularly will not give your audience anything new to come back for to your page. Your chances of selling are higher if your audience keeps revisiting your website, so be sure to give them a reason to return!
Data analytics? What’s that?
Right from the time you start affiliate marketing, you must have your data analytics tools in place. These tools let you track your performance and help you understand how and why you made a particular sale. You can track data for analytics on ROI (return on investment), conversion rate, average order value, and more, depending on your programme. These values can help you understand what campaigns to keep and what not to keep, streamlining your income channels as you go along.
Your affiliate marketing programme will generate results once you get the knack of selling the right product at the right time with full dedication. A well-designed functional website with compelling content – backed by data analytics – will have the best potential to generate affiliate marketing income for you. Good luck!