An affiliate marketer earns commissions on sales of other company’s products, by promoting the products. The marketer’s success depends on strategy, research, conscience, sales tracking, diversifying traffic sources, and staying up to date with changing web technology. Here are some big mistakes that new affiliate marketers have made, and advice on how to avoid repeating them.

1) Forcing the selling of the product, rather than giving advice to buy it.

Affiliates are the ones who sell the products, not the affiliate marketers – even though ‘market’ is in the job title. An affiliate marketer may be keen to earn a commission, but his or her job is to promote the affiliate’s products to potential customers that the affiliate may not normally be able to reach. The affiliate marketer should never directly tell anyone to buy a product – for example, using links that say “BUY THIS NOW!” Instead, he or she recommends the product in an unbiased fashion – preferably a product that they are personally familiar with – based on knowledge, experience, and perhaps other buyers’ reviews. An affiliate marketer should be a reviewer and a recommender, not a salesperson.

2) Overloading one’s self with affiliate customers.

Once again, an affiliate marketer might be keen to earn as much from commissions as possible by joining every affiliate program he or she comes across, but this can lead to an unmanageable workload. Affiliate programs should be chosen wisely – again, choosing products that one is actually familiar with is best.

3) Not testing an affiliate as a pretend consumer, to see if it follows through.

While realistically not every affiliate can be given a test run by an affiliate marketer, sometimes there are ways to see if, for example, an affiliate is a spammer. A marketer can create a ‘work’ email address and purchase a cheap product, to see if the company is an inbox clogger. If a consumer is led by a marketer to purchase a product through an affiliate, and they’re spammed mercilessly afterward, the consumer loses trust in the marketer, and stops visiting his or her campaign sites.

4) Not tracking one’s marketing web pages and campaigns to discover which pages are working, and which ones are not.

It is nice to earn one commission for one sale, but if the marketer finds which web campaign sold that product and can adapt that page to become even more successful, then many more sales might result. Using tracking affiliate links on campaign sites help the marketer find which campaigns are working best, so they can figure out why.

5) Not using product comparison for campaign pages.

Consumers like to compare choices. Right before making a purchase, usually the customer has whittled a choice down to two or three products. If the affiliate marketer lists several choices on a campaign page, and uses tracking affiliate links for each product, then they can discover which product is selling the best, and move it to the top of the list for better consumer visibility. This strategy is helpful to consumers, and profitable for marketers.

6) Making false “Get Rich Online Fast” claims.

This happens in online forums for those who are trying to learn the business of affiliate marketing. A marketer claims that the person reading the website can make big money by clicking on a link – which so happens to be for the marketer’s own campaign website, offering training for affiliate marketing or other products. As stated in Number One, it is fine to recommend products or training services; but trying to trick people will once again lead to consumers losing trust in the marketer’s campaigns. Warnings made against those sites might be the negative result.

7) Having too many campaign pages in an effort to be more successful financially.

It is better to go one inch wide and one mile deep, rather than the other way around. One completed and profitable campaign is worth fifty half-finished campaigns, in random niches, generating next to nothing in sales.

8) Not diversifying one’s traffic sources.

The business models of third-party platforms, such as Google, Facebook, and others, rely on selling to consumers’ eyeballs – which is why they are constantly updating. An affiliate marketer who relies on one single platform as a traffic source can be faced with going out of business any time one of these updates is released. Diversifying traffic sources is a preventative business strategy.

9) Not directing traffic to mobile-friendly sites.

VentureHarbour notes that in November 2014, mobile sites accounted for 46% of all affiliate clicks, and 26% of all affiliate retail sales. Therefore, an affiliate marketer who directs traffic to any non-mobile sites at all is likely losing considerable potential commissions. Google at that time began telling webmasters that their sites needed to be mobile-friendly, launched a ‘mobile-friendliness checker,’ and began displaying in search results whether or not pages were mobile-friendly.

10) Not researching demand for a product.

Selling a product that is not in high demand will not be profitable. It is better to do research and find out if the product is one that is needed by a considerable number of consumers.

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