Affiliate Marketing Tips You Can Learn From My Mistakes
There are thousands of sites and videos providing affiliate marketing tips. I’ve made some mistakes and also enjoyed a few successes in this area, so here are a few additional tips you may not have seen.
When the full blown web began to emerge in the 1990s I was already employed in IT. I saw it as a time of opportunity and began to look into networking and websites. As a result I have enjoyed over two decades of gainful employment as a Network Engineer and Webmaster.
Unfortunately though, learning how something works isn’t as lucrative as figuring out what to do with it. That’s why I’m writing this when it’s -2 degrees outside in England instead of sitting at my laptop in a holiday home in the Caribbean.
Anyway, I count my blessings, and although I haven’t become a dotcom millionaire I have learned a fair bit by trial and error. Most trials end in error and that’s part of the process of reaching a goal. The trick is to keep going.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the art and science of creating websites (and/or mailing lists) and using them to promote goods and services in such a way that visitors click on links and make purchases through links provided on the site.
You promote a product or service, link to it, and the website visitor clicks on that link and buys from the supplier. In return you are rewarded with some commission on the sale. This can be anything from 1-12% or even more. It all depends on the affiliate agreement.
As well as goods and services you can promote just about anything that is for sale online, including for example online courses. Promoting things that are not geographically limited has some advantages.
Simple really, isn’t it? Except it’s not. For this to work you have to achieve the following:
- Find a product or service that is in demand and for which there are not already too many high ranking websites. It needs to be something that people are searching for in high enough volumes to justify the time, effort, and expense of building a website and nurturing over several months so that it has a chance of reaching the top of page one on Google search results for the given search term (the keyword).
- Assuming you have succeeded and have a site that is attracting visitors in enough numbers your site then has to convince them to make a purchase using one of the affiliate links in body of the text in your site or embedded in the images (the conversions).
- All this needs to be done while paying close attention to your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and without breaking any rules, be they in Google’s search algorithms or in the affiliate agreements.
Affiliate Marketing Tips – Errors and Lessons Learned
My First Mistake – Too Much, Too Soon
I have built websites that convert but in my eagerness to develop the idea I have built too many, too fast. This soaked up resources (time and money) so what little was gained from the successful ones was being spent on others that did not succeed.
It’s so easy now to setup a website. Most hosting companies provide packages that will register your domain name, install WordPress, and give you a working website with a few clicks. The temptation is to extrapolate your imagined success too far with unrealistic expectations.
Tip Number 1: Learn how to nurture and grow a tree before you plant a forest
Tool for this tip: Your brain, lots of free advice online, and a business plan.
Second Mistake – Keyword Research
The second error is one of the fundamentals. Get this wrong and everything that comes after is a waste of your time and resources. Keyword research is essential.
It can be exciting to come up with a new idea and allow yourself to be carried along in a rush of enthusiasm. You start to convince yourself that you’ve found the next hot seller with low competition and high demand.
You build the site, fill it full of content, and wait for the money to roll in. As time goes by your hard work pays off and surfers begin to find your site. However, sales are zero you realise you’ve made as website that attracts visitors who are not buyers. They were seeking information but they were not ready to buy anything.
Tip Number 2: Keyword research is half the battle. If you’ve succeeded here conversions and commission will follow.
Tool for this tip:
Several free keyword research tools, like: Google Adwords Keyword Planner, and Google Trends,
Third Mistake – SEO, Audits, Reviews
The web is evolving all the time. Google updates its algorithm, trends and tastes change, technology evolves, and websites that once looked new and fresh begin to appear out of date. It’s surprising how quickly that new design tires and you begin to view a site as a relic.
While all this is going on there may be other sites competing with your own for the same keywords. If you don’t keep an eye them they will get ahead of you and start to take more and more of the traffic.
Tip Number 3: Stay current and informed. Audit and review regularly. Keep an eye on the performance of not only your own sites but of you competition too.
Tools for this tip:
Google Analytics, Google Webmasters, Bing Webmasters, and some SEO analytics like NeilPatel.com or SEO Powersuite.
Fourth Mistake – Time Management
Entrepreneurs and business coaches often remind us of the one essential thing that unites us all: we all get just 24 hours per day.
Another common piece of advice they offer is that we should cultivate the habit of doing our essential tasks first, before we check emails and social media. By doing so we ensure that day after day we get some productivity out of our time, even if it’s followed by more time wasting.
How often are you distracted? How many times during the day do you pause the work you know you should be doing and instead click on anyone of several social media accounts to check for; updates, likes, responses, news, current affairs, comedy, controversy, disasters, or some other way of wasting your time?
Social media has many positive uses but are you using it or is it using you?
Resist the temptation to scroll through your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram feed. The chances are you’ll check once and get sucked in again. You might even start with something that seems valuable, like an update in your business related Facebook group or a video about SEO, but then you realise another hour has gone by and now you’re watching a guy shark fishing in the Philippines or wondering why your friend shared that particular post.
Tip Number 4: Become and expert in time management. Develop the self discipline to avoid distractions and get on with taking steps toward your goal.
Tools for this tip: It’s a habit you have to develop, so this one is down to you and your own self discipline. You could set up reminders and alarms to nag you each morning too.
Fifth Mistake – Endless Training
Training is very important, there’s no doubt about that, but there comes a point where you have to complete the course and get on with some productive activity by putting what you’ve learned into practice.
However, what sometimes happens is that somehow you learn of another course and you begin to wonder if this one reveals more information and more important techniques. Before you know it you’ve paid another fee for a series of lectures and video modules which will take you another month to complete thoroughly.
At the end of this next month you realise that you’ve not got any closer to your goals, you’re a month older, and your bank balance is further diminished.
Tip Number 5: Make use of the free material online and choose one good course in: affiliate marketing, internet marketing, and SEO
Tools for this tip:
Plenty of FREE material about affiliate marketing available on these sites:
- (UK), Niche Hacks (US), (Australia)
I’ve suggested these three because you can choose which accent you prefer! There are other reputable and reliable sites too.
Recommended training for affiliate marketing, SEO, and internet marketing:
- Affilorama – AffiloBlueprint
- Udemy – Top Marketing Courses-Affiliate Marketing – there are lots of short courses on there on all subjects related to your affiliate marketing goals. Go through the reviews, check the feedback, and check for the latest versions. Sign up for their mailshots and you’ll be notified of periodic discounts and offers.
Final Word – Video Marketing is big!
I end this post by pointing out one important thing I learned in 2016 and that is the fact that video marketing is growing fast and in 2017 it will continue to grow. Even if you build well designed, responsive websites which look good on desktop and mobile devices you should not underestimate the importance of adding video marketing.
This may seem like a expensive and difficult new skill to master but it’s actually quite easy. You can turn a blog post or article into a video in a matter of an hour or so. I used to use Vidnami for this but since that was sold I’ve switched to Promo.com.
I hope you found this article useful. Please add your comments below and share it with others if you think they will benefit from it. Thank you 🙂