As the owner of an affiliate network, I watch affiliates come and go all the time. Some sign up looking to get rich fast – they don’t last very long! Others work really hard and have a lot of success. Then they take their foot off the gas and in time drop down the SERPS and never recover. Very few affiliates are capable of keeping up with the fast-moving industry we operate in.
As a network, we have continually evolved and thrived when so many have failed. Why? Because we do the exact opposite of the 10 things I’m about to share with you. You too can continually evolve and grow by understanding the following 10 affiliate marketing pitfalls.
Why am I qualified to comment? Since 2004, I have personally mentored every single type of affiliate and observed their successes and mistakes along the way.
I have worked with affiliates spending millions on paid advertising, affiliates who generated thousands of sales in a single day and affiliates who have relocated to tax-free havens like the Cayman Islands.
I have also worked with affiliates who struggled to get started, affiliates who take their eye off the ball and within 6 months are back looking for full-time employment and affiliates who decline slowly over time.
If you look at the MoreNiche stats page (top 20 affiliates at MoreNiche) in 6 monthly intervals, you will notice two things: firstly, it looks different each time, a number of new affiliates will have replaced a number of others. Secondly, you see a group of the same affiliates every single time you check.
Below, I highlight my learnings of what separates these two groups of affiliates, avoid these mistakes to build a long term successful affiliate business.
Well, now it’s time to spill the beans. Let the fun begin!
#1 You have affiliate marketing the wrong way around
Most affiliates are working completely back to front. As a result, they will never stand the test of time.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you look for a high paying offer and then try to find the traffic? Do you focus on the brand (including brand + review) search volume? Are you constantly trying to crowbar different brand promotions onto your site?
If so, your mindset is the wrong way around and of somebody chasing a fast buck!
Successful affiliates don’t chase offers. They build traffic. Before even thinking about selling, you need to build up a traffic source. You should be focusing on getting as much traffic as possible to your site and then work out how to monetize it.
Thinking long term will ensure you are still here in 6 months time. Stop thinking about ‘how can I make a sale today?’, and think about ‘how can I make 100 sales in 6 months time?’
Did you know it takes an affiliate on average 70 days to make their first sale? It takes 3 months to get their first payout and only 4% of affiliates go on to generate an average US wage ($3,700 per month).
Thinking long term is not just for new affiliates. If you have made good money in the past but your earnings have dropped, you might as well consider yourself a newbie because chances are you failed to adapt to change and you’re pretty much starting again.
STOP chasing sales. Start building traffic.
#2 You’re not adding any value!
OK, it’s time to drop a bomb!
90% of affiliate sites are SHIT!
There – I said it!
Back to Tip #1 – are you helping your visitors to make a more informed buying decision or are you just trying to sell them something?
Let me ask you this: are you passionate about your niche? Is the content you’re publishing better than anywhere else online? Do you find your own content interesting? Would you share it with your closest friend or family member and be proud? If the answer is NO to any of these questions, you’re not doing a good enough job!
Adding value is like building a relationship with a woman (or man!). You manage to convince the most attractive person you know out on a first date. Would you ask them to marry you before you’ve even sat down? Of course not! They would most likely run a mile and you’ll never hear from them again. If like me, it was hard enough to get the date in the first place, the last thing you want to do is screw it up!
You take him or her out on regular dates, you build the relationship over time, eventually, you become an official couple. At some point you start living together and then, way down the line, you ask them to marry you.
Stop asking your traffic to marry you by pushing a hard sell in their face. Instead, add value and take them on a journey.
If you want to up your dating game, check out this website clinic video which will help get your website in shape:
We recommend subscribing to both Neil Patel and Digital Marketer’s Youtube channels. Also, check out this amazing video on The 10 types of content that works best for SEO.
#3 You’re ignoring Google
Where does 90% of your traffic come from? If the answer is Google, then why the hell are you ignoring it?
Imagine you own a physical store selling computers. You’ve been running the store for a while and typically get around 10 people per day walking past and deciding to come in and look around.
Then one day, you suddenly start getting 100 people going out of their way to visit. Would you ask (a) why are these people visiting? (b) how do I get more of these?
Google can send you thousands of visitors every single day and all you need to do is learn how to ask.
If you want to be a successful affiliate, you need to become an expert in SEO, or at the very least, pay someone who is. Neither is easy but hey, if it was, everyone would be doing it.
It is much easier to outsource content creation, freeing up your time to focus on learning SEO, check out Tip #5. Nobody is going to build your business for you, it’s your responsibility to invest your time in the right areas.
You need to find a passion for SEO, so start watching the Google Search Hangouts, follow sites like SEO Roundtable and join communities that discuss SEO.
If you are unsure where to get started, here are some good resources to help:
Also, subscribe to both Matt Diggity’s and Josh Bachynski’s youtube channels and check out Diggity Marketing.
#4 You’re not talking to your affiliate manager (mentor)
I am always amazed at how few affiliates speak to their mentors on a daily basis. Only around 4% of the affiliates we manage speak to their mentors regularly.
Why does it amaze me? Because there is a direct correlation between working with your mentor and revenue growth. And here’s the crazy thing – the more often affiliates speak to their mentors, the quicker their revenue grows!
It’s pretty obvious when you think about it. Affiliate managers have a birds-eye view and the whole network’s worth of data to leverage. They see what is working and what is not working and can pull on all of this data to help you.
Not only that (as if that wasn’t enough), we spend thousands on tools every month. Your mentor can use these tools to give you valuable insights, actionable steps to improve as well as exporting reports and installing software for you.
Take a look at our mentor toolkit here: https://moreniche.com/seo-tools/
If you want to grow quickly, touch base with your mentor daily. They are paid solely to help you grow.
#5 You refuse to delegate
Often, one of the biggest problems in growing your affiliate business is getting out of your own way!
Do you find yourself spending time working on admin or repetitive tasks?
As the business owner you should only be spending your time on tasks that fall into one of two camps:
- Generating traffic
- Converting traffic to sales
Quite simply, if it does not result in the above, it should be delegated or outsourced.
You need to invest your limited time in focusing on growing traffic and converting that traffic into sales. Trust me – both of these could be full-time jobs.
Are you writing your own content? Are you running your own reports? Are you managing your own social media? Are you doing your own outreach?
The bigger you become, the more you must learn to delegate. I have seen many top affiliates hit a glass ceiling because of their inability to delegate. Affiliates who are generating 6-digit monthly commissions and managing everything themselves. Don’t be afraid to hire help. It will always pay off in the long run.
Do a quick Google search and you’ll find thousands of people looking to take on your affiliate marketing tasks. Check out: https://www.upwork.com/hire/affiliate-marketers/
#6 You’re playing at running a business
If you want a lifestyle business, do yourself a favour and please give up affiliate marketing right now!
See Tip #5; you can very easily become someone else’s ‘bitch’! You can join Upwork and offer your services to other successful affiliates. There is nothing wrong with that and it might be that you’re happier doing so.
But, if you want to make some serious money and that’s the driving force behind you reading this content, then it’s time to get serious!
If you’re going to become a top affiliate, you need to put the shift in. I’m sorry. but working 20 hours a week (even 40 hours per week) is not going to get it done.
Let’s put it this way, other affiliates out there will be working more hours, working smarter and have more experience than you. How are you going to beat them? Not by working 4 hours a week, that’s for sure. Whoever has read the 4-hour workweek and thinks that applies to affiliate marketing should simply give up now.
Every single top affiliate I have met has told me the same thing – it’s damn hard work!
If you’re ready to double down and show up, then you need to do the following:
- Understand where you are today (traffic and earnings).
- Set out your 3-year goals. How much revenue do you want? How much traffic will you need to achieve it?
- Work your goals back so you have monthly, quarterly and yearly targets.
- Put together a detailed strategy on how you’re going to do it.
- Track performance to ensure you’re meeting your goals.
Rinse and repeat until financially free.
#7 You’re a bitchy keyboard warrior
We all know the type of person who spends their time constantly complaining about life. They are the loudest voice in the community and the first to complain when something goes wrong.
Quit bitching and start working!
Several studies have proven that positive people who regularly express positive emotions are more resilient when facing stress, challenges and adversity.
It’s pretty obvious right? If you have a problem, do you get on and find a solution or sit around complaining about it?
I love the quote “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
Negative people for sure have their place. If you’re debating a business decision or talking strategy then you need different points of view. Every partnership needs different viewpoints to help ensure the right decisions are being made.
What nobody needs in life are more problems. If you find yourself playing the role of negative thinker, remember negativity is fine as long as you are able to problem solve at the same time. Solutions, not problems, people!
If you’re in a community and you want people to respect your opinion, learn to communicate!
#8 You take, take and take, but never give back
Have you ever asked yourself “how much value am I actually adding here?” If the answer is not a lot, then maybe it’s time to give back!
Think about your personal relationships, the relationships with friends, the communities you belong to. Do you give as much as you take?
Do you get your round in? Or are you a round dodger?
As an affiliate network, we have seen first hand how helping others can be extremely rewarding. We help affiliates every single day achieve great things; our affiliate mentors simply love helping people.
Affiliates who have mentored other affiliates always comment on how much they learned as mentors. Business mentors say the same; they gain just as much from the relationship as the person they are mentoring.
I would encourage every single person reading this to offer your services and look to mentor people less experienced than yourself. You will be amazed at what you learn along the way.
Not only that, it’s fun to help others succeed and its much more enjoyable giving than receiving.
#9 You’re overcomplicating S**T
How many times have you set out to do something and then completely overcomplicated it?
Affiliates who saw motivational speaker David Taylor present at a past MoreNiche affiliate event will know his answer: know where you are, know where you want to be, do it! Well worth a watch if you need a performance-boosting shot:
There is a reason why Nike’s slogan is “Just do it!”
I see it all the time. Affiliates spend months building the most amazing website, taking every little detail into account, they don’t show anybody (not even Google) until they run out of money and have to go looking for a job.
KISS = KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
If you’re unsure where to start, reread Tip #6 and then focus on the following:
- Ensure you have the best possible content (PA = page authority) for the keyword you’re trying to rank.
- Ensure you have more inbound links for that content than others who are ranking for the keyword.
- Watch your site float to the top.
Remember, cream always floats to the top. It’s that simple!
#10 You’re a sheep, not a shepherd
Why is MoreNiche successful? Because, quite frankly, we don’t give a S**T what our competitors are doing. We focus on providing the best possible affiliate support we can.
One consistent trend is that top affiliates don’t waste time looking at what others affiliates are doing. They focus on what they do best, play to their strengths and focus on their growth.
It’s amazing how much time and resources can be wasted watching what other people are up to. I see it all the time; affiliates copying designs, layouts, backlinks, even trying to replicate someone else’s complete strategy.
Let me tell you, if you’re trying to copy someones else’s success, you have already lost. Top affiliates set trends, they don’t copy others.
This is your wake up call to start walking your own path. Trust me, it’s much more enjoyable walking where nobody has walked before and doing things your way.
Are you going to make mistakes along the way? Hell yeah! But you’re going to learn from the mistakes and be much better for it.
Bonus Tip #11 Who the hell are you? (Authority)
Following on from Tip #2 You’re not adding any value! comes who the hell are you anyway? Why should your visitors spend time consuming your content?
What credentials do you have to be providing the content you’re creating?
Nobody wants to be sold to, full stop (especially by someone with no qualifications or, even worse, some fake profile!).
If you are still using fake profiles on your website, go take a long, hard look in the mirror! It’s not 2010 anymore.
OK, so I don’t have a medical degree, and I’m not a qualified nutritionist. Does that mean I have to quit MoreNiche? Of course not! Go back and read Tip #5 You refuse to delegate.
You might not be an expert in the content you want to provide, but there are plenty of experts about. A quick search shows that the going rate for “Nutritionist Freelancers” is around $30 per hour. https://www.upwork.com/o/profiles/browse/?q=nutritionist
Here’s the funny thing. If you have a good, clean website, they will love to be featured as the author on your site. After all, they get paid more as their reputation grows.
You can very easily have a whole team of authors creating content all with very public profiles on your site.
Become a brand and let the experts do their thing! Focus your effort on traffic and conversion and pay experts for their content. Let everyone play to their strengths and your revenue will skyrocket in no time at all.
Are you ready to give back? Did I hit a nerve? Do you have other tips to share? Do you flat out disagree? Don’t forget tip #7 😉 Post your comments below!
If any of these tips struck a nerve, please ask yourself why? The objective of this article was not to throw stones but to allow you to look inwards and identify possible areas on improvement.
MoreNiche is only as successful as the affiliates we mentor. My goal is fully aligned with yours – we want every affiliate to be as successful as they possibly can.