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Knowledge center

6 most common mistakes made by affiliates

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Most of us learn from our own mistakes. Some of us learn from others’ mistakes – they are the geniuses. And then there are those who never learn anything (like a poet once wrote).

When I started my adventure with affiliate marketing in 2007, I had already been the owner of afiliacje.pl domain for two years, a domain which I registered simply as a potentially valuable investment. In those days all my knowledge on affiliate marketing came from internet forums. That is way the first network I joined was British Affiliate Window, and the first program – TheDrinkShop.com.

As you might guess, my first steps were rather shaky. I tried to follow all of the advice I could find on forums and blogs, without realizing the mistakes I was making and their long term consequences.

In time, I learned how to recognize the difference between good and bad advice. So to save you from learning it the hard way, I decided to confess my six most frequent mistakes.

1. Pushing sale

There’s a reason why the name of our line of business has the word “marketing” in it, and not “sales”. Making the sale is the responsibility of advertisers and their websites (landing pages), to which we direct the traffic. My first websites were filled with CTAs (call-to-action) screaming to buy the advertised product. Whereas, there was no information why users should take interest in this offer, to begin with. All that mattered was to make them click, which, obviously, didn’t work out like I wanted it to. People need opinions of others to confirm their own. A compound sentence is enough to persuade us (just as long it contains the word “because”). Quite often, it doesn’t even require good arguments. You can get much further playing the role of an adviser, than acting like a salesman.

2. Too much too fast

At first I applied for all the programs, hoping that the economies of scale would kick in. My reasoning was simple – if I can make couple of bucks on one program, then if I multiply it by 100, I will soon be able to lead a luxurious life of American authors of affiliate handbooks (the ones owning mansions and Bentleys). As it soon turned out, it is easy to lose control over such a big number of programs. I became painfully aware of that fact, trying to run PPC campaigns, where one-month profit could vanish in just one day. All it took was a momentary distraction.

3. Lack of testing

On numerous occasions, the links I used were invalid – leading to wrong landing page or an expired offer. You should always run a test transaction to investigate potential problems for your clients. Programs with overly complicated transaction processes, I reject on the spot.

4. No tracking code

When I launched my first website with affiliate program offers, I kept checking it obsessively for my first commission. Time went by and nothing happened. As it turned out, the tool I used to build my website had modified my URLs in such a way that transactions weren’t tracked. You should also mark the source in your tracking link, to find out which of your actions result in sale and are worth developing.

5. Inadequate product presentation (no comparisons)

Our instincts tell us, that broad selection of products or services is something positive. However, people find choosing easier, when their options are limited. The issue is the number of features that need to be compared. It is not a problem to choose between twenty clunkers and a new Mercedes, but it gets far more complicated when it comes to choosing between Mercedes E class and BMW 5 series. Quite often, customers back out from the purchase due to discomfort resulting from difficulties of making a decision. The best solution is to suggest 3 products from a given category, which differ considerably.

6. 360 degrees

Eyes in the back of your head and constant search for new business ideas. Each of us can recall a situation, when while working on one project you receive an email with a new offer. This makes you stop what you were doing and your mind starts drifting away. What you should keep in mind that one launched campaign is worth much more than 10 half-baked.

Affiliations is a market sector that requires focus and strong drive. Luckily, for most of us these are innate qualities.