So as a former Engineer, I've come up with a step by step method to help you figure out what you are doing wrong and how you can do better.
I hope others will find this helpful.
For the sake of simplicity, I will assume you are using EzineArticles, but this works for any article directory, web 2.0 property or even your own blog.
I will also assume that you are promoting a product as an affiliate because this is what most people do when they start out.
So if you are not making sales, go through the following steps and see where you can improve your article marketing campaign:
Step #1: Are your articles ranking on the first page of Google results?
If they don't - you might not have done the proper keyword research.
When you are starting out you should go for easy keywords to make sure that you rank easily. If you are on the second page you can push your articles up to the first page by creating backlinks. You can do so also if your articles are farther away from the first page, but as I wrote above - better to start with easy keywords so you get to practice and make sure you are doing things right.
So go learn how to do proper keyword research and try again.
If your articles are ranking on the first page - go to step #2.
Step #2: Are you getting visitors to your articles?
Are you getting article views? If not, and you have decent ranking on Google, then either your keyword does not have enough search volume or your titles are pretty bad.
Check your keyword research to make sure there is some search volume, but keep in mind that the Google Keyword Tool is not always accurate, so if one article doesn't get views - just let it go, but if it's happening with a number of articles, it's time to check your titles.
Make sure your titles are very relevant to the keyword you are targetting.
When the searcher sees your title - they should think to themselves 'this is exactly what I was looking for'. Also read a bit about writing effective titles - effective titles get people to click on your article and read it.
So depending on your exact issue, either pick new keywords with more search volume or rewrite your titles.
If you are getting article views - go to step #3.
Step #3: What is your CTR (click through rate)?
Do you have a low click through rate? Are people not clicking on your article links? Make sure that your article is interesting and relevant enough for your reader, and that your resource box offers them something they want. Read up on writing effective resource boxes.
So now rewrite your resource box, and - if your article is not relevant or intersting to the searcher - rewrite your article as well.
If your CTR is good - go to step #4.
Step #4: If you are using a landing page (and not redirecting to a merchant's sales page), what is your landing page CTR?
You want to make sure that people don't stay on your landing page (unless you are building a list but that's a bit more advanced).
You want them to go over to the merchant so they can buy.
So make sure that your landing pages have a clear call to action telling the visitor to visit the merchant. Tell them why they should go there, and make sure this call to action is on top of the page - above the fold.
If your landing page CTR is good - go to step #5.
Step #5 - Are you getting sales?
Well, obviously the answer is no since you are reading this post.
There could be a few reasons for this.
First of all - what kind of keywords are you targeting? Are you going for buying keywords?
If not, do some research on buying keywords and make sure you start your article campaign with them.
Also, make sure that your article and landing pages are geared towards people who want to buy (and not just information-seekers), and that they have information that customers are looking for.
Also make sure that the landing page presells the product by mentioning it in a positive way (you don't need to sell it, just talk about it in a positive way).
Last but not least, if all this doesn't help, it is possible that the merchant or product you picked does not convert well. Try another one and see if you do better with that.
If you are doing a proper article marketing campaign - you should be making sales. If you have any questions about this troublehsooting process, post it below and I will try to answer.