10 Deadly Affiliate Mistakes

19 replies
Hey folks,

I just finished putting together these tips on affiliate marketing. Enjoy...

10 Deadly Mistakes Affiliates Make and How to Fix Them

Note: The mistakes below are what most affiliates make when they try to target a market "from scratch" - it's not for those who are fortunate enough to have a mega-traffic website or an optin email list with a million names on it ;-)

Mistake #1: Their keywords don't attract buyers.

Many affiliates will choose keywords like:

panic attack causes
panic attack symptoms
panic attack disorder

True, many people look for them. But how many of those people have already decided that they need a solution and are actively looking for one? The conversions for the above keywords would be dismal. Especially if you are doing Pay Per Click, you would have a really hard time making any profits.

Some terms that would be better to target, would be terms like:

panic attack cure
panic attack treatment
Panic Away (name of a popular product in this market)

We only have so much time, energy and resources - so it's good to make sure that we use them wisely.

Mistake #2: Trying too hard to "convince" their visitors:

If the affiliate has to do a lot of "hard selling" or "convincing" on the website, then something is already seriously wrong (see mistake #1 above for keyword selection).

At some point in your affiliate career, you will have to decide whether you will be targeting "information seekers" or "buyers." Don't worry about information seekers for now. Let other affiliates "educate" the market. Your average prospect may search for a few hours or days with terms like "panic attack causes."

Then, they will read forum posts and articles (some written by other affiliates). After your prospect has already become "hotter" and they are convinced that they need to find a solution, they will start searching for "panic attack treatment" or "Panic Away." Then, you will just appear out of nowhere like a Ninja - and close the easy sale.

Remember: You are NOT a door-to-door salesman - you just "match" hot prospects with the right merchants - and get paid for it.

Mistake #3: They try to be too "original."

Many affiliates "figure everything out" INSIDE THEIR HEADS and then they think "Hey, I will retire rich in 2 weeks." After they test their "original idea", they get frustrated because it didn't work.

Sure, originality is a "novel" concept - but, in this business, you don't get paid for being original. You get paid for results.

So, get an idea of what works by SPYING on other affiliates first. Type your terms on Google. See what sites come up. What products do they promote? What do their websites look like? What idea can you use for your site? Do they use screenshots? Reviews? A personal story? What are some of the "common themes" that you on many of the top affiliate sites. Take note of them.

If you want to promote a specific program, you can search on your favorite marketing forum for that product name. You may be surprised that you will find some affiliates talking about the product saying things like: "yeah, it converted when I did his but then I tried this other thing and sales tanked." Or, you can type on google something like:

"product name" affiliate forum clickbank

For example:

"panic away" affiliate forum clickbank

Go through the top Google results and you are guaranteed to find at least one forum where there is a DISCUSSION about that product - and probably by affiliates.

The above is obviously just an example off the top of my head - but you get the idea.

Mistake #4: Not using the tools provided by the merchant PROPERLY

Every time a merchant creates a page with affiliate tools on it, it's because it will help the merchant make money. But will those resources and "tips" help the affiliate?

As stated above, you don't want to "work too hard" when setting up your affiliate promotion. That's why you should always check the merchant's affiliate page. The trick is to be able to FILTER what to use and what not to use.

Here are some examples of affiliates tools that you MAY WANT to use:

- A cool video of the merchant with a preview of the product
- An audio interview that ads more value to the process
- An article that offers value and also presells the product
- Graphics of the product or website screenshots

Here are some examples of affiliates tools that you MAY *NOT* WANT to use:

- A list of very generic keywords that have a slim chance of converting to a sale: The merchant may not care because he will only pay you if a sale is made. But if you lose your shirt by bidding on untargeted terms, you are hosed!

- A list of "cool advertising resources" that they probably never tested but that instead found on some website. Sure, the more exposure the program gets, the better for the merchant. But you should not be the guinea pig for the merchant or even believe everything they say.

So, use some common sense. First FILTER the resources of the merchant and then LEVERAGE them.

Mistake #5: Not making the order EASY for the visitor

Many affiliate websites have a mile-long "review" and then they provide the affiliate link at the bottom of the page. Sure, there are some people who will scroll - but there are even more who won't!

You want to use a long review with an affiliate link at the bottom? Fine, do it. But for Christ's sake, DO have a link very high on the page. It should be visible without the visitor scrolling down (the link should be "above the fold").

Also, keep in mind that different people like different things. Have several calls to action (links to the merchant) above the fold. You can do it in a way that doesn't confuse the visitor.

For example, if you are bidding on the brand name of a product and getting visitors to your website who search for that, you can have ALL of these calls to action above the fold:

- An image of the product
- A screenshot of the website
- A LINK that says "buy from the official website"
- A BUTTON that says "order now"

Many times, the visitor will just want to visit the merchant's website and buy right then and there. Don't delay the sale - especially if you are targeting "money terms" (as you should be doing anyway).

Also, use what I call the "Affiliate Chameleon Method." Your website should have a similar feel to the merchant you promote, so that your visitors don't go through a "cultural shock" when they click through.

You can even save the merchant's salesletter on your hard drive, open it in your favorite WYSIWYG HTML editor (like Dreamweaver for example) and then create your affiliate website based on that. You basically keep the same background color and "design."

The merchant won't mind a bit, especially if you are promoting them and making them a bunch of money.

You basically need to create a "smooth experience" for your visitors.

Mistake #6: Not adding a twist or offering extra value

True, you want to see what other affiliates do first and then try to emulate them. But just because this shortcut is available, it doesn't mean that you should become TOO lazy (lazy is ok, too lazy is uncool).

You want to stand out from most. You have heard it 1000 times: Have a "USP" or a Unique Selling Proposition. It's what they tell you in those boring business classes but it's true: This will make you more profits.

First emulate the best, then one-up them. This is a sure-fire way to make your visitors pay more attention to your site and buy more of your "stuff."

Can you add a bonus? A report? A piece of software? Personal help? Access to another little-known resource? Do it and you will reap the rewards.

Mistake #7: Targeting too many unrelated markets

Yes, I know that "multiple streams of income" sounds cool and appealing. But the truth is that most people go about it the wrong way.

Jumping from market to market is not the way to become a super affiliate.

Making money as an affiliate can be challenging - even if you know the market well. If you always try to go into "new markets", chances are that you'll get owned. Not because you aren't smart enough - but because there are affiliates with more experience in that market. It's not impossible to make money that way but why make it hard on yourself?

Stick to two-three markets that you know - and get to know them better. Because that's when the real "magic" happens. You will know what makes those people "tick" and be able to generate much higher conversion rates.

Mistake #8: Promoting a winning program from just one angle

Pssssttt... I'll tell you a little secret - but promise not to tell ANYBODY, ok? When super affiliates create a website that promotes a product, and that website ends up making them a ton of money, what do you think they do? They create another VERY SIMILAR site around that SAME product.

Why? Because that practically ensures that they'll make even more profits from a PROVEN seller.

Some super affiliates create 10 or more websites around a single product that they know converts well for them. After a while, they have more than one website at the top of the search engines - which means more chances for them to make a sale.

As if that weren't enough, many of their competitors get pushed "out of the picture" and may eventually abandon the market altogether. This leaves the ground even more open for the smart affiliate.

Mistake #9: Not "owning" the process as much as possible

You can just get your affiliate link and advertise it as is. You can make money doing that. But you will make much more if you become a "part" of the process. Here are two quick tips to do this:

- Register a domain and redirect it to your affiliate link. Then, advertise that domain where appropriate. It looks much less tacky and opens up more promotion opportunities for you (Like Yahoo Answers or forum posting for example).

- Set up an optin form on your website and try to collect the emails of your visitors - especially if the market you are targeting has a lot of back-end potential. If there are more similar products that your visitors may buy down the road, why not have them buy those products through your own affiliate link? They will buy anyway - you may as well get paid for it.

Mistake #10: Just reading and never doing :-)

The biggest mistake many affiliates make is that they constantly "educate" themselves (which is a good thing) , but they NEVER take action.

Action is the bridge between knowledge and results.

Here's what to do:

Based on your current understanding of affiliate marketing, create a step-by-step approach that you need to follow - and get busy. You can do this on a piece of paper, a text file or even use mindmap software. Whatever you like best.

Then, every time you come across a new technique, include it in your system at the appropriate place. That way, you will understand how it fits with what you want to do and it will become INSTANTLY USABLE information - and integrated that much faster in to your plan.

May the Super Affiliate Force be with you...

- George
#affiliate #affiliate marketing #deadly #keywords #landing page #merchants #mistakes #part #presell
  • Profile picture of the author anomaly
    Good post George ...

    I particularly like number 3 ... you can learn a lot about a niche and your compeitors by spending a few hours on google, and often this is a much better way of learning than either jumping in head first or asking lots of questions of others
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanman
    Great post george...Specially the point of trying to convince the visitors too hard. Thanks a lot.
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  • Profile picture of the author Writing Pete
    All of this is great advice!

    I have seen reviews that make mistake #5 and I always wonder why they don't have more links spread throughout the review for higher conversion rates. I think multiple links (including some higher up on the page) are very important.
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    • Profile picture of the author ic7
      Your website should have a similar feel to the merchant you promote, so that your visitors don't go through a "cultural shock" when they click through.
      Really good point. On the other hand, you don't want to be another clone. I've seen affiliates copy each other too closely. Good info George.

      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author axeray
    This is great advice for anyone starting from scratch
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    Originally Posted by George Katsoudas View Post


    Mistake #1: Their keywords don't attract buyers.

    Many affiliates will choose keywords like:

    panic attack causes
    panic attack symptoms
    panic attack disorder

    True, many people look for them. But how many of those people have already decided that they need a solution and are actively looking for one? The conversions for the above keywords would be dismal. Especially if you are doing Pay Per Click, you would have a really hard time making any profits.
    George
    This is oh so valuable advice! Its so easy to use a keyword tool to get a list of heavily searched kw phrases...BUT, they may mostly be searched but not BUYER PHRASES - big difference.
    That may be why many marketers complain of getting lots of traffic, but few sales. It may be the copy, but it may also be 'unqualified searchers'.
    ______
    Bruce
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  • Profile picture of the author mobestprices
    Thank you, do you know any good ebooks or courses for affiliate marketing?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Williams
    Excellent points. I've always believed if you are just starting out in something, you're better of modeling those who are successful first. You can always do the pioneer thing later on, IMHO.

    ~Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author residnt
    Great advice george,

    Definately will be reading this many times over so it will sink in.

    thanks
    residnt
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  • Good post! I think you can add:

    "not promoting multiple products from the same landing page"

    People like to have different options, so it can hurt their conversions at times when you give them only one.
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  • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
    You are so right with #1! Been there, done that
    Helps to ground your promo right from the start, that's for sure.
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    • Profile picture of the author Marie-Anne
      This is really a very good post. I especially like #10. Without Action all the other points are useless, aren't they.

      Thanks again for the time you took to write and share this. Bookmarked
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  • Profile picture of the author robert11
    Thanks for the suggestions.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarQueteer
    Great post, #10 is the most important part for sure, knowledge how to make money doesn't write you checks.
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  • Profile picture of the author trippmarxx
    Nice post. Definitely packed with a lot of information for the newbies out there. You could learn a trick or two from this.
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  • Profile picture of the author kristisayles
    Very helpful post! How about adding NOT to use the exact same pitch page as everyone else? Why not create your own squeeze page and capture interested prospects?
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  • Profile picture of the author 4by8air
    Excellent post, a keeper.
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  • Profile picture of the author GreenEyes
    Originally Posted by George Katsoudas View Post

    Hey folks,

    Mistake #10: Just reading and never doing :-)

    The biggest mistake many affiliates make is that they constantly "educate" themselves (which is a good thing) , but they NEVER take action.

    Action is the bridge between knowledge and results.

    Here's what to do:

    Based on your current understanding of affiliate marketing, create a step-by-step approach that you need to follow - and get busy. You can do this on a piece of paper, a text file or even use mindmap software. Whatever you like best.

    Then, every time you come across a new technique, include it in your system at the appropriate place. That way, you will understand how it fits with what you want to do and it will become INSTANTLY USABLE information - and integrated that much faster in to your plan.

    May the Super Affiliate Force be with you...

    - George
    #10 has my name written ALL OVER IT!

    The last 3 weeks I've been actively trying to APPLY what I have been learning (9 months of learning) But, I found I do have a little bit of a problem staying focused.

    I definitely learn faster when I actually do something than just reading about it. You could tell me 100 times to do something but until I actually do it myself, it basically goes in one ear and out the other.

    So thanks for the step-by-step approach to taking action! I have not heard of mindmap before, but I will look into it.

    Thanks again!
    Signature
    Mirza
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  • Profile picture of the author Party Plan Pat
    Originally Posted by George Katsoudas View Post

    Hey folks,

    I just finished putting together these tips on affiliate marketing. Enjoy...

    10 Deadly Mistakes Affiliates Make and How to Fix Them

    Note: The mistakes below are what most affiliates make when they try to target a market "from scratch" - it's not for those who are fortunate enough to have a mega-traffic website or an optin email list with a million names on it ;-)

    Mistake #1: Their keywords don't attract buyers.

    Many affiliates will choose keywords like:

    panic attack causes
    panic attack symptoms
    panic attack disorder

    True, many people look for them. But how many of those people have already decided that they need a solution and are actively looking for one? The conversions for the above keywords would be dismal. Especially if you are doing Pay Per Click, you would have a really hard time making any profits.

    Some terms that would be better to target, would be terms like:

    panic attack cure
    panic attack treatment
    Panic Away (name of a popular product in this market)

    We only have so much time, energy and resources - so it's good to make sure that we use them wisely.

    Mistake #2: Trying too hard to "convince" their visitors:

    If the affiliate has to do a lot of "hard selling" or "convincing" on the website, then something is already seriously wrong (see mistake #1 above for keyword selection).

    At some point in your affiliate career, you will have to decide whether you will be targeting "information seekers" or "buyers." Don't worry about information seekers for now. Let other affiliates "educate" the market. Your average prospect may search for a few hours or days with terms like "panic attack causes."

    Then, they will read forum posts and articles (some written by other affiliates). After your prospect has already become "hotter" and they are convinced that they need to find a solution, they will start searching for "panic attack treatment" or "Panic Away." Then, you will just appear out of nowhere like a Ninja - and close the easy sale.

    Remember: You are NOT a door-to-door salesman - you just "match" hot prospects with the right merchants - and get paid for it.

    Mistake #3: They try to be too "original."

    Many affiliates "figure everything out" INSIDE THEIR HEADS and then they think "Hey, I will retire rich in 2 weeks." After they test their "original idea", they get frustrated because it didn't work.

    Sure, originality is a "novel" concept - but, in this business, you don't get paid for being original. You get paid for results.

    So, get an idea of what works by SPYING on other affiliates first. Type your terms on Google. See what sites come up. What products do they promote? What do their websites look like? What idea can you use for your site? Do they use screenshots? Reviews? A personal story? What are some of the "common themes" that you on many of the top affiliate sites. Take note of them.

    If you want to promote a specific program, you can search on your favorite marketing forum for that product name. You may be surprised that you will find some affiliates talking about the product saying things like: "yeah, it converted when I did his but then I tried this other thing and sales tanked." Or, you can type on google something like:

    "product name" affiliate forum clickbank

    For example:

    "panic away" affiliate forum clickbank

    Go through the top Google results and you are guaranteed to find at least one forum where there is a DISCUSSION about that product - and probably by affiliates.

    The above is obviously just an example off the top of my head - but you get the idea.

    Mistake #4: Not using the tools provided by the merchant PROPERLY

    Every time a merchant creates a page with affiliate tools on it, it's because it will help the merchant make money. But will those resources and "tips" help the affiliate?

    As stated above, you don't want to "work too hard" when setting up your affiliate promotion. That's why you should always check the merchant's affiliate page. The trick is to be able to FILTER what to use and what not to use.

    Here are some examples of affiliates tools that you MAY WANT to use:

    - A cool video of the merchant with a preview of the product
    - An audio interview that ads more value to the process
    - An article that offers value and also presells the product
    - Graphics of the product or website screenshots

    Here are some examples of affiliates tools that you MAY *NOT* WANT to use:

    - A list of very generic keywords that have a slim chance of converting to a sale: The merchant may not care because he will only pay you if a sale is made. But if you lose your shirt by bidding on untargeted terms, you are hosed!

    - A list of "cool advertising resources" that they probably never tested but that instead found on some website. Sure, the more exposure the program gets, the better for the merchant. But you should not be the guinea pig for the merchant or even believe everything they say.

    So, use some common sense. First FILTER the resources of the merchant and then LEVERAGE them.

    Mistake #5: Not making the order EASY for the visitor

    Many affiliate websites have a mile-long "review" and then they provide the affiliate link at the bottom of the page. Sure, there are some people who will scroll - but there are even more who won't!

    You want to use a long review with an affiliate link at the bottom? Fine, do it. But for Christ's sake, DO have a link very high on the page. It should be visible without the visitor scrolling down (the link should be "above the fold").

    Also, keep in mind that different people like different things. Have several calls to action (links to the merchant) above the fold. You can do it in a way that doesn't confuse the visitor.

    For example, if you are bidding on the brand name of a product and getting visitors to your website who search for that, you can have ALL of these calls to action above the fold:

    - An image of the product
    - A screenshot of the website
    - A LINK that says "buy from the official website"
    - A BUTTON that says "order now"

    Many times, the visitor will just want to visit the merchant's website and buy right then and there. Don't delay the sale - especially if you are targeting "money terms" (as you should be doing anyway).

    Also, use what I call the "Affiliate Chameleon Method." Your website should have a similar feel to the merchant you promote, so that your visitors don't go through a "cultural shock" when they click through.

    You can even save the merchant's salesletter on your hard drive, open it in your favorite WYSIWYG HTML editor (like Dreamweaver for example) and then create your affiliate website based on that. You basically keep the same background color and "design."

    The merchant won't mind a bit, especially if you are promoting them and making them a bunch of money.

    You basically need to create a "smooth experience" for your visitors.

    Mistake #6: Not adding a twist or offering extra value

    True, you want to see what other affiliates do first and then try to emulate them. But just because this shortcut is available, it doesn't mean that you should become TOO lazy (lazy is ok, too lazy is uncool).

    You want to stand out from most. You have heard it 1000 times: Have a "USP" or a Unique Selling Proposition. It's what they tell you in those boring business classes but it's true: This will make you more profits.

    First emulate the best, then one-up them. This is a sure-fire way to make your visitors pay more attention to your site and buy more of your "stuff."

    Can you add a bonus? A report? A piece of software? Personal help? Access to another little-known resource? Do it and you will reap the rewards.

    Mistake #7: Targeting too many unrelated markets

    Yes, I know that "multiple streams of income" sounds cool and appealing. But the truth is that most people go about it the wrong way.

    Jumping from market to market is not the way to become a super affiliate.

    Making money as an affiliate can be challenging - even if you know the market well. If you always try to go into "new markets", chances are that you'll get owned. Not because you aren't smart enough - but because there are affiliates with more experience in that market. It's not impossible to make money that way but why make it hard on yourself?

    Stick to two-three markets that you know - and get to know them better. Because that's when the real "magic" happens. You will know what makes those people "tick" and be able to generate much higher conversion rates.

    Mistake #8: Promoting a winning program from just one angle

    Pssssttt... I'll tell you a little secret - but promise not to tell ANYBODY, ok? When super affiliates create a website that promotes a product, and that website ends up making them a ton of money, what do you think they do? They create another VERY SIMILAR site around that SAME product.

    Why? Because that practically ensures that they'll make even more profits from a PROVEN seller.

    Some super affiliates create 10 or more websites around a single product that they know converts well for them. After a while, they have more than one website at the top of the search engines - which means more chances for them to make a sale.

    As if that weren't enough, many of their competitors get pushed "out of the picture" and may eventually abandon the market altogether. This leaves the ground even more open for the smart affiliate.

    Mistake #9: Not "owning" the process as much as possible

    You can just get your affiliate link and advertise it as is. You can make money doing that. But you will make much more if you become a "part" of the process. Here are two quick tips to do this:

    - Register a domain and redirect it to your affiliate link. Then, advertise that domain where appropriate. It looks much less tacky and opens up more promotion opportunities for you (Like Yahoo Answers or forum posting for example).

    - Set up an optin form on your website and try to collect the emails of your visitors - especially if the market you are targeting has a lot of back-end potential. If there are more similar products that your visitors may buy down the road, why not have them buy those products through your own affiliate link? They will buy anyway - you may as well get paid for it.

    Mistake #10: Just reading and never doing :-)

    The biggest mistake many affiliates make is that they constantly "educate" themselves (which is a good thing) , but they NEVER take action.

    Action is the bridge between knowledge and results.

    Here's what to do:

    Based on your current understanding of affiliate marketing, create a step-by-step approach that you need to follow - and get busy. You can do this on a piece of paper, a text file or even use mindmap software. Whatever you like best.

    Then, every time you come across a new technique, include it in your system at the appropriate place. That way, you will understand how it fits with what you want to do and it will become INSTANTLY USABLE information - and integrated that much faster in to your plan.

    May the Super Affiliate Force be with you...

    - George
    Ok dude, you are my hero. Bottom line people fail because the have no follow through and lacking in focus! This is a definite must read post !
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