It’s been a while since I first started doing affiliate marketing; eight years to be exact.
When I started out, as expected, I didn’t know too much about the right ways and the wrong ways to promote affiliate programs. All I knew was that I had to get people to see my affiliate link so they could buy the product.
Although I did make my fair share of mistakes, surprisingly, I didn’t make any of the ones I’m about to mention.
There are a lot more mistakes that affiliate marketers make than the ones below but I chose to mention these specifically because they’re so painful to witness that I usually shake my head and say, “You’re doing it wrong!”
Here’s what I’m talking about.
1. Dropping Links Everywhere
When I started out, the only place I was dropping links was through Google Adwords. This was my first taste of online marketing and it was the first thing I learned.
Eventually, I learned how to do forum marketing, article marketing and how to set up a blog all while still paying for traffic. I was always careful to read through everything before trying any new method so links would always go in my signature or in the byline of an article.
The mistake I see new affiliate’s doing (and you could always tell they’re new), is they would drop raw affiliate links everywhere. Especially in discussion areas like blog comments, forums and even Facebook discussions
Just about two days ago, I deleted a comment from someone who dropped only their Clickbank affiliate link in the comment area to my Legit Online Jobs review. No supporting comments – just the raw affiliate link.
And what was the affiliate link for? I thought at first that it might have been for an alternative to the program I was reviewing but it turns out that the link was for Legit Online Jobs.
Just what was going to be accomplished I have no idea.
The Correct Way: Instead of randomly dropping affiliate links in forum discussions, blog comments and other areas where they aren’t welcomed, consider getting a domain name (costs only $7.99 through Namesilo) and web hosting and starting a website using WordPress.
It’s true that these cost money but you are trying to run an internet business and all businesses have operating costs. However, it’s understandable that you might be strapped for cash and you can get started with a website without having to get a domain or hosting by using SiteRubix.
You’ll need to follow these steps to properly promote your affiliate program using a website:
2. Promoting Unrelated Products on a Niche Website
At least now you won’t be dropping your affiliate links all over the web because you now have a niche website.
But you just joined 50 affiliate programs and you need somewhere to put those links. The mistake you’re about to make though is trying to promote everything on what is supposed to be your niche website.
Niche websites are supposed to be for one topic and one topic only. Sure you can cross promote stuff but only if they’re related to your niche in someway or if you can make it work somehow.
About two weeks ago, I was helping someone over at Wealthy Affiliate with their website. The website was made to promote products in the “make money online” niche but there were a few blog posts selling stuff from Amazon.
When I told him about it he said that you can make money with Amazon so that’s why he put them on the site.
Making this mistake only leads to an account that makes $0 in commissions day after day. Visitors are going to be very confused when they come to a site after searching for something they’re interested in and finding something that doesn’t interest them in any way at all.
The Correct Way: You don’t need a thousand affiliate programs to make big money online. You can make a full time income just promoting one affiliate program.
If you focus on that one affiliate program by creating a niche site and becoming an expert in the niche it would pay off better than trying to juggle 4 or 5 different programs.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t promote other programs, however, you should create a new niche site for promoting a completely unrelated affiliate program. The only cost would be for a brand new domain name since you can usually host multiple websites on your web hosting account.
3. Gaming the System
This point serves as the inspiration for this blog post.
I just has roughly $800 in two-tier bonuses reversed because I referred an affiliate who sent the merchant bogus sales. How the affiliate achieved this isn’t exactly clear to me but his commissions were also reversed and he is possibly looking at a ban from the network.
There are lots of ways that affiliates try to game affiliate programs to get commissions. It’s lying, cheating and stealing and it’s never worth it in the long run because you will inevitably get caught.
The people who run affiliate programs always monitor their traffic and they have ways of finding out if someone is doing something wrong. Bogus sales? Suspicion will arise when none of your referrals appear to be active. There’s always a way to be found out.
Gaming the system also affects others in a negative way. The merchant may decide not to offer any more two-tier bonuses. Or they may decide to offer a “closed affiliate program”.
The Correct Way: Be honest. For that you will be rewarded and respected by not only your affiliate managers but also by the customers you refer. Just like in the real world, relationships get strained by dishonesty and cheating but a lasting relationship is built on honesty.
Learn how to promote affiliate programs using ethical methods like building a niche website or opt-in email marketing and you will be in business for a long time.
4. Using Pre-Panda Techniques
If you’re wondering what I mean by “pre-Panda” then you’re probably new to the affiliate marketing space. Panda is a Google algorithm that filtered out a lot of low quality websites from Google’s search results.
For that reason, a lot of the techniques that were used before that happened are now no longer useful and a bit has changed.
Surprisingly though, some internet marketing courses still teach some of the methods that can damage your sites. Techniques that didn’t even work that well in the first place.
For this post, I’m talking specifically about article spinning, a method of creating copies of the same article with multiple variations. The result can sometimes be hard to read and is really only designed to make search engines think you have unique content.
Unique content isn’t what’s important. Quality, unique content is what Google is looking for.
A while back I was researching a keyword that I wanted to write about and I noticed a particular site that ranked very high for the search term. Once I clicked through, I didn’t stick around because I could not read the mumbo-jumbo that was on the page. Nothing made any sense.
There was no value being offered to people who might be searching the keyword phrase so I knew that I had to write my article. I’m still not ranking above that site but I’m not worried. All it takes is one update from Google and that site would be gone. I’m still getting traffic and satisfied viewers.
Avoiding pre-Panda techniques can be tough for the new affiliate if it’s still being taught and with marketers still pushing article spinning software and backlink tools. However, common sense should always be your guide and it should tell you that spinning articles do not create any type of value for the people who will eventually have to pull out their credit cards so you can earn a commission.
The Correct Way: In online marketing, it is very important to keep up with new developments and changes going on to ensure that you can employ up to date marketing techniques on your websites.
This is why I won’t recommend ebooks as a way of learning affiliate marketing. Ebooks get outdated very easily and unless the author updates the book with the latest methods then you’ll be lost.
Instead, you can join an online marketing community like Wealthy Affiliate where you can receive up to date training with the latest techniques and methods that work today. When there are changes, the community always addresses it and updates the training so you will never be lost or find yourself using techniques that do not work any more.
Wealthy Affiliate addressed Panda as it happened and worked out solutions based on what Google wanted to see from websites. This site was built on that training and many other successful sites were also built by members. Sites that aren’t going to take a hit if Google updates their algorithm again.
Avoid Making These Mistakes
It is important that you avoid these 4 mistakes if you want to succeed in affiliate marketing. Once you decide to promote a merchant site via their affiliate program, your decision is to run a business.
Mistakes happen all the time and they’re made so that we can learn from them. Learn how to run your business effectively from the beginning by following training with up to date methods and promotional techniques and you’ll keep the mistakes to a minimum.
It’s also a good thing to protect your reputation and your business by only employing ethics and honesty in all your promotions. This can only lead to you attaining your goal of running a successful internet based business.