Learning from Affiliate Marketing Failure

by in Marketing Your Business, Monetizing Your Blog

Don't cry over Affiliate Marketing Failure -- Learn from it!I wish I could tell you that every single affiliate link you put in your product reviews is going to bring you thousands of dollars, but I can’t. I’d be lying to you if I guaranteed that every one of your affiliate links will earn you a measly $5.00.

Even if you follow every single bit of advice, from every affiliate marketing superstar out there, chances are you will still have some flops. I’ve got entire affiliate sites that turned into fails, trust me on this.

But the good news is this: every single fail is an opportunity to learn and do better next time.

Why do Monetized Product Reviews Fail?

Being able to determine why something didn’t work is important, and many factors can contribute to an unsuccessful monetized review post. Below are the most common reasons.

You Didn’t Give It Enough Time

This is, first and foremost, the number one reason a post hasn’t done well for you – you’re counting your chickens before the eggs have even been laid. Maybe you’ve picked a product that isn’t hot now, but will be in a month or two. The sales cycle of the product may also be longer than you expected.

You Misread Your Audience and Didn’t Engage With Them

It could be as simple as choosing something your readers didn’t like. Did you read the comments on the post? Even more importantly, did you respond to questions or concerns raised in the comments? If you were asked the same question repeatedly, did you update your post to clarify? To inspire action you need to address the needs of your readers. If you didn’t do that, they wouldn't click on that link.

You Didn’t Provide Enough Information

If your review was incomplete or didn’t address key product selling points, you may not have given your readers enough incentive to consider buying that product. You need to keep your product reviews in depth enough that the readers feel like they’ve learned what they needed to know to make a decision about purchasing.

You're Marketing During the Wrong Season

You’re not going to sell snow blowers in March, even if it is still snowing outside. You’re also not going to make much on affiliate links geared toward holiday shopping if you don’t put them up early enough (think September, not December). You need to learn a little bit about retail seasons if you want to succeed.

You Didn’t Integrate Coupons In Your Review Post

This is a big one! Don’t give your readers any opportunity to click away from your site, including searching for coupons. If your readers click away to find a discount, you will most likely lose that commission, or at least a part of it.

You Chose A Bad Affiliate Program

Not all affiliate programs are created equal, sadly. In fact, some are downright shady and unethical and will work overtime to avoid paying you any commissions. The best way to combat this problem, of course, is to do your research prior to signing up for the program. We covered this when we talked about choosing your affiliate programs, but here’s a quick recap.

The Merchant’s Site Doesn’t Convert Well

Maybe the site is wonky or hard to use, or maybe it’s because the site is ugly, and it makes the products look terrible. This is why, when you evaluate an affiliate program, you need to take into consideration the conversion rate rather than just the commission rate. The highest commission in the world won’t help you if the site will never make you a sale.

The Product is Crap

Just because you like a product doesn’t mean it’s a good product. Find out if this product has had repeated price cuts or gets returned to the merchant frequently; because if your readers return the product you will lose that commission as well.

The Product You're Promoting Is Cheaper On A Different Site

Sure, your readers are loyal to you – but they aren’t idiots. They are going to price shop an item before they buy it. Don’t be caught promoting a product through your affiliate link that is significantly higher than your readers could get it elsewhere. Not only will you not make sales, but it will damage your trust with your readers, too.

The Merchant Works With Unethical Affiliates

You may be honest, and the best-known affiliate programs have ethical business practices, but there is a host of unethical folks out there that use a vast array of sneaky techniques to co-opt your commissions.

When you choose your merchants, make sure that their affiliate program and the affiliate network they are working with both take a definite stand against adware, spyware, and rogue affiliate marketing techniques.

As far as affiliate networks go, I wholeheartedly recommend ShareASale for their real-time tracking, clickstream attribution, no-software policy, vast-array of affiliate programs and responsive support.

Most importantly, keep on learning. There’s a ton of free information and tools out there for you to take advantage of. Here are some free affiliate marketing resources that I make available on my personal blog, to get you started.

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About the Author - Missy Ward

Missy Ward has been an affiliate marketer since 1999. In 2003, she co-founded Affiliate Summit Corporation; which is now a privately-held, multi-million dollar media company that produces Conferences & Tradeshows, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm and AffStat.com.Missy is also the Co-Founder of itsaWAHMthing.com, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and runs a number of her own affiliate websites. Find out more about her on Missy Ward's Affiliate Marketing Blog.If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Fred Pinto April 18, 2017 at 3:03 pm

I had an affiliate website. It was ranking good on SERP. It is still ranking well, but the searches for that particular product dropped like nothing. I was making thousands of dollars from it each month. Now I can just manage few hundred dollars. What can be the reason for dropped searches. The keywords are for baby related products.


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