Affiliate marketing seem to be the hot new trend in online marketing.
Making money from products you don’t have to spend your precious time creating? Sign us up!
While affiliate marketing can often come off as a “get rich quick” income stream for your business, you know there’s no such thing.
Unless you are starting with an insanely large amount of blog traffic (in the hundreds of thousands or millions of monthly pageviews) or a highly engaged social media community, it will be hard to see the “instant results” entrepreneurs talk about in terms of affiliate marketing.
Just because you don’t see a huge influx of affiliate income coming in right away does NOT mean that you are doing it wrong. Keep going! You’ve got this.
Right now, you should be focused on building a solid foundation for your affiliate marketing strategy to flourish in the long term. As you grow your brand, your affiliate marketing will naturally grow along with it.
What other kind of mistakes are entrepreneurs making with affiliate marketing, besides the “get rich quick” mentality?
We want to save you from making these four major mistakes, so we are breaking them down below!
Becoming an affiliate of too many products
You probably wouldn’t start a business trying to create #AllTheThings until one of them stuck, and the same is true for affiliate marketing. That doesn’t mean you can’t experiment, but if you try to become an affiliate of too many programs all at once, you’ll hit burnout quick.
Affiliate marketing is a long-term growth strategy, meaning it’s something you have to regularly put into your content creation plan in order to see much results from it. It helps to only choose a select few products to market to your audience.
Also, have you ever seen the influencers and bloggers who seem to promote anything and everything that comes their way? It can feel a little spammy, which leads to distrust with your audience. A few extra bucks is NOT worth alienating your audience.
Be mindful of the products you are choosing and see how well they fit into your niche, which is what we’ll cover next.
Promoting products that are too outside of your niche
You know the saying “one of these things just doesn’t belong?” Well, that’s the last thing you want your audience to think when they visit your website and blog content.
If you’re a food blogger that promotes a lot of different fashion companies, there may be a disconnect with your audience. Many people choose to become lifestyle bloggers or influencers for this reason, but you can still be effective with affiliate marketing while niching down. In fact, we recommend it!
The first step is in choosing products that are related to your niche. If you teach readers how to DIY their wedding decor, it would make sense to become an affiliate of craft stores, art supplies, or even online course creators in the crafting niche. You could also become an affiliate for bridal subscriptions and websites. See? There are so many options!
Narrowing down the kinds of products you want to market will help you build a reputable brand rather than looking like you don’t have a direction. Affiliate marketing should work for YOU, so be mindful about what products you choose to become an affiliate for.
Not regularly tracking your affiliate earnings
The worst thing you can do as an affiliate marketing newbie is spend too much time promoting products that aren’t giving you any results. And how are you supposed to know if your affiliate marketing is working or not if you’re not tracking your earnings?
I know that “spreadsheets” and “systems” can often be words we roll our eyes at, especially as creative entrepreneurs, but we need to know the ins and outs of how well our affiliate marketing strategy is working. Only then will it be worth our time and effort!
Not sure how to start tracking your affiliate earnings? We have a few ideas to help you get the ball rolling so it becomes a regular part of your routine.
Create a master spreadsheet of your affiliate income. I know that spreadsheets aren’t sexy, but having even a simple one set up to track your affiliate earnings can be a huge time saver. There’s no need to track it every day! You are too busy for that. Since most affiliate programs pay out your earnings every month or so, you can update it every month.
Keep a master document with all of your login information. This is one of the biggest tips I can give you! I love keeping all of my login information in one place so I don’t forget about it. Sometimes I like to manually check in to see how my affiliate income is doing within each platform, so this really helps. It also helps me share this information with my team so they are able to help with tracking. If you have a virtual assistant or someone else on your team helping with this, they’ll thank you for having this document already created.
Have all of your affiliate income go to the same place. Many affiliate programs pay out your earnings to a payment processor (usually PayPal, Stripe, etc.). Choose one, like PayPal, that can become a “bucket” for all of your affiliate income to go into. Then you’ll be set for tracking your monthly affiliate income!
Not including your affiliate links in your existing content
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as you start experimenting with affiliate marketing is not going back into your archive of content to add affiliate links. If you only add your affiliate links to new content, you won’t be able to take advantage of the traffic to your earlier, more established posts.
Most of the blog traffic to my wedding photography website comes from Pinterest. This means that there is a constant flow of visitors coming in and out of my blog to learn from my educational articles.
Even if I wrote a post a year ago, it could still be popular because it is getting passed around on social media platforms like Pinterest. To really make the most of my affiliate marketing strategy, I’d want to add my affiliate links in relevant places in past blog posts.
The same goes for other content types! If you have a video on YouTube that gets a ton of views, think about how you can add an affiliate link to the description in a helpful way. You could even create another video explaining more about the product you’re promoting and how it’s helping you within the topic that you covered in the first video. Get creative!