Affiliate marketing is one of the best things to ever happen to would-be entrepreneurs around the world. In short, it’s provided a platform and legitimate business for anyone to start making money online, from anywhere. No matter where you are located, what your current level of education is, or even how much money you have to get started with… affiliate marketing could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for.
However, just because something is easily accessible and available, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
This is especially true with affiliate marketing — which comes in all different forms, shapes, and sizes. The most simple forms are through advertising from Google or Amazon right onto your site, while advanced methods include PPC marketing, ad buying, and building out your own niche content sites.
Before you get too excited, I want to stress the importance of affiliate marketing and how real it is. To do this, I’m going to provide you with seven of the most common reasons why people fail at it. Everyone needs to learn to walk before they can run, and hopefully this article serves as a reminder that the same is true in the world of affiliate marketing.
1 – You Think Affiliate Marketing is Easy
There is a good chance that you first heard about affiliate marketing through the internet. You likely saw something showing their check or heard about how someone made a killing by recommending different products or services online.
While all of that might be legitimate and authentic, the truth is that these stories are few and far between. Yes, people are making real money with affiliate marketing, but every success story that you hear actually had hundreds of failures and stories you never hear about behind it.
Affiliate marketing is real — but it’s definitely not easy.
2 – Focusing Only on Content Creation Works Best
To find success with affiliate marketing, you need to niche down as much as possible. The thought process that you can go wide range and try to attract a generic audience and monetize it effective with affiliate marketing just isn’t realistic. It can work, but you will have more than a billion sites on the internet to compete again.
The truth is, you need to niche down as much as possible and become an authority for information within that space. The more you niche down, the easier it will be for you to not out stand out from the crowd, but to also rank higher in the search results as well. This will also be key for the effectiveness of your monetization.
However, just “creating content” isn’t going to do the trick. There are over a billion active sites on the internet today and Google is only listing 10 pages organically in their search results. This means it’s virtually impossible for you to rank on the main page of Google, unless you are going after extremely niche keywords and also have content that is catered to exactly what your audience is looking for.
3 – Cater to a General Audience and Promote Everything
With over three billion people on the internet and nearly two-billion-plus being on social media, it must be pretty easy to make money online. After all, if you had a website or blog that was getting 10,000 visits per day and each one of them made you .01, that’s an easy $100 per day in your pocket, right?
Wrong… for the most part, the majority of site traffic and people online aren’t going to make you money. This is why it’s extremely important to niche down your site focus and content as much as possible. Once you have a steady flow of people coming to your site and you know exactly what they are looking for, that’s when you can start monetizing and putting an offer out there that you know they will eat up.
You can see a perfect example of this in my blog monetization guide where I walk through the niche process of sports, to basketball, to jump training. If this is something of interest to you, be sure to join my how to start a sports blog course on Udemy. It walks you through the complete process of how to start a blog, find a winning niche and also making money with jump training programs like the ones mentioned earier.
4 – Let Google Adsense Do All the Work For You
Google Adsense is great. It’s helped millions of people discover how to start making money with their site, and for some, it’s even helped pay off their mortgage. However, these stories of massive success with Google Adsense are also few and far between.
If something is extremely easy to make money with, isn’t there some kind of catch? Well yes, that happens to be the case with Google Adsense as well — but only if you want to put some extra work in.
The ways Adsense works is simple. You throw a line of code on your site, then Google starts serving banner and text ads on your site. Every time those ads are clicked, you earn a percentage. (usually in the 30-50% range, but you never actually know). This means you are making only half of the money you potentially could be, if you were running direct ad sales, affiliate offers or working deals directly with relevant advertisers that are currently being served on your site.
Long story short… if you are only using Google Adsense and are quite happy with your earnings, you are simply leaving money on the table.
5 – Relying ONLY on Affiliate Marketing
Just like you can do yourself some harm by only relying on monetization methods like Google Adsense, you can also do the same if you only rely on affiliate marketing. We all know how affiliate marketing works… essentially you are the middle man. The advertiser makes money, the affiliate makes money, and so does the network serving the ads.
Well, what if you removed both sides of the equation and still had your same business model and lead process in place? Then you’d likely make a lot more money.
It won’t work in all situations, but if you are pushing massive leads to a network or product/service that you can replicate or start on your own… why not? Over the long run, this could be a massive amount of profit right back into your pocket.
6 – Staying in Your Hole and Collect Money
There are two sides to affiliate marketing — those who are quietly making money and no one knows about it, and then there are those who have blogs or websites where they talk about it. Neither side is wrong, and both have their benefits. For over 10 years I was an affiliate marketer in the dark, then I decided to launch this blog in 2007 and share my story and advice.
While both options are great, I will tell you that starting my blog completely changed everything. Not only did it become a new outlet for growth, branding, and business… it also made me a better writer, business owner, entrepreneur, public speaker and much more. The opportunities as a result of the blog have also been amazing.
On top of all of that, the blog also gives me leverage. If I wasn’t paid from an ad network or advertiser, the last thing they would want is to get blasted on the blog — this might not be the case if I was just a lonely affiliate without a voice in the community.
Again, both sides are great, but the networking and earnings potential for putting yourself out there is also immense
7 – Diagnosed with a Case of Shiny Object Syndrome
If you want to fail at affiliate marketing, catch a good old diagnosis of ‘shiny object syndrome‘. Many of us not only know what this is, we are also guilty of it as well.
Shiny object syndrome is jumping from project to project, hoping to hit it big on the next one. A good example of this would be if you had a site that was doing extremely well and making series money, but then you saw a new blog post about someone doing extremely well with mobile CPA ads. So then you leave focus on your site and start focusing elsewhere. Not only have you lost your focus, you are now spread too thin on both sides and your original successful site is now quickly falling behind.
The same thing happens in affiliate marketing all the time, and this can be even more dangerous if you have active ad campaigns running with large daily budgets.
Your Success in Affiliate Marketing Falls on You!
As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing is one of the best opportunities out there… but it shouldn’t be taken for advantage. Map out how you’d like to make money with affiliate marketing, create a real business that provides value, then implement a monetization strategy where you can compete and scale with time.
While all of this is going on, always remind yourself of the seven steps to affiliate marketing failure that I’ve listed above.