What not to do in business is as important as any list of how to be successful. One of the great challenges that a business owner faces is not just making a profit, but admitting fault. While it’s important for an entrepreneur to be confident, this should never veer into overconfidence. Affiliate marketing is a tough business and a tough business owner will be able to recognize both what is going right and what is going wrong.
Here are some things to avoid in affiliate marketing at the onset. These are major reasons why B2c affiliate marketing sites don’t get off the ground.
Problem No. 1 — Not Treating the Job as a Legitimate Business
Very often, new affiliate marketers get into the job as part-time work, perhaps in the night hours after working a day job. While this is possible, it’s very important to realize that affiliate marketing takes a fair amount of effort and man-hours.
If you are unwilling, or unable to devote sufficient attention to running a stable of affiliate marketing sites, you are setting yourself up for failure. Just because affiliate marketing is cheaper than running a standalone business does not mean it shouldn’t be given the same attention.
Problem No. 2 — Not scrutinizing affiliate marketing programs.
Don’t just look at the dollar sign payout for affiliate marketing programs. Look at how well the program is marketed throughout the web. Does it have a good web presence? Is the program oversaturated? Many sites offer reviews so you can find the best affiliate programs for you.
In addition, check to see if the program has had any problem with making payments in the past. Finally, see if an affiliate program has a good conversion rate — the number of clicks vs. the number of purchases or sign-ups. This has to do in part with the effectiveness of your own site, but you can see how successful other marketers have been with a particular program.
Problem No. 3 — Not Changing With the Times
An affiliate marketer must always be looking to update a site. In the age of Web 2.0, this means adding blog software, forums, social networking and other interactive media. It is highly recommended that you monitor the site’s traffic to gauge both in and out clicks to determine which content has been most effective and which affiliate links are getting the most traction. You should update content on the site frequently, in addition to changing affiliate programs that are not adequately converting.
Problem No. 4 — Don’t overload a site with affiliate links.
The affiliate links should be topic-specific, which is key to creating a website’s brand. Too many affiliate links looks unprofessional. It has a “spam” quality that will turn visitors away. Web surfers are pretty savvy and can recognize when a site is not legitimate. Sometimes less is more: fewer affiliate links can lead to more conversions than a dizzying array of links with no central purpose.