Why Most Affiliate Marketers Fail

Affiliate marketing is an extremely popular method to make money online with virtually no upfront investment necessary. It seems like the ideal method to generate passive income, but unfortunately, 95% of affiliate marketers make very little and end up failures. Why do most of these marketers fail?

Most affiliate marketers fail for many reasons, including not knowing the products, being too boring, bad networking skills, too broad marketing, lack of planning, and unrealistic expectations. Affiliate marketing requires a willingness to research, plan and adapt as necessary.

This article will go over some of the most common reasons why affiliate marketers fail, as well as what you can do to stand out and succeed in this potentially lucrative business venture.

Why Most Affiliate Marketers Fail

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when an online retailer pays a commission to other sites for traffic and referrals. Simply put, many sites have links to products on other sites, and when a consumer clicks on and buys that product, the site with the link will get a cut of that sale.

Affiliate marketing is becoming a very popular method to garner passive income while a site runs – whether it’s a business, content service, or even a blog. Everyone wants in on this because it requires relatively minimal work compared to a business that needs to pay for production, storage, shipping, and so on.

Too Much Competition

Affiliate marketers often start out wanting to advertise to everyone, which is a fatal decision to make right off the bat. The problem with a big market is that there’s already a ton of established businesses with proven strategies and repeat audiences.

Large audiences have the additional challenge of being hard to target – with so many different characteristics across the market, choosing specific strategies becomes difficult coupled with the already established marketers.

A smaller, more targeted audience that’s specifically interested in your type of marketing is preferable. A more general market draws consumers that are interested in something specific that quickly leaves your site, resulting in no revenue. Trying to provide too much information and choice can actually be a negative in this case.

Too General of an Audience

This goes hand in hand with competition in that start-up marketers want the maximum business possible, which makes them try to market to everyone instead of being choosy. In this case, it’s better to have a smaller base of consumers that are interested in the specific niche you’re representing. 

An example of this is sporting goods. If you’re trying to market a wide variety of goods, you may draw a good amount of traffic, but these consumers will be more likely to leave your site in search of something more specific to their needs, like a site for golf clubs or hunting bows.

A smaller niche targeting golf clubs or hunting bows, for example, will draw less traffic, but the traffic you do receive will be more likely to be interested and buy products through your links. In addition, these consumers may give a word of mouth referrals to friends or colleagues who are also interested in this niche.

Blending Into the Crowd

There are so many people attempting to make a go of affiliate marketing that it’s tough to stand out from the crowd. When everyone and their mother has affiliate links, how do you choose which to click on? Ideally, either a site that consistently solves your audience’s problems or one that provides high entertainment value.

If you’re just trying to copy competing sites that have a unique brand that endears itself to consumers, they’ll be able to sense the lack of unique identity in your site, and you won’t get their traffic.

You have to create a unique identity that has something your market either wants or needs, and problem-solving and entertainment are the top two methods to do this. If you don’t do it with your own unique brand that differentiates itself from competitors, you won’t build much of a dedicated base, and you certainly won’t convert anyone.

No Value Beyond Products

As mentioned before, you need to provide something of value to your audience that isn’t just the products you’re trying to sell. Consumers can tell when someone just wants their money and will search for someone more entertaining or helpful. 

Suppose a blog site consistently produces posts and videos in a specific area that detail how to solve and prevent problems. In that case, consumers receive value out of your site that isn’t just products and will be more likely to return and generate sales. Similarly, if a site provides information that’s very entertaining, the audience is more likely to return to that site instead of going to a site that’s just trying to sell them something. 

Building a brand identity is key when you’re trying to make money off of affiliate marketing and will produce more repeat traffic and sales than if you simply make some dry posts with prominently placed affiliate links.

Lack of Friendliness

Countless new marketers out there slap a marketing link on a post that just parrots the supplier’s information, but that’s a fast road to failure. Going along with what we mentioned about creating value other than products, many marketers fail to be friendly and see things from the consumers’ point of view.

Creating content that not only adds value but presents things from a consumer and user point of view is a great way to get repeat traffic. Imagine if two people present the same product, but one of them is clearly just going to lengths to get you to buy it. On the other hand, the other person is showing you how they use the product in their day-to-day life and how it adds value to their life. 

An example of this is a video by a hardware site about a new drill. Rather than rattling off product specifications you could find yourself on the producer’s website, they show you projects they’ve done with it and how it performs better than a competing drill. You’d be way more likely to buy that drill from the second guy, right?

They Don’t Know the Product

Another fatal error many marketers make is simply choosing something they think is a good product and throwing a link on their site. How are you going to successfully sell something if you know nothing about it?! 

Consumers are much more likely to click on a link for a product if it’s presented by someone who can thoughtfully explain how it works and why it’s of good value to the consumer. If you’re looking for a cooking appliance, you don’t want to hear, “Oh, it cooks really good and fast.” You want to know about how the convection technology makes air circulate more efficiently, producing more thoroughly and faster-cooked food.

Knowledge is key in this – if you don’t know the product, you wouldn’t buy it yourself, so why would you try to sell it to someone else and expect them to buy it?

There’s No Plan

Finally, a fatal flaw of many new marketers is that they want to just throw up some links and make money as they go about their business. In reality, to be successful at affiliate marketing, you have to plan your site or business around affiliate links if you want to make money from it. This means planning your content, image, and marketing as a whole.

The Best Place To Learn Affiliate Marketing – Online Business Builder Challenge

Final Thoughts

Ideally, affiliate marketing is a great way to make passive income in addition to your main venture. Now that you’ve learned about some of the most common causes of failure in the majority of marketers, you’ll be well-equipped to avoid them and make a successful venture out of affiliate marketing.


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