Over the last nine years, we’ve worked with hundreds of different clients. Our team has seen every type of affiliate program, from large-scale enterprise setups to smaller start-ups. In this time, we’ve noticed that there are a few common mistakes that businesses and marketers frequently make. Success leaves clues, but so does failure. In this article, we share five of the big mistakes that we see affiliate marketers make on a regular basis.

#1 – Selling Instead of Educating

Many affiliate marketers focus on selling instead of educating. Selling is important, but how you go about it is even more crucial. Most people can smell a sales pitch a mile off and it immediately gets their guard up. Simply adding links, banners, and buy-it-now buttons to your site isn’t going to convince people to purchase. But educating them about the benefits often will.

Taking the educational approach means providing genuine guidance to your audience. Walking them through a step-by-step guide to using the product you’re promoting is a much more powerful way to ‘softly sell’ it. People need to be educated about why the product is so good, exactly how it works, and what they’ll get for their money. So, try creating content that answers all the questions a potential customer may have, and you’ll be much more likely to convert them.

#2 – Not Walking the Talk

Lots of affiliate marketers promote products and services that they’ve never even tried. But this approach can seriously damage your credibility, as well as limiting your commissions.

If you haven’t walked the talk by using the product for yourself, then it’s difficult to create educational content. Most of the time, these marketers end up copying and pasting blurb from the product’s sales page. Unless you’ve actually used the product, then it’s very hard to give your audience insights into how it works.

Worse still, you might end up recommending a product that isn’t very good. Not only will your audience be disappointed, but you’ll have lost that credibility you worked so hard to build up. So, try out the affiliate products that you intend to promote. This way you can be sure that they’re top-notch and also provide an insider’s guide to using them.

#3 – Signing Up for Everything

When people first sign up to affiliate networks, they often take the ‘spray and pray’ approach. They apply to every program that offers decent commissions and then try to create content that promotes all of it. The problem is, this scattergun approach doesn’t lead to great results (for the marketer or the merchant). By trying to do too much, there’s no time to focus on quality content. A more effective method is to select a handful of programs and concentrate on promoting them really well.

#4 – Not Providing Comparisons

Providing product comparisons for your audience is a hugely effective tactic, yet most affiliate marketers don’t do it. They put all of their effort into promoting one product or service, but neglect to mention any alternatives. The logic behind this is that if they don’t mention any competitors, then people will click straight through to buy. But in reality, people like to weigh up their options before making a purchase. Providing comparison charts or pros and cons of each option will make you even more credible and provides opportunities for more affiliate links.

#5 – Not Leveraging Data

Most affiliate networks provide a wealth of tracking data to their users, but it’s massively underused. Very few marketers check their reports on a regular basis despite the goldmine of information they can provide. Analytics reports can tell you which pages are generating the most commissions, allowing you to replicate what’s working well (and cut what’s not). Leveraging data can help you to scale your income and take the guesswork out of content creation.

At Advertise Purple, we only work with the best affiliate marketers in each niche. Since 92% of affiliates are fraudulent or non-performers, we seek out the 8% who are top of their game. This is part of the reason that we’re the #1 affiliate management agency in the USA. We help clients across the country to super-charge their affiliate revenue and get the most out of the channel. In fact, our clients see an average of 131% growth in affiliate sales within our first six months of campaign management.  So, if you’re looking to start an affiliate program or want advice on improving an existing one, our team can help. Simply send us a message using the form below, call us at 424.272.7400 or email info@advertisepurple.com. We’d love to hear from you!