Maybe you’ve just started affiliate marketing, or maybe you’ve been trying it for a while.
Even after just a handful of sales, (or none at all) you may start to wonder….
Can you really make money with affiliate marketing?
Today, I am going to run through 10 reasons that you could be failing at affiliate marketing.
Now, if you’re already familiar with affiliate marketing and are regulars visitors to my blog, then you probably already know you can make money.
But if you just stumbled by my blog, searching an answer to this question. Then this post will help answer your question!
So, the answer to this question is…….. both yes and no!
Yes, you can make money from affiliate marketing.
But it can take a lot of time, trial and error and significant effort before you start seeing any significant results.
Actually, a majority of people dabble in it, probably won’t make any money.
Mostly because it many affiliate marketing “programs,” attract people with a get-rich-quick mindset and give you unrealistic expectations from the very start.
So, when people put in a little effort and don’t make money right away, they quit. Or, they may put in a lot of effort and still quit, as progress can be slow.
People can also be given poor advice and use out-dated, or damaging techniques to try to drive sales.
Maybe they try to trick google into giving them good rankings, by using risky techniques. This can lead to a Google penalty and you can have your site or blog, quickly disappear from the search results.
There are lots of stumbling blocks along the road and many reasons why you may decide it’s just not worth the effort!
For those who do stick it out though, the results can be awesome for some.
The key issue pretty much boils down to a couple of things – traffic and converting that traffic into paying customers.
While many people will also talk about an email list, it’s not a completely essential component for creating a full-time income from affiliate marketing and, in some cases, it may not even be appropriate.
For example; you could have a site which largely uses the amazon affiliate program and it’s based on running machines, (let’s say…).
Someone finds the info they need, click through your link, purchase the machine and then may never need another running machine again.
While a standard newsletter wouldn’t really work for this sort of site. You could build a list to promote related activities.
For example; you could email your list about sales or offers on other related items… in this case, perhaps running shoes, running watches, workout clothes and so on.
So, there are ways that you could make an email list work for you, in most cases.
I just want to make the point that you do not need an email list to build a full time income and I know a bunch of people who earn a full time income from affiliate marketing and do not have an email list at all.
I would say the number one thing you need to make money successfully at affiliate marketing is traffic, followed by the ability to convert and, depending on the offer, trust.
You don’t always need a relationship with your reader in order to sell – but it will certainly help.
The exception in my experience, is when you’re linking people directly to a company that they are already familiar with and already and that the customer will already trust.
The time when you are going to need trust, is if you’re sending them to a website or offer that they have little or no experience with.
In any case, the reasons that you may not make money from affiliate marketing are wide and varied. But I will give you some examples now…
10 Reasons You’re Failing To Make Money From Affiliate Marketing:
1. Your niche could be too narrow.
Maybe creating a niche site about…. seemed like a good idea at the time. But if you see no one online writing about what you are, chances are there aren’t many people who are interested.
Sure, there can be exceptions definitely and in some cases, if you get on the first page of Google for that niche, you can make a nice little income. But these cases aren’t something you can rely on.
The thing about competitive niches is, they are competitive for a reason. There is money to be made. And often there are still ways you can target sub areas within a niche and carve your own place within it.
2.You don’t really have a niche.
This can be an issue too. If your blog or website targets a tonne of different topics, it’s going to take a long time to gain traction.
Especially if you’re relying on Google for rankings – as Google likes to be clear what a website is about. Once it knows, it will rank content accordingly. But if the topics of your site keep changing, then Google will be confused about your content and how to place you.
Some of the most successful websites end up targeting lots of different topics. But if you are looking to see some sort of results within a small-time frame, having a well-defined niche is a good idea.
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3. Your readers are at the wrong stage of the buying cycle.
You should be aware of where your readers may be in the buyers cycle.
Are they ready and waiting with their wallets out? Or are they still in the research stage? — Or are they just looking to solve a problem, that doesn’t require them to buy anything anyway?
You could have a blog or website that is purely information based, but that is going to be more suited from making money in other ways, such as from paid Ads.
To make any good money from paid Ads, (such as from Google adsense, or Mediavine) you will need a LOT of traffic to make a full time income from that alone.
An ideal scenario is to have enough traffic to make money from a variety of different ways and not just singularly affiliate marketing, paid Ads, or sponsored posts.
4. Your site looks bad and scam like – no one trusts you.
Some blogs just don’t look trustworthy!
If you visit a site that’s full of flashing banners and calls to action bullying you into buying tonnes of different products, you’re immediately going to feel that the site isn’t trustworthy and that you’re only after one thing…. to make money, at whatever cost!
I encourage website owners to share a photo of them on their site and info about them and to keep anything too loud and sales-y to a minimum.
You don’t want to overwhelm your new visitors, before they’ve even had a chance to do anything.
Another thing I can’t stand is a million pop ups. Sure, one pop up is OK… but any more than that and it just becomes annoying.
5. Your affiliate links aren’t being tracked/are broken.
If you were once getting sales and they’ve disappeared.
You may want to check your affiliate links. Affiliate networks and other programs will often not tell you when a product has stopped, or a product has changed.
This can particularly be the case with programs like Amazon and Etsy, where products will regularly come and go.
You need to check the links fairly regularly and change them when necessary.
6. You are not creating regular content.
Google likes active sites that are updated regularly.
If you are not creating regular content and are relying on Google for traffic, your rankings will slowly but eventually start to go down.
Google also likes consistency.
So, it’s better to publish a post several days a week and set your days to so… rather than writing 7 posts one week and zero posts for the next three weeks.
7. You’re expecting too much.
Because so many people online act as though you can easily make many thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a month from affiliate marketing, that can be what people expect.
If you go into it with realistic expectations, (earning a bit of extra pocket money a month, after a few months and building from there…) then you’re going to be far more likely to stick with it.
I mean, if you can make $50 a month, what is to stop you from building that to $500, or $5000 over time?
Once you get your initial sales, you can start looking at what is working and what you should concentrate on.
Useful Post: How to make your first affiliate sale online
8. Your content isn’t compelling enough.
You definitely do not have to be an amazing writer to be an affiliate marketer, but you probably need to be a fairly good communicator.
I’ve seen people become successful without English being their first language, (for example;) but I have noticed that their personality seems to shine through their writing and they have an authenticity about their style, which I think is key.
If you’re just writing some mediocre posts that you have little or no interest in writing, that’s probably going to start to show after a while. If you’re not interested in what you’re trying to say – who else is going to be?
9. Your keyword research sucks.
I won’t go into the details of keyword research here, I’ve written plenty of posts on it before. But, needless to say, if you’re either targeting keywords that are way too competitive, or keywords that don’t have any traffic at all… you’re going to struggle.
Also, you can easily be tricked into thinking that a keyword is low in competition from a keyword research tool… which is why it’s so important to ALSO check the search engine results independently.
Often, a keyword may appear low in competition, but you will see that the top 10 results are entirely dominated by high domain authority websites.
While you can certainly compete with more authoritative websites down the road, your website needs to have a certain amount of authority before you’ll have any chance of doing this.
10. Your calls to action are not obvious enough.
This can be tricky!
Because, depending on your niche, your calls to action may need to be more natural, or more obvious.
You may need to play around with this and track your sales to see how they work for you. However, I have seen calls to action that have no visibility at all – as in, they are just within the text and not even highlighted… so, how could anyone know?
People online have a very low attention span. They don’t want to have to scan over your content for long without knowing what they have to do. Make your calls to action clear, but be cautious of having too many, which could appear over sales-y.
So, there are many reasons that you may not be marking any money from affiliate marketing. Do any of these ring true to you?
Sometimes, showing your content to someone more experienced can help you see where you are at fault. It can be difficult for us to analyse our own content often and someone external can make you realise the things that you may not have noticed!
Before I finish, I should link you to some other affiliate marketing related posts that may help!
- Affiliate marketing explained.
- How long does it take to make money with affiliate marketing.
- Affiliate marketing Pros vs Cons!
- Is Affiliate marketing a scam?
Do you have any other questions about affiliate marketing? Let me know in the comments!
All the best,