When was the last time that your affiliate link in your posts earned you new commissions?
When was the last time that post was well received by your readers?
Asking yourself questions like these can make the difference when you try to earn affiliate commissions from your blog posts.
You have to understand that Web users have a fine eye for detecting deception and untrue statements, so you can’t just drop your affiliate link anywhere in your blog and hope users will click it and buy.
Such a link will most likely be ignored. In the worse case, you will lose those readers who found out about the ‘deception’.
In this post, I list 5 affiliate marketing mistakes you should avoid at all costs (and reap the benefits).
1. Blatant sales pitches
No one will believe what you say if you shout it out loud, in high pitch, stressing the features and benefits of your affiliate product and how your readers can’t miss such a wonderful opportunities.
People don’t want sales pitches — they want real experiences by real people. Genuine opinions, first hand accounts of how something worked well for them. People want proof, they want to see that you really care about your affiliate product and are not just about the money.
Brian D. Hawkins’ review of Ryan Holiday’s Growth Hacker Marketing book is a good example of a review (containing affiliate links) that makes an impact and doesn’t go salesy.
2. Spamming the Web
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Not so much, considering how much affiliate link spam is still done these days.
Nobody will care about the product or service you are trying to promote if you simply throw your link in forum signatures, community profiles, social networks and comments. If you went against the platform rules, you also risk to see your link deleted or your account, email address or IP banned.
When you attempt to promote your affiliate link via existing platforms, always make sure you are allowed to do so. Stick by the rules, contact the admins, make yourself a favor by leaving a good impression on the people who manage the site. They may be more likely to allow you a bit of (genuine, interesting) self-promotion.
3. Asking readers to buy to help you
If readers are not interested in your product or service, they won’t buy. It’s that simple.
However, you can try to spark their interest with a blog post (or a series of) that delivers your honest opinion, how-to and experience with the product. Add images and videos to make it even more convincing.
Ideally, these posts will be on a blog of yours that is in the same niche as the product or service you are trying to promote. It would be useless to place the affiliate link on a blog in a non-related niche or on your personal blog. However, your niche readers will be more receptive to anything good you can offer them — including your affiliate product.
4. Hiding aff links behind something else (cloaking)
It’s deception. Users hate deception. You’re going to build yourself a bad reputation because of this — if you are doing this, stop already!
All affiliate links (like sponsored links) must be disclosed to your readers. They must know you are trying to promote a product, and that product isn’t your “best friend’s new recommendation” or “something so good you just ran into” — it’s your recommendation, based on your personal taste and the remuneration you will get with each purchase.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has rules for affiliate marketing in addition to sponsored content. Please take a read before you do something that puts you in trouble (it’s why this post exists!).
5. Breaking the rules for affiliation
Each affiliate program comes with its own rules. For example, Amazon’s rules are that you can’t put affiliate links in offline products (so mind your PDFs).
Always read through your affiliate program rules and contract, because ignorance can put your earnings and account at risk.
Have you ever committed one of these mistakes? How do you manage your affiliate products?
Share your stories in the comments below.