Affiliate marketing can be a great way to supplement your blog’s income. It requires little effort on your end, and while the rewards are usually small for an individual transaction, they can add up over the long-term.
But don’t mistake affiliate marketing for easy money. Using this strategy effectively also requires avoiding the sort of mistakes that can lead to backlash against your blog or even, in some cases, disputes between you and the merchant.
Here are some common affiliate marketing mistakes and helpful hints on how to avoid them.
1. Hiding Your Affiliation
If blogging had a set of commandments, one of the first would be to always be upfront. Readers appreciate when bloggers disclose their affiliations; otherwise readers are making money on someone else’s behalf without even knowing it. Identify affiliate links whenever you include them.
Say you blog about mining equipment, and you include a link to a company’s product that you have tried and like very much. It’s not enough to simply say you like the company; you must also disclose that you will get a kickback if someone clicks on that link and buys something.
The worst thing that can happen is to gloss over or cover up an affiliation only to have readers discover it and protest. Being honest and open will help uphold your reputation as a reliable blogger.
2. Promoting Too Much
Since affiliate marketing is a relatively low-effort way to make money, some bloggers can get carried away, loading up on affiliations. Don’t be that blogger. Readers will get turned off by your skills if you’re promoting something that really has nothing to do with your blog.
Let’s go back to the earlier example. If you are a mining blogger and you keep popping up affiliate links for weight loss products, you’re putting your desire to make money above your commitment to your readers to have a relevant, readable product. Never lose sight of why you’re blogging.
3. Promoting Something You Haven’t Tried or Don’t Like
Do not ever link up with a product that you yourself have not tried or, worse yet, something that you tried but did not like. Posting affiliate links is a de facto endorsement, and you should not endorse anything you’re not 100 percent behind. Even if you are not personally involved in the manufacture or distribution of the product, it will reflect badly on you if people buy something sub par from a link on your site.
It’s not uncommon for bloggers to get caught in the middle when readers find a product does not deliver what it advertised. Are you prepared to take that risk? Then you need to try it out for yourself ahead of time. Remember, it’s not just the product itself, either.
Take note of customer relations, shipping, ease of ordering and other things that go into the overall product experience. Also be sure to keep in mind pricing. While you may have tried the product for free to establish the relationship with the company, others will be paying, and they should get a good return for their money.
Most people fail at affiliate marketing. That’s not to say that you’re guaranteed to fail, you just need to make sure that you have a fully formed strategic and well thought out affiliate marketing plan to implement before you just dive in and find yourself drowning.