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The 3 Biggest Problems With Affiliate Marketing And How To Avoid Them

Aug 17, 2007
It's a sad fact that of all the people who become affiliates and try to build a business around affiliate marketing, the vast majority fail to ever receive even one commission check. And of the ones who do earn an income as affiliates, most earn so little that it's pretty much a waste of their precious time and energy.

After coaching over 100 students in building websites and affiliate marketing, I've noticed three main reasons why many people don't earn the sort of affiliate checks that they deserve for the time they invest in their business.

Incorrect Niche Selection - Get This Wrong And You Have Set Yourself Up To Fail

I've seen people go into niche markets (against my strong advice) where there's been very little chance of making a good income from the affiliate programs and products available. To maximize your chances of becoming a high earning affiliate, you need a niche market that has -

* Plenty of interest (lots of search volume and merchant competition) from people who are passionate (even bordering on being irrational) about learning everything they can to get better at whatever it is they do. They also need to have plenty of money to spend to make sure they get what they want. You must avoid markets that have no money or where people want and expect everything for free, or they are only willing to pay a few dollars for products.

* A range of in-demand, high ticket products that are actually selling on the Internet (many people online have an aversion to investing in 'real' products and instead buy the latest cheap junk promoted by everyone else) so you have a variety of options to offer your website visitors and list members. This doesn't mean you have to promote a constant stream of different products, but it gives you the option to test and measure results until you find something that works really well in that market.

* Product promoters who are marketing savvy and who know how to hit their market's hot buttons and encourage people to buy on an ongoing basis. If you are promoting products as an affiliate for people who are not marketers, you will struggle to earn a reasonable income and you'll waste a lot of valuable leads between each sale you make.

Look for markets that have these three things and you could be onto a winner.

Promoting Low Priced Products Without Having A High Ticket Product Waiting In The Wings

Let's face it, unless you have a lot of website traffic or a large, responsive email list it's very difficult to make a lot of money if all you are selling is low priced products such as ebooks and Mp3 audio files. The most expensive of these sell for around $97 and with the typical commission set at around 50%, you'll only earn a maximum of $48.50 less any payment processing fees. It takes a lot of $48.50's to add up to a reasonable income.

By promoting high ticket products through a stepped, sequential marketing system (something like offering a Free Report to capture the visitor's contact details, a Free Initial Consultation with the product owner to discuss the prospects needs and goals, continual email follow up and special incentive offers) your chances of making some 'real' money are massively increased.

There simply isn't enough profit in low priced products for most merchants to be bothered going to the trouble of setting up a system like this to help you promote their stuff, so most low priced products simply don't have a sequential follow up marketing system in place to maximize your conversions.

Typically, here's what happens -

You send your prospects your affiliate link, about 10% of them visit the merchant's website, and they either buy or they don't (and in about 98% of cases, they don't). With a typical sales letter converting at something like 1% to 3%, you have to go through a lot of prospects to earn that $48.50.

Worse still, the product normally has a 30 to 60 day 'cookie' and if your prospect buys after this time (or returns to the merchant's site through somebody else's affiliate link) you don't get credit for the sale. The important thing here is to make sure your affiliate merchant has a long-term, no-overwrite cookie - it should last for at least 12 months, and preferably longer.

If your merchant is serious about building their business through their affiliates, they'll have a long term, no-overwrite cookie in place to make sure you get proper credit for all of your sales. And if you are serious about becoming a top-earning affiliate marketer, you'll promote merchants who offer high-ticket products as part of their range.

Not Having A Dedicated Affiliate Manager To Coach And Support You

With low priced products, there's little chance that you'll have a dedicated affiliate manager to help you maximize your earnings. Look for affiliate programs that offer coaching and support and somebody you can contact when you have questions or a problem.

Look for -

* An affiliate manager who will make it their mission to do everything he or she can to make joining their program as an affiliate the best decision you've ever made...

* Somebody who can help you in building your affiliate content, articles and landing pages to increase the number of visitors you send them. You need somebody to show you what works and steer you away from what doesn't.

* An affiliate manager who will help you to do things such as set up cloaked affiliate links (to protect your commissions) and help with writing articles and other content that will get people to click through to the merchant's site.

* And if you expect to be sending a lot of visitors to the merchant's website, ask if they offer special personalized 'Partner Offer' landing pages and if they can create them for you.

If you have any questions, problems or requests, your affiliate manager should be happy to bend over backwards to help you - after all, it's in his or her interest to help you to maximize your earnings, isn't it?

So in summary, to maximize your affiliate earnings, you should look for -

* A niche market that has lots of passionate people who are already buying high-ticket products online.

* A merchant with a range of high ticket products you can sell using an automated, sequential follow up marketing system to minimize the work you have to do yourself.

* An affiliate program with a manager who is dedicated to your success and who will go out of his or her way to help you succeed.

Find these three things and your chances of success as an affiliate marketer is virtually assured.
About the Author
Rocky Tapscott is the Affiliate Manager for Sam Goldberg's Futures Trading Coach affiliate program. If you would like to earn up to $999 commission per sale and have access to a personal affiliate manager who will coach and support you, visit
http://www.futurestradingcoach.com/affiliates.htm
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