A common misconception linked with affiliate marketing is that it’s easy money. Affiliate marketing is definitely a great way of generating passive income, but it does not come easy. If not done right, your affiliate marketing campaign could end up being a waste of your valuable time and effort.
Knowing what to do is important but so is knowing what not to do. There are some common affiliate marketing mistakes that may cost you valuable conversions.
We’ve listed a few common mistakes that you should avoid if you want to create affiliate marketing content that converts.
1. Making your content sound like a sales pitch
It might seem that the best way to get conversions is to focus only on selling the product. In doing so, affiliate marketers often push a product so much that their content ends up looking like a sales pitch.
If you highlight only the pros, show no comparison to other competing products, or make superlative claims, it is likely the audience will find your content hard to trust.
To build a loyal following for your affiliate marketing content, it has to be useful and honest. The focus should be on helping the reader learn about all aspects of a product, good or bad, and make an informed decision before buying.
Only when your content adds value to a buyer’s research can you expect them to keep coming back for more. And this following that you build over time can ensure more conversions.
2. Not knowing the product you’re promoting
You can only write an authoritative piece of affiliate content if you know the product well enough. Without a deep understanding of the product, your content would end up being superficial and your audience can very well perceive that.
It is important to spend some time studying the product and learning what people want to know about it. If you can’t have a first hand experience of the product itself, you can still gain some insight. Read as many reviews as you can, join industry blogs and forums to see what people have to say about it, and try to get as much exposure as possible.
This is also why it is better to stick to a niche. Researching within a niche would be easier than having to study different products from diverse industries.
3. Not picking targeted keywords you can rank for
Keywords can be found through a keyword search tool. Check which keywords bring more volume or which ones your competitors are ranking for. But most affiliate marketers try to rank for the same keywords, which makes it extremely tough to compete.
A good way to ensure that your content ranks higher in search, and also satisfies user intent, is to pick long tail keywords for organic search. For instance, instead of just using the keyword “best smartphone” you can add “best smartphone for low light photography”. That answers a specific query and not many big publishers usually rank for such concentrated keywords.
So, you’re addressing a user’s targeted search intent and ranking better in search, increasing your chances of conversions.
4. Not optimizing the content for search engines
SEO is an inseparable part of any content strategy. Beginners in affiliate marketing may not pay much attention to SEO, which holds back their search rankings despite having great content.
Not just what keywords you use but where you place them in your content is also important. To rank better in search, use the targeted keywords in the title, meta description, the body of the post, and even in your feature image’s meta description. Make sure the keywords fit in with the content and look natural.
The length of your affiliate content also affects SEO. Depending on what type of affiliate marketing content you are creating, you have to decide on an optimum length to rank better in search. For instance, the optimum length of a blog post should be at least 1500 words. If you can write high quality, engaging posts beyond 2000 words you could rank even better.
External and internal linking are equally important for SEO. Internal links can help users navigate to other pages on your site and establish link equity. External links from authoritative sites can improve the credibility of your content both in the eyes of the users and search engines.
Implementing these SEO best practices in your affiliate marketing content can bring a big difference to your conversion rates.
5. Copy-pasting content from the product website
Beginners or inexperienced affiliate marketers often tend to copy and paste content directly from the product’s sales page. Maybe because they’re not willing to do the research or do not have much experience in creating good affiliate content.
But this is a grave mistake – here’s why.
If you are copying content from another website, search engines consider this as duplicate content. Google does not encourage duplication and so your search rankings suffer, causing your affiliate site to lose a lot of traffic.
Do your research and write original content instead. You can always refer to the product website for gathering correct information, but make sure to rephrase and present everything in your own words.
6. Neglecting structure and readability of the posts
With affiliate content too, the structure of a post and its readability play an important role in determining user experience. Nobody wants to be faced with a massive wall of text, even if it is just a product review. A well-structured post, with clear demarcations and dedicated sections, is always more inviting and engaging.
Decide on a proper structure with relevant subheads, bulleted lists, tables and other elements. For better readability, use clear fonts, avoid long sentences and paragraphs, and include relevant images after every few hundred words. In other words, break the monotony from time to time to keep the reader engaged.
7. Not creating and posting content regularly
The frequency of posting on your affiliate blog is important for both search rankings and audience engagement. If your affiliate posts are few and far between, your site may lose out on the freshness score, which is a criterion that Google uses for ranking.
Pages that keep updating quality content more frequently tend to rank better in search.
Create and post content frequently to increase audience engagement, as readers keep checking your blog for new material. When your audience knows they can expect something new every few days, you’re bound to get more visitors to your blog. If they keep seeing the same old posts for a long time, they’re less likely to visit again thus costing you conversions.
You need to take care, though, that the pressure to create more volume does not take a toll on the quality of your content.
8. Cramming content with affiliate links
Nobody wants to be swamped with affiliate links when reading a blog post. Remember that your audience is here to learn something about the product and if they like what they read, they’ll probably click on your affiliate link. But if you keep pushing it too much, they begin to doubt your credibility.
Also, Google does not prefer pages with hundreds of affiliate links and it might lower your search rankings.
Use affiliate links smartly so that they don’t look spammy. You can place them just a few times in the body of your content, wherever they fit in. The best place to add them is along with your Call to Action at the end of the post.
9. Not making good use of your evergreen content
Current trends and the “best XYZ for 2020” are certainly great for driving traffic to your site. But there are some content pieces, even in affiliate marketing, that are evergreen and sustainable. Affiliate marketers often overlook the importance of such evergreen content that have high link building potential.
There has to be a detailed how-to article or a comprehensive user guide you created in the past which is relevant even today and will continue to be so. These long-form, high-authority pieces of affiliate content must be revived and used for link building wherever possible. You can update these old posts and the titles, adding [Updated for 2020] or something similar, for a fresher appeal.
It is important to make such posts an integral part of your affiliate marketing content strategy. They can increase the number of inbound links to your site for years to come.
10. Focusing on quantity rather than quality
Affiliate programs are lucrative for sure. There is a common feeling among affiliate marketers that the more programs you join and the more products you promote, the more income you could generate.
But, practically, when you join more and more programs the time you can devote to each one decreases. You spend lesser time on researching and creating informative content and the quality of your content dips. This means reduced value for the readers and lesser conversions for you, no matter how many programs you are a part of.
It would instead be wise to stick to just a few appropriate, reliable affiliate programs in a niche you’re confident about and make the most out of them. Choose your affiliate partners carefully, preferably ones that have a reputation of being ethical and genuine.
11. Writing irrelevant content
It is important to have a niche and to stick to it as well. If your affiliate marketing blog’s niche is electronics, say, you should not be promoting herbal beauty products there. People follow your blog because they are interested in the niche and want reliable information related to it.
For your affiliate marketing blog to be seen as an authoritative source, you have to stick to your strong point. Create content that your followers want to read, and not something irrelevant just because it seems profitable.
Writing irrelevant content will only make your affiliate blog look fickle and uncommitted.
12. Not exploring different content channels
A successful affiliate marketing campaign cannot be limited to just your blog or website. There are multiple channels that offer you a much wider reach. Not taking advantage of these channels is one of the biggest mistakes an affiliate marketer can commit.
Learn to create affiliate content for channels other than your blog,. Email marketing can help you reach your target audience directly. Even if your search ranking suffers for some reason, you will have your email list to notify your readers about new posts. So, start collecting emails and create content suitable for email marketing.
Social media is another great place to increase your affiliate content’s reach. You can create a page targeting your niche that shares useful information. Share your content there and also your affiliate links once in a while. Do not spam your affiliate links on other groups or pages, because that is unsolicited, but you can always direct people to your site.
13. Not tracking your affiliate content’s performance
Just creating and publishing quality affiliate content does not ensure conversions. You also need to track the performance of the content. Many affiliate marketers overlook the importance of tracking.
To identify what is working and what’s not, for your affiliate marketing campaign, you must know how each of your content pieces is performing. Use proper tools to track your site’s performance and analyze the data to determine which posts are bringing returns and which are not.
If you are guilty of committing any of these affiliate marketing mistakes, it is time to rethink your content strategy. Avoiding these common blunders and following the affiliate marketing tips above, can improve your content’s performance exponentially. You can then finally bring in that much-coveted passive income from your affiliate campaigns.