Affiliate marketing continues to be the hottest topic discussed by webmasters and small business owners alike. It is not a new idea, in fact relying on other common folk to sell your stuff by offering them incentives is as old as human history. The dramatic importance that has gotten attached to affiliate marekting recently however owes to the fact that it can be done on the internet. This means that you can make money with your own website designed to promote the products and services of vendors who in turn pay you commissions for every qualified sale. It is exactly this concept of the virtual world that has made affiliate marketing a very promising avenue by taking away the pains of the physical work of seeing the prospects and pursuading them into buying.
The idea of the virtual world takes affiliate marketing to another level where you don't need to establish personal relationships with people in your industry in order to be able to sell the stuff for which you get paid. You don't need to visit each and every house trying to convince people that the hoover you are selling for a company is exactly the one they need. You don't need to see every doctor in order to pursuade him/her that the company whose medicines you are selling offers a cheap and effective alternative to some of the other brands available on the market. Instead you can promote your site online and continue to reap the benefits from work you do once, which is kind of a residual income.
Not all people however can succeed with affiliate marketing and there can be a variety of reasons for the failure. The following is a list of some of the reasons why most people fail to succeed with affiliate marketing:
1) Lack of Motivation
Lack of motivation is the most common cause of failure for most affiliates. So the first thing you need to have in your heart and mind before you embark upon your affiliate marketing project is motivation. Unless you have the resolve to succeed and make your dreams of financial freedom come true, you cannot achieve success. Affiliate marketing if done properly can most of the times give you a handsome extra income that can supplement your daily job and can sometimes even replace your full-time job. It all depends on how zealous you are. If you are committed to make it happen and don't accept failure, you will definitely see the fruits of your hard work in the time to come.
2) Expectation of Overnight Results
The second thing that you need to stay away from is hastiness. You must have heard the famous proverb "Haste makes waste". Affiliate marketing is not something that can give you results overnight. You need to be persistent and continue to add your work bit by bit in order to achieve the long-term goal of success. It's not a magical stick that you are going to whirl and viola, success embraces you. It takes many nights of planning what your niche is going to be and then what you need to offer to your visitors in order to gain their trust.
3) Poor Visitor Experience
This is another common reason of failure for a great majority of affiliates, and includes two related aspects, namely a poorly designed website and a slow-loading website. No matter how information-rich your site is and no matter how much value it offers to your visitors, if it is not appealing and cannot entice them into exploring more of your site, then it is doomed to be a failure. This is analogous to the everyday dictum "First impression is the last impression". The second thing that can contribute towards a bad user experience is slow loading speed. Again there can be two reasons for this, either a bad web hosting company or the use of too many tables and/or graphics which increases the file size for a single page, and you need to avoid both of these. In order to find a good web hosting company, you need to read impartial editorial reviews and user ratings offered by a credible website such as WHL.
4) Lack of Fresh Content
This implies that either there are too few pages with an above average content density or that there are too many of them with very little content on each. It also implies that the frequency of adding new content and updating existing one is too low in both the cases. Fresh content with valuable information is important for two reasons, search engine optimization and your real human visitors. There is hot debate on the topic whether search engine bots have the capability to understand the meaning and context of written english. Regardless, it is important for you to write content that can be understood by real humans and also offers some value to them. Writing gibberish may help you establish your authority in the eyes of the search engines and attract more visitors. However it will quickly turn away your human visitors and can literally destroy your online business in no time. You need to be good at writing in order to succeed with affiliate marketing, and if you're not, then the only option you have is to hire a writer which will cost you money on a continual basis.
5) Hesitation to Invest a Few Extra Bucks
You must have heard the famous proverb "there is nothing like a free lunch". Although online affiliate marketing can be done with a minimal investment as opposed to a real-world business, investing some money to grow it never hurts. If you have a simple site with PHP pages and you find a script worth a couple bucks that can add value to your site, e.g. by enabling your visitors to leave their comments etc, don't hesitate to buy it. Since there is immense competition worldwide among affiliates just like you to outperform their competitors, incorporating something new into your website that can help you stay ahead of your competition or at least at par with them is never a bad idea. A little investment you do now can prove to be the best thing you did to grow your online business a couple of years from now.
6) Ineffective Marketing Techniques
In order to succeed with affiliate marketing, you need to be innovative and conceive new ways of promoting your website. Many people still believe that exchanging reciprocal links with related websites is the best and the easiest way of promoting a new site. However they are not aware that the major search engines including the search engine giant Google are increasingly frowning upon excessive reciprocal link exchange. If you read "Google Webmaster Guidelines", you will find that they strictly prohibit such tactics in these words "Avoid excessive reciprocal link exchanges". Since the stress is on the word "excessive", exchanging a few reciprocal links will not harm and in fact can give your site a jump start. Directory submissions is another good method of promoting your site. The best way of getting incoming links in the long run however is to keep adding valuable fresh content to your site on a regular basis. The same strategy can be exploited by writing content for other authority sites in return for backlinks. Furthermore, you should also promote your site using newer methods such as social networking sites.
7) Inability to Engage Your Audience
The lack of quality content turns out to be the major reason for your site's inability to engage your audience. Remember, people always come to your website looking for answers to their questions, to resolve their misconceptions, and to improve their overall understanding of the niche you are promoting. No one has the time to keep browsing a website that is very attractive, yet lacks the information one is seeking. Your website's primary purpose should be to satisfy the information hungry users and if you're able to do that, your visitors will be browsing more pages and spending more time on your site. Likewise, if your website is dynamic (works with a database), it has the capability to engage the visitor by presenting information that is custom tailored to the needs of the user. Using a forum on your website where people can discuss the hot issues related to your niche can also help you increase the time a visitor spends on your site.
8) Inability to Retain Your Visitors
The number of returning visitors to a website is a very strong indicator of its credibility, its overall appeal to the end-user, and its ability to make the lives of people easier. When people search for a query on a search engine and see your link, they are expecting that your site is relevant to their query and an authority on the subject. If your website has a professional design and the content on it is able to grab the attention of the visitors, it will enhance its recognition in their eyes and they will return to it often and vice-versa. Since a great majority of people who ultimately purchase stuff from a vendor listed on your site belongs to the category of returning visitors, it is important that you do your best to retain your audience.
9) Failure to Establish Yourself as an Expert
First-time visitors who find some relevancy to their query in your site's content may spend some time browsing the different pages in an effort to evaluate the authenticity of the information you are presenting. If, when crosschecking the information presented by you against that of some of the other authority sites, they find that the facts stated by you are grossly inaccurate or that they reflect your lack of knowledge, they may decide to never return to your site again. This is something that you should try to avoid at any cost since it can seriously hurt your credibility, which is something your online business cannot afford.
10) Failure to Convert Prospects into Buyers
This is the most important aspect of your online business and is the reason why you have established your own little corner of the World Wide Web. People decide to buy the products you are promoting only when they are satisfied that the information you're presenting to them is factual and your site is an authority on the subject. For example, when presenting the facts about a particular advertiser, if you're not able to highlight its strengths and weaknesses and to do a comparative analysis of its services against those of others, your prospects may remain in doubt. This may cause them to defer their buying decision and visit some other websites that may be able to convince them. Furthermore, as already mentioned, it is also important that the information you are presenting is factual and unbiased in order to convince your prospects that you are helping them and not pushing them towards a particular decision.
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