Very many of us will be wealthy today. If only affiliate marketing is as easy as walking from point A to B. But that’s not the case. There are many challenges new affiliate marketers face. Which usually leads to quitting.
And those who quit are the overwhelming majority.
The good news is that you can surmount these roadblocks. There are solutions for each. Some are easy, while others require adopting a new mindset.
Below I’ll outline all these challenges and offer ways you can overcome them.
Lack of proper training and knowledge
One of the biggest challenges you will encounter as a beginner is having the right expertise. But having the proper knowledge will ensure success in affiliate marketing.
Knowing what you are doing guarantees confidence. Second-guessing yourself at every turn is a sure killer.
Essential affiliate marketing skills
So what skills do you need?
Good that you ask this. As an affiliate marketer, you will wear many hats. An affiliate marketing business is like any other brick-and-mortar enterprise. It intends to provide solutions to customers’ problems.
Therefore you will play roles like;
- Web designer – how to build and set up a website.
- Researcher – fact-finding on your clients’ needs, solutions, and content to fill these gaps.
- Analyst – skills to examine data, especially keywords data.
- Content creator – skills to generate engaging content.
- Marketer – skills to generate traffic to your blog content like SEO, social media use, email marketing, etc.
To hit the road running, you’ll have to learn what each role entails. The functions can go beyond what I’ve stated above. And how good you get at each determines how effective you get.
Where to learn affiliate marketing
The only way to overcome this limitation is to learn. And learning involves undertaking a relevant course.
Not in the sense of a traditional classroom course. You are free to learn at your pace from wherever you want. There are many that are free, as well as commercial courses.
For starters, Google has a free course on digital skills. It’s not aimed at affiliate marketing per se but still relevant for a beginner in digital skills.
The adage “you get what you pay for” might not be too strict here. An expensive course does not necessarily guarantee results. Nor does a less costly one mean it’s of poor quality.
What to watch out for in online courses
There are established criteria for picking a suitable course. Most sales pages you’ll come across have very enticing copies. And it’s easy to get carried away if you don’t take your time.
Make use of the below considerations to compare and contrast.
- How long the platform has been in business?
- How frequent it has been updated over the years?
- Does it come with undisclosed upsells once you sign up?
- How easy is it to get help and support?
- What is the feedback from its current users?
Also as you learn, practice what you learn. It’s only through action that results can be achieved.
Another avenue for learning is following industry influencers. Some people have a vast knowledge of creating and running online businesses. Read their blogs and follow their social media handles.
We all have expectations once we decide to invest our time and effort into a pursuit. We read and hear lots of uninformed opinions and buy into them.
How many times do you come across posts like these online?
- Start an online business that makes $5,000 every month.
- Make $10,000 every month with this simple trick.
There are many variations of these. They all prey on your inclination to have money now. But no business works like that. There are no guarantees. And it’s unlikely you will move from $0 to $10,000 within a month of starting an affiliate marketing blog.
It can happen, but those odds are not in your favor as a beginner.
The guys at Income School did some research on blog earnings. Below is the analysis they published. Interesting findings.
Research before you begin
The only way to guard against having such unrealistic expectations is by doing research.
What do seasoned affiliate marketers say? Many reputable ones have done it many times over. And they have the experience to form an informed opinion.
For example, the video above is a case study. Therefore it’s informed by data collected over time.
I hope you heard the part where he talks about how long you need for maximized traffic on one blog post.
It’s unwise to fathom earning $10,000 in your first month with only a few blog posts published. First, you need to evaluate the basis for your opinion.
Time is the only finite resource we have. Once it passes by, you cannot recoup it. Therefore, you should budget it judiciously like money.
Many new affiliate marketers face time management struggles because it is a new endeavor. It takes practice to improve.
It’s not unheard of to spend a whole day writing one article.
It will suck at first. There’s too much friction to move. Many quit before it even starts deciding it’s not worth it. Don’t be that person.
But if you stick it out, you will improve at getting things done. You will plan better, research and analyze faster, write more efficiently, etc.
Time management tips
Authors have written countless books on time management. It just goes to show how vital this skill is to every facet of human life.
I’d done a post earlier on time management. I’ll only pen down the practical steps you can take to manage your time better as you start every day.
- Write down everything you intend to achieve on a to-do list.
- Go through the list and prioritize activities.
- Set a time limit to complete a scheduled task.
- Take frequent breaks, like stretching or a short walk.
- Plan ahead.
I recommend Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy for more detailed and practical tips.
Simple time management ensures you create time for everything, even hobbies. It also relieves stress as you can see progress as you check things off your list.
Choosing an appropriate niche
A niche, in simple terms, is an area of expertise for your blog. For example, you can blog about pet dogs, bodybuilding, weight loss, video games, apps, etc. All these are niches.
The vastness of available niches makes the task of selecting one even more difficult. And if you go with this, there’s the opportunity cost of leaving another one.
It’s not possible to juggle several at a time.
For beginners, it becomes even more complicated. There are many other considerations to make. Like is it a profitable niche? Is it a niche I understand and can produce content?
All these analyses can quickly lead to paralysis.
How to choose an appropriate niche
The first niche you choose does not have to be your last. After some time, if you get convinced it will not work, you can switch and start a fresh one.
The problem is that you’ll have wasted time. And time is irrecoverable. Consider the steps below in choosing a niche that best suits you the first time.
- Brainstorm and identify your interests
- Identify problems to solve
- Research the market competition
- Determine the size and profitability
It might seem simple, but some thought needs to go into your decision. For example, your interest might be fitness. But the fitness niche is ultra-competitive.
You will need a load of effort and money to displace well-established blogs. It’s therefore wise to start with a low competition sub-niche of fitness and build it out from there.
List of popular niches
Niches, as I’ve said before, are numerous. I’ve listed the popular ones below. They experience higher traffic and profitability.
But the more popular a niche is, the higher the competition.
- Fitness and weight loss
- Personal finance and investing
- Make money online
- Beauty and skincare
The video below is dated 2020 but still relevant. Watch to get an idea of profitable niches you can select for your blog.
Generating quality content consistently
Creating valuable content is a cornerstone skill for affiliate marketing.
Writing blog posts, putting together YouTube videos, or hosting a podcast can seem easy. Easy if you have to do it once or twice. What about if you were asked to do the same 500 times? Will the quality still be top-notch?
Even seasoned marketers once in a while run into a rut. Having an enabling mindset helps in the long term. You and only you can ‘unrut’ yourself.
New affiliate marketers can get frustrated quite early with coming up with all this content every so often. Most quit and the majority become inconsistent leading to poor search engine rankings.
But not all hope is lost. Follow this guide to give yourself the best chance of success.
How to produce quality content every time
- Grammar – Newbies overlook correct language use. We assume since we can talk English, we can write it as well. I’m sure you’ve come across your fair share of poorly written blog posts that make it very hard to read.
- The good news is that there are tools like Grammarly that can identify grammatical mistakes that need corrections. Use it every time.
- The tone of voice – For blog posts, a conversational tone approach is best. At least that takes the pressure off your shoulders to write like an academic report.
- Write as you would talk to a friend. It’s more engaging.
- Audience – Always have your audience at the back of your mind. Are the readers old, business types, mums, or teenagers? You’ll have to write at their level. In a language and voice they can relate.
- Also, consider the searcher’s intent. You can only uncover this by researching before creating your content. You need to answer their queries and not merely fill up space for the sake of search engines.
Difficulty generating traffic
Quality content leads to traffic. But the catch is it takes some time to pick up considerable traffic.
When starting, it’s usually a nervous time with lots of questions of whether you are doing it correctly. In your learning journey, you’ll come across case studies of blogs receiving loads of traffic.
Know that these were built over several months, even years.
Most beginners get frustrated when they see this and assume it’s just not possible. And that’s before they even scratch the surface!
In the meantime, as you wait for Google to direct traffic your way, you can explore other avenues.
- Create social media accounts and share your content. You will have to build a sizeable following to gain visibility. That also requires time and effort.
- Join communities and forums. In addition to learning, you can also connect with like-minded individuals who can help with guest posting, etc.
- Buy ads on Facebook and Google if you have the budget. Test out different scenarios to discover what converts best.
Choice of affiliate products to promote
Once you can generate some traffic, the next step is to monetize the blog. And here, I mean monetization by way of affiliate products.
Is there a right or wrong affiliate product?
Yes, absolutely. Let’s take a simple example. Your blog is about road running, but your affiliate links point to trail running shoes! You will hardly sell as your audience are not interested in that.
A simple mistake, but it has adverse consequences.
Remember the skill I’d mentioned earlier on research? You’ll need it here to discover the needs of your audience. What are their pain points?
What you will be selling is the solution and not the product. Very important to always have that in mind.
It’s easy to get tied up in a product’s commission cut and forget about your audience.
Watch the video below by Neil Patel to have a better understanding before committing.
Also, dig for more information on affiliate products before promoting.
You can shoot yourself in the foot if the products do not live up to their name. Your audience will blame you for their shortcomings since they knew them through you.
And once trust is lost, you know the rest. It’s best to stick with brands you’ve test-driven or know to be reliable.
Inability to convert traffic to sales
Marketers always say that first, you have to build a connection with customers. And at a personal level. Once they’ve earned your trust then they will be willing to buy from you.
The selling part should not feel like a hard sell either.
You are more of recommending a solution to their problems packaged in a product. It can only go hand in hand with trust.
Most beginner affiliate marketers want to jump from point A to Z without going progressively through the midpoints.
It is usually brought about by focusing too much on the commission aspect. You have to strike a balance. And more importantly, you have to listen to your audience.
- Simplify the navigation – Nobody is patient enough to click through 7 layers of pages to arrive at the product. You know they have alternatives. Right? Your web design could use some tweaking.
- Give a sneak peek – Clients could as well be hesitant, especially if they are spending a sizeable amount.
- If they are unsure about the value, then a free trial or a kind of preview will help to this end.
- Carry out testing – Testing different versions of your message, say a sales page, can give actionable insights. Maybe one version is not compelling enough to customers.
- Use exit-intent pop-ups – I’m sure you’ve come across this. When you try to leave a webpage, a pop-up appears with some information. It can either be a call to action, a question, a suggestion, etc.
- It’s the last chance you have of a customer taking a desired course of action.
Merchants can change terms unexpectedly
Another challenge new affiliate marketers face is advertisers changing terms with little to no notice. It is outside the control of the affiliate marketer, and it’s not easy to anticipate.
You can spend a lot of time and effort creating content around a product only for the merchant to pull it out of the market!
What now? The product might not have a comparable alternative.
Do you ditch the blog? How do you repurpose the content already published?
It’s like getting a punch to the face that you did not see coming. It’s demoralizing.
The merchant can also lower the commissions payable or change when commissions are due, making you wait longer.
All these could be perfectly legal but not desirable. It’s usually in the fine print, but frankly, how many people go through it all.
How to guard yourself
It’s not 100% possible to guard against this. Furthermore, it’s outside your hands. But at least you can follow a few established ground rules to promote affiliate products.
- Do not promote one product only.
- Research the merchant and their products. How long have they been in business? Do they have a history of erratically changing terms? What are other publishers saying?
- Stick to reputable brands. New advertisers may offer mouthwatering commission rates but it also comes with lots of uncertainty as they are not a known brand.
You’ll agree affiliate marketing is like driving a car on a bad road, talking on the phone, watching out for wildlife, etc.
There are lots of things to be taken care of. As an independent business person, you have to have a view of all these at all times. Otherwise, you risk running aground.
But is it doable? Yes. Is it going to be easy? It will not be smooth sailing all the way.
Having a roadmap to follow and knowing what to do at what point is your best bet for success.
The great team at Wealthy Affiliate runs a practical course for beginners. It explains the foundations and the steps you need to take to build your first website and generate traffic to it.
Moreover, you do not need to source any tools externally.
A website builder, domain name registration service, and a keyword research tool are all available within the same platform.