Affiliate Marketing Training:
Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls

By Sarah Jamieson

Affiliate Marketing Training: Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls. In the process of affiliate marketing, affiliates have very little business CONTROL. This lack of control is a huge problem for affiliates.

For example, if affiliates go through the expense of marketing a product – and the merchant changes the product or sales letter and conversions drop, affiliates can’t do much about it.

Also, affiliates can’t improve the product to make it a better fit with what market research tells them potential buyers want.

If a merchant gives bad service to customers, affiliates involved in the sales process can lose their entire marketing investment in that product.

Some of these issues are just part of pitfalls of being an affiliate ...

Affiliate marketing has got a bad name over the last few years, as we saw in the first article in this Affiliate Marketing Training and Tips series, Do Affiliate Marketing Programs Still Work?

The affiliate business model has been flogged to death by almost every internet marketing guru. I’ve read just about every “secret” affiliate eBook and tried nearly every system. Most of them are completely useless.

The bad apples of affiliate marketing have given the good programs a poor reputation that they don't deserve. However, even with most good affiliate programs there are issues you should be aware of before signing up ...

The association between merchant and affiliate should be a close symbiotic relationship – but unfortunately it's usually not.

If you're an affiliate you need to appreciate how merchants operate, and if you're a merchant you need to understand how affiliates operate. Of course, as a merchant you can operate without affiliates but you would be leaving a lot of money on the table.

You can see from the image below that the lack of control can be very difficult for affiliates. Click each item below to read a detailed description:

Affiliate Marketing Training: Traps to Avoid

Let’s look at each of these:

Products Control

Affiliates have no control over the actual products they get commissions for.

This is viewed as an advantage by some affiliates. That is, they don’t have to bother creating products. In reality this is a big disadvantage.

It’s relatively easy to create online products. But of course there is a process you must follow to do this.

Affiliates simply have to accept the product as produced by the merchant.

For example, if the product requires updating and the merchant does not update then the affiliate usually suffers.

Affiliate Terms

Affiliates have no control over affiliate terms. These are usually set by the merchant as a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition.

Marketing Support

Marketing support is an area of eCommerce where most merchants should improve their performance.

The affiliate model for customer referrals is very good. There appears to be an endless supply of affiliates willing to sign up and try to market on a merchant’s behalf.

Unfortunately most merchants don’t support affiliates with training or proper advice.

It’s difficult and time consuming for merchants to deliver a good level of affiliate support. If they did – it would be well worth the investment.

In the meantime, affiliates are generally left to fend for themselves, get their own training, and try their own marketing methods.

Marketing Message

Marketing message is one area where affiliates can obtain a level of control.

Customer Acquisition

Customer acquisition is another area where affiliates can obtain a level of control.

eMail Messages

eMail Messages are another area where affiliates can obtain a level of control.

Sales Letter

The affiliate usually has no control over a merchant’s Sales Letter.

However, a super affiliate, with a large eMail list or client base, can negotiate with a merchant to provide a special Sales Letter specifically designed for that super affiliate.

Sales Process

Affiliates have no control over a merchant’s sales process.

Analytics & ROI Measurement

Return on Investment measurement is a huge disadvantage for affiliates. It’s impossible for affiliates to track prospect activity after the prospect arrives at the merchant’s site. Thus it’s difficult for affiliates to track actual sales.

Affiliates just have to rely on the information provided by the merchant. And usually this information is not adequate to properly measure ROI statistics. Merchants can set up a special ‘tagging’ system for each affiliate but this is seldom done.

Super affiliates can negotiate a special tagging process with a merchant. But it’s hard to get to be a super affiliate. You need strong lead generation and list building credentials to become a super affiliate.

Customer Support

Affiliates have no control over a merchant’s customer support. If the merchant’s customer support is bad then the affiliate simply has to wear it and take the consequences.

Of course the other side of the coin is that affiliates don’t need to bother about customer support.

Product Choice

Affiliates of course can choose to market this or that product. It’s one of the few advantages they have.

If a merchant does not perform or conversions are low, the affiliate can simply choose to market a different product.

Don't get discouraged - it's true that there are downsides to being an affiliate, but there are downsides to any business model.

The good thing about affiliate marketing is that it's a low-risk way to test products and learn a market.

And there are ways to avoid many of the affiliate pitfalls outlined in this article. To learn more, let's move on to the last article in our series, Successful Affiliate Marketing Strategies ...

Affiliate Marketing Training and Tips > What is Affiliate Marketing? > How to Find the Best Affiliate Programs > Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls > Successful Affiliate Marketing Strategies