Blogging Tips and Resources

Why Most Bloggers Fail at Affiliate Marketing

June 12, 2016

Most bloggers fail at affiliate marketing (sad but true). Learn the 5 reasons why bloggers fail at affiliate marketing and what you can do to start succeeding!

Today I am sharing my thoughts on why most bloggers fail at affiliate marketing.  You may even be among the large group of bloggers that struggle to earn money through affiliate marketing.  If so, read on–you have come to the right place. 

Have you ever wondered why some bloggers are hugely successful with affiliate marketing while you are struggling to make a single affiliate sale?  It’s frustrating.  I know because I remember how I felt when I was waiting for my first affiliate sale to come it.  It’s awful and discouraging.  So let’s take a look at what you are doing wrong.  Once you identify what you are doing incorrectly, it will be much easier to transition onto a successful path, which we will talk about next week. 

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Many Bloggers Don’t Really Understand the Logistics of Affiliate Marketing

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t totally “get it” at first.  But once I did, I realized it’s quite simple.  Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting someone else’s product.  The graphic below helps explain the process in the context of blogging. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy to consistently put into action. 

Most bloggers fail at affiliate marketing (sad but true). Learn the 5 reasons why bloggers fail at affiliate marketing and what you can do to start succeeding!

They Are Trying to Sell Products Their Readers Aren’t Interested In

Many bloggers think the more products they link to the better off they will be.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Readers follow your blog because your content is relevant to them and they value your opinion.  You have to include links that interest your readers so that they will click on them and hopefully make a purchase.  If you are a home blogger, chances are that your readers aren’t going to be interested 10 new TVs on the market (which may seem like a great post idea because of potentially high commissions).  But they may be interested in learning about the new TV you purchased for yourself, your review of it and how you styled the area around your TV.  If you stuff your blog posts full of products you haven’t tried yourself, there is a good chance that your readers will be turned off and you will lose them, not to mention the fact that you will fail to make any sales. 

The bottom line is that focusing on a smaller number of products that are highly relevant to your readers is always better than stuffing your posts with affiliate links thinking “more is better.”

They Don’t Link to Low-Priced Items

As a DIY blogger, I used to think, “I’m not going to link to that Mod Podge in my tutorial because it’s only $5.00.”  Big mistake!  I now realize that many people aren’t familiar with the materials I use in my tutorials and so they will click over to see what the item is.  They may not buy that particular item, but I don’t care because they may purchase other items while they are there and I will still earn a commission on their purchases.  Yep.  They don’t need to purchase the particular item you linked to—they just need to purchase something.  Now if I think there is any chance that a reader won’t know what a particular item is, I link to it, even if it costs less than $1.00. 

They Include Photos and Prices of Everything

I have seen TONS of bloggers in my niche making this mistake.  As a general rule, when I include a material list in my DIY tutorial posts, I only include plain text affiliate links.  So if a reader wants to know what the item looks like or how much it costs, they have to click on the link to find out.  You can’t make any affiliate sales until you get them to click through!  The clicks are the first vital step of the process, so the more clicks you get the better.  If you give your readers all the information about a product up front, chances are they won’t click on the link and you’ve just lost loads of potential sales.  Below you can see a screenshot of how most of my material lists in my tutorial posts are formatted (the affiliate links appear in pink).

Most bloggers fail at affiliate marketing (sad but true). Learn the 5 reasons why bloggers fail at affiliate marketing and what you can do to start succeeding!

They Give Up When Affiliate Sales Don’t Start Rolling in Right Away

I’ve also seen this time and time again.  A blogger gets excited about affiliate marketing and includes affiliate links in a few posts and waits for sales to start pouring in.  When they don’t start making sales within weeks or days, they get discouraged and give up. 

Know that succeeding with affiliate marketing takes time and consistency. The results do not come overnight.

I may be the only affiliate marketing educator out there who will be honest with you about this. So many affiliate marketers out there tell people how easy it is to make gobs of money through affiliate marketing. That's not true. It is true that affiliate marketing is a fabulous way to earn passive income, but you have to put in the work to get to that point. The problem is, most people get discouraged and give up before they get there.

From what I have seen, bloggers give up far too quickly when they don't see affiliate sales start rolling in immediately. BE PREPARED for it to take some time before you start making any sales.

Why should you stick with it? Because when you DO start to make affiliate sales, the profit is residual. That hard work you put into your blog posts and ongoing promotion of those posts + social media shares of affiliate links will pay off month after month. I check my Amazon Associates account every morning just to see how much I made while I was sleeping. It's a wonderful feeling, but it takes time. Be patient. Be consistent. Your hard work will pay off.

In the past 5 months, I have earned over $20,000 in affiliate revenue through my blog. That's as much as I earned ALL of last year through affiliate marketing. What's interesting is that my traffic has dropped.  That, my friends, is the nature of affiliate marketing. It takes time to build the passive income, but then it seems to multiply like magic. (PS- It's not actually magic, it's that more and more people click the links and make purchases over time).

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  1. Sonya Stover says:

    Thank you so much for the free tips. I haven’t started a blog, but I was researching some of the best methods of starting and succeeding at it. I came across your site on Pinterest. Thanks so much for a plethora of information! It is very helpful and detailed. I will be sure to pass this information on to others. Thanks again!

  2. Sandra says:

    Hi Tasha,

    I found your beautiful blog thanks to your guest post on Abby’s blog and I’m so glad I did. It was very insightful to read it and then hop over here to find out even more about the topic. You write very clearly and explain a very complex system so that it’s easy to understand. Thank you so much! I just signed up for your free quick-start guide and can’t wait to learn even more. I started my little blog only a month ago but plan on including affiliate links in the future. It has been a great experience so far and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead of me.

    I will now keep reading your other blogging related posts and wish you a most wonderful week!

    All the best, Sandra

    • Tasha says:

      Best of luck to you! Welcome to the blogging community! Thanks for reading :)

  3. […] 5 Reasons Most Bloggers Fail at Affiliate Marketing […]

  4. You’ve made some great points in your post. I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for many years now and one thing that I like doing from time to time is check and see which products were actually purchased by the customers I sent them. Most of them are not the products I recommended in my articles and blog posts. Like you said, they need to click through and get “cookied” to you as the affiliate. That’s all. Anything they buy – you get the commission.

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