Struggling with affiliate marketing? Frustrated you're not yet generating the level of income you want? I'm going to ask you 7 practical questions to help you turn that around.
You became an affiliate marketer because you wanted to build an online income stream for you and your family and yet, despite hours spent in seclusion hammering away at the keyboard, your traffic and sales stats continue to flatline…
Because affiliate marketing, though simple, is NOT easy!
If you've been an affiliate marketer for any amount of time I'm sure you can relate to this:
I started my first affiliate website six years ago and experienced a lot of ups and downs…
I danced around like a fool when I made my first ever commission.
I was over the moon when I celebrated my first $1,200 day.
I felt proud when I became a super affiliate and went to Vegas.
And I can't even begin to describe what it felt like to achieve my first $30,000 month.
But then there are other days when I feel so overwhelmed…
Days I get nothing done…
Days I think I might be going insane…
Days I struggle with self-doubt…
And days I get so frustrated all I wanna do is chuck the laptop out the window!
Don't get me wrong, I will never take the freedom that comes with working for myself for granted and I love the sense of building something with my online business.
But running a successful affiliate marketing website means managing a lot of moving parts that all have to be in sync with one another. It's tricky. I'm not pretending this stuff is easy.
You're certainly not the only one who's struggled and thought about calling it a day, (I have many times, especially in the beginning) but the fact you're here reading this right now means you still believe deep down that this whole affiliate marketing thing is worth it.
So let's lift the hood on your affiliate marketing business and run diagnostics to figure out what's going wrong and how you can get unstuck.
- Struggling With Affiliate Marketing? Watch This.
- 1. Are You Following The Right Strategy?
- 2. Are You In The Right Niche?
- 3. Are You Targeting The Right Keywords?
- 4. Are You Promoting The Right Products?
- 5. Are You Setting The Right Goals?
- 6. Are You Following The Right Schedule?
- 7. Are You Giving Yourself Enough Time?
- Why Did You Start Affiliate Marketing?
- What's Your Biggest Affiliate Marketing Struggle?
Struggling With Affiliate Marketing? Watch This.
If you're struggling with affiliate marketing, it might signify a deeper problem with your overall strategy or it could just be making a small tweak that makes all the difference.
Here are 7 questions to help you identify the areas you can work on to boost your affiliate income:
1. Are You Following The Right Strategy?
When it comes to strategy, are you running on a single track or being pulled in all directions?
You watch a video about keyword research…
You read about a cool SEO strategy you want to try…
Then you buy an outdated affiliate marketing training course…
Before you know it, you end up with a giant Frankenstein monster made up of a mish-mash-mosh of different methods, techniques and strategies that could never work.
I see this happening a lot, especially with brand new affiliate marketers who have yet to get their first site off the ground.
Look, I totally get it.
There is so much information on how to make money online and without a clear course of action, it's very easy to get lost in the wilderness.
The Israelites zigzagged desert for 40 years but they would've reached their destination in 6 days if they had Google Maps!
Having a clear roadmap to follow will save you years of wandering in the desert!
Similarly, follow the wrong strategy and it doesn't matter how much time or effort you put in, you are never ever going to achieve success
There are so many different strategies but most affiliate marketing courses teach broken strategies that will keep you broke.
Not exactly the best long-term strategy to build your financial future on!
We've reviewed 700+ affiliate marketing courses and make money online programs and I'd say at least 90% of them teach the wrong strategies.
They teach what I like to call The Direct Sales Model:
It's basically where you send all your traffic directly to the sales page of whatever product it is you're promoting.
The end result?
A conversion rate between 0.5 and 1%. For every one hundred people that you send to the sales page, you're going to be lucky if you make one sale.
This is a broken strategy and I struggled with this model for a long, long time. I was doing
everything those online gurus were telling me to do and I couldn't understand why I wasn't making sales.
That was until I discovered what I now call The Invincible Model; the exact strategy I used to triple my sales and officially become a super affiliate.
Here's what The Invincible Model looks like:
It's where instead of sending your traffic directly to the sales page of the product you're promoting, you're adding value upfront through a blog, YouTube channel or value series.
A value series is essentially a set of four pages you send people through where you're answering their questions, giving helpful tips and actually helping your audience before finally sending them to the sales page.
The result of following this strategy is a 10x increase in your conversion rate, meaning you'll make 5 to 10% and actually make a profit instead of losing money like you were with the broken strategy.
If you want to find out how I followed this strategy and exactly what steps you can take to do this, check out my Invincible Marketer review.
It's going to walk you through how to get everything set up and I know it's really going to help you – follow the right strategy and you'll get the right results every single time!
2. Are You In The Right Niche?
All too often I see newbie affiliate marketers chasing the money and finding themselves in a niche they have absolutely no interest in.
Maybe they see a tractor affiliate program paying out $1,000 per sale and despite not having the foggiest idea about farming or agriculture, they decide it's a good idea to churn out articles about tractors.
That's just not going to turn out well!
Rather than chasing the money, people always say you should choose a niche based on a passion or hobby you have, and I think that's sound advice.
Don't get me wrong:
I'm not saying you have to be super passionate about your chosen website topic, but you should at least be interested in it.
The reasons are obvious – torture yourself to come up with a 2,000-word post on tractors when you have zero interest in them and chances are you'll get so bored you'll abandon the site altogether…
While you want to go into a niche that's profitable, you'll find it a lot easier to create content around topics you enjoy talking about and it'll give you a huge advantage over competitors who are merely in it for the money.
3. Are You Targeting The Right Keywords?
If you don't know what keywords are, they're basically phrases or questions people search in Google and you can use a keyword research tool to find out how many searches any particular phrase gets searched each month.
As you're creating blog posts or YouTube videos as an affiliate marketer, you obviously want to go after keywords you can rank for and earn money from. I see a lot of affiliate marketers struggle because they're targeting the wrong kinds of keywords.
Let's say you start a photography blog. An example of the bad type of keywords to go after would be something general like “photography tips for beginners”.
It might get a lot of searches per month and I'm not saying you can't make sales with that kind of keyword, but somebody searching for photography tips for beginners is much less likely to buy a camera than someone searching for “GoPro HERO10 review”.
You've got to think about the searcher intent. That is, you've got to put yourself in the shoes of the person searching.
We know a lot about someone searching “GoPro HERO10 review”.
- They're interested in photography
- They've decided to buy a camera
- They're thinking about buying a GoPro and just want to confirm it's a smart choice
So you can come in then and do a super-helpful review and ranking for these types of keywords is much more likely to result in commissions for you.
4. Are You Promoting The Right Products?
My next question to someone struggling with affiliate marketing is, are you promoting the right kinds of products? This will make a huge difference to your bottom line.
As obvious as it sounds, it took me years to get my head around this one…
Someone who's promoting a $50 ebook, for example, is going to make far less than someone promoting a $300 course.
Something to keep in mind if you're not at the level of income you want to be at is your customer lifetime value.
If you're going to all that effort to generate those leads or you're paying for ads or you're creating all that content, you want to be getting the biggest bang for your buck as possible
Whilst maintaining your integrity, of course, you only want to promote high-quality products that are actually helpful to your audience…!
So when you're picking products to promote, make sure that you're thinking about the lifetime customer value and seeing on average how much you're going to make per sale.
5. Are You Setting The Right Goals?
I see a lot of people just starting out set goals that are more like objectives, like:
- I need to make $1,000 a month.
- I want to have 30,000-page visits per month.
- I'm going to replace my full-time income by the end of the year.
While I'm all for aiming high, this type of goal setting only sets you up for failure because you might work your butt off for months and feel like you're getting nowhere…
Instead, set goals that are actionable.
These are the super-practical steps you can take to achieve your bigger objective.
For example, living in Thailand I'm always looking to improve my language skills, but if I said my goal was to master the Thai language and speak fluently, I would get annoyed and frustrated every time I made a mistake.
Instead, I set daily, actionable goals like:
- Learn ten new words per day
- Read a Thai book for thirty minutes per day
- Have a conversation with at least one stranger per day
They're practical and achievable and by smashing these goals I'll naturally achieve my bigger objective of speaking Thai fluently.
So for your affiliate marketing business, set yourself ten or twenty actionable goals and tell yourself you must not get discouraged until you complete all of them.
- Publish thirty 1,500-word articles on my website
- Upload ten videos to YouTube
- Find a higher paying affiliate program
This type of goal setting puts you in the driver's seat and gives you a road map to follow.
I hope you can see the power of this – practical goals make it so much easier to keep going because if you're tempted to feel discouraged at ten posts, you know you're not finished yet, so you keep going until you have thirty high-quality, keyword-targeted posts on your site.
By all means, dream big goals for your online business, but then make sure to plan out clear, practical and yes, *actionable* goals that will drive you to success.
6. Are You Following The Right Schedule?
If you want to know what separates the men from the boys, this is it.
Having a set work schedule really can make or break your online career.
So many aspiring entrepreneurs tell me what their online income goals are and when I ask them how much time they'll invest to achieve them they say:
“Whenever I have spare time.”
I'm sorry, that's not gonna cut it.
If you're stuck in a rut or struggling to take your business to the next level, it may well be because you're treating affiliate marketing like a hobby instead of a profession.
A hobbyist will tinker around here and there, but a professional carves out time and shows up on time, whether they feel like it or not.
Obviously set a schedule that's realistic and achievable, but I'd recommend you take at least one action step each day to move your business forward.
When I started my first website in the church leadership niche I was still working forty hours a week at my full-time job, so I had to set time aside in the evenings and weekends, often working late into the night.
Yes, I was exhausted and would've much preferred to binge-watch my favourite Netflix series, but because I made a promise to myself I would spend at least an hour a day building an online income stream, I did.
So, whether it's a post a day or a post a fortnight, be intentional about setting aside time where the only thing you're doing is taking your affiliate site forward.
Here Are 3 Things That Help Me Work More Efficiently:
a) A Designated Workspace
I can't emphasise enough just how important this is. When it comes time to work you go to your distraction-free workspace and you get stuff done. Make sure your phone's off and shut out any distractions.
The key here is having a designated place, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. When I first moved to Thailand my desk was a rusty ironing board and my office chair was the end of my bed…
Of course, now I have an ergonomic office-style chair (much better for my back) and a proper desk setup, but sometimes you've just got to work with what you've got!
b) Trello Is A God-Send
My sister introduced me to Trello.com just recently and it's already changed my life. It's basically a task management app/website with boards and lists to help you organise your work.
Pre-Trello, my desk was littered with Post It notes and random scraps of paper but now it's easy to add a task to my to-do list or target keywords to my next post ideas board.
Maybe I'm a total geek but I can't get enough of Trello right now! They do have a paid version but the free version is the only one I use. 🙂
c) YouTube Playlists And Countdown Timers
Some get more done in silence but I need a good playlist to get me in the ‘zone.'
I also find adding time pressure works well. Online-Stopwatch.com looks like it hasn't been updated since 1998 but cuts my writing time in half.
If you're serious about making money with affiliate marketing, forget about doing this “whenever you have spare time” nonsense. You are running a real business and you need to be intentional about your schedule to succeed.
7. Are You Giving Yourself Enough Time?
By far the biggest reason affiliate marketers struggle is because they're too impatient.
And I can understand why:
According to Ahrefs, it can take 6 months before Google starts ranking your website.
That's 180 days of feeling like you're working for free, of wondering if anyone will read what you're writing, of struggling with self-doubt.
When you're building your first site, that's a hard slog!
You've been working on your site for 4 months and you see no traffic, or your goal is to get to 30 posts and you're struggling to get from post 9 to 10, you've just got to grit your teeth and see it through.
I launched TheMakeMoneyOnlineBlog.com in 2017 knowing full well I was heading into an ultra-competitive niche. But since I already had a couple of successful niche sites under my belt I knew it was just a matter of time before I started seeing traffic and sales.
And once you've done it once, you can do it again and again.
I started an affiliate website in the language niche, take a look at my Google Analytics stats for the last six months:
You see September, October, November?
I was working my butt off writing 2,000+ word articles every single day and I had zero results for my efforts, no upturn in traffic.
If you're a beginner creating your first site from scratch then I totally get that it can be hard to believe your website will ever see the light of day. The self-doubts can start to creep in and you wonder if you're wasting your time…
What if I had given up in November? Would I have seen the steep spike in traffic? What if your sharp upturn in traffic is just a few posts away?
If you just see it through and post consistently, you will experience a breakthrough. You have to have the mindset where failure is just not an option.
Then, once you've had that success with one site, it's a lot easier to believe it will happen again because you've experienced it first-hand.
Pace yourself too, there's only so long you can go without adequate sleep and sunlight!
Rather than throw your laptop out of the window, sometimes it's best to just shut it down and give yourself a break (and refuse to feel guilty about it!)
Why Did You Start Affiliate Marketing?
When you feel like quitting, you need compelling reasons to keep going…
I had my reasons for starting my niche sites:
- I wanted out of the 9 to 5
- I wanted the freedom to work anywhere in the world
- I wanted to be my own boss and have ultimate control over my life.
Maybe you started because you hate your job, want to provide financial stability for your family or save for retirement – whatever your reasons, remind yourself of them whenever your motivation is low.
Write out your reasons and stick them on the wall in front of you if you have to.
(As I'm typing this, I have a photo of a Honda CBR 600 motorbike that I'm saving up for pinned to my notice board.)
Whatever your big why is, keep it upfront and centre in your mind, it'll keep you moving forward.
Take a break if you need to, but quitting is NEVER an option. Your big why is the reason you started and the driving force that keeps you going.
What's Your Biggest Affiliate Marketing Struggle?
I hope some of the questions and strategies in this post has helped trigger some new inspiration and ideas!
To recap, you will get there if you:
1) Follow the right affiliate marketing strategy
2) Choose the right niche
3) Target the right keywords
4) Promote the right products
5) Set the right goals
6) Keep the right schedule
7) Give yourself enough time (and keep going!)
What are your biggest struggles and frustrations with affiliate marketing right now?
Is it knowing where to start?
Is it getting traffic or sales?
Let me know in the comments and I'll be more than happy to help in any way I can.
If you've struggled to make any money with your affiliate website in the past, help our readers by telling us what actionable steps you took that helped you breakthrough!