an experienced affiliate coordinator I have encountered
and had to resolve a huge number of affiliate blunders and
mistakes that have dramatically affected their commission
rate. These mistakes have ranged from wrongly pasted links
to ‘affiliate glutony’. I am not going to tell you
what you should or shouldn’t do, as there is always an
exception to the rule, but there are certain things that
you should ‘never’ do, for example, violate your
are certain ‘correct’ procedures that you need to
practice in order to succeed in affiliate marketing.
If you follow the set of guidelines I shall lay out
and not follow the path to affiliate gluttony, then
affiliate programs can make you a certain amount of money.
– Banner Farms
recently wrote a report on how to effectively use links on
your web page, thus I am only going to go over the basics
(please read ‘Valuable tips for using links in affiliate
marketing’). One point that needs to be taken seriously
and which I see on a very regular basis is ‘affiliate
gluttony’ i.e. webmasters who download every banner they
can get their mitts on, making their web page look like it
should belong on the Vegas Strip rather than the
world-wide-web. In basic terms affiliate gluttony is an
unfocused attempt at earning multiple income streams. Over
the short term you may have an incredibly high impression
count (i.e. every time a banner is viewed) but your
click-through ratio will be extraordinarily low. All your
visitor is going to do is head straight for the ‘back’
browser button. Whereas if you use targeted text and
banner links on relevant web pages, then you are
attracting targeted visitors; your impression count might
not be very high, but your click to sales will be much
higher, and in affiliate marketing that is the aim of the
- It has been found that banners, normally those around
468 x 60 (pixels) are more striking and thus clicked on
more than the smaller pixel banners.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that bigger is
better as you can aesthetically fit more smaller 234 x 60
banners on a front page without making it look tacky and
- A recent report suggests animation can increase response
rates by up to twenty five percent! Care does need to be
taken when placing these banners; flashing colours and
fancy pixels would be noticed, but it would be unwise to
place these banners
on pages where a user would dwell over an extended period
of time as the animation can become more annoying than
beneficial. Also try to remember that simplicity
sells – the graphics on the banners should enhance the
message and not distract from it.
- There are certain words and phrases that can grab your
visitors’ attention and result in a click-through. The
is the most powerful word in advertising; when it comes to
freebies what has anyone got to lose
… absolutely nothing, in fact they have more to
gain than anything else, which is why the freebie
directories in the http://www.ukaffiliates.com/
network are the most successful. Also remember that
phrases, for example,
‘WITHOUT CHARGE’ and ‘LAST CHANCE’
give a sense of urgency – and we all know that the
average web-surfer does not want to miss out on any
- Conventional 'Net wisdom’ is that banner adverts
perform best the higher up a page they are placed but I
recently found a definitive report on the web, which
challenged this view and in fact the results showed a
remarkable contradiction to convention. There is never
going to be a right or wrong answer to where the most
effective position is for adverts on your web page (mainly
due to the huge diversity of the web-surfer); just don’t
make it look like a banner farm.
- Using fast-loading banners is critical – remember if your
visitors do not wait for them to load, they won't get a
chance to click on them. In a recent test by Ad Resource
they found that the C.T.R. went from one percent when
using banners of over 10,000 bytes to nearly three percent
when the banners were around 3,000 bytes.
– It is good practice to refresh your banners on a regular basis. In fact
Yahoo claims that banners burn out after two weeks of use
and a recent study found that after the fourth impression,
response rates dropped from 2.7 % to under 1%.
awareness - I wasn’t surprised to find out that the better-known
merchants were given more prominent positions on our
affiliates’ websites. This is pretty much
self-explanatory; the average web-surfer of the web would
rather place their trust (i.e. bank details) in high
street brand names than newly established internet
businesses. I also found that if a merchant was a
‘blue-chip’ merchant the links the affiliates placed
on their web page would, on the whole, not be relevant to
the page and instead be placed in a noticeable position
for maximum viewing; thinking by doing this they will be
getting a prestigious lift above others.
– Know your audience
mistake affiliates make is that they seem to think that
all visitors are the same, so they try to promote products
and services without determining who they are dealing
with. Web surfers are probably the most diverse group of
people you can come across and if you do not know much
about your visitors, it will be difficult to know exactly
what sells well on your site. There are a number of
methods to try and find out about your visitors.
random polls on your site can provide you with some
relevant information. Don’t place lengthy polls as your
visitor will give up and ignore them; short,
multiple-choice forms work the best. Also if you happen to
have order forms on your site, ask demographic questions.
It is good to learn about existing customers because you
want them to come back and buy again from your site. If
you happen to send out weekly newsletters then you should
try and develop a short survey. Newsletter subscribers are
your most loyal visitors, thus it is crucial you learn as
much as you can. Maybe you can include some kind of reward
to persuade subscribers to participate.
– Don’t break your promise
some affiliates find it necessary to lie on their
application form and deceive the affiliate programs. In
addition to possibly being a crime, lying on your
affiliate application could be a breach of contract that
voids your right to collect commissions. As the affiliate
coordinator for http://www.ukaffiliates.com/
I regularly come across affiliates who have blatantly
ignored the terms and conditions and have signed up with
unsuitable content. All they are doing is wasting their
time as their account is immediately deleted. Please note
that if you cannot provide a real name and valid e-mail
address, don’t bother to sign up; if you do sign up
under a bogus name, then the cheques sent out will not be
able to be cashed.
– Choosing your merchants/products
things first, do not bother to sign up to programs that
you have no intention of promoting, you are just wasting
your time. You should also refrain from signing up to
every program you can find – try to stay focused or your
site will soon resemble a banner farm.
it comes to choosing your merchants, you should be able to
stand behind them 100%. In my experience, I have found
that a large majority of affiliates choose merchants
because of the commission pay out or because they are
‘blue-chip’ merchants not because they believe in what
they are promoting. I
also found that if a merchant was a ‘blue-chip’
merchant the links the affiliates placed on their web page
would, on the whole, not be relevant to the page and
instead be placed in a noticeable position for maximum
viewing (rather than usefulness). I’m sure many
affiliates feel that by having a ‘blue-chip’ merchant
on their page it gives them a prestigious lift above
others but in effect the only lift these affiliates have
is a greater impression count and in general a lower C.T.R.
(thus less money coming in). In our network, the
affiliates with the highest C.T.R. were those whose
banners were specific to the page. If a visitor were to
come along interested in gardening he wouldn’t click on
an electronic retailer’s banner, he would go to a
gardening page. Of course the commission payout is an
important factor when choosing your merchant but you
should try to be knowledgeable of the product/service you
are advertising. Why not buy a small item from one of your
merchants, that way you can check that your statisitics
are running correctly and see how effective the actual
merchant is in handling a transaction.
– Quick pointers on what NOT to do
– You might make money in the short term but spamming is
a quick fire way for you to loose any credibility that you
may once have had.
from your purpose – Why did you build the site in the
first place? If it was to promote your fine-art business,
don’t download, for example, gambling merchants that
will, by their nature/ location, divert your visitors from
your primary message.
purely on two-tier commissions – they can be profitable
but you should really focus on your own sales and use
two-tier sales as an added bonus.
you can get something for nothing – there is no such
thing as a free lunch, you have to work hard to reap the
benefits that come from affiliate marketing. If you are
one of those people who constantly jumps from program to
program in search of ‘easy money’ you are going to be
mistakes – Please be aware of the following factors that
should never appear on your website:
useless graphics- they make no contribution to the page
and slow the download time of the page.
construction signs – what good is a page that isn’t
finished do for your visitors.
links – if your links (banner or text) do not work you
are not going to make any money.
contact information – how can your visitors e-mail you
with suggestions, complaints and compliments if there is
no way to get in touch.
design tips and techniques please read my report titled,
‘It is common sense that if you practice good web
design, your visitors will want to stay for longer and
come back on a more frequent basis’.
you can see that there are quite a few things to watch out
for when participating in affiliate marketing. Most of the
blunders that occur arise from a lack of common sense or
just plain laziness. Internet etiquette or
‘netiquette’ changes frequently but if you try
to avoid the above-mentioned points you will certainly
save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run. Let me
just reiterate the most important point of all; only try
to use banners when you deem it completely necessary, I
have seen too many affiliates ruin the aesthetics of their
site and scare off potential revenue makers. Think before
go to the following websites for all their valuable information:
- offers useful remedies for affiliate and merchant blunders
- offers affiliate program recommendations.
- Expert promotion tips.