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When Affiliate Marketing Fails – ClickBank


The journey to affiliate marketing success is different for everyone. Sometimes newbie affiliates hit it out of the park on their first try. Other times, however, there’s a lot of trial and error, and trial and error. It’s easy to chalk these moments up to failure. In the short-term, there’s really no other thing to call them. The truth is… sometimes affiliate marketing fails.

This blog post is about what to do when affiliate marketing fails, four things you can avoid as a newbie affiliate marketing, and how to dust yourself off and try again. 

Affiliate Marketing Fails

Everyone is familiar with the saying, “If you don’t succeed, try, try again.” However, nothing in this idiom soothes the sting of failure. 

Putting a lot of effort into something that just doesn’t work out is painful. It can be a blow to the confidence and deter future efforts. In fact, studies show that when a human succeeds at something, they are more likely to succeed again. This tendency is known as the “hot hand phenomenon” in basketball. The inverse is also true; if success begets success–failure tends to beget more failure purely by the fact that those who have had setbacks are shaken by a lack of confidence.

In order to avoid the pitfalls of failure, newbie affiliate marketers need to arm themselves with a few tactics. 

Listen to the Data

Not listening to the data is one of the greatest contributions when affiliate marketing fails. Humans (especially digital marketers) are a pretty smart bunch. But from time to time emotions (mine included) can get in the way of accurately looking at the numbers. According to Thomas McMahon, affiliates who don’t gather and analyze data from a scientific point of view put themselves at risk for failure–especially when it comes to split testing.

“If you’re not looking at the data, understanding what it’s telling you for your campaigns and for your traffic and all that kind of stuff, you’re going to be at a huge disadvantage to people that understand how to grow that pretty well,” says McMahon. “But if you’re not listening and looking at the data, you won’t really know where to test either. That’s where I see people struggling. They’re going, Oh, it’s not working right. This doesn’t work. And really there’s some clear things in that data that can often jump out at you.” 

Don’t Blame the Offer

Failure, no matter the context, has a way of bringing out defense mechanisms in people. Being told we didn’t do a good enough job oftentimes makes us believe that we’re not good enough. But the two claims couldn’t be farther from each other. 

If you’re heading towards an affiliate marketing fail you may find yourself blaming the offer and pointing fingers at its shortcomings. Sure–not every offer is the greatest, but if you’ve done your due diligence as an affiliate and picked from a good source, the fault likely falls with you. Thomas suggests that instead of beating yourself up, you look at the situation this way: 

“If you’re pulling from the top 10 pages of the ClickBank Marketplace, it should convert pretty well for the right traffic. So you’re either not framing the offer correctly, or you’re sending the wrong type of audience to that offer.”

Learn to Stick With It 

Another thing that often leads to affiliate marketing failure is abandoning a project before it’s had time to show any progress or some to fruition. Affiliate marketing is like anything else–it takes time to get good at it.

In this day and age, more adults are trying more things. Career changes are more common than they used to be so it makes sense that adults are facing the challenge of learning now more than ever before. 

As we all know, learning new things can be frustrating and it’s going to take more than just one tutorial to get the gist of it. The same applies to affiliate marketing. You have to give it enough time, attention, and practice to really figure it out. Don’t blame the offer, but don’t blame yourself to the point of destroying your confidence. If something’s not working, reframe the experience to learning, rather than failure. And, above all, don’t quit! 

“Be able to stick with something if you really want to learn how to do it,” says McMahon. “And if you know an offer is a top offer, you know the offer converts. It’s not the offer that’s the problem.”

Get Gritty

The last antidote to affiliate marketing failure is this: 

You have to have grit. It’s the quintessential ingredient for making it through the ups and downs. For McMahon, this means committing to the process.  

“Grit is perseverance. It’s the process. It’s understanding that this is a long road to hoe for people. There’s very few true overnight successes in this industry. People learn over time.” 

If you’re looking for quick results with affiliate marketing, you’ll need to evaluate your expectations. The most common thing that comes quick and swift in affiliate marketing is failure and it’ll be up to you how you take that setback in stride, turn it into a learning experience, go back to the data, and try again in a new way. 

One of the best ways to gain some traction is through affiliate marketing education. Putting the money upfront to learn is the ultimate commitment and one we highly recommend. 

With a combination of those tactics both, personal and professional, you’ll be able to inoculate yourself against the worst parts of failure–the parts that you internalize and keep you away from giving it your all on the next go around.

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