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How to Lose Your Shirt With Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is not for the faint of heart. At every turn, the risk of financial doom lurks, waiting to suck your bank account dry. Despite your best efforts most campaigns fail, and you will waste a lot of time and money trying to find that one winning campaign.  If you’re new to the industry, expect to work hard and lose money for about a year. That’s how long it takes the average marketer to figure things out and turn a true profit that makes affiliate marketing worthwhile.

If you’ve been at this for more than a year and you’re still hemorrhaging green, it’s time to take a cold hard look at your operation because you’re doing something wrong. Here are three of the best ways to go broke with affiliate marketing.

Don’t Do Anything. Affiliate marketing gets easier the longer you do it, but your business will never run itself. To keep your customers coming back for more, you still have to create viable campaigns and publish fresh relevant content on your sites. Furthermore, you must continue learning about the industry and its latest trends, and you have to actively participate. Most importantly, you have to understand your target audience. Your customer base evolves so quickly it can make your brain spin faster Linda Blair’s head in The Exorcist. If you’re losing money on promotions that once garnered a high-profit margin, it could be that demand has dwindled. Or perhaps the demographics of your audience have shifted, and you need to take a different approach. Or maybe the majority of your visitors have gone mobile while you’re still churning out e-mails. There’s no time like the present to review and revamp your efforts.

Allow Your Affiliate Program To Cheat On Your Paycheck. “Cheating” may be a bit harsh, but my point is that miscalculations do happen from time to time. If you are running multiple campaigns on multiple networks, keeping the financial end straight can be overwhelming. Invest (yes, spend some dough) in a credible tracking service that supplies regular reports on who owes you what. You might be surprised at how much money is slipping through the cracks.

Make Your Site(s) the Ugly Step-sister. With e-commerce, appearance is everything. Is your site is loaded with distracting ads? Is it unappealing, unprofessional, or of low quality? Do potential customers have to hunt to find exactly what they are looking for? If so, you are scaring away potential sales. Customers are more likely to click through sites that are clear, concise, aesthetically pleasing, and clutter-free. They also demand relevant and fresh information. If they can’t achieve that with your site, they’ll click away to one of your competitors. If you can’t critique your sites objectively, enlist the help of a trusted friend or colleague.

Yes, affiliate marketing involves financial risk, but with a little common sense and a lot of work and effort, you can keep your shirt and maybe afford to buy one or two more.

Andrew Bishop
Andrew Bishop
Andrew Bishop has been working diligently in the affiliate marketing industry for the past six years and currently is at He has survived a shark attack and a chance encounter with Jerry Lewis. Some say he is part man, part sea-monkey. But regardless, he is a standup guy


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