What to Do When an Affiliate Promotion Isn’t Performing

(And How to Avoid it in the First Place)

What do you do when you’ve agreed to promote something and it’s a total flop? Maybe it’s not resonating with your audience. Perhaps the sales funnel isn’t converting. Or for reasons beyond your understanding, it’s just not working. What do you do?

Affiliate promotion not performing

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous was recently going through this exact problem. He agreed to promote someone’s launch and it tanked.

Here’s what he wrote me:

I’ve sent four emails so far with only 600 optins. Normally by now I’d have at least 1000. And the cart opened yesterday and I had exactly ZERO sales. Any suggestions?

I responded back with more questions than answers because there are five reasons an affiliate campaign might not be working for you and each of them has their own unique solution.

5 Reasons an Affiliate Promotion Doesn’t Work

1 – The Offer is Not a Good Fit for Your Audience

If an offer is not a good fit for your followers, no amount of great marketing will make it sell.

There could be three things wrong with the product as it relates to your audience:

  • The product is not appealing to your audience. If your audience is not asking you for a product like the one you are promoting, it’s probably not a good fit.
  • The price point is not right. If your highest-priced product is $297, it will be tougher to sell a $2000 course to your audience.
  • It’s too similar to your own offerings. If you offer something almost identical, why would they buy something from someone else?

To avoid this problem in the first place: Grab the “Should I Promote This?” scorecard. If a product doesn’t fit, don’t promote it.

2 – The Timing is Not Right

Perhaps your list is not ready for the offer.

Have you recently promoted another affiliate launch? What about your own product launch? If you’ve promoted something else in the past two weeks, it might be too soon for another promotion.

Also consider where your audience is in their personal timeline. If your audience is mostly beginners, they might not be ready for the advanced training you are selling. In another two years, the same product might be perfect.

Lastly, you may have a cold list because you haven’t been regularly sending them quality content. It’s hard to sell to a cold list.

To avoid this problem in the first place: Make sure you aren’t promoting too often and that you are providing your audience with quality content between promotions.

3 – The Landing Page Doesn’t Convert

If the issue is that you are sending good traffic but it’s just not converting to optins, it might be a landing page issue.

There are four steps to take here:

  1. Take a look at it yourself. Does it look like it should convert? Does it work when you test it?
  2. Check your email and social media feeds to see if your audience is complaining of technical issues.
  3. Ask the product owner or affiliate manager if there are any technical issues preventing people from opting in.
  4. Ask how other affiliates are performing. If conversions are low all around, the product owner needs to fix it. If it’s just you, then it might just not be a good fit for your audience.

To avoid this problem in the first place: Make sure you test the landing page on various browsers and devices. Test it out in advance, if possible, with a small segment of your audience to get feedback.

4 – The Sales Funnel Isn’t Optimized

Despite what I recommend, sometimes people bring on affiliates before their sales funnel is fully optimized.

If your optins are converting but sales are low, it’s probably the sales funnel.

If that is the case, follow these steps:

  1. Read the internal sales emails. Are they good?
  2. Make sure your sales emails are good. This is the one thing you can control.
  3. Check for emails or social media comments mentioning any problems buying.
  4. Ask the product owner or affiliate manager if there are any technical issues preventing people from buying.
  5. Ask how well others are converting their optins. What is the typical sales percentage?

To avoid this problem in the first place: Ask to see the sales funnel ahead of time. And make sure it has been tested and optimized. Ask what it’s converting like on internal traffic, cold traffic, and other affiliates’ traffic.

5 – You Don’t Know How to Market The Product or Service

The problem might just be that you don’t know how to promote the product or service.

If you haven’t taken the time to learn about it or how to market it to your audience, odds are it won’t convert very well.

To avoid this problem in the first place: Before you promote anything, rate yourself from 0-3 on this statement: I know how to market this product. (That’s Question #10 on the “Should I Promote This?” scorecard).

If you score a 0, do not promote it. If you score a 1 or 2, consider ways to improve.

Spend time getting to know the product owner if possible. Review the product. Most importantly, learn what your audience wants to know about the product…by asking them. This is also a great way to warm them up.

What to Do When It’s Just Not Working

1. Stop Promoting It Immediately

This is ultimately a judgment call on your part.

If you’ve sent at least three emails and things are just not working, cut your losses. Regardless of the reason, it’s best to back out.

But, if you’re only on day two and things aren’t up to par, keep going. Give it at least three emails before backing out.

2. Tell Whoever Needs to Know

Ultimately, remember that this is a relationship business. Don’t just stop promoting and leave people wondering why.

Tell them why you backed out. They might be able to do something to remedy the situation or at least fix it in the future for others.

Remember, by being honest with them, you are doing them a favor.

3. Review What Went Wrong

Make sure you take the time to review what you did wrong.

Grab the “Should I Promote This?” scorecard and retroactively score each statement.

And make sure to use it for every potential affiliate promotion in the future.

Question: What do you do when an affiliate promotion isn’t working? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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