There is a big difference between an amateur affiliate dabbling in affiliate marketing and the professional affiliate who is in it for the long haul. The amateur can make a lot of mistakes that will keep him from being a professional, and could learn a lot from looking at what the professionals are doing.
Amateur affiliates expect results instantly. Many amateurs dabble because they think their business will be raking in millions overnight. Pros don’t expect the overnight miracle, and plan for long term business. A professional affiliate understands that it takes time to build a business, to gain trust and word of mouth, and to get a large customer list together from which to get new customers.
Amateur affiliates often expect one form of advertising to carry their entire business. There are some affiliates who depend only on their ppc ads to bring traffic to their site, and then there are amateurs who don’t have a site at all. These amateurs will likely never make it to the ranks of the professionals. They are simply not investing enough thought and planning into their business. A professional needs a website full of search engine optimized, informational content that will bring them some rankings in the search engines. The affiliate also needs some way to build a customer list in order to have a steady stream of good sales leads. An amateur without these things is likely to stay an amateur, or to decide that affiliate marketing has no profit potential and then to quit all together.
Amateur affiliates sometimes concentrate their sales copy around how much money it will make for the customer, rather than what the heck the product actually is. If the entire sales page is describing how rich the customer will get, then the customer is rightly going to be a bit leery of it. The basis of affiliate programs should be sound products that are described honestly and will do what they are supposed to do.
Amateur affiliates may carry all their eggs in one basket. Professional affiliates, unless they have an extremely large and profitable site, generally run several sites at once to keep their income steady. When one is underperforming, another might be expanding. Having multiple sites keeps their business from going under if one site runs into trouble.
Amateur affiliates get a little too excited about their websites and pack it full of flashy graphics and pop ups that scare little old ladies. A professionally run website is based on its simplicity and ease of use. Readers don’t have to hunt down the information they are looking for, and they don’t have seizures from the flashing lights. Minimal graphics, no annoying sound effects, hard to read font colors, or other distractions from the overall message of the site.
Amateur affiliates concentrate on the here and now, and not the big picture. A professional that takes time to build their site into a brand based on trust may not see big sales right away, but certainly will down the road. An amateur is concerned only with the sales that come in now, and not how they can keep people coming back again and again.