Why my affiliate website failed πŸ“‰

Following the success of my affiliate marketing in 2019/2020 I looked for more opportunities to advertise referral links and make commission. Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan, and here’s why.

What was the website and what happened? πŸ€”

I signed up to a website that allowed you to generate affiliate links for various brands including Nike, Dreams & The White Company. The difference between this affiliate company and others was that you could choose between 3 link options; one where you kept 100% of the commission, one where you shared it 50/50 with the person using your link, and one where you gave them the entire commission amount.

I came up with the idea of offering people the option to either donate 50% of the commission to Cancer Research UK, or keep 50% as a saving on their order. The remaining 50% would pay for promotion of the website and hopefully be profit.

So when you’re on the landing pages you see two call-to-actions; “Discount X Amount”, “Donate X Amount”.

As you can see here:

The top of a landing page

I saw this as a really great brand concept; a win-win for users, and a brand I’d have loved to see blow up into something bigger.

I setup landing pages and began promoting through PPC ads during the Christmas period, hoping to catch those looking for discounts or feeling charitable.

The ads went live, I saw clicks but no results (which I’ll explain in a bit). After months of nothing, I focused on promoting my Casio G-Shock referral link (which is directly with G Shock) and that was it.

I recently shut down the website and have chosen to point the ads directly to my G-Shock issued landing page (which is working better than through the site).

Why didn’t it work? πŸ“‰

Guess what? The affiliate website I was using had their relationship with lots of the brands terminated and didn’t let people know.

Meaning I was promoting DEAD LINKS. Not really a spectacular story but here’s a key lesson; don’t rely on middlemen to pay you what you’re owed. It’s a lesson I’ve learnt multiple times, but it’s an important one.

How to make it work πŸš€

I think the concept is good. Maybe not great, but definitely something that I could see people adopting. Really what I should have done if I was serious about making it work was reach out to companies directly. Specifically local businesses.

You could earn revenue in two potential ways:

  • Per lead/sale: Commission per sale, or get paid per lead.
  • Businesses pay a membership subscription.

This would be a rather time consuming process of selling the idea to local companies, but ultimately once you have some traction it could be relatively straight forward to grow.

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