The best way to do this is to practice affiliate marketing with integrity.
To help you do exactly this, you need to stay away from these 17 mistakes that will immediately lose your customers’ trust in you.
Mistake # 1 – Not telling your customers that you’re an affiliate
This is a common mistake among newbie affiliates.
Many of them think that because affiliate marketing has been linked to numerous scams and unscrupulous practices, that it’s best not to disclose to customers that they’re working as affiliates.
Their primary goal is not to lose the customer’s trust.
But more often than not, this technique backfires.
When your customers find out that you are an affiliate, and you did not tell them, they will automatically think that you are hiding something, and that you are someone who cannot be trusted.
To avoid this from happening, always begin any post that contains affiliate links with an affiliate disclosure.
The affiliate disclosure should state that you are an affiliate for some or all of the products mentioned in the article, and that purchases made through your links will earn you a commission but at no extra charge to them.
You can also let them know how you’re spending the money such as if you’re using it to maintain the blog or if a part of it goes to charity and so on.
Your customers will definitely appreciate your honesty and transparency.
Plus, let’s not forget that you are legally required to include an affiliate disclosure in your affiliate posts, or else, you will be subject to penalties.
Mistake # 2 – Recommending a product you know nothing about
When choosing an affiliate product to promote, it’s necessary to go for one that is within your area of expertise so that it would be easy for you to explain and discuss about it, and teach your customers how to use it.
For example, you’re a technophobe who has never used a Bluetooth device in your life. Of course, it does not make sense to promote this type of tech gadget to your customers. A tech related affiliate website will be out of your expertise range, and it would be a great challenge for you to talk about these products, and answer the questions of your customers. For sure, they have a lot.
Also, it’s important that you try a product first before recommending it to your audience. You can’t say that you’ve tried a product before if you haven’t, as this will immediately make your customers lose their trust in you.
Mistake # 3 – Choosing an affiliate product based solely on profit
Some affiliates make the mistake of choosing an affiliate product based on profit alone.
But just because a certain type of product sells like hotcakes in the market, it does not automatically mean that you will be able to sell it just as quickly.
As mentioned earlier, the product has to be within your area of expertise. This will make it easier for you to talk about the product, and recommend it to people whom you think will be able to find practical use for it.
Also, the product should be something that you are passionate about or at least interested in. Affiliate marketing is not about making one-time sales. It’s about working hard for long-term success. If you work with a product that does not interest you even a little, how can you stay in the business long enough to achieve success?
If you choose affiliate products based solely on profit, your customers will find out, and this will make them think that you only after the money, and therefore, cannot be trusted.
Mistake # 4 – Forcing your customers to buy your product
Hard selling is a technique that hardly ever works for affiliates.
This type of sales strategy which entails the use of aggressive techniques just to get customers to buy a product is frowned upon in the affiliate marketing community.
This puts affiliates and even other business owners in bad light.
It makes customers think that affiliates are only after making money and that they will outstep boundaries just to get to their goal, even when it means harming people along the way.
Never make the mistake of forcing any customer to buy your product.
Instead, go for soft selling, which is the exact opposite of hard selling, and is focused more on building relationships with customers, ensuring customer satisfaction, and cultivating a positive reputation for the business.
Soft selling technique is what will help you earn and keep the trust of your affiliate customers.
Mistake # 5 – Recommending a product that your customers do not need
Even if you’re not forcing your customers to buy your product, you’d still be making a mistake if you are trying to get them to buy a product that you know that they don’t really need.
Of course, they’re bound to find out after they have already made the purchase.
You might think that you’re one step ahead of them because you already have their money.
But what you don’t know is that they have the power of word of mouth.
Not only will they lose their trust in you, they will also not hesitate to share their horrible experience with you and your business to people they know.
Word can spread like wild fire in online communities.
Mistake # 6 – Misleading your customers with little seemingly harmless white lies
So you’re conjuring up little lies here and there just to get customers to buy your product.
This may seem to favor you because you’re getting these people to buy your products, and you’re putting money in your pocket.
It’s all a matter of time before karma hits you in the face.
Your customers are smart enough to find out that they’ve been lied to, and just like the customer who was made to buy a product he doesn’t need, the customer who has been lied to will also not think twice about bad mouthing your affiliate marketing business that you’ve worked so hard for.
Here’s an example of a white lie that seems harmless but is still harmful in the long run:
Telling your customer that the product has a minor feature that it actually does not
This minor feature does not seem important so when the customer asked you if the product has it, you immediately said yes because you think that this will cement the deal. And it did. Just because you said yes, the customer finally bought the product. So it’s triumph for you? Not exactly!
As it turns out, the “minor” feature is a big deal for the customer because it is what he/she exactly needed from the product. And because the affiliate lied, the customer ended up with a product he/she cannot use.
The dissatisfaction can spiral out of control once the word gets out.
It’s not just the customer who had been lied to who will lose his/her trust in you but anyone who hears about the story.
Mistake # 7 – Setting up a bad affiliate website
When your affiliate customers first arrive on your website, what do they see?
Do they see a professionally designed website with efficient navigation and fast loading pages?
If not, the customer will not only get turned off, there’s also a big chance that he/she might think that your affiliate marketing business is a fraud.
You might wonder why people would actually think that way.
But in the years of existence of the internet, it has become common knowledge that fake websites and websites of scammers are typically not professionally designed. Since the websites will be taken down once the goal has been achieved, which is to lure victims into traps, the scammers do not make an effort and do not spend money in creating a professional website.
Mistake # 8 – Not publishing consistently on your blog or website
This is not as a big as a crime as lying to your customers or hiding them the fact that you’re an affiliate, but still, an inconsistent content schedule can still result in customers losing their trust in you.
When someone gets engaged with your content, he/she will either sign up to your email list, or regularly check out your blog or website.
He/she will see the pattern of your posts, and will expect that you will post on a certain day of the week.
When you fail to post new content, the customer might think that you are not serious after all.
He/she might not think that you’re being dishonest, but the result is the same: you lose the person’s trust and interest.
Mistake # 9 – Lying about your credentials
This can’t be reiterated enough in affiliate marketing.
Affiliates need to establish their expertise in the niche where they belong to earn the trust of their target audience.
They need to establish themselves as the “go-to person” for any topic related to the niche.
For example, if you have established that you are an expert in natural remedies, people will flock to your website to get information about this topic, and to ask you questions about it.
Now if you lie about your credentials just to put yourself in the position of an expert, people might start to put their trust in you. But this is only in the beginning.
It won’t be long before they discover that you are a charlatan. And that usually happens when you can no longer give them what they need or answer their questions.
Never lie about your expertise and credentials.
Mistake # 10 – Concealing a product’s flaws
This is another common technique among affiliates who are desperate to make a sale.
When they write a review about a product that they are affiliated with, they only write about the product’s benefits and features, and intentionally omit any drawbacks that they themselves are aware of. Their purpose is to convince the customer that this is a perfect product that’s worth their money.
Or even if they do write about the cons, they will only touch on these a little but will not put too much focus on these.
Once your customers find out about this, and for sure they will because they will be using the product themselves after they buy it from you, they will think that you intentionally left out the cons because you’re not an honest affiliate.
Mistake # 11 – Bombarding your customers with ads
People hate it when you bombard them with ads. Whether it’s their email, social media sites, or any other online platform, you should keep it easy with the advertisements.
Doing this will make your customers think that you are only after one thing: making money.
What you need to do to earn their trust is to provide them with valuable and useful information.
Instead of posting an ad five times a day in your social media sites, why don’t you post informative blog posts, webinars or tutorials that are related to your products?
The latter will surely help establish your business’ credibility.
Mistake # 12 – Creating a false special offer
This is another tactic that some affiliates are guilty of practicing.
In this tactic, you create a special offer that does not really exist and you promote it to your customers.
For example, you say that there is a 25 percent discount on a $100 product that you are selling. This means that the product now only costs $75. You say that the discount is available only for a limited period such as three days.
You get your customer to buy the product because of the sense of urgency.
But then he/she later on finds out that the actual cost of the product in the market is only $75. You just made up the false special offer to convince the customer to make the purchase.
You are able to fool the customer once, but the one-time sale is not worth the damage that this scheme does to your online reputation.
Mistake # 13 – Displaying fake testimonials on your affiliate website
It’s true that customers are more likely to buy a product that has positive reviews, than one that comes with plenty advertisements.
That’s because online consumers are more likely to believe and trust the recommendations of fellow shoppers than the business promoting the product.
You might think that it’s a good idea to display fake testimonials on your website just to get customers to buy your product.
But this is never a good idea.
There was once an affiliate who posted fake testimonials on his website using stock photos of headshots in the profile of the reviewers, his customers immediately recognized the faces and figured out what he was up to. You can guess what happened next. His affiliate website shut down after a few days.
Mistake # 14 – Overlooking the security of your website
This is another instance wherein it’s not your actions that will cause your customers to lose their trust in you but your inaction.
If you fail to make your website secure, or you overlooked this part because you don’t think it’s important, you are making a big mistake.
Sure, the website only contains affiliate links and will not handle any orders or payments, but you still need to ensure that it is safe for your customers to visit it.
You need to guarantee that their devices will not get infected when they arrive on your website, when they click any links, or when they sign up for your email list.
Mistake # 15 – Hiding from your customers when they issue a complaint about a product
This is another major no-no.
If you think that your job as an affiliate for a customer ends with each transaction, you’re wrong.
Although you are not the creator or seller of the product, you are the one who vouched for it.
If something goes wrong with the product, or with any aspect of the ordering process, you need to be there for your customer to address the problem and act upon it.
In short, you need to help your customer.
If you do not address a problem, this will make your customer lose his/her trust in you, and this can negatively affect your online reputation.
Mistake # 16 – Taking a long time to reply to messages
As someone who works online, you need to be active online to be able to respond immediately to the messages of your customers.
This will not only make it easier for them to trust you, this will also benefit your business in several ways.
For one, if a customer sends you a question about a product before buying it, if you take long to reply, there’s a chance that by the time that you reply, the customer has already changed his/her mind about the product.
Also, if you take long to reply to a customer’s message, the customer might think that you are not serious about your business, and is less likely to promote or refer your business or products to people that he/she knows.
Mistake # 17 – Not being true to your word
Honesty and transparency are necessary in instilling trust in a person.
When you make a promise, be sure to keep it.
If you say that you are going to do something, do it.
This is true for whatever part of your affiliate marketing business, whether it’s replying to a message, attending to a complaint, or any other thing.
For example, if you tell your customer that you will reply in an hour, be sure to do so because the customer will be expecting this from you. If you are not sure that you can reply in an hour, then do not give any schedule, simply say that you are going to reply ASAP.
Always be true to your word so that your customers can see that you are someone who can truly be trusted.
Since customer trust and loyalty are the foundation of affiliate marketing success, you need to do whatever it takes to stay away from these commonly committed mistakes as much as possible.