I'm sending clicks to the merchant, but no one's buying
I signed up for an affiliate program, and I'm sending them a bunch of visitors.
How is that I can have 22 clicks, but no one seems to be purchasing anything?
Is the merchant reporting clicks accurately, but lying about the sales they have gotten because of the traffic I've sent them?
George, whether or not anyone buys from you or from someone you're sending traffic to as an affiliate is going to depend on a number of factors.
Here are a few questions you should be thinking about for starters.
Have you looked at the quality of the sales page that the visitors are landing on?
Do you know what keywords they're typing in before they land on your page?
Are you using a PayPerClick network, or is your traffic coming in from natural search?
When people buy on the Internet, as in the "real-world", there are several steps.
It's very likely that you are going to lose people going through each step..
So let's just take an example process that someone might go through:
Step 1: the person goes to a search engine. They type a search term, which is a keyword or a keyphrase. They are looking to solve a problem or get information about a certain topic.
In the results of their search, they are going to get some natural results and some paid ads.
Step 2: Because they like what they see listed as your information in the search engine results page (SERP), the person clicks to come to your site. They think it will help them solve whatever problem they have.
In step 3, if you're an affiliate, they read what you have to say on your page about the product or service you are selling as an affiliate. In this moment, they're thinking "Will this solution really solve my problem?"
In step 4, they click to go to the partner's web site, and they either buy the product or service, or they don't. But there are likely at least two pages (if not more) at the merchant's site. Does the merchant's site reinforce the message you told them?
If not, consider changing your message to match the message of the merchant.
However, if you continue to send a bunch of clicks and no one's buying, perhaps their sales page needs some help. Call their affiliate manager and find out if they're actually testing things on their site. If not, find out if they have plans to begin testing.
Here's a course I put together to show people how to set up testing within their web sites.
If you're using Pay-Per-Click, one of the biggest reasons you might get clicks but no sales is targeting the wrong keywords. Having a poorly written or poorly functioning sales page will cause problems, but if you are using poor keyword choices, it's likely that you won't get people to buy.
Here's an example:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1K Digital Camera
Which one is more likely to be someone looking to buy?
So, if you're using Pay-Per-Click, be sure you're giving some thought to the keywords and keyphrases you're using.
In answer to your other question, "Is the merchant reporting clicks accurately, but lying about the sales they have gotten because of the traffic I've sent them?" there is an easy way to find out.
Go to a friend's house (on a different computer or Internet connection than your own - in case there's an IP tracking issue that would stop you from getting an affiliate commission by buying through your own link), and actually go through the process from start to finish, and order the product. If you don't want it, you can always call and cancel the order and get a refund... but go through the whole process.
If you discover that they're accurately tracking your referrals, but not your sales and referrals, contact the merchant, and let them know that there is a tracking issue. Explain that your purchased through your own link from a different IP address. If their response is less than apologetic, or if they aren't going to look into why it's not being tracked, my advice would be to find another merchant to partner with.