Although it sounds so easy, it actually is hard work and there are a lot of affiliate marketing mistakes that one could do. Some of them are mistakes new affiliate marketers make, others are still done by seasoned marketers.
With that being said, here are some of the biggest affiliate mistakes one can do, without any specific order:
Biggest Affiliate Marketing Mistakes
1. Never Tried The Product
It should go without saying, but much too often affiliate marketers, especially newbies, promote products without testing them. They solely rely on the claims stated on the products’ sales page or affiliate page, rather than putting the products to use and verify them.
As a result they risk to run into making false claims, and having unsatisfied customers who most probably will never buy again.
Purchasing the product, going through the whole sales funnel, and using the product yourself gives you the knowledge about all its pros and cons. This insight alone is worth the investment of often less than $10.
2. Not Doing Proper Research
Your research doesn’t end with testing the product. There’s more information you might want to collect before deciding whether to promote a product or not.
You can read some more unbiased reviews of other marketers or watch their review videos on YouTube, and see what they have to say about the product.
You can check the stats on the affiliate network and pay attention to the items sold, conversion rate, EPC (earnings per click) and the refund rate.
You might also want to check the history of the product creator and see if he has launched other products in the past and what people say about these.
3. Promoting Crappy Products
Although not every product can be a top seller and make it as product of the day on one of the many marketplaces, there are many high quality products out there to promote. But at the same time, there are also many crappy products that aren’t worth the price they are asking for.
Promoting such a crappy product to your audience will not only get you angry customers, it will also harm your reputation among your audience.
Testing the product before your promotion and doing proper research will prevent you from running into this risk.
4. Selling Instead Of Promoting
Many people try to sell affiliate products, rather than promoting them, although selling isn’t their job. An affiliate marketer’s job is to put the prospect into a promotional vibe that is beneficial for the sale.
Here’s a great explanation of the difference between a marketer and a sales person by E Brian Rose:
Now you might re-think if your blog post is the right place for your “Buy Now” button, or of you’d better get rid of everything that tries to hard sell to your audience.
5. Not Tracking Results
Tracking is important for everything you do online. As I mentioned in my post about wasting time and money with Social Media Marketing, many people think having a bit.ly or goo.gl link is enough.
While these tools will count the clicks on your links, you want to have a deeper knowledge about where your commission is coming from.
Many affiliate networks have the possibility to use a transaction ID, often called TID. Use it to get a deeper knowledge about your sales.
Tracking can give you more information about:
- What social media network made the most sales?
- What email in the autoresponder series had the best results?
- Did a picture post or a text post perform better?
And much more, but you get the picture here…
To go beyond the possibilities of bit.ly or goo.gl, watch this video to see how to track and optimize your marketing.
With having this information on hand you’re able to tweak your campaigns, ditch the ones that don’t perform, and expand those that do well.
6. Joining Too Many Affiliate Networks
There are literally hundreds of affiliate networks to choose from, and one might think that it ‘s good to join as many as possible.
are just a few of the top ones to name.
But there’s are some downsides with this approach.
First of all, you will need to learn the terms of service of all the affiliate networks. Breaking the rules – even accidentally – will get your account with the affiliate network banned and your commission waived. It’s much easier to remember one or two of them than a whole bunch more.
Second, most affiliate networks have minimum payouts. Although you make some commission here, and some commission there, it will take longer to reach the minimum payout of each affiliate network, and finally receive the check in your mailbox.
With that being said, ClickBank for example will charge a $1 fee, if you didn’t generate any commission after a while and deduct it from your earnings every week. So you could find your commission being melted down, or even gone, after a couple of weeks without transaction.
The best approach is to choose one or two of the affiliate networks and stick with them for the beginning, you still can expand later on if you feel it necessary.
7. Promoting Every Product Available
Like joining too many affiliate programs, promoting too many products will just spread yourself thin. It’s much better to focus on a few products.
Choosing and concentrating on just one or two products to start with, makes it much easier to learn them inside out, and hence to prepare your affiliate promotions. Try, test, track and tweak your campaigns to discover what is working for you and what does not.
Once these campaigns are running successfully, and with having the gained experience on hand, you can comfortably spread out to include additional products to your portfolio.
8. Not Setting Goals
Not setting goals is like going on a trip without a map. You need to know where you are heading to, to not lose the right path.
But most people define their goals in the wrong way and think ‘to make money online‘ is a goal.
Your goal needs to be achievable, measurable and realistic. And it needs to be something that you can break down into smaller targets. Those smaller targets will eventually define your daily tasks.
So, don’t make ‘making money on the internet‘ your goal, rather strive for ‘making an additional income of $1,000 per month after one year.‘
If you break this down, you’ll see that it only takes an additional increase of $83.33 every month to reach your goal.
Now think about how you can reach this target, write it down and create your list of daily tasks to do.
9. Not Staying Focused
It’s easier said than done, because there are so many things that can distract us.
Switching on the computer, starting Facebook and you are bombarded with cute cat clips or funny dog videos, and before you realize it, an hour passed and you did nothing else than wasting your precious time.
However, using your time wisely to work towards your goal is important to get things done. You need to keep your focus.
Regardless how much time you can spare every day for your affiliate marketing business, whether it is an hour or two or probably half a day.
Use your task list of things that need to be done during this time, and switch off everything else that could distract. Often I even mute the phone to not get disturbed.
Procrastination often goes together with losing focus.
You think of everything else, rather than what you have to do today. You think it’s not enough time now to write this blog post, so you delay it. The light is not correct for the video, so you’d better do it another day.
Or is it the other way round, that you think you have so much time on hand, that you first can check your emails, stats and Facebook likes? Because you anyway work better and faster with a some stress and pressure?
There are also the types of procrastinators, who need to clean their desk before they get started. Or they didn’t call back their friend although they promised and have to do this now?
There are many forms or procrastinating, but in the end it’s just an excuse to yourself and time passed with doing unnecessary things, rather than doing what needs to be done.
11. If You Build It, They Will Come
Just starting a website, writing a couple of posts and thinking that people will come won’t bring you very far. There are thousands it not millions of blogs in the internet, that once were built with this approach, but nobody did come.
You will actively need to promote your content and drive traffic to it, whether you plan to use free or paid traffic sources.
While paid traffic will cost you money, and you might want to stay away from it, always remember that for free traffic you will need to invest time.
And it takes some time to build this free traffic up. So besides hard working and finding out what free traffic sources work for you best, you also will need to be patient.
12. Not Being Honest To Your Prospects
After testing the product inside out, you will know enough to make a decision whether to promote the product or not.
If the product doesn’t keep the promises from its sales page, don’t try to make false claims. Be honest to your audience and let them know about the downsides. As said before, if the product is crap, stay away from promoting it at all.
Your main job is to help your audience in solving a problem that they face. Making false claims just to make a fast sale and get the commission will set your audience up and make them not to buy from you another time. Your honesty, on the other hand, will be rewarded in loyal customers, who will buy more from you in future, as they know they can trust your recommendations.
Rather than promoting the first tested product, you could compare it with a similar product and recommend the other one to your audience.
Don’t hold back if you found some downsides of a product. Nothing is perfect, and your audience knows it.
If you think that there’s some information missing in the product, use it to your advantage. Go and create a video or a short report about it to offer as a bonus for those who buy through your affiliate link.
13. Using Paid Traffic Too Early
There are mainly two types of traffic, free traffic and paid traffic. The main difference between both types is in the availability. While paid traffic is available instantly, you need to work some time to get free traffic flowing.
However, before you have enough information about your campaigns, and identified what works and what not, it might be a good idea to stay away from paid traffic.
Once you see results and know what converts, you can start tapping into paid traffic sources. Start with a limited daily budget, track the results, and slowly expand on the campaigns that work well.
14. Copy And Paste Affiliate Tools
I’m sure you realized as well, that whenever a big launch happens, your mailbox will be flooded with emails having the same subject line and the same content. And sure, all are promoting the same products.
You can also find the same blog posts over and over again, and videos are often just a screenshot of the sales page with the blog post as a voice over.
This is the result of affiliates not writing their own copy, but just copying and pasting the resources from the affiliate area.
People are not only on your list, they are on many other lists too. Now tell me, why should someone open exactly your email, when all others are exactly the same?
You will increase your open rates, click through rates as well as your conversions with just changing one simple thing:
Write your own copy!
Michael Cheney is a guy who writes amazing emails. If you want to know more about how to write entertaining and educating emails, I recommend to go and learn from him.
15. Not Building A List
A list is one of the affiliate marketers most important assets. It allows you to stay in contact with your prospects and send them new information on a certain interval, which in turn results in free traffic on demand to your promotions.
If you ask any of the successful internet marketers what you could take away from them, I’m certain all of them would say ‘Everything, but my list.”
Because they know, that with only the push of a button they can generate commissions on demand.
So many new affiliate marketers still neglect to build their list, often because they don’t see the need of it yet. But they forget, that every new subscriber they add to their list today, is free traffic to their next promotion tomorrow.
If you’re one of them, I highly suggest to get started, you can even try it 30 days for free.
16. Promoting Features, Not Benefits
This is what many people get wrong, and rather than promoting the benefits their customers could have from a product, they promote it’s features.
Just ask yourself the question what results your customers will have when using the product.
Let’s have a look at the example of a coffee machine:
Coffee machine with a timer
Will switch on by itself at a certain time
Your customer enters the kitchen in the morning with the smell of freshly brewed coffee
Just rephrase a product’s features into its results and the picture will start to become clearer for you as well as for your customer.
17. Not Offering Bonuses
There’s a lot of competition in the affiliate marketing industry, and everyone wants to make the sale. This is even more true during product launches, when people are aiming to hit the leaderboard and go for one of the JV prizes.
Hundreds of affiliates are sending out emails to their list and prospects will receive the same emails over and over again.
Now why should a particular prospect buy from you? What is it that separates you from all the other affiliates?
The answer is in your bonus!
Offering a bonus that is closely related to the product gives you a big advantage over your competition. It can be a report, a video, access to a membership site, or anything else that is highly relevant to your promotion.
You can use your knowledge from testing the product, and create a unique and highly relevant bonus product.
Also you need to keep in mind that sometimes people buy a product only to get the bonus from a marketer.
And I am not alone when saying that I bought certain products sometimes twice – although I even had a review copy – just to put my hands on the bonuses of two different marketers.
18. Not Educating Yourself
Like everything else, affiliate marketing also can be learned. But you need to invest into your education.
There are many guides available online, that will teach you in form of ebooks, video courses or audios how to get started. Learning from them will get you achieve your target much faster than applying the trial and error method, that might have you give up eventually.
It might be also a good idea to get a mentor; this can be either through one of the Facebook groups with like-minded members, who help and keep each other accountable. Or you can invest in someone who personally guides you through the whole process.
19. Not Using Your Own Domain And Hosting
It really puzzles me that still so many people rely on free hosting accounts and subdomains to build their own business. Affiliate marketing is a serious business and you need to treat it a such.
Compared to a brick and mortar business, it doesn’t ask much of an investment. Spending a few dollars will get you started. Besides an autoresponder account – as mentioned above – a domain name and a hosting account are the other essentials you will need. Not only to host your promotions, but also to brand yourself.
With free tools you will not only be limited in your possibilities, you are also always at the mercy of the provider. If the provider doesn’t like what you are doing, your account will be shut down and you’re out of business.
To gain full control over your content and activities, here’s how to get your own blog started within the next 15 minutes.
20. Not Cloaking Affiliate Links
Raw affiliate links look ugly!
Just compare these two links and see yourself:
But cloaking the affiliate link does not just make them look pretty, there are more advantages going along with it. Here are the 4 main ones:
- Protect your commission
Have you ever heard of malware that replaces your affiliate id within an affiliate link with the one of the intruder right in your visitors browser? With cloaking your affiliate link there’s no affiliate id that could be changed, so your commission is safe.
- Avoid spam filters
Still many affiliates sending raw affiliate links in their emails, all pointing to the domain of the affiliate network. Too many spammy emails and spam reports can get the affiliate domain blacklisted by spam filters, and prevent your email form reaching your recipients inbox.
- Easier link management
Sometimes it can happen that an affiliate link gets changed, or a product will be taken off from the market and you want to replace it with a similar product or its successor. Now imagine you have thousands of links somewhere over the internet, not just on your own blogs and websites, but also on all the social networks.It’s impossible!With using cloaked affiliate links you need to make this change only once and you’r done. Even your post on Facebook from 2 years ago will point to the correct site.
- Block ad blockers
A lot of people use ad blockers nowadays to blend out annoying ads. Knowing that one of the ways ad blockers work is in looking for an affiliate link to qualify an image as an ad or not, cloaking the link will bypass this qualification. Obviously you’ll want to download the image to your own server, rather than hotlinking it from the affiliate area.
As a WordPress blogger you might want to have a look at the free Pretty Link plugin that also tracks how often your links were clicked, or the Link Master plugin that offers many more levels of protection. For more advanced options of tracking and deeper knowledge where your clicks and sales were coming from, you can check out ClickMagick’s tracking solution.
21. Promoting High Ticket Offers
It sounds great to make $800 or $1,000 commission from a single sale over night. But let’s face it… How often does it happen?
Don’t you think also that it is by far much easier, and also faster, to earn the same commission with promoting low or mid ticket products?
This doesn’t mean that you need to stay away from selling those high ticket items. But you might want to review your strategy on promoting them.
Just look at product creators and how they promote their high ticket products in the backend. Promoting products as an affiliate doesn’t mean you can’t have your own funnel in place and profit from it too.
22. Plastering Site With Banners And Links
Less is often more, and this is certainly true for adding banner to your website or blog. Nothing is worse than coming to a site with lots of banners popping up.
What hardly worked in the early 90’s, isn’t going to crush it today.
While one or two banners in your side bar or blog post are fine, overloading your site with banners will only turn off your visitors and have them leaving your site immediately.
23. Shiny Object Syndrome
I think everybody suffered from it at some point.
There’s a new product coming up, whether it’s a course, some software or a video guide, that promises to achieve results faster than ever before, and you stop everything you were doing just to try this new method.
It has never been a good idea to jump on every bandwagon that is passing by. It’s much better to stick to your plan and work towards your goal. Either you succeed, or you fail. Then, and just then, change your plan of action and try a new method.
24. Not Learning From Mistakes
There’s nothing wrong with doing mistakes, at least they are a sign that you are trying. But you need to learn from them and not repeat them over and over again.
Something doesn’t work? Analyze what went wrong and try a different way next time.Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom. - Phyllis Theroux Click To Tweet
25. Giving Up Too Fast
More than 97% of all people who have tried to make money online never made a single cent and give up.
The internet is full of abandoned blogs, inactive social media accounts and affiliate accounts that never send a click.
Mostly because these people started with enthusiasm and the idea of making some cash on the internet, but then reality hit them hard.
- They didn’t make money overnight
- Traffic came just in slowly
- The realized that there is work involved
In short, they discovered that…
Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme.
It’s a serious business that requires hard work, focus and determination, and it takes time to build up.
Thomas Alva Edison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Do any of the above affiliate marketing mistakes sound familiar to you? If yes, let us know what mistakes you did at the start of your journey in the comments section below. And yes, if you likes this post, please consider sharing it on the social networks, so that your friends and followers can benefit from it and avoid these affiliate marketing mistakes.