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Why Do Affiliate Marketers Fail? 13 Common Mistakes to Avoid

The allure of affiliate marketing is undeniable; who wouldn't want to make money while asleep simply by recommending products to others? While this is obviously said tongue in cheek, it’s also important to note that as many as 95% of those starting out in this industry fail.

There are also B2B companies that deal with affiliate marketing as their primary source of income. And just like the affiliate marketers themselves, failure is also a reality for them.

This article will go over some of the most common mistakes made by affiliate marketers and how you can avoid them to become a successful super affiliate.

Whether you are just getting started with affiliate marketing or you've been at it for a while but can't seem to get ahead, this article is for you.

Top Mistakes To Avoid When You're An Affiliate Marketer

Spending in the affiliate marketing industry has been on the rise for the last several years.


However, there are various mistakes to consider (and avoid) when dealing with affiliate marketing.

Here are the most important ones.

1. Not Having A Clear Niche

One of the main reasons people fail at affiliate marketing is because they try to be everything to everyone. They don't focus on any one thing, and as a result, they don't build up the expertise or authority required to succeed.

When you're just starting, it's essential to find a clear niche and focus on that. Once you've established yourself in that particular space, you can branch out if you want to. But in the beginning, it's better to have a laser-like focus.

Getting to know your niche also allows you to create content and product recommendations that are much more targeted and, therefore, more likely to convert.

2. Not Providing Enough Value

Getting people to buy through your affiliate link is not easy.

While people won't be paying more if they choose to go through your link, they still sometimes need an incentive.

This is where providing value comes in.

Whether through informative blog posts, helpful how-to videos, or comprehensive reviews, you need to make sure you're giving people what they want.

In addition, offering bonuses when people buy through your affiliate link is also a great way to provide value and incentivize people to make a purchase.

If this is not possible, you could always partner with a site that provides instant savings and discounts and offers those to your audience.

The key is to remember that people are much more likely to buy something if they perceive it as a good deal or an even better one than if they were to buy directly from the vendor.

3. Not Being Transparent Enough

While it's crucial to provide your audience with value, you also need to be transparent about your affiliate links.

These days, people are savvy, and they can spot an affiliate link from a mile away. They'll likely just ignore your recommendation if you're not upfront about it.

It's okay to use affiliate links, but you need to be clear about it. The best way to do this is by letting your audience know from the beginning that you'll be using affiliate links and why you're doing it.

You could let your readers know that you use affiliate links to help support your business and keep your site free of charge.

Being transparent about your affiliate links will build trust with your audience, but it can also increase conversions since people will be more likely to click on them if they know what they're doing.

4. Being Too Salesy

Promoting products as an affiliate can be tricky because you don't want to be too salesy.

After all, people are already bombarded with sales pitches daily, and they're not going to respond well to another blatant one.

The key is to promote your products in a helpful and informative way without being too pushy.

One way to do this is by writing blog posts that provide an in-depth look at a particular product and how it can benefit businesses. You can use online tools like a sentence rewriter to help you create engaging copy for your audience and nail down the right tone.

You could also create video reviews or podcasts that go over the features of a product in detail and explain how businesses can use it to their advantage.

Remember, your goal is to help businesses make informed decisions, not push them into buying something they don't need.

5. Promoting Products They Haven’T Used Themselves

It's essential only to promote products that you've used yourself.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many affiliate marketers try to promote products they've never even tried.

People can spot when you're not being genuine, and they're not going to trust your recommendations if you're not a credible source.

That's why it's always best to only promote products that you've used and liked yourself. This way, you can speak from experience and give your readers an honest assessment of the product.

6. Not Building An Email List

One of the most common mistakes affiliate marketers make is not building an email list from the start.

An email list is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal, and it should be a top priority for any affiliate marketer.

Email lists are so valuable because they give you a direct line of communication with your audience.

You can use your email list to promote new products, drive traffic to your website, or even stay in touch with your readers.

In addition, consider using the right newsletter design when sending out emails as this can help you influence more people to open, read and act on your email content.

7. Not Diversifying Their Income Streams

One of the biggest mistakes affiliate marketers make is not diversifying their income streams.

Relying on one source of income is risky because if that income stream dries up, you'll be left with nothing.

That's why it's always a good idea to have multiple income streams so that you're not putting all your eggs in one basket.

There are a few different ways to diversify your income as an affiliate marketer.

One way is by promoting products from multiple companies so that you're not reliant on any one company for your commissions.

The key is to make sure you're not putting all your eggs in one basket so that you can weather any storms that come your way.

8. Relying On Organic Traffic Only

Organic traffic is significant, but it's not the only way to drive traffic to your website.

If you're only relying on organic traffic, you're missing out on a huge opportunity.


Paid traffic can be a great way to get more eyeballs on your website, and it can even help you target specific demographics.

Taking a leaf out of the SaaS company playbook, you should consider running paid ad campaigns to supplement your organic traffic.

Paid ads are not a replacement for organic traffic, but they can be a great way to get more exposure for your website, and they do provide instant results that allow you to track your ROI.

Based on the industry, social networks are also important to consider.

For example, if you're in the fashion industry, then Instagram would be a great platform to focus on, whereas if you're in the tech industry, Twitter might be a better platform.

9. Not Tracking Their Results

Speaking of ROI, one of the biggest mistakes affiliate marketers make is not tracking their results.

If you're not tracking your results, you won't know what's working and what's not.

And if you don't know what's working, you won't be able to improve your campaigns.

There are a few different things you can track, but some of the most important things to follow are:

  • The number of visitors to your website
  • The number of people who click on your affiliate links
  • The conversion rate of your affiliate links

Tracking your results and regular reporting is essential if you want to be successful as an affiliate marketer.

In the business world, tracking results is part and parcel of successful companies that hit their goals, and even exceed them.

For example, one particular company found that the removal of their help center increased their customer satisfaction and ranking.

They wouldn’t have been able to know this without accurately tracking their actions and always striving to get better at what they do.

10. Not Reusing Content In Various Ways

Another mistake affiliate marketers make is not repurposing their content.

Content creation can be a time-consuming task, so it's essential to get the most out of your content possible.

One way to do this is by repurposing your content into different formats.

For example, if you have a blog post, you can turn it into a video.

Creating and developing a winning video marketing strategy has many benefits in the affiliate marketing world.

It will help you stand out from the competition, but it will also allow you to build trust and credibility with your audience.

You can also create infographics, eBooks, and even podcasts from your blog content.

The key is to find different ways to repurpose your content to get the most out of it.

11. Failing To Scale Their Business

Scaling your business is essential if you want to succeed in the long run.

There are a few different ways you can scale your business, but some of the most common methods are by:

  • Automating your processes
  • Hiring virtual assistants
  • Creating and selling products

Scaling your business will allow you to free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business, and it will also help you increase your revenue.

One key factor in this area is the ability to produce content at scale. This can be difficult for some marketers as they feel like they are sacrificing quality for quantity. However, it is possible to create high-quality content at scale with the help of a content creation team.

12. Not Using Effective Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Strategy is key in everything we do in life. This is especially true when it comes to affiliate marketing.

There are a lot of different affiliate marketing strategies out there, but not all of them are effective.

Some common ineffective affiliate marketing strategies include:

  • PPC campaigns that are not targeted
  • Creating too much low-quality content
  • Promoting products that are not relevant to your niche

It's essential to use effective affiliate marketing strategies if you want to succeed as an affiliate marketer.

Whether you have one of the best self-employed jobs and are recommending affiliate products as one of your main income sources, or are just getting started, make sure you use effective affiliate marketing strategies.

13. Not Treating Affiliate Marketing As A Business

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes affiliate marketers make is not treating affiliate marketing as a business.

Many people think that they can start an affiliate marketing blog and start making money, but it's not that simple.

Affiliate marketing is a business, and like any other business, it takes time, effort, and dedication to succeed.

If you're not willing to treat your affiliate marketing business like a real business, you're not going to be successful.

There are many things you need to do to be successful in affiliate marketing, and each of them takes time and effort.

You need to:

  • Choose a niche
  • Find products to promote
  • Create high-quality content
  • Build an audience
  • Drive traffic to your blog
  • Convert your traffic into sales

All of these things take time, and if you're not willing to put in the time, you're not going to be successful.

At the same time, when one considers the ever-increasing trends of affiliate marketing, it’s all well worth it in the end.

Wrap Up.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money, but it's good to remember it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Avoiding the pitfalls above will help you get on your way to becoming successful as an affiliate marketer.

In addition, make sure you're always learning and growing in this area - the more you know, the more successful you'll be.

Finally, the key to success in affiliate marketing is to treat it like a real business. If you're willing to put in the time and effort, you can definitely reap the rewards.

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Hanson Cheng
Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.

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