Eight mistakes to avoid when starting with affiliate marketing 

Written by on November 7, 2019

Affiliate marketing can provide businesses and entrepreneurs alike with a passive income. 

Making money while doing virtually little to nothing to keep it up sounds like an absolute dream come true. And it is, but only if you can get it right. 

The fact of the matter is that affiliate marketing is a hard skill to master. Most people who try their hands at it end up disappointed because they didn’t take the time to research and strategize properly.

The small mistakes become numerous if you’re not careful, and it will quickly be your downfall if you’re not prepared. 

To set you up for success, let’s walk through the most common mistakes made when first starting your affiliate network program.

What is affiliate marketing? 

There are four parties involved that make up the affiliate marketing equation: the company (seller of the product), the affiliate, the network, and the customer. Each party plays an important role in the affiliate marketing cycle. To make this complicated process simpler, it’s easiest to focus on the two primary parties: the company and the affiliate marketer. 

The affiliate marketing cycle happens when the affiliate promotes another company’s product or services on their platform, a customer sees the promotion and makes a purchase through it, and then the affiliate earns a commission from the sale. 

Let’s now go over the other two parties: the network and the customer. The network works as the middle man between the affiliate and the company. The network is not a necessary element to affiliate marketing, but it’s an important piece for companies or serious entrepreneurs who want to take their efforts up a notch. Using a network allows the company to track campaigns, clicks, money, and more. 

The customer is an obvious part of the cycle. The customer is the one responsible for being influenced by the affiliate marketing and buying the said product or service. 

8 common affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid

Now that you have a strong grasp on affiliate marketing and the parties involved that make up the cycle, let’s take a look at the most common, yet very avoidable, mistakes that nearly every affiliate marketer makes when first starting out. 

Use these mistakes to your advantage by learning from them. If you’re prepared for what to expect, you are much less likely to make them for yourself and have quicker success than your competition. 

1. There’s no trust with your audience 

Affiliate marketing is rooted in the basis of trust. Simply put, if you don’t have trust with your audience, your hopes and dreams for a successful affiliate marketing program will be crushed quickly. How do you expect anyone to spend their hard-earned money on a product or service you recommend if your track record is poor? 

You can avoid coming off untrustworthy by consistently promoting quality products or services, staying loyal to your promotions (meaning if you promote a great skincare brand, don’t promote a different skincare brand a month later), and by being honest. It’s as simple as that. Don’t forget the human emotion involved. 

2. Promoting the wrong products 

The mistake of promoting the wrong products ties nicely into the last mistake we covered. As an affiliate marketer, you should be very picky about the products and services you choose to promote. You should be promoting products that align nicely with your lifestyle, niche of your blog, or have an obvious match with the problems your audience needs a resolution to. 

These actions will build a great deal of trust with your audience. An obvious fit of promotion will also make your job a lot easier. Your marketing will be authentic, you will find easy ways to plug the product, and you won’t have to force anything. 

3. Promoting too many products

Promotions and partnerships are a tricky game. Yes, it’s what makes the business world go round, but too much of it will annoy your loyal audience and send them away looking for more authentic content to engage with. 

Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if everywhere you looked on a website was sponsored content, ads, and promotions? It’s not a good image for anyone to have, so it’s important to balance your affiliate plugs with other content. Above all else, make sure that what you’re doing still has value to your audience. 

4. Not providing value or quality content

You must not forget that the content you create to house your affiliate promotions must be of the highest standards and provide value to your audience. Without stellar content, your promotions are useless. You must provide a solution for your audience or they won’t see any value in your efforts. 

Don’t lose sight of the fact that affiliate marketing is a delicate equilibrium. If you are expecting too much from your audience without giving enough back to them in return, you will fail. Spend time creating quality work. This will make it easier for you in the long run to place promotions and your audience will thank you. 

5. Forgetting what it means to advertise 

Regardless of whether your audience knows that you’re an affiliate to the product you’re promoting or not, you can’t let the rules of advertising be pushed to the wayside. You have to know the ins and outs of what you’re promoting. There is no way around it. It will give you credibility as an affiliate, allow your audience to trust you more, and you will hopefully have a greater commission due to the great job you did promoting the product or service. 

6. Promoting low converting products 

As you grow as an affiliate marketer, you will be exposed to a slew of different programs, all with different conversion rates. To ensure you’re working fairly and earning what you expect, you should be doing thorough research to guarantee you’re working with the programs that have conversion rates that make the most sense for your needs. This due diligence will save your time, help keep your strategy on track, and keep you from becoming disappointed in the long run. 

7. Failing to track performance  

Blindly running campaigns and hoping you’ll have success is just not going to cut it if you ever wish to see long term success. With every campaign you run, make sure you have the proper tools to analyze your data. Figure out what’s working, what isn’t, if you’re segmenting your market correctly, and if there are any obvious trends and patterns. Once you do this, you will have insight into the greater strategy you should use, thus better optimizing your performance.

8. Having a poor quality website  

Think about your own user experience online. How likely are you to engage or even return to a particular website if the page speed is poor, the UX design is awful, and the website is all around unappealing to look at? Probably slim to none. Now, you don’t have to be a web designer to build a professional looking website. There are plenty of impressive templates and style guide examples out there for you to choose from to ensure you have a well-performing site that your visitors will positively engage with and want to return again the second time. 

Affiliate marketing is an attractive industry for marketers, businesses, and entrepreneurs alike for good reason. A successful affiliate program can bring in an impressive amount of money for every party involved, only if it’s performed strategically and correctly. Don’t let these eight common affiliate marketing mistakes slow down your efforts. Learn from them, do better than your competition, and you will be well on your way to affiliate marketing success. 

 

Hannah Tow

Hannah is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Journalism and is very happy to be working in her favorite city, Chicago. In her free time, Hannah enjoys running with her dog, Teddy, traveling to new and exciting places, and capturing the beautiful places she travels to with her DSLR camera.