Affiliate marketing mistakes. Who hasn't made any? Most beginner bloggers think that once they've added a few affiliate links here and there they'll start making money.
But that's not true. Affiliate marketing is relatively easy to do, but if you want to be successful as an affiliate marketer, you have to make sure you avoid the most common affiliate mistakes.
Here's a list of mistakes most beginner bloggers make (and yes, I've made some of them myself).
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[Disclaimer: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]
Before we go any further, if you're starting out with affiliate marketing and want to learn all my tricks and strategies, check out my Affiliate Marketing for Beginner Bloggers book.
Why do affiliate marketers fail?
Is affiliate marketing too good to be true?
I mean, it all sounds so simple, doesn't it?
You just need to sell products made by other people or companies and when you make a sale, you get rewarded with a commission.
- You don't need to create your own products.
- You don't need to be a rocket scientist to do affiliate marketing.
- You don't even need a website to do it! (I explain how to do affiliate marketing without a website in my ebook, if you're interested.)
So why do some bloggers struggle to make money with affiliate marketing and can't grow their affiliate marketing business?
There are many reasons beginner bloggers are unsuccessful with affiliate marketing.
But the main reason is that they're doing things wrong and making mistakes.
The good news is that most of them are easily avoided!
So let's go through some the reasons why bloggers fail to make money with affiliate marketing.
The top affiliate marketing mistakes
I've just organised my list of top mistakes in three sections:
- affiliate mistakes you make before you start,
- affiliate marketing mistakes you make when choosing your products,
- and affiliate marketing mistakes bloggers make in the execution phase (when they're putting things together and writing their content).
affiliate marketing mistakes you make before you start
One of the most common affiliate mistakes people make is starting late.
If you want your blog to be your business, get started with affiliate marketing from the beginning. There's no reason to wait.
Your blog doesn't need to be perfect and you don't need to have 100000 visitors for you to start making money through affiliate marketing.
I had only a couple of blog posts when I started making some money with this website.
Granted, you won't be able to retire with a small blog, but you need to start somewhere.
So once you've decided you want to add affiliate links to your blog content, don't delay!
By the way, if you're struggling with making money as an affiliate marketer, these affiliate marketing resources can help you too, and if you're looking for a course, this affiliate marketing course is the most comprehensive affiliate marketing course I've found there.
Plus, if you start too late, you're missing out on money-making opportunities and you're going to have a headache when you introduce affiliate marketing links to ALL your earlier posts.
Also, if you are paying for your tools, your blog is costing you money, so start using affiliate marketing to pay for your tools and expenses.
Not Doing Your Affiliate Marketing Research
Another common mistake beginner affiliate marketers make is not to do their research.
You could join lots of different affiliate programs because they're there, but at the end of the day, if it's not the product your audience is interested in, they will not buy it.
Because they don't want it.
So you need to figure out who your audience is and what they need.
There's a section in my blog post about creating a social media strategy that will help you figure out who your audience is.
When you find out who is reading your content, then you'll find it a lot easier to figure out the right products for them.
joining too many affiliate programs
This really has to be one of those affiliate marketing basics every body should know, but it seems most people fall for it.
The affiliate mistake most people make when they start is joining too many affiliate programs. But you can't spend enough time on each one of them to do it properly.
Focusing on 2 or 3 products is going to help you be more effective.
You're better off writing a series of blog posts about one or two products than writing lots of different blog posts about different products.
It's easier for you to batch your writing and create outlines of all the things you need to address, so will be more productive with your writing.
They can also help you reduce your bounce rate if you have a series and you will be keeping more people on your site for longer.
But the main reason for this is that you can become overwhelmed with all the work you need to do if you join too many programs or want to promote too many products.
MY GREEDY AFFILIATE MARKETING MISTAKE
A while ago, in October, I had just joined several programs.
But I forgot Black Friday was just around the corner.
Then I started getting bombarded by emails from affiliate programs with all their offers and their instructions about what to do, what emails to send and when, what to schedule on Twitter and Facebook, etc.
And I wasn't just doing it for this website, but for others too!
I did my best and was very happy with the sales we achieved in the end, all things considered, but it was a bit mad for a while.
choosing the wrong products
Once you've joined some affiliate programs, it's time to work on your content.
So when I say you're choosing your products, I mean that you are about to choose the affiliate products you'll promote in your next lot of content.
You'll spend lots of time creating content, so choosing the right products is super important if you want to be successful as an affiliate marketer.
NOT KNOWING THE PRODUCTS YOU'RE PROMOTING
Just because a product has an affiliate program you can use, it doesn't mean you should become an affiliate for it.
If you haven't used the product or know it well, it's not going to work.
It impacts on your credibility if you can't show people how to use a product.
I mean, think about it.
How can you ever sell anything effectively without knowing the product?
If you want to get more affiliate sales, write about products you love and use regularly.
Because when you use the product yourself, you get to experience firsthand how they work. And you can show your readers how they would benefit from using it because it's something you use, and it's helping you too.
It's also easier for you to come up with content and write affiliate marketing tutorials or affiliate marketing reviews like this Payhip Review I wrote a little while ago.
In some niches, though, it's OK if you haven't tried all the products. For example, if you include them in a listicle post or a gift guide.
But even then, conversions increase if you can show you know the products well.
Choosing low commission products
This is the also at the top of my list of top affiliate marketing mistakes because it reduces the amount of money you make for every conversion.
If you want to maximise how much money you make with affiliate marketing, you must look at products that give you a higher commission.
So every time somebody clicks and buys a product through your link, you get a bigger commission.
For example, Amazon affiliates is one of the most popular affiliate programs. It’s easy to apply to, everybody knows Amazon and trust it and people all over the world will be happy buying from Amazon.
But Amazon affiliate commissions are some of the lowest. With some items giving you a 1% commission only.
Plus Amazon cookies are some of the shortest, so you only make money if your readers buy something within 24 hours.
Should you still apply to become an Amazon affiliate?
The answer is yes, because there are things you can do that will make you money each week. But bear in mind, there are some Amazon affiliate mistakes that will get you banned.
It also works for most niches, and there are times of the year when being an Amazon affiliate really pays off.
But don't apply if you have less than 10 posts, use it to complement other programs and don't put all your efforts into this unless you have a very specific Amazon niche website.
Where can you get higher commissions?
You can become an affiliate for a digital product. For instance, if you have used something like this Easy Marketing Planner, this Smart Blog Planner or this Blog By Number course, you can have access to their affiliate program. Their commissions are much higher (between 25% and 40%) and their cookies are much longer.
Or use Shareasale to find products that pay more than 15% commission, like Tailwind did when I started. Here's a blog post to help you choose the most profitable programs.
Not joining affiliate programs with recurring payments
Ideally, you should include some products that give you recurring payments from the start, because the money you earn as their affiliate will build up over time.
Yes, it does start as a small amount, and you need to wait until it gets to the minimum payment before you get paid.
But the good thing about these programs is that you keep getting paid for months, even years.
For me, the recurring payments come from programs like Payhip, SendOwl, membership sites, and social media schedulers like Tailwind.
Get your Affiliate Marketing Tracker
Top AFFILIATE MARKETING MISTAKES: THE EXECUTION PHASE
But lots of bloggers make mistakes in this execution phase as well. So let's have a look at some of them.
Not having an Affiliate Marketing Strategy
- What are your affiliate marketing goals?
- What type of content will you create?
- When and how often?
- What products will you focus on?
- How will you promote your content?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself.
I know, you would think that not having an affiliate marketing strategy is something you do before you get started. And that's true, cos it helps you get things clear in your mind and you know what you're aiming for.
But depending on your niche, you're going to be working on seasonal content most of the time or you might have a lot of evergreen content to create.
So it pays off to create a more detailed affiliate marketing strategy and a plan (including an editorial calendar taking into account the products you're working on) for each Quarter.
This makes it much easier for you to focus on doing the right things at the right time and will help you boost your affiliate earnings.
not doing your seo work
You can make money with affiliate marketing without doing SEO if you're using Pinterest and other social media.
But things with Pinterest are a bit iffy at the moment.
Lots of people have seen a drop in their Pinterest traffic and it's not a great idea to rely on it as the main source of traffic.
And other social media also change their rules and their algorithms, so traffic can go up and down.
But if you do your SEO research and optimise your affiliate blog content for SEO, you'll get better results and will get more money.
Because when you get your SEO right for your affiliate marketing posts, you get more of the right traffic to your content.
And because it's the right traffic for your content, more of them convert and buy the product, so you make more money.
Forgetting to create a resources page
One of the best ways to display your favourite affiliate products is to include them in a Resources Page or Resource Library.
Resource pages are easy to create and can include your own products as well as affiliate products.
The simplest resource page could be a simple list of affiliate products with a one or two lines explanation about why you like it and a link to the product.
But if you want a prettier way to display your affiliate products that will get you more conversions, this Resource Library Template by my friend Kimi will help you.
It's Elementor based, so you can edit it and customise it to suit your branding easily with the FREE Elementor Plugin.
And one thing I love about creating Resource Pages is that you can have more than one.
For instance, I have an affiliate marketing resources page as well as my general resources page, but you can also use them for Black Friday campaigns, Prime Day Campaigns or you could have seasonal resource pages.
AFFILIATE MARKETING TIP:
Create a Resources Page and send it to all your subscribers as part of your welcome funnel.
Add your Resource Page to your Instagram Links in your Bio.
Not using affiliate links in social media
Yes, we all know that you cannot depend on social media because they keep changing things and what's allowed one day is not allowed the next.
Just like that time when Pinterest banned affiliate links that were cloaked and it left lots of people stuck.
But when they are allowed, one of the affiliate marketing mistakes people make is not to use them (and set them on autopilot if possible).
With social media, you can take people directly to the product you're using and not just to your blog posts.
It works really well for impulse buys, products that solve a problem, like this Body Back Buddy
I use SocialBee to post my evergreen affiliate links to social media and this is making me affiliate sales regularly without me having to do anything.
This complements whatever you make through blog posts and you are taking the reader directly to the sales page, so there's fewer steps before they buy.
Bombarding your email list during sales season
This isn't just one of the most common affiliate mistakes, but one of the most annoying for your readers.
Let's imagine Bluchic are having a sales campaign for their New Year's Sale.
You're an affiliate for them and want to make the most of it, so you prepare a few emails to promote the current offer.
And of course it's a great time to make sales. But what usually happens is that your readers are being emailed by every other blogger who's also a Bluchic affiliate.
So you're competing for your readers' attention and, if we're going to be honest, they're going to end up fed up with all the emails.
It makes more sense to include relevant emails in your autoresponders so you can be making sales all year round and not just during sales seasons, as Leanne explains in Affiliate Marketing Superstars.
You're always going to make mistakes when you start something new.
And if you're new at affiliate marketing, you'll be trying lots of different things and doing things you're not familiar with.
What matters is that you experiment, try new things and learn from what you do.
But this can take a while, so why not save time and learn from somebody who's been experimenting with affiliate marketing for years?
My biggest mistake was trying to start more than one site at once… That led me to most of the mistakes listed above…
It’s easy to get carried away with new ideas but it’s always best to start with a plan and focus on a smaller number of things.
I think I’ve probably done every single one of these mistakes 😀 But 2020 brought a whole new mindset for me and I’m embarking on a new try with affiliate marketing equipped with a plan. Remains to be seen whether it works.
It’s so much easier to be successful with affiliate marketing with a plan cos you know what you have to focus on. Best wishes!
I think the commissions are pretty awful on Amazon and they've just lowered them even further. I share a house with a friend and they refused to honour the purchases he bought as gifts. I don't think their terms of service said buyers were not to live in the same house, or am I wrong? Ok, I missed out on maybe $3 for 4 products.
They are lower than they used to be, but it’s still a good affiliate program to use if your links convert well.
As far as I know, you can’t get affiliate commissions for products sent to any of the addresses you use.