18 Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes beginners Should Avoid

Common affiliate marketing mistakes every affiliate marketer needs to avoid
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Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online.

An article published by A. Guttmann from Statista mentioned that the U.S. affiliate marketing spend will reach 8.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2022.

Affiliate marketing has lots of benefits to attract newcomers. You can start with no/little investment because there is no need to store products, deal with shipping and customer support. 

What you need to do is promote the merchants’ products and earn commissions for every referred business.

So many people flock into the business because of the unlimited potential to make money.

Notice Title

“Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires.” – Robert Foster Bennett

Affiliate marketing quote

However, when you rush into affiliate marketing with little knowledge, you can easily make common affiliate marketing mistakes and end up wasting your time and effort.

This post will show you the 18 most common affiliate marketing mistakes beginners should avoid and simple fixes. Or, you can use the points to check if you are on the right track.

Why Do Affiliate Marketers Fail? – Affiliate Mistakes Beginners Should Avoid

1. Starting Affiliate Marketing Too Early

Many affiliate marketers run into affiliate marketing right after starting a blog. At that time, they didn’t have enough audience and consistent traffic.

Translation: They couldn’t make much out of the affiliate programs.

Is affiliate marketing that easy?

Yes and no. 

The idea of affiliate marketing is quite simple, and the process is straightforward. 

  • Find the right affiliate program.
  • Apply for it.
  • Get the affiliate link and start to promote.
  • Generate sales and get paid.

However, if someone hardly knows what affiliate marketing is and how it works, it’s highly unlikely to make serious money from the business.

Simple Fix: 

Apply for affiliate programs when you are confident that your website receives consistent quality traffic.

Translation: You have built trust with a certain amount of audience who are willing to take your advice and buy from your affiliate link. 

2. Applying For Too Many Affiliate Programs

One of the most common affiliate marketing mistakes is signing up for too many affiliate programs at the start. 😲

It does more harm than good for beginners.

I understand the excitement of being accepted by programs you apply to after starting a blog and the potential for unlimited money-making opportunities. 

However, you wouldn’t have enough time to know all the programs very well and promote them in the best possible ways at the beginning. 

As a first-time blogger, if you don’t outsource any work, you will need to do the following things.

  1. Choose a profitable niche that you are passionate about.
  2. Find a domain name.
  3. Build your blog.
  4. Design your blog.
  5. Find an affiliate program that is closely related to your niche.
  6. Do thorough research (the program and the merchant).
  7. Apply for the program.
  8. Write excellent content about the product.
  9. Promote your post.
  10. Reply to comments and emails.
  11. Network with other bloggers.
  12. Monitor your site performance.
  13. Adjust your marketing strategies based on the performance.

I am not going to lie; all the tasks take tremendous time and effort. 

The more products you want to promote, the more times the cycle (steps 5 to 13) repeats.

On top of that, more programs don’t always lead to more commissions.

🌟 Pro Tip: One or two winning products can help you make lots of money if you target the right audience.

In one of Pat Flynn’s videos, he mentioned that he had generated more than $300,000 with ONLY one affiliate product.

It’s recommended to start with ONE product you have tested out and believe your audience would benefit from it. By doing this, you can confidently share your experience.

3. Having Little Knowledge of the Product

If you are not familiar with the product, how could you expect your audience to purchase it from your link?

When you promote something, you vouch for it. And you certainly don’t want to endorse some poor-quality products.

Some affiliate marketers might recommend products (inferior or broken)without doing research simply because of the attractive commissions.

This is risky because they might lose trust, authority, and revenues. 

💡 Note: Not all affiliate programs are created equal.

If you want more clicks and sales, do thorough research about the product and merchant first.

The more you know what you promote, the more expertise, authority, and trust you build with your audience.

4. Using The Wrong Way To Promote 

Individual affiliate marketers often try every possible way (even unethical methods) to promote their products.

For example,

  • place intrusive ads (such as a pop-up ad)
  • add lots of web banners 
  • insert too many affiliate links on one page, which looks spammy
  • use false advertising
  • add links that are not closely related to the content
  • use irrelevant keywords or keyword stuffing 

Visitors might get confused, frustrated, and annoyed by these marketing methods and never come back again. 

What’s worse, people might get a negative impression of affiliate marketing, which negatively impacts the whole industry.

5. Promoting The Features Instead Of The Benefits

Features tell, benefits sell.

As a beginner, it’s not uncommon to state all the features.

However, telling features is not enough to sell.

Potential customers don’t want to buy features; they want to know ‘what’s in it for me?’. 🤔


  • Does the product solve a specific problem for me?
  • How much value does it bring?

Notice Title

“People don’t care about your business. They care about their problems. Be the solution that they’re looking for.” – Melanie Dodaro

Quote: one of the affiliate mistakes beginners should avoid

It’s the affiliate marketer’s role to show how this chosen product could solve their pain points (i.e., the problems, the inconveniences, the needs, and the wants) and add real value to their life.

If you can use a new angle to state what they can benefit from using the product, you are more likely to win the customer.

Be creative.

6. Promoting The Wrong Affiliate Product

This is one of the biggest affiliate marketing mistakes beginners should avoid.

Some dodgy affiliate programs might offer generous commissions to trick beginners in. You don’t want to fall victim to those.

If you choose an irrelevant or low-quality product to promote, this will only damage your reputation and credibility and break the trust you have built.

Affiliate marketing is NOT a one-time business.

It is something that you can build to have consistent monthly cash flow.

Affiliate marketers, especially beginners, need to be very selective with affiliate programs. 

Make sure the chosen products are related to your niche and relevant to your audience so they can keep coming back for more.

🌟 Pro Tip: Choose the product that can help solve your audience’s pain points and you have personally tried.

7. Not Producing Original And High-Quality Content Consistently

Visitors get bored quickly with the same sales pitch, and it won’t help the conversion rate in the long run.

Simply churning out posts every day or outsourcing shoddy writing work doesn’t increase click-throughs and sales. 

You want to take your time to write original and compelling content that could provide valuable information and deep insights. 

This could be 

  • a detailed how-to tutorial.
  • an honest product review (the good, the bad, and the ugly) based on your experience to set the right expectations for your audience.
  • a personal story of how the product has helped you achieve something.

Your words don’t have to be salesy, and your story doesn’t have to be fake to evoke any strong emotions. 

Your audience will appreciate you for being authentic and honest.

Also, DON’T forget to keep producing high-quality content, updating and republishing the old content.

8. Ignoring Customer Complaints

Although affiliate marketers don’t have to provide customer support, it’s nice to know your audience’s experience with the product by getting feedback from them.

By doing this, you 

  • will know if you have helped your audience solve their pain points. 
  • can know better about the product from genuine and authentic reviews.
  • might generate consistent sales by listening to your people.
  • build a stronger connection with your audience by caring.
  • can follow up the complaints with the merchant and get back to your audience. 

Never ignore the negative reviews about the product from your audience. 

Thanks to multiple social media channels, they can share bad experiences on different platforms in a matter of seconds. 

Pay close attention to the quality of their experience and help them as much as you can.

9. Only Depending On One Channel

The risk of relying on one channel is that you stop generating new sales when the method stops working in your favor.

For example, say you use Google to get traffic. If your website doesn’t align with the Google algorithm in any form, you might not rank, and your revenue will suffer for it.

You can use more than one promotional channel to reduce the risk, such as email marketing and social media platforms (e.g., Facebook or Pinterest).

10. Not Investing In The Right Tools

Unlike other businesses, affiliate marketing requires less start-up capital.

That said, if you are serious about making it work, you will need to invest in some right tools.

As for a first-time blogger, you will at least need

You are welcome to check out what tools and resources I use for this blog.

11. Forgetting An Email List

The money’s in the list. Email marketing is a real thing.

If you can build a solid relationship with your subscribers, they will buy from you because you are the real person they know, like, and trust.

The more quality subscribers you have, the more traffic. And more traffic increases the chances of conversion rates.

Have a hard time collecting email addresses as a beginner?

Maybe try to offer something valuable for FREE. That could be a free ebook, a checklist, or a worksheet.

As for the email marketing tool, I recommend ConvertKit.

12. Neglecting The SEO Basics

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential for every affiliate marketer to get FREE organic traffic.

If people can’t find your website, your effort will be in vain no matter how good the product is.

Understand your audience and know what they are looking for (search intent) and what words/phrases they are typing in search engines (search term).

Do your keyword research first, create meaningful internal links, and get quality backlinks.

Related articles:

How To Improve Your Blog Posts Readability (FREE PDF)

13. Not Keeping Track Of Your Website Performance

Many bloggers place affiliate links on their websites and sit back to wait for the commissions to come.

If you are lucky, you might earn a quick buck here and there. But in reality, the money rarely comes.

Successful affiliate marketers don’t depend on luck. Instead, they know what they are doing by analyzing valuable stats and taking real action.

You need to organize your affiliate links, fix broken links, and monitor your marketing campaigns’ progress actively.

For example, if you want to optimize the performance, you will need to know what page brings you the most traffic and what affiliate links get the most clicks on what page. You can use Google Analytics, a powerful tool that provides tons of valuable information about your site performance.

14. Following The Crowd

Affiliate marketing evolves fast. What worked in the past may not work today.

It’s ok to learn from online coaches, masters, or gurus, but eventually, you want to find out what works best for you and your audience.

If you use the same way as most affiliate marketers, why should the audience buy through your affiliate link instead of theirs?

15. Making Money Solely From Affiliate Marketing

Online business models could be fluctuating, and affiliate marketing is no exception.

It could be dangerous to have all your income come from affiliate marketing.

If the business is not working anymore, you stop making money. It’s like having an unexpected laid-off.

Try to diversify your income sources.

16. Stopping Learning

There is no exact rule or trick to follow for guaranteed success in affiliate marketing as there are too many variants in the business.

Otherwise, you will hear success stories every day.

That’s why it’s essential to keep learning and not be afraid to make changes when necessary.

For example, if your affiliate programs change affiliate networks (e.g., from ShareASale to Impact), update the Terms of Service, or add new features to the product. You will need to keep yourself updated and make changes accordingly.

Failing to do so, you might risk getting your affiliate account closed and can’t get your hard-earned money back.

Keep reading:

Why Your Affiliate Applications Get Declined And What To Do Next

Common Blogging Mistakes Affiliate Marketers Should Avoid 

17. Promoting Without Passion

Profitability should not be the only consideration when applying for affiliate programs.

If you are not genuinely passionate about what you are doing, it’s hard to do it for the long term.

On top of that, your audience will know sooner or later. It’s easy to tell from your tone, wording, and other details.

Don’t promote a product if you have no interest.

18. Not Having Enough Patience

Affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme, as many experienced affiliate marketers have said.

It’s a long-term game. You need a LOT of patience to play the game.Success doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s easy to get demotivated and give up when you work so hard but get so little.

Hard work doesn’t necessarily guarantee fruition, and very often, affiliate marketers may not generate sales within their first year.

Don’t give up too early.

Take your time to learn the ins and outs of affiliate marketing and be patient. The fattest cheque might come on the day that you don’t expect. 💰💰💰

Final Thoughts

It’s not uncommon to makeaffiliate marketing mistakes when you start. Luckily, we can learn to fix them.

Affiliate marketing is easy to start but takes time to make decent money.

You don’t need an academic degree or excellent computing skills to start affiliate marketing. However, you need

  • a great passion
  • proper digital marketing skills
  • investment in the right tools
  • content strategies
  • consistent quality traffic 
  • constant learning
  • tons of patience

Let’s quickly recap the 18 most common affiliate mistakes beginners should avoid.

  1. Starting affiliate marketing too early
  2. Applying for too many affiliate programs
  3. Having little knowledge of the products
  4. Using the wrong way to promote
  5. Promoting the features instead of the benefits
  6. Promoting the wrong affiliate product
  7. Not producing original and high-quality content consistently
  8. Ignoring customer complaints
  9. Only depending on one channel
  10. Not investing in the right tools
  11. Forgetting an email list
  12. Neglecting the SEO basics
  13. Not keeping track of your website performance
  14. Following the crowd
  15. Making money solely from affiliate marketing
  16. Stopping learning
  17. Promoting without passion
  18. Not having enough patience

Do you know other common affiliate marketing mistakes beginners should avoid? Let me know in the comments.

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18 common affiliate mistakes beginners should avoid

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