Anyone that begins affiliate marketing is more than 90% likely to make the following 12 mistakes I’m going to share today.
Note: It is up to 12 now.
Because I have personally been through most of these 12 mistakes people make in this business, and/or have seen countless people make them over and over, I know how to spot and avoid them.
And I also know how to help guide people to success in this business, which is what the original goal of this website was and is!
And as a note, you can get my personal affiliate coaching to ensure you don’t make these mistakes (or others) if you’re looking to get it right.
So with that said:
Here are the 12 mistakes to avoid with affiliate marketing:
- Looking for get rich quick methods to do affiliate marketing with.
- Not starting an affiliate business on what you’re passionate about (a niche you love).
- Not understanding how authenticity and high quality content is what drives success in this business.
- Getting involved with MLM and high ticket schemes.
- Only having a simple website and affiliate links on it and hoping that makes sales.
- Jumping into pay per click affiliate marketing when you’re new.
- Jumping into email marketing when you’re new.
- Rushing (not having patience to build your affiliate business).
- Not relying on 1 good way to make money in affiliate marketing (diversifying too early).
- Trying to build an affiliate income through 1 page websites.
- Quitting because you think affiliate marketing is too competitive.
- Not using or having a legit coach.
And this is a list that will grow as I see more and people posting their mistakes. It started with 10, now it’s up to 12.
A special video on this subject of affiliate marketing mistakes:
I know this video was quite long and I really wanted to make it shorter, but if you did watch it, THANK YOU! I know how valuable time is for anyone and I assure you that you didn’t waste it watching this video. But I do want to suggest one more very important thing that you do: and that is…
Do this if you want to succeed at affiliate marketing (and avoid the mistakes):
Please do yourself a huge favor and read this whole article fully. I know with the video, it’s very long, but:
I never had this type of guidance when I got started (I didn’t know where to find it) and it led me to be one of the 90% of those who failed at this business for several years because of it in addition to losing more money than I could tell you (but I explain some of that here).
Now that I know which mistakes to avoid, I want to share that with you. It is sadly much easier to get affiliate marketing wrong and fail, vs getting it right and succeeding and this due to these reasons:
1) There’s a lot of diverse information about this business out there, most of it is unfortunately bad and it confuses people on where and how to start this business.
2) There’s also a lot of lazy people out there who truly do not wish to work as hard as they need to in order to succeed at affiliate marketing.
Rest assured, by the time you finish reading this article, you are going to at the very least know which is the best path for you to get started with in affiliate marketing.
And before I begin showing you the 10 mistakes, let me say that you are more than welcome to share your comments and opinions on this topic below. If there is a mistake I overlooked, and you mention it, I will be more than happy to make this list bigger.
As long as it does it’s intended thing which is help people avoid them and help them succeed, that is what’s most important here.
Details on each affiliate marketing mistake:
Note: It used to be 10, but as I find more and more common mistakes, I’ll add them to this list and give the proper corrections to them. And so far that list is up to 12.
There’s one quick I want to mention and that is these mistakes are not ranked. It’s just a countdown of the most common ones I have personally experienced and have seen people experience…
1) Trying get rich quick methods:
This is the most common, so I’ll start with this mistake first:
A person looking to get into affiliate marketing isn’t really interested in creating a real business, they just want to make a few sales as quickly as possible and want to know the best and fastest ways it’s possible.
Why this is a mistake:
In my experience, people who ask and seek get rich quick methods of doing affiliate marketing are not serious about it, are likely lazy and are pretty much lying to themselves in that this is actually possible.
Affiliate marketing is a legitimate business and legitimate businesses REQUIRE hard work.
There are methods of making money in this business that you can consider “fast” and here are the 2 most common:
- Doing YouTube videos and promoting products there.
- Running paid ads (pay per click) to get fast traffic to your offers.
But without proper experience and hard work to understand how to really make these things work, you are lying to yourself in believing these methods will be your ATM in this business. The people who make this mistake are also those who commonly think that affiliate marketing is dead.
If your mindset is “get rich quick”, then your online business is already on shaky ground from the start and most likely is going to fail.
I have doomed myself with this mindset numerous time and have witnessed countless people make this mistake too.
- Change your mindset and view of affiliate marketing.
- Know that if you’re just getting started, put in at least 1 year into this business.
- Expect to write a lot, learn a lot and work a lot if you want to make this business work.
- Never expect quick results.
- If you see people advertising get rich quick promises for affiliate marketing, know that there is ALWAYS a catch. Be on guard.
These tips may sound simple to implement, but I promise you that the get rich quick mentality will always creep back up on you. It still does for me.
You need to train yourself mentally to not let that illusion get to you and the best way to do that is to start doing affiliate marketing through a method that off the bat lets you know there is work required and actually prepping yourself to do it.
As you go through that process and experience this business and how it works, that will help reprogram your mind to do this business correctly and not make this mistake.
2) Not picking an affiliate niche you like:
This is also an important mistake you need to avoid, so read this one carefully!
A person gets into affiliate marketing and wants to know what the best products and niche markets are to start with, completely ignoring one very important thing.
Why this is a mistake:
Most people who start or try affiliate marketing have no clue that it’s actually possible to make a full time income with it in a niche topic they are passionate about.
Instead of doing this, they usually look for “profitable affiliate niches” they assume are money makers, and they very well could be but if their knowledge of these niches is null, it will NOT be profitable for them.
I could give you 10, 50, 100 and even 1,000 profitable niche markets to start an affiliate business with and if you need proof:
- Here is a list of 10 niches for affiliate marketers in 2021.
- Here is a recent list of 10 high ticket niches I found.
- Here’s also 5 evergreen niches that will always be profitable.
- And here’s 5 micro niches with extremely low competition to profit with.
But if you have zero knowledge on all of them, you shouldn’t start with them at all because:
Without knowing your niche, you will never know how to sell the products well. You won’t be able to connect with the audience you are selling to.
That BIG missing piece which is personal experience will cause failure.
Find your ideal niche market based on your experiences and things you love, and START THERE.
It’s far better to start with a niche you know and love vs one/s you don’t know squat about.
I regularly help people with this particular problem and one of the ways I advise they go about this is, is to list out hobbies and interests they have on paper or their laptop, and then from that list to create a scale of which topics interest them most.
Once they do that, I tell them to narrow down that list to topics which are popular and from there, we have at least 1 niche choice to start with.
Ask me about this below if you have a problem picking niches.
Let me give you several examples:
Do you enjoy diving?
Start an affiliate site/YouTube channel showing people how to hold their breath and sell them equipment divers use.
Do you like cars?
Why not start an affiliate business teaching how to save money on mechanics by doing their own repairs, like oil changes? You can promote products directly to your readers and viewers and save them money from going to the mechanic.
Are you good at taking care of animals?
Why not start an affiliate site and YouTube channel sharing this knowledge and helping pet owners have healthier, happier pets?
Are you beginning to see what I’m talking about when I say pick a topic you like?
This is how it should be done. In fact, if you need step by step help with this…
- Either ask me about this below.
- Or read this other article I put up, which is sure to help with that choice.
3) Trying to be a fake affiliate:
This is one of the most important lessons I have come to understand about this business and I want you to fully understand it too, so make sure you read about this mistake fully please!
A person getting into affiliate marketing just “wants to sell stuff” and with this mindset doesn’t really think about who they are selling to, if what they are promoting is ethical or not. They just want to make the sales and are ready to make any fake info or claims just to make the sale.
Why this is a mistake:
- The less authentic you are.
- The less you put your niche audience’s interests ahead of your need to make sales.
- The more you focus on making money.
The less successful your affiliate business will be. Why?
Because it’s missing authenticity and sincerity and people can truly sense that and while it may not lead to total failure and you CAN make money this way, I assure you that without these ingredients, you are making a fraction of the affiliate sales you COULD be making if you added them in.
1) You can’t think of yourself as a seller if you’re doing affiliate marketing.
2) You have to think of yourself as a person who is genuinely trying to help someone solve or a problem and/or answer a question.
3) I promise you, if you read reviews on blogs and watch YouTube videos promoting stuff, you can actually FEEL if there is some cheesy artificial selling going on or if things are sincere.
- A key component of a successful affiliate business is how well the actual affiliate HELPS their audience solve problems.
- The better they are at understanding the problem the niche audience faces.
- The better they are at RELATING to the problem (personally knowing the issue and experiencing it).
- The better they are at helping the niche audience find the BEST solution that makes them happy.
Then the more sincere and authentic they will come off as. And this will help them sell more. Authentic people who try to help solve problems create BETTER content.
This means they write better blogs, create better YouTube videos and get more trust from readers and viewers.
1) Let’s take 2 people who run blogs on helping pets stay healthier.
One of those people is just chasing the money and promotes any affiliate product on the site.
The other actually has experience with helping pets and writes very long, but personal stories about how they actually used certain products (they are also promoting) to help their pets be healthier.
Guess who the reader will connect with better? Of course, it’ll be the second person! And that is why they will make the sales, all whilst helping the reader actually get solutions.
2) If you take me personally, this very site is helping people struggling or getting started with in affiliate marketing. I literally list my history and experiences here and these very mistakes you are reading about are likely things you have also faced when being in this business.
Guess what’s happening when you are reading this? We are connecting. I am literally speaking to you with the content I create and this helps me sell promotions (legitimate ones, don’t worry!).
4) Getting into high ticket and MLM schemes:
It is my personal opinion that you should stay away from any MLM program and high ticket scheme you come across if you’re planning on doing affiliate marketing.
Here is why:
Scenario 1 (MLM):
A person seeking to do affiliate marketing hears about the “opportunity” of selling an MLM product that “helps” people with health whilst at the same time hearing about how recruiting people into their business will make them a lot of money.
Scenario 2 (High ticket schemes):
A person sees a high ticket program being advertised telling them that they will learn how to make huge $500, $1,000 commissions if they join and become an affiliate for them and decides it’s a great deal because they can make good money fast.
With both these scenarios, there is a catch and this catch is the mistake I’m about to reveal to you…
Why this is a mistake:
MLM programs, network marketing companies and high ticket schemes are HUGE business models in the online business and affiliate marketing world.
They are often pitched as being the greatest and fastest ways of making money online if you’re doing affiliate marketing, and if you know what to do, they can be, but in my personal opinion, their business models are a scheme, rip off and often a pyramid scheme in reality.
Allow me to explain how these business models may actually be scams, by taking the above contexts I put up and showing what usually ends up happening…
Scenario A (MLM):
The same person above who joins the MLM finds out that to get started with reselling the MLM’s products, that they need to invest a couple of $100 and buy the products first and if they wish to recruit people, that may also be part of the couple $100 payment or even require more.
In most cases, the work this person puts into reselling the MLM products fails because they are highly overpriced and no one wants to buy them. And trying to recruit people as an affiliate into the MLM by telling them about the BS opportunities comes off shady.
This person ends up losing friends and close relationships because they try to do this stuff and this scenario occurs more than 90% of the time with MLM programs. They are also often pyramid schemes, especially if there is no product to sell and only a recruitment opportunity, so beware of that.
Scenario B (High ticket scheme):
The same person who joins the high ticket program that says they will learn how to make $500, $1,000 or more in commissions finds out they need to buy the same things first before being granted the rights to promote them as an affiliate.
In most cases, high ticket schemes LOVE to make it seem as though that by spending more = more opportunity to make more and they will start people off at a low price point to hype them up for the higher products they want to sell them.
It’s VERY common to see high ticket schemes start you off on free and low cost trials, then run you through sales calls (they call it coaching, but it’s total nonsense) and then up it to $500, then $1,000, and even beyond to prices that exceed $10,000 or more.
And people BUY this stuff, often at the expense of their entire savings thinking they will be able to make sales back easily. This typically does NOT happen and they end up going bankrupt.
And even if they get a few sales, they are basically putting their leads into the same financial hole and risk and that is unethical in my opinion.
I advise never getting into any MLM program or high ticket schemes. Stick to promoting legitimate affiliate products, and opportunities that are outside these things.
For MLM programs, if you see any wording like:
- Massive opportunity.
- Compensation plan.
- Network marketing opportunities.
For high ticket schemes, if you see anything like this:
- Starting at free, $1 trials, or a little more.
- Also network marketing opportunities.
- That you can make $500 and higher commissions (this is code word for high ticket scheme typically).
- Then you find out that there are packages that go beyond 4 levels and get into the $1,000’s in pricing.
Run, this is a high ticket scheme.
In affiliate marketing, there are massive opportunities that exist outside the MLM and high ticket scheme world. You can even market high ticket items without ever paying a cent for joining the affiliate program.
1) The first one I often bring up when explaining this position is Amazon Associates and how you can promote their most expensive products and not having to pay to be a part of the program or even pay to promote the product.
You can join it for free, promote ANY product for free, and make 100% profit off it as opposed to joining high ticket SCHEMES and put yourself in a major financial hole before you even make a penny.
2) The second one I bring up is promoting legitimate services as an affiliate and making big commissions from this. For example, local marketing is a GREAT way to make big ticket commissions legitimately. You as an affiliate in these examples, help businesses rank better on search engines and they pay you big money for either doing this service for them and/or bringing them clients.
5) Thinking “all it takes” is a site and affiliate links:
This mistake gives me a headache because I have seen so many people waste their time (and mine) with this issue.
A person creates a website and basically sets up an eStore or a few pages that promote affiliate products like crazy.
Then they sit back and think that everything is done and the money is going to be rolling in.
Why this is a mistake:
There are a bunch of reasons why this approach to making an affiliate business will 100% never work and here are a few of them:
1) First, the very idea of setting up a website and putting up promotions is a mistake because you offer NO value to the person who visits the site. You assume that by just putting up product promotions on a site, that people will just buy it.
You are basically making the 3rd mistake on this list (not offering quality content and authenticity).
And for people who put up way too many affiliate links on their pages, STOP. You CANNOT promote and sell this way because it will NEVER work. Here’s an easy formula to remember:
Less promotions = more sales. More promotions = LESS sales.
In this article, that is several 1,000 words long, I only have about 5 affiliate links. The rest is quality content aimed at helping you avoid affiliate marketing mistakes. I’m just giving you an example.
2) They are being lazy and think that this business is easy (making the first mistake on this list).
3) And second, without a traffic source, aka a way of people reaching this site, you are basically doing 0 marketing and this will 100% result in failure. Traffic is always a major missing piece in an affiliate’s success and if you don’t know how to CORRECTLY generate it, you will fail.
Whatever it is you are promoting, you need to get people who would be interested in that product to the site. Here’s 3 ways you can do that:
- Make YouTube videos reviewing the product you are affiliate with.
- Create long 1,500 word or more blog posts reviewing the product.
- Use paid ad networks and create ads to appear for people who would be interested in the product.
For these 3 strategies, I will make individual tutorials on, but that’s 3 legitimate ways to generate traffic and make a full time income with affiliate marketing.
6) Thinking that paid ads (PPC) is easy:
Paid ads are a major warning I have to talk to you about because you can end up losing so much money in MOST cases, even if you are experienced.
A person doesn’t have the patience or do affiliate marketing the free and safe way (blogging and YouTube videos), so they decide to try paid ads, which is a shortcut to getting a lot of traffic fast, but at a price:
You pay for each click, view or impression (appearance on a search engine). For example:
They assume that if they promote something that pays them big and just set up ads sending traffic to their promotional page, that the money they spend on paid ads will pay for itself and they will profit easily this way (high ticket schemes are often promoted this way).
Why this is a mistake:
Paid advertising is LEGITIMATE but it is EXTREMELY risky to do if you are not experienced with affiliate marketing and how to sell stuff.
I’ve literally made six figure incomes in profits from using paid ads, but that income I generated came from about 4-5 different affiliate promotions I had. This proves that affiliate marketing through pay per click methods works. But:
If I were to take ALL of my attempts at trying to make paid ads work across the most popular networks out there (YouTube Ads, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, ect…), I would break it down like this:
- 90% of the time, the promotion I had did not make enough money, so I lost it on paid ads.
- 7% of the time, I may have broken even or possibly made a small profit.
- 3% of the time, I made a paid ad promotion work out and it generated me 6 figures.
- Eventually, paid ads can take your affiliate business to passive income levels, but that happens later on down the line, not early.
And I’m an expert when it comes to paid traffic generation for multiple networks. And my results were this small, but I could take the losses, imagine a beginner trying to do this.
What about other experts? Do they have better results with paid ads?
Well I can’t speak for everyone, but the most successful affiliate marketers I know all tell me the same thing: Paid ads in MOST cases will fail people and if you can make 1 ad promotion work, put ALL your money there.
That scenario is a rare one and you NEED to spend and lose money to get there.
If you are a beginner, don’t let the allure of fast traffic and paid ads get to you. Assume that if you try it, you will lose money and if you can’t afford it, that’s another reason why you should not get involved with paid ads (yet).
Start doing affiliate marketing through blogging and YouTube for traffic generation and let that be the experience you get from affiliate marketing.
There is always some sort of failure and learning curve time involved with this business, but with blogging and YouTube, you lose nothing in terms of money.
Every experience you gain is free here. And if you make money from this, then use the profits and experience gained to get into paid ads from there.
7) Thinking email marketing is the way to go:
Email marketing is often seen as one of the best ways to generate money online and make a passive income with affiliate marketing, but in my experience, it isn’t. Not until you’re experienced enough to understand it.
A person is told that to make money online as an affiliate, they need to create an email list. They are told that if they collect (let’s say) 1,000 leads to their list, and then send them out a few emails, that they will be able to make money long term.
Why this is a mistake:
Email marketing, like paid ads in my personal opinion is also very legitimate, but is an advanced strategy when it comes to making money through affiliate marketing. It isn’t easy and it is basically a second online business on top of the first, that being your website, how it generates traffic and how well it works.
If you can’t get the first piece of your online business to work, for example, creating a blog, YouTube channel or paid ad that generates targeted traffic, you have no business doing email marketing.
Establish a blog and website and drive traffic to it through YouTube videos, blogging and more. Get the experience of knowing what gets people to your site, clicking it and buying from it.
When you reach that point, and your site has consistent traffic coming in, then start collecting an email list from it.
8) Wanting fast results:
Impatience destroys more affiliate businesses than you can imagine. People always want to know how long it takes to make money with affiliate marketing, and are hoping they get an answer that is the shortest and quickest way to do it.
A person tries to do affiliate marketing, sets up the basics (a website and a few pages), and expects things to flow easily from there.
Or they are into this business for a few months, see no results and quit.
Why this is a mistake:
This is another branch of mistake #1 and expecting quick results. In many cases, because affiliate businesses take time to build (blogging takes time to work, results and experience take time to be seen).
You have to put in a year like I said before and really work hard on your affiliate business if you want it to work.
You also have to change your mindset and understand that your business relies on providing quality content and helping people (mistake #3). Without this important understanding, you are going to succumb to impatience and quit.
I’ve seen far too many people make this mistake and I don’t want to see you make it.
9) Trying too many ways to do affiliate marketing:
This mistake applies to beginners.
A person wanting to do affiliate marketing for the first time doesn’t know where to begin with it, so they research different options and decide to do things like:
- Start multiple sites.
- An email list.
- Trying multiple paid ad networks.
- Solo Ads.
- Basically putting their effort into multiple strategies vs just one.
Why this is a mistake:
When you are a beginner to affiliate marketing, it is imperative that you choose one strategy that is safe for you to work with and put in all your efforts there.
If you try and make multiple strategies work, you are not focusing enough on the right strategy for yourself.
If you put all your effort into blogging, it will take you at least 6 months to get traffic and sales from it.
But if you start blogging, and begin doing other things that don’t involve your blog, you are going to extend that 6 month time frame way longer, and even if you do get results, they’ll only come years after, when you could have already seen it if you stuck to blogging.
1) Start with blogging if you are a beginner.
2) If you are also not shy, create YouTube product review videos alongside your blog and link your videos with your blog.
3) Put in at least 1 year to doing this and don’t do anything else no matter how enticing it sounds.
Blogging and YouTube is your safest choice as a beginner affiliate marketer and besides knowing in advance that it takes time to grow your business this way, you should not make the mistake of assuming this is the least profitable route.
Blogging and YouTube can end up being your most profitable commission generator in the long run because these methods and the results you get from it can produce you with 100% free traffic and 100% profits.
Free traffic in the long run can also come to your site in larger numbers than paid traffic so you can literally make more with this “beginner” strategy than advanced ones.
Personally, after having tried these options as well as paid ads and email marketing, I still stick to and prefer blogging and YouTube, and so do many experts I know who generate 6 and 7 figure incomes with affiliate marketing.
10) Relying on one page websites:
Of the many ways to do affiliate marketing, building one page sites is a commonly pitched option and one I know a lot about.
You build a one page website, get a lot of traffic to it and basically promote something on that one page, or sell people something through a webinar or email list funnel. The impression of this strategy is that “all it takes” to make an affiliate income is a one page site.
A lot of people preach that one page websites are better than multiple page websites if you want to make money online.
Why this is a mistake:
You are likely to spend and lose a lot of money in most cases if you have no clue how to run paid ads or convert them. This is explained in my article on one page affiliate websites here, where I tell you about my success using this strategy, but also how much I lost relying on this. And if I’m an expert and screwed this up, you’re even more likely to screw it up if you’re a beginner.
Don’t start your affiliate marketing journey with one page websites, unless you are ready to lose a lot money. Start with blogging and YouTube.
11) Quitting because affiliate marketing is too saturated:
There’s tons of people who don’t even risk getting one foot in the door of affiliate marketing because this assumption scares them away.
You decide to try affiliate marketing, but see there’s tons of websites, videos and competitors in your niche/s and so you decide what’s the point, and quit.
Why this is a mistake:
As I explained in this article on affiliate marketing not being saturated, this is a myth because most people have no clue what they are doing and even if you see a lot of sites, videos and competitors in your niche, I guarantee you that 95% or them (in conservative estimates) are actually succeeding. And if you know what to do, you can be that 5%, even if you’re just starting out.
Don’t listen to panicky people or negative ones who say this business is too saturated. Listen to someone who knows how to overcome the competition and get you to succeed. And this is where I’ll discuss the 12th option on this list:
12) Not having a (legit) affiliate coach:
Everything you wish to learn that can make you money or have you get better at something can be done faster if you have the help of someone experienced in the field guiding you through that process.
I doubt any context is needed here, but just in case, this final mistake is all about finding the right help from someone who understands this business.
Why it’s a mistake:
It’s not easy to find a legitimate mentor or coach in this business. Usually you will have 4 types of people here:
1) Fake coaches who are just sales people. You’ll find these in high ticket schemes. They can’t be trusted.
2) Most people who claim to be coaches are liars, because they aren’t as experienced as they say.
3) There are truly successful affiliate marketers but unfortunately, they suck at teaching you how to do it.
4) There are the rare ones who are both successful affiliate marketers and also great teachers who can teach you it.
Clearly, if you have to choose between these choices, 4 is where you’d want to be. But where can you find legitimate coaches and mentors to teach you affiliate marketing?
Forgive me for totting my own horn here, but I am in choice 4 and if you want more 1 on 1 affiliate coaching, here are legit options.
I won’t make the claim that I’m the best coach/mentor nor will I claim to be a millionaire (my real income stats), but I have helped countless people get started with and succeed at affiliate marketing and I’ve done it for many years.
There are 2 ways I coach people/mentor people that you can take advantage of:
1) This site. The information and my advise is free here. Ask me anything about affiliate marketing anywhere on this site and you will get an honest answer.
2) This is for more action oriented people. Besides my free advice, the best way I help people actually start, do and succeed at this business is by referring them to the program I began with as a complete beginner with at this business, that transformed me into an expert:
Wealthy Affiliate. It is in this program that I personally assist people with my affiliate coaching and mentoring. The way it works is that Wealthy Affiliate gives you the same exact blueprint I followed to become who I am today, an experienced affiliate marketer.
You follow the same blueprint, but as an added bonus, get my personal 24-7 mentoring alongside it and for 1 year, the time frame needed to get good results in this business.
What I can tell you is that this combination is exactly what any struggling or complete beginner to this business needs to succeed.
I promise you that doubt and questions will hit you when you get into this business, no matter how proven or awesome the blueprint or action plan you get is.
When that happens, having someone like myself to tell you how to overcome that doubt and EXACTLY what to do to move forward is priceless and this is how I came up in this business to what I have today in it.
Everything you will experience in affiliate marketing when you start out is what I went through and knowing how to beat that and how to succeed is what I now teach people to do and this is what I provide to you.
See the details of this coaching offer here.
And of course, my site, HelpingHandAffiliate.com is here anytime to provide free advise on this subject, so I hope these 10 affiliate marketing mistakes are things you will be able to avoid, now that you know them.
If you have personal experience with any of these mistakes, I would love it if you shared that experience below and told me about it.
Vitaliy, the Helping Hand Affiliate.