Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money, but it’s not necessarily as easy as it
sounds. Too many affiliate marketers are actually making HUGE mistakes that cost them
time, money, and may even hurt their reputations permanently
If you’ve been wondering why your affiliate marketing campaigns aren’t as effective as
you’d hoped, you might be making one or more of these big mistakes than could be
seriously hampering your efforts.
In this post, you’ll learn about the most common mistakes made by affiliate marketers
(even some highly experienced marketers make these mistakes!)
You’ll also learn how to keep from making these mistakes yourself, and how to keep from
repeating the same mistakes over and over again as so many people seem to do.
Mistake #1 – Focusing On Selling
I understand that the main goal of affiliate marketing, at least for the marketers
themselves, is to make sales. That much is obvious. But you should never focus on
Instead, your main focus should be on helping people. No matter what your market, you
should be focused on helping your market in some way, because this is how you add value
to your affiliate offers and how you get the audience in that market to trust you and want
to buy from you.
It doesn’t matter what your market is, your main goal is helping people. Period.
Weight loss? You’re helping people get in shape and get healthy.
Internet marketing? You’re helping people make money and achieve financial freedom.
Soap making? You’re helping people learn how to make their own soap at home for
personal use or resale.
Always focus on helping your target customers. This will help you build a rapport with the
people you’d like to sell to, making your job easier and giving you a reason to feel good about yourself at the same time!
Mistake #2 – Sticking With MMO Products
MMO, or Make Money Online, is one of the most financially lucrative markets there is,
but it’s a mistake to concentrate solely on that one market. Did you know that even the
biggest internet marketing (I.M.) gurus have diversified into other markets?
That’s because any niche, no matter how lucrative, has a maximum income cap that you
can reach. Eventually, you see prices in that niche drop drastically as competition gets out
of control, and your income will suffer.
Sure, this is an extreme example. The fact is, no market has an absolute cap, because new
customers are being born and growing up all the time. But think about it. Once you’ve hit
a plateau, your income stagnates.
But if you diversify, if you branch out into other markets, you’ll always have fresh
products to promote. You’ll always have new value to add. You’ll always be able to make
money because you’re not pigeonholed into one specific market.
I know it may be tempting to start with the MMO niche because it can be extremely
lucrative and you’re learning a lot about it yourself, but unless you really love writing
about and teaching Internet marketing, you’re better off trying a niche where you have
more to add from personal experience.
Mistake #3 – Spreading Yourself Too Thin
The temptation is great, especially for new affiliate marketers, to spread themselves too
thin by branching out into too many markets. Maybe they buy 50 domains all at once, or
they set up blogs in 13 different niches in one week. But this is a mistake.
You should focus on one or two key niches at a time, and diversify once you’ve made
some real headway into those niches. Unless you can hire someone to manage multiple
blogs, multiple products, multiple email lists, multiple social media pages and accounts…
you’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you diversify too widely in the beginning.
Choose one, two or three markets maximum, initially. Once you have some decent traffic,
a small mailing list that’s growing, some social media presence that’s making a difference… then you can think about trying out new niches.
Don’t make the mistake of spreading out too far too fast. You’ll find that you can never
make a real difference in any one niche, because you aren’t putting enough effort into one
to make any headway.
Mistake #4 – Joining Too Many Affiliate Programs
Another major temptation for affiliate marketers is to join too many affiliate programs
because they aren’t sure which one will be the most profitable for them. Well, let me let
you in on a little secret.
They can ALL be profitable for you!
Trust me, as long as you’re sticking to the legitimate affiliate programs with well-known
companies, you can see some nice results. There’s a reason why their affiliate programs
are so popular!
Choose your two or three starter niches, and then find 2-3 affiliate programs for each one.
Make sure you can find at least one really hot product at each affiliate program that looks
like it will convert well in your niche, and then stick to promoting that product for a while
before you try something new.
If you join too many affiliate programs at once, you’ll find that you take a very long time
to reach the minimum payouts required for each affiliate program, because you’ll be
making $2 here, $8 there, $22 somewhere else… it’s madness!
It’s much better to sell three different products via one single affiliate program than it is to
sell fifty products from thirty-five different affiliate programs.
Not only that, but if you’re a member of too many programs, you’ll be more apt to forget
the rules of each affiliate network and end up getting banned, because there’s just too
many to keep track of.
Some of the best and most popular affiliate networks include:
Check these to see which ones have products that fit with your market, and then stick with
those for a while. You may find you never need to move past these few programs.
Mistake #5 – Giving Up Too Quickly
If I had a dollar for every person I’ve seen give up trying to make money online, I’d be
VERY wealthy right now. The internet is littered with blogs that have only one or two
posts, and affiliate accounts that never send the first referral.
What are some common reasons for giving up?
- Not making money quickly
- Not getting traffic quickly
- Not getting accepted to many affiliate networks
- Feeling like it’s too much work
- Thinking affiliate marketing is a “scam”
The one thing most of these things have in common is expecting things to happen
overnight. Affiliate marketing isn’t a “scam” just because you didn’t make $10,000 or
even $1,000 your first month. You can’t expect to take a brand new domain with no
backlinks to 100,000 pageviews a month right away. These things take time.
If you give up too quickly, you’ll never know what could have been. You never know,
you could be the next internet millionaire, but you’ll never know if you give up before it
Mistake #6 – Competition Fear
A lot of people try to stick to the “low hanging fruit”, because they’ve been told that’s
what they should do as newbies. Or they do it because they’re terrified that they’ll never be able to compete against the millions of other websites out there.
You can compete in ANY niche! I’ve known complete newbies who managed to crack
super tough niches like MMO and weight loss right off the bat. Is this likely? Of course
not. Is it possible? Definitely.
I don’t advise new affiliate marketers to tackle these extremely tough niches immediately,
but you don’t have to choose tiny, obscure niches that aren’t likely to make you much
money, either. If there’s not much competition, it’s because there’s not much money
there. Trust me, there ARE no “undiscovered” or “untapped” niches anymore. There may
have been a few years ago, but that ship has sailed. If it’ll make money, it’s already
making someone money. Probably a lot of people.
Don’t fear competition, just be wary of it. You WANT competition, trust me. Too much
competition is a difficult thing to overcome, but choose niches that have a decent amount
of competition, because that’s where the money is.
Mistake #7 – Ignoring Competition
While it’s important not to fear competition, it’s also important to be sensible. Expecting
to make a fortune overnight in a super-competitive niche like forex trading is a sure recipe
for disappointment. I’m not saying don’t enter that niche, but be prepared to take some
time to build your income up.
What you need to do in the beginning is target niches that:
- Have a healthy amount of competition
- Don’t have so much competition that it’s difficult to get traffic
- You have some interest or knowledge in
If you have absolutely no interest or knowledge in a niche, it will be harder to create
content, harder to identify with your target market, harder to sell products you know little
to nothing about, and harder to get traffic.
Do you need to be an expert to conquer a market? Absolutely not! In fact, you could
probably do well in a niche that you know NOTHING about, just learning as you go.
But if you have absolutely no interest in the subject, it’s going to make it much, much
easier to give up. You’ll simply get bored, because your work day becomes such a grind
that you’ll throw your hands up in frustration and flip on the television or head out to the
So how do you choose your first few niches?
Make a list of some topics you have an interest in. I’d say 10-20 topics would be enough
to get started.
Now check to make sure there are:
- Affiliate products to promote
- A decent amount of competition
- Resources available for you to learn from
- Traffic sources you can take advantage of
Don’t fear competition, but be reasonable about it!
Affiliate marketing isn’t for the faint of heart, or for people who find that they tend to give
up too easily or jump around from one shiny new thing to another without thinking.
It’s actually a lot of hard work, and it takes time to build resources like blog traffic and
email lists. There are no shortcuts unless you have the cash to spend for content creation, buying existing websites with traffic, or paying for email subscribers or social network followers.
Always keep these potential mistakes in mind as you navigate your way through the
precarious world of affiliate marketing. Be sure you’re not making these mistakes, and
don’t become lax once you start making money. No one is immune to these mistakes!
As long as you work hard, keep at it, and avoid these mistakes, you’re certain to start
But if you give up, I can guarantee you’ll fail!