7 Epic Affiliate Marketing Fails that will backfire for sure

7 Epic Affiliate Marketing Fails that will backfire for sure
07 Sep 2017

Understanding the ins and outs of the affiliate industry can be overwhelming but it’s the only way to go if you intend on surviving the competitive affiliate market. Yet every day I see so many affiliates failing and quickly become frustrated with the industry, primarily because:

  1. They feel like they are wasting too much money and time
  2. They waste energy in creating strategies that never seem to work
  3. They lack confidence in taking risks and trying out new channels
  4. They struggle to achieve substantial results in less time
  5. They don’t understand the key ingredients required to inspire action

If any of this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. The fact is that affiliate marketing isn’t as easy as it’s made to sound. However, understanding how it works is the first major step towards progressing and progress can be slow. Especially if you are expecting to make money right away or getting rich overnight.

This doesn’t happen. Ever. Unless you have Aladdin’s lamp maybe 😉

There is a lot more that goes into affiliate marketing than what most newbies consider. To put it briefly, you need to make connection, bring in the right kind of traffic, create engaging content and gain consumer trust.

All of this takes time, effort an a lot of patience.

These are just a few reasons which lead rookie affiliates to lose their way and quit before they have even started. Despite the obvious knowledge regarding patience and time, there are several other mistakes that affiliates tend to make which backfire and lead to failure.

However, some of these mistakes can prove to be more detrimental than others, impacting your affiliate marketing strategies in ways you probably never expected.

I have no intention of getting into the nitty gritty of an affiliate marketing campaign. We have a Definitive Affiliate Marketing Guide for that. But I do intend on highlighting some epic affiliate marketing fails that negatively impact campaigns. Each of these mistakes, though simple at times, is harmful and must be avoided if you wish to build a successful affiliate marketing business.

1. Over Doing Affiliate Programs

Of course there is nothing wrong with having multiple streams of income but biting off more than you can chew is counterproductive. No matter which industry you belong to. Without a defined niche, many rookie affiliates jump onboard multiple affiliate programs. Results: because they sign up for so many programs, they know less about each product they are promoting and even lesser about the niche. Naturally the visitors start doubting their authority which immediately impacts the sales, CTR and ROI.

An easier way to handle this is by opting for one or a couple of products from the same niche. Learn about the niche you are interested in and get to know the products you are promoting better. This is the only way you will be able to create engaging content for your target audience and eventually your affiliate marketing campaigns will start bringing in the results you crave.

2. Working with the Wrong Niche

One of the most common mistakes: choosing the wrong niche. Too many times newbies are choosing a niche because they think it’s profitable. This is exactly the approach that will get you in trouble and make you lose money.

Choose a niche that you are interested in, not because other people appear to be earning more from it, but because you have interest in it which makes you want to learn about the various products and services associated with it. You see, in the long run, a seemingly profitable niche can run its course because you will not be interested in the products you are promoting. You will start finding the niche bland and boring. Your passion can only shine through if you pick a niche of your interest. Forget what makes other affiliates more money. If you are passionate about the products you promote and the services you review, your passion will shine through, making that niche profitable for you.

3. Expecting High Sales and ROI

Newbie affiliates often anticipate immediate sales along with rapid growth. Many start questioning the lack of ROI during the process and get disappointed immediately. The fact of the matter is that this is a highly unrealistic expectation. Even though every affiliate marketing program is different, it generally takes around 6 months to a year for a new program to take off. In short, you should expect your affiliate marketing campaign to start generating regular sales after that time period.

ROI is another story. Because there are too many variables involved in an affiliate marketing campaign, it only starts yielding around 20% growth within 12 to 24 months on average. Developed affiliate programs are known to account for up to 30% of all advertiser’s online sales. However, realistically newbies shouldn’t expect to see a good ROI before the mentioned time period. Sadly though, inexperienced affiliate managers start calculating ROI within the first few months and the results are devastating.

4. Lacking an Email List from the Start

Starting off in the affiliate marketing arena can sometimes be so exciting and overwhelming that many forget the most important component of affiliate marketing: Emails. An email list is by far one of the most essential elements of affiliate marketing. This is what a strong affiliate marketing strategy mainly depends on. It allows you to create and nurture a strong relationship with your readers while offering you a ready-made list of potential leads.

The mistake some affiliate end up making is putting off creating a strong email list up until they have a couple of affiliate campaigns running. There are several tried and tested techniques to collect email address from visitors and potential customers right from the start which includes (just to name a few) using email opt-ins on your website or blog, creating a call to action on your social media business pages and including a link to a signup form in your newsletter.

5. Not Tracking or Managing Links

Tracking links is also essential to building strong affiliate marketing campaigns. While it might seem like an unnecessary task and a hassle which many rookie affiliate managers avoid, failure to manage links leads to less revenue generation. How would you know whether your affiliate marketing strategies are working if you do not track links?

It is essential to invest in tracking and managing your affiliate links through a reliable Tracking Platform while gaining an understanding of the workings of deep linking and using sub-ids. Sub-ids are imperative for tracking affiliate links as they often store clicks or session IDs from the publisher’s tracking system. Strong affiliate links will let you track essential details which comes in handy when you are running multiple campaigns or promoting the same product on multiple blogs and websites.

6. Ignoring Quality & Violations

Even fraud and other violations have remained a major concern for online affiliate marketing programs, the advancement of technology has helped lessen it to a great extent. However, there are instances when overzealous rookies affiliates end up with duplicate orders because they are using multiple networks or end up violating terms of service by using promotional ways that cause concern on part of the advertisers.

Another major concern in relation to this is the quality of content newbie affiliate marketers are churning out. Most are so focused on the quantity of content they produce that they ignore the quality which ends up being counterproductive. A smarter way to ensure quality is by brainstorming ideas that are valuable to the readers. Tools like Google trends and Google analytics can help you analyze what your target audience is searching for. You should also check out a post we published previously on various affiliate marketing tricks that work wonders. Again, focusing on quality is way more important than quantity which is why even posting 2 blog posts per week works well.

7. Refusing to Adapt to Technology

In order for you to unlock your true potential and to find value of an affiliate marketing channel, data must be taken into consideration. And I do not say that lightly. With the affiliate marketing model evolving with technological advancements, it has become imperative for affiliates to adopt technologies that enable them to take informed decisions if they want to grow sales.

Newbie affiliates are generally seen avoiding technologies that help drive decisions. Even though there are software, applications and even free online affiliate marketing tools that can help them in securely tracking their campaigns and customers, many still choose to ignore and continue living in the dark.

Of course, this is not the complete list of mistakes affiliates make (because that list just might be a never ending one), but these certainly are the most common and epic fails we have seen in the market so far. While most of them sound like common sense, they tend to backfire in a big way when overlooked or taken lightly and can lead to some serious disappointment.

Leveraging Technology for Affiliate Marketing’s Data Driven Decisions

The affiliate marketing model today has evolved with the advent of technology, enabling brands to recognize the importance of making data driven decisions. Today, over 80% of brands utilize affiliate marketing to boost sales. The adoption of technologies has enabled advertisers and publishers to use data in a more sophisticated way than it has been used ever before. Now many businesses are leveraging cross-device tracking technology for securely tracking sales derived from browsing and purchasing from more than one device. This helps advertisers in rewarding publishers, content writers and social evangelists for their share of work which forms typically a third of any affiliate marketing program.

Meanwhile one of the key advancements in the affiliate industry is the emphasis it now gives to creating long-term value of a customer. Instead of forcing products in the target audience’s face, affiliates are using technology to create value and draw engagement to establish long term relationships with customers. Furthermore, personalized reporting is accommodating the needs of each brand and its partners in helping them achieve goals that are important to the business.

Of course, using data to drive decisions is nothing new but leveraging technology is enabling business to gain trust in the market, both locally as well as across the border. Irrespective of geographical boundaries, affiliate marketing has now become more fluid. Thanks to technology, affiliate marketers no longer have to repeat the mistakes which millions have made previously (sadly many still do). What needs to be understood is that the development of an affiliate marketing business requires considerable time, patience and perseverance. You cannot just create a strategy and go with it. From time to time, it is essential to test, question, optimize and re-strategize your affiliate marketing campaigns.

Did we miss out on an epic affiliate marketing fail? Share your opinion with us in the comments sections below.


Sana Khan

Sana is the Communications Director and content specialist at Bevo Media.