7 Common Mistakes Affiliate Marketers Need To Avoid

I’ve been an affiliate marketer for over a decade now, and time and time again when I read various internet marketing forums, I notice that affiliates are still making the same mistakes.

There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes, in fact making them are necessary for growth. A great businessman once said “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not making moves”, but that doesn’t mean you have to make silly mistakes that are avoidable.

Rather than taking years to learn from these avoidable mistakes, a better idea would be to understand what the common ones are and see if you are making them in your own affiliate marketing career.

So here is a list of the most common avoidable mistakes that I believe affiliate marketers make, and hopefully this article helps you to either fix them or avoid them altogether in your own affiliate marketing career.

Mistake #1. Shiny Object Syndrome

The first common mistake I see newbie affiliate marketers make is something I call “Shiny Object Syndrome”. Basically this is when an affiliate jumps from method to method, not really mastering anything. Today it’s SEO, next month it’s Facebook Ads, and then maybe email marketing after that.

A better option is to stick with one thing and learn it inside and out. You can become a millionaire learning SEO, you can also become a millionaire mastering email marketing, heck you can become a millionaire blogging.

Instead of hopping around chasing after the latest money making method you see online, just stick with one and focus all your time and energy into mastering it. In the long run you’ll make more money this way instead of jumping around.

Mistake #2. Diving All In

Another mistake affiliate marketers make is diving all in. While working hard is great, you don’t necessarily have to quit your job or invest your life savings initially to become a successful affiliate marketer. In fact doing so for most is probably a terrible idea.

Too often I’ll see eager affiliates on forums post “I’ve quit my job and I’m ready to do this!” and I already know that they have doomed themselves from the beginning.

Affiliate marketing costs money, and if you quit your job to go all in, it’s only a matter of time before the bills (and stress) starts piling up and you’ll eventually give up or go broke.

A better strategy would be to work your day job to fund your affiliate marketing projects. Eventually when you start earning enough to support yourself and have some savings, then and only then you should make the full-time transition over.

Mistake #3. Not Thinking Long-Term

Whenever I browse internet marketing forums, I can tell that probably 80% of the affiliates there are just thinking about making money in the short-term. They discuss “gray area” money making methods, or perhaps overly aggressive strategies that aren’t really likely to be around in the long-run (hacking sites, burning FB accounts, spamming emails etc).

While this may be profitable in the short-term, these methods don’t really build upon themselves, and the incomes generated from them are stagnant.

An example would be affiliates heavily invested in black hat SEO. They’ll slap together affiliate websites and use aggressive linkbuilding strategies, and maybe if they are lucky they’ll earn $3-5k/mo.

However with this sort of “rank and bank” strategy, they aren’t really building anything. 5 years from now they will still be making only $3-5k/mo doing this strategy playing a perpetual cat and mouse game with Google.

On the other hand if they perhaps took a long-term view when it came to SEO, maybe they would’ve stuck to building 1-2 websites and really focused on building those brands out. If they had done that instead, by year 5 they could’ve been easily making $15-20k+ per month by building up assets, and also likely with less headaches.

Mistake #4. Not Split Testing Offers

Another common mistake that affiliate marketers make is that they don’t split test offers or methods of monetization. For example they’ll find one way to monetize their websites and just fall in love and never change.

They’ll become the “AdSense Guy” or the “Amazon Guy” and no matter what they won’t deviate from these programs.

However one of the easiest ways to increase your earnings is by testing out new monetization methods. Maybe swiping out AdSense for another affiliate program could potentially double your income, but the only way you would discover this is if you were consistently split testing.

Mistake #5. Working In Dead Verticals

A mistake more experienced affiliate marketers run into is working on verticals that are dead or on their way out. Every year or two there is a “hot” vertical (nutra, crypto, adult etc) and it’s important if you want to get in on them that you ride the wave before it’s dead.

If you enter a vertical that is dying, chances are you’ll waste your time and/or lose money. Whether it be from over saturated traffic sources or offers that don’t convert that well any more, a vertical that is on a downward decline can become a quagmire of money.

So be honest with yourself and really investigate whether the vertical you are working in still has some earnings potential, or perhaps admit defeat if you determine the better days are now in the rear view mirror.

Mistake #6. Not Filing As A Business

Whether you know it or not, as an affiliate marketer you are basically running a business, and you need to treat it as such.

I highly recommend once you start earning a little bit of money that you consider incorporating into an LLC or some other business designation so you can do things like open a business bank account, build credit, and establish yourself as a business.

Doing so will help you down the road when you need to raise capital for some of your affiliate marketing campaigns or for whatever else it may be. And the only way you can do this is if banks and other lenders consider what you’re doing a business.

So the sooner you establish yourself as a business the better off you will be when trying to raise money. Nothing is worse than having a great money making opportunity in front of you and not having the capital needed to proceed.

Mistake #7. Looking For The Secrets

When it comes to affiliate marketing, all too often affiliates are on the hunt for the “secret blueprint”. They are under the impression that the people really making the big bucks out there have some insider knowledge, and they end up wasting a lot of time trying to discover these methods.

While it’s true that to be successful you’re going to need to be knowledgeable at what you do, the longer you’re an affiliate marketer, you’ll begin to realize there are no secrets.

The biggest and most successful affiliate marketers are where they are because they work hard and are consistent. If you can be consistent at what you do, over time you too will make a lot of money.

Whether it be writing a blog post every day or creating 3 YouTube videos a week for your YouTube channel, consistency is what’s going to make you money in the long run, not some secret money making program. And the sooner you accept this, the sooner you’ll be on your way to success.

Final Thoughts

I hope that this article got you to think about your own affiliate marketing endeavors and whether or not you are making what I consider some of the most common mistakes.

I think if you can avoid everything I listed above, you’ll already be ahead of 70% of the affiliate marketers out there. So continue to learn, work hard, and above all be consistent. If you can do all this, I promise you that you’ll make a lot of money in your affiliate marketing career.

Richard Yoshimura

Entrepreneur. SEO Consultant. Marketing Enthusiast. I'm here to help you build better websites that make you more money.

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