40 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Most of the affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid are not new. You have probably heard about them or committed them already. l only brought them in one place, added some tips and spiced them with real life screen shots. These mistakes will also help you avoid most affiliate marketing scams.
1. Trying  so called ‘new’ methods. Don’t be a guinea pig. New to me means… untested, unproven, unreliable and invalid. Buying into new systems, formula, auto-cash machines, home income kits and all that …crap.
Tip: Create your own website and use ‘new’ traffic generation methods to drive traffic to your Real Estate.
2. Spending most of your time building other peoples’ businesses.  This include posting articles on content farms instead of your own website. l spend time laboriously posting articles on  Squidoo and when it was acquired by Hubpages …. most of my articles where de-listed as duplicate content. All l worked for was gone in smoke over night.
Tip: Only post content on content sharing sites to get links to your website (be cautious though, uncle Google hate it).
3.Wanting to make cash fast. Look for money to pay up your bills first before joining ‘get rich schemes’. Yes, you are a single mom, has been laid off from work or you really need extra cash ….. cool down and take your time choosing the right program for you. People who paddle affiliate scams are heartless and don’t care about your social situation. Some even suggest you borrow money from friends or even take a loan…. Duh!
4. Hopping between programs. The ‘shiny object’ syndrome‘. You join every program you come across thereby spreading yourself too thin. There are a 101 million ways to make money on line. You can’t learn then all in a single life. Learn one proven method and use it consistently.
Tip: After choosing a program to follow be committed to it. Unsubscribe from other affiliate programs. Eat, sleep and dream ONLY your chosen program.
5. Joining and promoting too many affiliate programs. l could easily promote every program that l reviewed on this website and make money as people join each program. l made a decision NEVER to promote any program that l have NEVER joined or used myself. You can make short term gains, but in the long run people loose trust as they realize that you are recommending affiliate scams.
Tip: Where ever possible recommend programs that you have used yourself. Be honest. If you haven’t made any money with the program…. don’t fake it.
6. Falling for the psychological marketing tricks. Remember the too good to be true stories …. living in a van as a destitute to NOW owning mansions and expensive cars. Don’t fall for the hype. There is NO REAL business with guaranteed results ….. ‘You will earn a million in ….. days’ or ‘You will quit your day job in ….’.
affiliate marketing mistakes
Ignore that ticking timer and ‘only 7 slots left‘ message …. it is called the principle of urgency and scarcity. The principle works in both legit marketing and for scams too. Human ego is naturally competitive and wants to ‘get it ahead of others’. Excuse me…. that program has been around for years!
Close that website and ignore that ‘stay on this message pop-up‘. Its called an ‘Exit intent pop-up‘ …. it is a plug-in which anyone can install on their website. You will feel like you are loosing a life time opportunity and you get hooked. Ignore those over-priced bonuses. A product costs $99 BUT you will get bonuses worth $4 999? Guess who evaluated these bonus values?
Tip: There are billions of programs on the internet …. let it pass. Exercise due diligence ….. do your research before pushing that pay button.
7. l don’t have anything to sell. l am not an expert in anything. Yes, it is great if you can create your own product but you can get started by selling merchant products to earn commissions. Almost every company has got an affiliate program.
Tip: Choose profitable products with recurring payments such as webhosting, selected affiliate marketing programs…
8. Not building a business. To me, owning my own website is my Real Estate, my own business. Yes, you can make money without a website ….. taking surveys, freelancing etc. These methods are OK, as long as you are willing to toil 24/7 until you leave this earth.
Tip: Again build your  website which can attract visitors 24/7. Even as YOU sleep, travel or you are just tired to work on it.
9. Spending money before starting or making money. There are many free affiliate marketing programs for beginners which provide valuable information in an organized manner. For example you can get free affiliate marketing training, free websites and support all in one place. You also check out free niche sites creation training. Yes, like any other affiliate program, they have a premium option but the free program can get you rolling.
Tip: Don’t join restrictive self promoting affiliate a programs.  Learn how to do affiliate marketing and you can promote any program of your choice.
10. Learning how to make a million dollars. Well, there is nothing wrong with becoming a millionaire…. l also want to be. But excuse me …. learn how to make a dollar, automate the process, rinse and repeat what’s working a million times. Bill Gates learned how to create one computer…. automated the production…. boom… he became millionaire. Millionaires and billionaires don’t tell newbies that they can become millionaires by joining thousands others below them and splitting their earnings 50-50 with them.
Tip: If you are new to affiliate marketing, don’t fall for the hype by the affiliate program owner. He or she has been in business for years and thousands of affiliates are paying money into those accounts. Don’t be fooled. You can not make that same amount. You don’t have thousands of affiliates paying you and promoting your program.
11. Joining the ‘make money on line niche’. It is really enticing but the truth is, there is breakneck competition. It seems as if it is an easy and quick way to make money on line … it isn’t. You are competing with billions of affiliates including the owners of the very program you are promoting.
Tip: Choose a narrow niche you are passionate about and has a reasonable competition. Use keyword tools to help you with the analysis.
12. Trying to make money with binaries by purchasing over-hyped software. These are like playing Lotto and you make money mostly by chance plus a bit of lucky. Most of them claim to be free yet you MUST deposit money for purchasing and selling stock. You always wonder why someone who knows a system that makes thousands or even millions of dollars is begging you to invest ‘a little amount’.
Excuse me …. why are you not using the system yourself and if you have made millions why are you so desperate to make a stranger like me a millionaire ? Of course l did not say binaries are scams. It is the hyped systems to bet that l hate with a passion.
13. Joining Multi-level companies (MLM). You buy ‘rights‘ to sell a ‘name’ to others. There are often up-sells of the program’s self promoting tools such as websites and sales pages. Most Newbies fall for the high commissions …. some up to 100% (ONLY on first payment and low value products). The owners of the MML program will normally recoup their money by then offering low commission rates for high value products. It seems as if only the 2 % of people have monopoly in every other MML industry. l did not say there in no money to be mad  in the MLM industry. It’s difficult for newbies.
Tip: Again do not fall for the hype. People are reluctant even to join FREE programs. The fact that you were convinced to join the program doesn’t necessarily mean you will easily convince others to join.
14. Being part of pyramid, ponzi schemes. There promise you heaven on earth yet you will be selling NO product or service.
15. Not reading the small print . That is the terms and conditions (TOS) before joining programs. There is a reason why it is in small print. People hate reading small print …. at least when everything is ok. Yet when they have been scammed, they read every word including commas.
Tip: Copy the TOS and paste in word then increase font size. What ever you can do ….. read it. Check the REFUND POLICY and conditions of payment. Check if up-sells are covered by the main product TOS.
16. Paying with credit cards. Use PayPal and buy through Click Bank if there is that option. PayPal can make follow ups on your behalf until you get your refund or product. Any affiliate program which does not accept or have ‘problems‘ with established on-line payment systems such as  PayPal maybe waving a red flag.
Tip: l know PayPal at times sucks …. but if possible find out why the merchant does not accept it. In most cases merchants avoid PayPal if what they are selling has high rates of refunds or they don’t want to honor their refund policies.
17. Going it alone. You will make obvious affiliate mistakes which you could have easily avoided if you had the necessary support. l used to shun joining programs through affiliate links, but l later realized that is was a big mistake. Remember there is no extra cost to you. Yet you may get 1 on 1 coaching and support from the affiliate through which you joined the program. Most of them have Face Book support groups or you can contact them via their blog. Sending support tickets via the affiliate program support system can be a pain.
Tip: Check what the affiliate offers as bonuses if you join through their links.
18. Believing fake testimonials and doctored bank statements. Testimonials are bought for $5 on Fiverr and you write the script of what you want the Gig owner to say. ‘l am a single mom ….. now earning $3 567.00 a month after joining this program ….. blah blah‘. Most affiliate programs offer free bonuses if you leave a positive testimonial. Bank statements are edited or photo shopped.
Fiverr testimonials
Tip: NEVER use testimonials as a reference for making descions. They are used because they it has been proven that they increase conversion rates. Only consider them if they are submitted independently by clients and there is no moderation by the program owners.
19. Not making through research and reading reviews. You need to exercise due diligence because most reviews are by affiliates pushing the program. Search for the ‘affiliate program’ + …scam, + reviews, + the truth etc.
Tip: Check what people are saying about the program on pubic forums such as Quora, Warriors Forum and others. You can also check program complaints on Better Business Berate …. not a 100% fool proof though.
20. Paying to become an affiliate. You are then forced to buy franchise, rights or subscription products in order to qualify to sell them to others for a commission. Why should l pay you inorder to promote your business? l can not be both a promoter and a client at the same time.
21. Joining programs with poor support. Send email to test its responsiveness. If there is an open Face book group check for interaction & if questions are being answered on time.
Tip: Test the support service before joining the program. Of course others will become unresponsive once you have paid.
22. Wasting time reading solo ad links. For starters ‘Solo ads‘ are advertisements sold to marketers by people who own email lists. You can purchase any number of clicks and an email is send to the seller’s list which probably includes YOU. Most blogs you subscribe to sell your email to other marketers or send you affiliate offers. Most of those emails with statements like ‘…my friend ….. has discovered a method to earn quick cash on auto-pilot’. Some marketers are paid per action taken by subscribers such as joining the email list.
23. Not taking advantage of free trials. Most legitimate programs do have free trials before you can commit yourself. Use the opportunity to evaluate the program, check for shortfalls and any complaints by members where possible.
24. Patience is a virtue. You want your website ranked on first page of Google in 7 days. You want to start earning money in a few days. If you are not patient, you are ripe to be scammed by ‘make quick bucks scams‘.
25. Bogged down by minor issues. Themes, website look etc can be changed over time. There is no need to waste time on these. Even the ugliest website on Google makes a lot of money from adverts.
26. Not willing to invest in tools. A drill can save you tons of time than trying to make holes with a hammer and a nail. We all want freebies, but they come at a cost …. tonnes of time. My blog only gained traction after l had invested in a keyword tool. Now l know which content my website can rank for before wasting my time writing content that no-one will set eye balls on. Go ahead and use the free keyword tools, BUT there are websites your website will NEVER out rank for certain keywords forever.
27. Not knowing when to stop learning and take action. There are billions of websites and videos with various information on the best ways to make money on line. After reading how may blogs and watching how many videos will you take action? That is why you need systematic training which has been proven for years to work. You learn, create and mark off what you have accomplished.
28. Being perfectionists. Practice will NEVER make you perfect; you only get better. l try by all means to proof read my posts, but since English is my second language there is always some mistakes that l miss. It can be by choosing the wrong words (diction) or grammar ….. but l still hit publish. As the article gains traction, l will continue editing the content and make adjustments where ever possible. Internet is not only for the ‘Shakespears’! Don’t get stuck when choosing a website or blog template …. common’ … you can change it later by a click of a button.
29. Not being organized. Use free tools such as Evernote to manage your business on line. It allows you to work on the go.
30. Not setting realistic goals. l am guilty of this. Surely we all want to be multi-millionaires, but, what if you learn how to make a $1 then automate and repeat the process a million times. Do not let owners of programs dictate your goals. Share your goals with people who care.
31. Wasting time on social networks. Yes, Face Book is fine for connecting us with loved ones. But spending hours ‘talking a lot about nothing‘ will not get you anywhere. Writing comments on FB post which are the size of a blog post … duh! Share your business dreams, aspirations and challenges with a group of like minded individuals. You will remain focused and motivated as you learn about others’ success stories.
32. Not independently tracking earnings. This will minimize your losses due to affiliate marketing fraud. l joined a program CPA program and after tracking my referrals, l realized that the merchant’s system only accounted and compensated for 70% of the sales.
33. Not reducing learning curves.  Why reinvent the wheel. It is good to spend hours learning website coding …. but common’ you can now create a website in seconds using web-builders. Learn the basics though. Choose a template of your choice. l am NOT talking of copying of-course.
34. Not learning the essentials in a systematic way. The ‘information is available on the web for free’ mentality. Indeed, almost all the information is available somewhere on the web, but locating it and organizing it into something with a flow will waste tonnes of your time. Most of the information is contradictory and confusing. ‘Is it true that SEO is dead?…. you will NEVER find a conclusive answer.
Tip: Follow a structured and progressive course …… save yourself trial errors.
35. Thinking that you will make more money if you purchase up-sells. l also fell for this when l was getting started. l would purchase a 100 paged ‘affiliate marketing e-book‘ and before l even read the first page. l purchase another 200 paged ‘Advanced affiliate marketing e-book‘ offered as a one time offer. l just download and save the e-books on my hard drive….. end of story.
Up sell on thank you page

Before even receiving the free report, you are already being asked to buy a better product.

Almost every other affiliate offer is followed by up-sells and down sells. If you can not make any dime with the main product, up-sells may not be of any use. Click on the ‘for affiliates button’ on the website and you will realize all the up-sells associated with a product. The screen shot below, shows a $9 program that has several up-sells displayed for affiliates adding up to …….. You wouldn’t know what your are getting yourself into.
36. Not offering value. Yes, content is king. Do not write for search engines …. keyword staffing or the whole blog sound like a sales pitch. You can almost tell within seconds that a product review is not at all informative but was written just make the sale. Sell product benefits not features. It is a fast tool …. but how is it going to help ME? Remmember, people share valuable content and provide links to it.
37. Not promoting high affiliate commission products or One Time Offers (OTOs). Remember the effort you will put promoting a $5 once off commission product is almost similar to selling a $100 product with recurring income. Affiliate products with recurring income will insure that you earn a consistent income and for a longer period.
38. Searching for affiliate program reviews after surrendering account details. Yes, the moment you hit that big green ‘Subscribe button’ …. your sixth sense tells you something is not right. You start, searching for reviews and realize you have been scammed. Always exercise due diligence before entering your payment info. Better still use on line banks such as PayPal which you can easily use to recover your money or stop recurring payments by a click of a button.
39. Joining programs that you are not passionate about. The ‘visit Click Bank or Amazon and search for best sellers’ syndrome. You easily get burnt out and run out of what to share. Of course, passion without ACTION will not help you either.
40. Learning from Gurus and experts. When you are getting started you need to crawl before you can run. Most of suggested affiliate marketing methods by Gurus and experts will not work for you. There are too many affiliate marketing tips that will not be applicable to you as a newbie. You are told to write epic guest posts on popular niche websites to drive traffic and earn back links to your website. l don’t know about you, but thinking that you can write epic content when you are a newbie which can get posted on popular websites is a daunting task.
Which mistakes have you committed? Which ones did l leave out? Share and help others using the commentary box below (NO annoying captcha). l have shared mine.