Do Not Make These 4 Affiliate Mistakes!

There are a lot of myths out there about affiliate marketing; many of these make the business out to be far easier than it really is. People who are mistaken about how affiliate marketing works often believe that they are guaranteed unparalleled success overnight.

They hear stories about affiliates who have made millions in short order and while there are indeed such stories of massive successes, the majority of those who get into affiliate marketing need to work at it in order to succeed.

It is certainly true that there is money to be made in affiliate marketing. Those who have made a success of this business are those who are willing to stick with it through lean times to reap what they have sown. A lot of them are then able to have the kind of lifestyle which they may never have been able to otherwise. These are the people who know well that there is money in affiliate marketing, but have no illusions that this is easy money.

Not knowing this or choosing not to believe it is one of the top reasons why many newcomers to web based business fail. Some believe the myths about easy money from affiliate marketing and other businesses and do not think about those who have lost it all due to thinking that they will find success without effort. And so these people get into affiliate marketing with dreams of instant wealth, not knowing that this will almost certainly lead to them making the kinds of mistakes that will spell the end of them in this business.

What is the reason that so many people get into affiliate marketing yet so few are able to successfully make a go of it? The most likely explanation is that the vast majority of people who get into the business do so without really knowing how it works. Affiliate marketing is more complicated than just putting an affiliate link on your website and waiting for the money to roll in. It also requires you to know your market and your products very well.

Learning the most common mistakes made by beginning affiliate marketers can help to protect you from repeating their failures and clear up some of the misconceptions about the business. It can also help newcomers to understand that as in any business, there are important rules to follow about what to do; as well as what not to do.

The first common mistake made by affiliates is not knowing the most important principles of the business. I am talking here about search engines and how they work – an important element of affiliate marketing.    Affiliate marketing is all about advertising; and advertising via the internet has been greatly helped by the advent of search engines. These search engines can be the best friend of the affiliate marketer. By educating oneself on search engine optimization, affiliates can learn what to do to build a website which will do a better job of building their business.

The second common mistake made by affiliates is filling their sites with banners which don’t tell visitors enough about the product to make a decision. Affiliates can combat this by making sure that their sites have plenty of informative content as well as the necessary affiliate banners. Your content helps customers to understand the benefits of a product and can sway their decision.

The third common mistake affiliates make is to promote only one product or service. This doesn’t give visitors to your site enough choices. You will also have fewer sales if you are only promoting one product; remember that it pays to diversify your offerings and that it is better to have choices for your prospects.

The fourth mistake is promoting too many different products; this will just confuse prospective customers and may lead them to click away from your site. Rather than bombarding your visitors with too many choices, it is best to give them a smaller number of high quality choices of products and services.

The affiliates which fail to thrive are those who do not make enough of an effort to understand the market conditions and all of the factors which will affect their business. Knowing all of this and planning out their strategy step by step will give them a much better chance of success – remember that slow and sure wins the race.


  • T.M. Harris

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Good post, bro. More newbie affiliates need to read this…because I used to make the same mistakes that you just outlined.

    Good job, Reed!

  • Paul

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008


    Great points. I agree, because anyone wanting to start in affiliate marketing must weigh out their options, plus not limit themselves to too few products to promote. As you point out, the other extreme is just as dangerous. When promoting too many products, you can lose track of what you are doing, and not truly fulfill the proper review of those items to your customers.

    As with everything, a good plan and outline will help in your success!


  • Katja Palmu

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Hi Reed!

    So true. I believe, that most people giving a try at affiliate marketing simply seem to ignore the fact, that it is a job among others. If you don’t work, there are no results. And yes, I’m also sick and tired of those “products” that will make a braindead person rich in a nanosecond (pardon my sarcasm)



    Katja Palmus last blog post..What kind of marketing appeals to you?

  • Joe Matheny

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Great advice, Reed.

    I’d like to add one that most don’t think about:

    Be sure to keep your eye on what’s happening in the affiliate world by reading industry news publications. Read your e-mail and occasionally click on your affiliate links to make sure the merchant site is STILL IN BUSINESS.

    We have all seen the big players (, eToys,, Zany Brainy) shut down or declare bankruptcy in the past. A lot of these companies may not have the money needed to pay us our hard-earned affiliate commissions! “Farewell e-mails” can go overlooked. When that happens… all that traffic that goes to the now defunct merchant banners (that are still on your site) is given a very bad impression. A lot of traffic can be lost.

    Keep updated on all of your merchants.

  • David Jackson

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    I’m learning everyday. Thank you for the advice!

    David Jacksons last blog post..Build Your Google Adsense Empire!

  • TeasasTips

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    And I the same mistakes, I wish someone could have warned me beforehand…thanks 4 the info!

    TeasasTipss last blog post..Tips For Marketing Success

  • Delords

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Thanks Reed,
    Almost all affiliate newbie makes such mistakes and good i realized the errors and got out of it which has boost my affiliate commissions.

  • Rivers Corbett

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Hey man…love these posts because they articulate the obvious so well!
    Keep on happening

    Founder –

  • Kenny Ritchie

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    I agree most on the fact that as beginners we tend to focus on the first sale and forget about what comes next.

    In the beginning your probably back to stage 1 but as we get more experienced we’ll capture the prospects details prior to the first sale.

    Then follow up with a series of related and complimentary products.

    Kenny Ritchies last blog post..Save yourself time money and effort.

  • John Bandy

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Hi Reed,
    Man I wish I had read this about a week ago. I thought there was nothing to it and I got set back. Call it learning the hard way I guess. This is great. Thanks so much!

  • Fidelis Ugboma

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Hello Reed,

    The article is great, so also are the contributions.

    Your site is indeed a reservoir of knowledge.

    Please keep it up.

    Fidelis Ugboma

  • Domingo Arenal

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    Being a super affiliate is not as easy as being painted by some affiliate gurus. A newbie is usually bombarded by headlines such as; “$96,250.00 in sales during the weekend”,
    “How I Made $7,493.01 In 10 Hours!”. Are they telling the truth? Probably yes – but they
    deliberately left out the fact that they spent “blood sweat and tears” creating tons of optin
    lists they mailed there offer to.

    According to various surveys published by Internet marketing gurus, less than 5% are
    really making it as affiliates – and it is quite lamentable. Could it be due to lack of proper information? I think so! That is the reason your article is a clear winner.

    However, the the “fourth” common mistakes (promoting too many different products) is a
    little bit confusing to me. How many is too many?

    Thanks and more power,

    Affiliate Extreme Toolkit

    Pitogo, Quezon

  • Doug Allitt

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    Thanks for another good article. A lot of people do get hypnotized by all the super hype sites promising overnight millions. They need to settle down and realize that internet marketing is no different from having a business in the real world – they all take monumental amounts of work to drag them up to any form of profitability.

    Only those prepared to invest the huge amounts of time and effort involved, let alone perhaps years of no wages while the business grows, will ever make it.

    Think along the lines of evolution. Only the hardiest will survive.

    Go for it – become what it takes – become proud of youself.


    Doug Allitts last blog post..Take your time – about your day.

  • admin

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    @T.M. @Paul thank you

    @Katja thank you, yes that’s one of my pet peeves and I know I still do it 🙁

    @Joe that’s a great tip, thanks.

    @David @TeasasTips you’re welcome, glad to help

    @Rivers thank you

    @Kenny yes I agree building a list is worth way more than just making 1 sale

    @John you’re welcome

    @Fidelis thank you

    @Domingo yes that bugs me a lot too all these guys who say they made $x amount in Y amount of time they don’t tell us how many years they tried and failed or how much of a build up there was. You asked how many affiliate programs is too many depending on what your level is I would stick with 3-10 that you know really well as you grow and learn and have more campaigns make more money then by all means expand.

    @Doug you bring up some great points

    @Your New Products Monthly thank you for the trackback

  • David Braybrooke

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Thanks for your useful information Reed!

    A fifth mistake people make is by joining affiliate programs that pay out insubstantial commissions!

    I have seen some online businesses that offer 2 -5 % per sale; what a joke! In my experience, Clickbank is one of the most generous sites for paying commissions and it is possible to get 75% and higher paid from CB!

    Commission Junction, Linkshare, Performics and a few others also pay generous sums to performing affiliates.

    One company that rarely rates a mention is clixGalore. Although you may not make a fortune with this program, I would recommend them for their large range of attractive affiliate banners and buttons. Some of the designs are truly exceptional and can dress up an otherwise empty looking website with color and flair!

    Good luck with your marketing!


    David Braybrookes last blog post..Join for FREE Today!!

  • David Braybrooke

    Reply Reply September 17, 2008

    Remember, with affiliate marketing, in fact with any type of marketing, getting the first sale is often the hardest goal to achieve!

    Once you do manage this milestone then rinse and repeat your actions and you should be able to duplicate your efforts again and again!

    With marketing, the old saying ‘tell, don’t sell!’ is sound one in my opinion!

    You want people to be attracted to your products by the benefits that they hold! The benefits that will specifically improve the lives of your clients!

    It also helps to know firsthand knowledge of anything that you do sell so that you can give some direct testimony and personal advice about it! The best way to do this is to purchase one of everything that you market – in the long run the expense will be justified!

    Best to you and your marketing endeavors!


    David Braybrookes last blog post..Join for FREE Today!!

  • David Braybrooke

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    Affiliate marketing can be challenging even for the most seasoned of salesperson – as Reed has advised in his expert article, many fail to achieve success in this field as they cobble together websites with affiliate links and give little more thought to the whole process of making sales and valued contacts.

    I always install an autoresponder on any affiliate site that I construct and collect a list of names and email addresses in order to improve my marketing effectiveness!

    In fact, it was Reed himself that encouraged me to build a list and I have been extremely grateful for this helpful suggestion; it has served me well!

    The biggest advantage of having a collected list of people’s contact details is that you can sell to these same customers again and again. If you establish trust with them, they will likely remain faithful purchasers for a long time to come.

    Take note of the buying patterns of each individual client and pitch any affiliate products to the appropriate person, taking in to account their preferences and buying history.

    Finally, try to offer something of value at no charge to entice people to sign up to your list! A big mistake that many make is to not encourage potential sign-ups by giving them something to look forward to after inputting their personal details!

    Good luck with your marketing!


  • David Braybrooke

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    One helpful point I would like to make is that you must carefully select affiliate products to sell that have a proven history of popularity in the market. There is no use in trying to flog an item that just does not hold the interest of the buying public!

    When I log in to the Clickbank Marketplace, as an example, I examine the products that have the biggest ‘gravity number’. This demonstrates that a product is being sold by many affiliates and is therefore popular! I also check to see the ‘refund rate’ of any item and if it is too high then I steer clear from promoting this!

    One big mistake that new affiliates make, especially in relation to PPC advertising and I have to admit that I’ve made this same mistake myself, is that they select products to sell in niches that they think will be extremely popular and well-patronized! While it is true that the money-making and adult entertainment fields are extremely popular online, it is very difficult to gain a foot hold in to these markets for the beginning affiliate! The competition is fierce and so your advertising efforts also have to match this passion in order for you to make a decent living!

    Research the market with great care and never just assume that you will succeed just because you are following the latest ‘fad’ or trend product! Even though popular merchandise (with high gravity) is likely to sell well, there is still an art to staying ahead of your competition and for writing the best, razor-sharp, most effective adcopy that will draw people’s interest!

    To your marketing success!


    David Braybrookes last blog post..Join for FREE Today!!

  • William Beck

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    Hi Reed,
    This article is a great piece of information for people who are
    just getting started. The hype that people get excited about and
    spend money on is quickly cooled. Mainly because most people
    are in a (need to make MORE money) situation and not enough
    information is known about the (business) product. Knowing
    some information about how and what it takes is priceless!
    Willy B

  • Fidelis Ugboma

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    The articles by Domingo Arenal, Doug Allitt and David Baybrooke etc are excellent additions to this wonderful article.

    Kudos to you all.

  • Hi Reed, nice post here. I like to summarize that for any affiliate marketer, using a niche review model is quite a full-proof model. It covers:

    1. Providing adequate information about the niche and product so that your visitors can be presold with quality information.

    2. Provide comparisons of products so that they have choices. I often tested and found that having 3 choices is the yardstick number, go beyond that and a lot of times, it confuses your customer.

    3. Establishes yourself as an expert in that niche.

    I have covered the top mistakes an affiliate often make, which I used to commit as well in my blog post here:

    It still tickles me when I read it.

  • Clare

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    I never miss reading your blog now a days because there so many things that I never understand before and now I got to learn and apply it for my internet business. Thanks.

  • David

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    Simple and clear advice all over your site.

    That’s the way I like it.


  • admin

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    @David you shared some great info today, thank you 🙂 Shoot me an email reedfloren AT

    @William I agree a lot of people get sucked into the hype and have no idea what they need to do.

    @Fidelis I think it’s wonderful the community we are building up here. My guess is many of the people you mentioned will eventually become guest bloggers on this site.

    @Davion great info thanks for sharing

    @Clare, @David thanks I’m glad to help.

  • Jonathan Ofei

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    Hi Reed,
    Affiliate marketing can’t be taken lightly,and thanks for ironing out the most salient points as far as critical mistakes go, in aiding affiliates in general.
    Please keep up the good work!


  • Bryan Hee

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    Consistent, Focus and Persistent is important for the success of internet marketing. IM is very competitive so willingness and continuous learning is vital to sustain the business.

    To your Success
    Bryan Hee

  • Afam Uzoechina

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    Great job Reed. You’ve done it again.

    This post is a must read for all newbies and those who want to increase their affiliate earnings.

    Keep up the good work!


    Afam Uzoechinas last blog post..Keyword Research Revealed

  • TrudyVan

    Reply Reply September 18, 2008

    Hi there Reed.
    I love affiliate marketing and I really enjoy the information you have in your posts, You are one of the few marketers that I enjoy following.
    kindest regards

  • admin

    Reply Reply September 19, 2008

    @Jonathan thanks

    @Bryan good points

    @Afam thank you

    @TrudyVan thank you, I’m glad you enjoy the site.

  • Jussi Koiranen

    Reply Reply September 24, 2008

    It is funny how many people make the second mistake… I don’t understand how anyone believes flooding your website with banners would make sales. Weirderst and the most extreme example of this are sites that are merely banner displays, banner after banner…

  • Jussi Koiranen

    Reply Reply September 24, 2008

    How do these trackbacklinks work? I’ve been trying to post them on few of my pages… Today so maybe tomorrow the will show up.

  • admin

    Reply Reply September 25, 2008

    @jussi yeah it’s hard to believe people do that, I guess greed gets the best of them. I’m not sure about the trackback thing I don’t know how to do it either.

  • Chris Imamshah

    Reply Reply October 13, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    Great post again. Sometimes, to me, there is so much “noise” on the internet in the form of promotions and those hyped up salesletters you mentioned.

    It can be hard for a new affiliate who has been trying to make sales to handle all of these promos as they become suceptible to the hype and perhaps feel that since they haven’t made any sales, that maybe they are doing things wrong.

    So they jump on the next bandwagon and still do not achieve success.

    The key is setting up their business with solid foundation ( keyword research to find a profitable niche and profitable and good selling products in that niche) and staying focused on their affiliate promotions until they pay off. In most cases this will take effort and time.


  • admin

    Reply Reply October 26, 2008

    Thanks for you work you have been helpfull with your message

  • Jussi Koiranen

    Reply Reply October 29, 2008

    Weird my links are working but not showing in trackbacks… damn… Need to find a better place to add a trackback to your blog!

  • Pet Video Site

    Reply Reply November 26, 2008

    That\’s such a point!! It\’s about time someone stepped up to the plate like that. I am going to link to you in my blog roll, ok?

  • It is important to make the effort to research, study the market and understand everything involved in the industry before jumping into it.

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