Affiliate Disclosure: Look, I'm working my ass off delivering value to you. So, yes any links that you see in this post are probably affiliate links to help keep this blog going. They are true recommendations and if you click on them and purchase, I probably earn a commission (at no additional cost to you).
It’s been over two years now since I started affiliate marketing.
Over these two years, I have learned a lot but I also made some big mistakes. Luckily, they all worked out in the end, but it also could have very wrong.
Alongside this, I also was not building real online assets, my commissions were purely based on the actions of the people that I targeted with little ad-spend.
Hopefully, this list of affiliate marketing mistakes I made will save you either time or money (or both).
Affiliate Marketing Mistakes
1. Jumping Into Paid Ads Too Heavily (As A Beginner)
This is something that could have gone so wrong. In fact, it did as I lost around $1000.
When I started affiliate marketing 4 years ago, I had around $3000 saved up, thinking that was all I need to start a super-profitable affiliate marketing business.
Well, it wasn’t I ended up wasting around $1000 on ads, $600 on courses and $600 on the wrong software. I had to end up saving again and trying again which I also did not do efficiently, however, I had a lot of luck in my campaigns and ended up building my first chunk of recurring commissions.
The point is that despite it working out in the end, I wasted $2200 of my $3000 budget, which meant I had to save up again and try again. Luckily the second time it worked out well, however, it could have gone wrong again and again. I was almost gambling.
If you are a beginner, I recommend that you use free traffic first such as blogging or YouTube to build an audience & generate some commissions. After this, you can then use this money to spend on ads to grow quicker and you will have your blog or YouTube channel as a back-up asset.
2. Using The Wrong Software (Wasting Money)
Remember I said that I wasted $600 on the wrong software?
That’s right I was using ClickFunnels, despite there being way cheaper options out there!
In fact, I was being really stupid as I was using ClickFunnels & GetResponse integrated with each other when GetResponse does everything that ClickFunnels does (plus email marketing) for a way cheaper price!
For example, with GetResponse, you can get everything that ClickFunnels has, i.e funnels, autoresponder, for $15 per month. Or you can add automation sequences to that for a total cost of $49.
Why was I wasting $100 on ClickFunnels, while having GetResponse anyway? I will never know.
So, over 6 months, I wasted another $600 on something that I did not need. Great!
Lesson: Don’t Use ClickFunnels For Affiliate Marketing, it has bad value!
3. Promoting The Wrong Products
Remember I said I shouldn’t have used ClickFunnels?
Well, I actually became a member again, just for the affiliate program. I started lying to myself and saying it’s a great product for affiliate marketing and started promoting it.
Guess where that got me?
Nowhere, don’t lie to yourself and promote products you don’t like. Your words won’t sound true and nobody will buy from you. While I was promoting ClickFunnels, I pretended like it’s the best software in the world (kind of like all these other fake affiliates), but I got practically nobody to sign up.
How was anybody going to believe me that ClickFunnels is an amazing product for any online business when I didn’t even believe it myself?
In fact, I knew it wasn’t true myself, as I wasted $600 on it when I started. So, only promote products that you believe in.
Of course, ClickFunnels does have it’s benefits for established businesses that sell their own products, but for new marketers, startups and affiliate marketers it has terrible value.
Other mistakes I made included promoting high refund products and too popular products. High refunds are bad for self-explanatory reasons. When promoting too popular products there is too much competition and everyone already knows the product. Usually, that means they have either already bought it or haven’t for their own reasons.
Lesson: Think about which affiliate products you are going to promote and don’t promote products that you don’t believe in!
4. Try Finding Shortcuts
This is something that I see a lot of people doing, including me when I started.
I was looking for loopholes, ways to generate tons of traffic for free or secret products that could do the work for me.
Let me tell you something, they don’t exist!
I don’t care what anyone says, these shortcuts do not exist, I spent so long looking for shortcuts, but there are none. You have to put in the work.
If you go and look for shortcuts, you will probably waste more money on products and time looking for them. If you only want to do affiliate marketing with shortcuts, then I recommend that you don’t do affiliate marketing!
Lesson: There are no shortcuts!
5. Not Focusing On The Big Picture
The next mistake is not focusing on the big picture.
When I started, I used to look for extra ways of making commissions, so I reached out to tons of people and said things like: “If you buy this, I will give you this” etc.
Of course, it did not work, apart from once or twice, but I wasn’t focusing on the big picture.
I was trying so hard to make one $50 sale, instead of building an audience and driving in multiple commissions with less effort. Sometimes, when things aren’t working out when you start, you try so hard to make that one sale.
However, you should always focus on the bigger picture. Don’t worry about making one sale, focus on growing an audience.
Lesson: Focus on building an audience that will generate a real stream of Income!
6. Buying Too Many Products
The next mistake I made was buying too many products.
This was kind of a result of looking for shortcuts. I bought product after product that made big promises when really they just explained methods that I already knew.
The only difference was that they marketed these products in a different way which made me think, I did not yet know the methods.
So, instead of doing the work, I would just jump from product to product. A lot of people call this the shiny object syndrome.
Lesson: Don’t buy product after product. Buy one good one and implement what you learn!
7. Writing Short Articles
Writing short articles, was a mistake that I made pretty late when I already started my blog.
These articles have so little value, they decrease the time spent on your blog and Google does not like them.
So, in reality they are pretty pointless. I made this mistake on days, where I didn’t really feel like writing and I thought to myself it doesn’t matter.
All I was doing, was wasting time on articles that will give me no ROI. In my opinion, this is a big mistake.
I also aimed to write two articles per day at one point which often caused me to write these terrible articles with little value. Today, I usually just write one article per day and I aim to deliver practical and in-depth information that is at least 1900 words.
Lesson: Write long, thorough and valuable articles!
8. Learning Instead Of Doing
The next mistake I made was learning instead of doing.
There were days, I was spending hours on YouTube trying to learn more and as I said buying more courses.
Do you know what I learned on those days?
Absolutely nothing, I had already bought $600 worth of courses, but I thought I didn’t know enough. I still put one hour per day into learning today, but I make sure that I learn things that I need to learn.
Instead of hours watching content that I already know. In my opinion, you can always learn more, but it’s about learning the right things. Not just watching video after video, course after course, when you already know all the content anyway.
However, I also made the same mistake the other way around when I started, i.e jumping into paid ads before learning them well enough!
Lesson: Don’t learn all day, believe in yourself and start doing!
Copywriting… Something that very little people talk about in the affiliate marketing space.
Everyone just says, run these ads, create a landing page, send out some emails and make money. All the time, you just hear the same stuff over and over again, from people who have no record of affiliate marketing themselves.
I had bad conversions, bad open rates & bad click through rates.
When I was doing everything as they said, but then I noticed affiliate marketing is a business and copywriting is an important aspect of a business.
So, I learned the basics of copywriting, that’s something that I still am improving on this day and guess what?
It worked wonders. Suddenly, everything improved and I started generating more commissions.
Although many content creators don’t mention this, it is very important.
Lesson: Learn Copywriting (or at least the basics)!
10. Not Learning From Bad Results
Another big mistake that I made was not learning from bad results.
I didn’t analyze the data I had and if I did, I didn’t change how I ran things.
For example, when I was getting bad open rates and practically 0 sales from my email list, do you know what I did?
No, I didn’t fix it or try something different. In fact, I just tried to run more traffic to my funnel. If it wasn’t working the first time, then it’s not going to work when running more traffic.
This just resulted in me losing more money, so don’t be as stupid as I was. When things aren’t going right, you always have to look at your data, identify problems and solve them.
More traffic is not the answer!
Lesson: If you have bad results, learn from them and more importantly fix them!
11. No Variety
The next mistake that I made was not having any sort of variety.
There were times when I was only promoting one product, hoping that it will sell like crazy.
You should always promote a variety of products. This way, you will get the most amount of sales. Also, this isn’t the only way I was lacking variety, my content didn’t have enough topics, my emails were all pretty similar and just in general everything was too similar.
When your content is too similar then your readers won’t return, as it’s all similar anyway. If your emails are all very similar to each other then your open rates will get damaged by it, as your leads will know what kind of email it is anyway.
Lesson: Have some variety in your content, emails and in general!
12. Focusing On The Wrong Things
Finally, I also made the mistake of focusing on the wrong things, and I am not just talking about focusing on the big picture.
By focusing on the wrong things, I mean I was focusing mainly on selling, instead of offering value. I was promoting the same products as everyone else because they are successfully promoting those products.
In my content, I was too focused on selling, in my emails too. All I wanted to do is sell.
Then I learned to focus on growing. When you focus on growing, you offer more value in your content, in your emails, etc. and when you do this you will grow quicker, your audience will like you and trust you more.
When these three things happen, you will naturally make more sales than when you just focus on selling.
Lesson: Focus on the things that really matter and will help you grow!
It’s quite easy to make some mistakes in affiliate marketing. No matter who you are, I can guarantee that at least once when building up your affiliate marketing business, you will make a mistake.