5 Common Affiliate Marketing Pitfalls

Affiliate Marketing pitfallsAffiliate marketing is one of the most rewarding and lucrative ways to make money online. As an affiliate marketer you market and promote someone else’s product for a commission. Earning on this commission based model of making money online has unlimited potential and has made many an impressive income.

While affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online it’s not simple by any means. It takes a lot of skill, knowledge and commitment to be successful. If you are looking for overnight riches this is not the way to go. However, if you are looking to build a solid business that can make you money on complete autopilot for many years to come, affiliate marketing is most definitely a great option.

If you choose to go this route there are a few pitfalls I want you to be aware of. These are the most common pitfalls that newbie affiliate marketers run into.

Pitfall #1 – Not Building a List

One of the things I see a lot of affiliate marketers doing, especially the new ones, is sending traffic directly to the sales page. This is not the best method.

Your first line of business should be to build an email marketing list.

  • If you send traffic directly to the sales page you will get a one off commission and that’s all.
  • If you build an email marketing list first you will be able to make multiple commissions off of one customer.
  • You will be able to build long lasting and on-going relationships with a targeted audience.
  • When you have a list you can market to them over and over for as long as they stay subscribed.

So start smart- start building a list from day one.

Pitfall #2 – Promoting Products Based On Commission Only

You should care about the products you promote. Never promote a product based solely on the amount of money you will get per sale. You have to remember, your goal is to be able to make money for a very long time into the future.

If you promote crappy products just to make a quick commission your business will never really take off. You want to promote legit products you know your list and site visitors will appreciate. If you promote products that are irrelevant and don’t produce results you will end up with a lot of refund requests and subscribers who do not find your messages credible.

Pitfall #3 – Signing Up For Too Many Affiliate Programs

Just because there are a thousand great products with affiliate programs doesn’t mean you need to sign up for all of them.

Sign up for 3-5 if you are just starting out. I know this well, as I too grabbed as many as I could in the beginning. Get those products set up in your funnel first and then add more as you become well versed in the business and start seeing success. If you sign up for a ton of affiliate programs you will overwhelm yourself and end up doing nothing.

Pitfall #4 – Promoting Low Converting Products

Just because a product has an affiliate program doesn’t mean you should promote it. Conversion rates are extremely important when it comes to the products you promote. If you promote low converting products you won’t make very much money.

Pitfall #5 – Having Unrealistic Expectations

Yes, there are a lot of people who make an impressive income year after year from affiliate marketing alone. However, what most people fail to realize is the amount of time, effort, learning and expertise it took for them to get to that level.

A lot of newbie affiliate marketers expect overnight riches when they get involved with affiliate marketing. It doesn’t work that way. You have to put in the time and effort if you want to be successful. For more guidance check out my new book Affiliate Marketing 101


Marilyn Thompson



  1. Great tips Marilyn. I’ll admit I’m not a big affiliate marketer but it does bring in some income. You make a great point about caring about the products you promote. People buy through people they trust and it’s pretty obvious when you start only promoting for commission rather than an actual honest recommendation.

    Congrats on the Kindle book too! Go you!
    Jan Kearney recently posted…Google’s Mobile Friendly Update – Do You Really Need A New Website?My Profile

  2. Hi Marilyn,

    I’ve made quite a good sum of money with affiliate marketing and just recently (in the last year) started creating products of my own. If I were starting fresh online from today, I would do my business differently.

    I would start with creating my products right off the bat and throwing in reviews for other products, from other marketers, secondly. I think it’s necessary to build your name (and brand) before anything else.

    I believe if I had done this from day 1, my name would be spread farther than it has already and I would make better affiliate commissions as a result of being known in bigger circles.

    I didn’t know you created a Kindle book! Good for you! I was wondering where you were hiding. Now I know. 🙂 I wish you great success with your Kindle publishing.

    – Bonnie
    Bonnie Gean recently posted…Creating and Using Infographics to Command Attention – Part 1My Profile

    • You are so right Bonnie about starting earlier to create your own products and build your own presence, I’m guilty of lagging behind on both. But l’ll get there!
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving great advice for all.

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