Traffic Mansion Blog

10 biggest mistakes newbie affiliates make

“Mistakes are costly and somebody must pay. The time to correct a mistake is before it is made. The causes of mistakes are, first, I didn’t know; second, I didn’t think; third, I didn’t care “  – Henry H Buckley.

Ouch! Ok, so maybe a little harsh but he’s right…mistakes are costly! This is why we at Traffic Mansion have been pouring over all the mistakes affiliates make to prevent you going down this costly road. Read on to discover 10 of the biggest mistakes affiliates make and how to go about fixing them.    

Mistake 1. Promoting Too Many Products

All too often, new affiliates make the mistake of promoting too many products, particularly when starting out. This is why we are kick-starting our list with this mistake. Admittedly, it’s easy to see why this is a common mistake amongst affiliates, particularly when they are told: “secret to making tons of money online is to drive as much traffic as possible.”Many affiliates confuse driving traffic from multiple sources with driving traffic to multiple products.

This non-committal approach is counter-productive and is reminiscent of a commitment phobe guy who tries to sleep with every woman he encounters. Everyone knows the type, the guy who will say just about anything to get into a girl’s knickers. Only the moment he does… he’s off onto the next one. Forgetting his promises and possibly even mixing up her name with WhatsHerName!

Like beautiful women, there are millions of hot and tempting products to choose from. With that said, keep product-nising (see what we did there!) and run the risk of your audience abandoning you. Like George Michael said, It’ll be lonely this Christmas without any quality conversions! Promoting products isn’t solely about selling, but solving the problems of your customers. Before considering products to promote, choose a niche you are passionate about because this is what will drive you. 

Apart from coming across as disingenuous, promoting too many products will prevent you from building solid relationships – A key ingredient to driving traffic and conversions. To succeed in this business, you will need to build trust by becoming an expert in your niche. Knowledge is sexy as hell! By concentrating on a few products you can hit that sweet spot and turn on your audience. 

Mistake 2. Putting out on the first date – (Loving Product & not Shopping Around)

How do you know something is best if you never tried anything else? Shop around! All too often new affiliates make the mistake of finding a product and practically falling head over heels in love – immediately. We all know someone who proclaims to meeting “The One”…all the time! Rather than bide his time and keep his options open…he’s already declaring “love” – after the first date.

When you start out in affiliate marketing, don’t become that guy. Take your time and conduct research and scope out all your options before settling down with a product. Although the offer may seem hot, what if there’s an even hotter? The payout might be out of this world but it may not compensate real poor conversion rate. With millions of products out there… would there be any harm in waiting? Besides, finding products better suited to your audience will result in higher conversions. 

Mistake 3. Putting All Eggs in One Basket 

Similarly to number 2, the third mistake new affiliates make is: putting all their eggs in one basket! When something seems to be working there is a tendency to stick with it but what if a problem occurs with the product? Bugs happen all the time and it is only smart to have plan. More importantly, how will you learn anything new? Conversely, how will you resolve something which is not working? Putting all your eggs in one basket will only lead to one thing: more mistakes!  

Whether you’re running new ads, campaigns, or testing out a new traffic source, get into the habit of running A/B tests. Be bold and start touching things here and there. Size might matter or it may not. Don’t just lay there like a sack of potatoes! Play around with font size or the image on your landing page and see what really gets your audience going. Alternatively, spice things up and experiment with headlines or email subject lines to find out what hauls in or repels traffic. 

Mistake 4. Not Doing More of What Works 

On the other hand, new enthusiastic affiliates often make the mistake of not doing more of what works. Apart from learning from the results of your A/B testing, you can learn a lot from people who have already gone through the growing pains of affiliate marketing. Do your homework and read case studies to establish what works, read product reviews, read blogs and sign up for conferences. Scale things up where it is being fruitful for you!

Additionally, if you have an affiliate manager, they will know exactly what works and can support you with your campaigns and or keyword/site optimisation. It is recommended you spend at least 30 minutes a day investing in analysing data to ensure you not only know what works but are doing more of it!

Mistake 5. Being Bitch Slapped by Google 

Uh oh! You are not up to date with google algorithms or you thought you can outsmart it and now you’ve been bitch slapped by Google. Don’t worry this is a common mistake amongst affiliates and why we have included it on our list. Firstly, let’s be clear: Google is not out to get affiliates, Google is on a one-man AI mission to deliver on its promise to provide accurate information to the masses (kinda!)

Google updates a new release every day, however for the most part it goes unnoticed. Every now and then Google releases a bomb of an update to make good on its mission to deliver expertise, authority and trustworthinessor E- A T (yes, eat!). This is to ensure users have fast access to expert information from people in the know and can be trusted.

It should be noted, Google sends out advanced updates when they plan to rock the affiliate marketing world. However, to avoid being bitch slapped by Google, get into the habit of auditing your content regularly. Each day, fresh content is released, new strategies developed and new information comes to light.. Is your old content back from *insert year here* still up to date? Ask yourself this:

Does your content fulfill Google’s hunger to E-A- T?

Auditing your content to avoid being bitch slapped by Google 

So, you produced amazing content and managed to get yourself a following! Great! Now… how do you engage people and keep them coming back time and time again… for more? Just like any budding relationship, the same can be said of your content:

C- O- N- S-I- S- T- E- N- C- Y.

Dear affiliates,  please don’t confuse consistency with “the same ole”, although your dance moves may have been cool back in the 00’s just try reviving them on the dance floor today and see (no don’t). Point is times changes, new technology, new trends, new… (you get the gist).

Affiliate marketers must always bring their A game when creating content or anything for that matter.   See below for what you can do with current content.

Repurposing/recycling content 

  • Reuse your top performing work and repackage it another way for instance, create a mini-ebook or create a  how-to video on YouTube
  • Archive or update old content
  • Update content by joining in with current market trends
  • Update your FAQ’s 

Mistake 6. Not Using Power of Free (SEO & Social) Traffic!

Converting adbuy campaign is great, but do you know what is even better? Power! SEO power!  There are some fabulous free tools to use to get you noticed in the search engine optimisation game. And seriously if you are not making the most of these tools such as UberSuggest and social media to drive traffic… why the hell not? Many are free and/or allow you to use their services on a trial basis for one month. You absolutely need to add these awesome tools to your little black book!

If you have not included social media into your affiliate marketing strategy, you definitely want to think again. All this content creation and keyword optimisation are pointless if you are not utilising all free tools at your disposal to bring traffic to you. 

At this time, there are 3.8 billion people using social media. With numbers such as these, isn’t it time you began sliding into your audience’s DM’s and bump up your conversions? As well as that, put your 160 characters to good use and start whispering tweet nothings. If you’re not already, it’s time to take advantage of all that free traffic available on social media! 

Mistake 7. Not Investing in Own Traffic Tracking Tool

A common mistake repeated by newbie affiliates is not investing in their own traffic tools. Although your new BFF affiliate manager will track your performance and offer round the clock support, it is particularly useful to get into the habit of tracking your own traffic.  

One tip to hold dear in affiliate marketing is: Never. Stop. Learning. 

This includes… learning what is working and learning what isn’t. One way or the other, not slicing and dicing your data, or god forbid not having your data, will result in you losing out in some shape or form.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game! Not investing in your own traffic tool could be all the difference in gaining conversions. After all, how will you know what works and what is costing you money? There comes a point in every affiliates career when what works is less guess work and more about data! 

Therefore you need to track every part of your campaign. Everything from your creatives down to device models and browsers. If you are in it for a little fun then sure you may do well without one. But, if you’re serious and wish to commit… invest in a traffic tracking tool. 

Mistake 8. Wasting Money on Non Profitable Ads 

Wasting money on non-profitable ads is the eighth biggest mistake made by affiliates. Think about it, an ad is just like holding up a sign which says or screams rather… “Look at me!” As sure as a hot woman wearing a pair of butt-skimming-shorts… people are going to look and your campaign will be in the spotlight.

Read the room, Linda!

Sticking with the butt-skimming-shorts analogy, the problem is.. even happily married men and gay men will look. In order for the hot woman (in butt-skimming-shorts) to get noticed by the right type of guy, she has to shake her booty in all the right places. Similarly, as an affiliate to stop wasting money on non-profitable ads you must do the following:

  • Target your correct audience 
  • Target the correct demographics and times your audience is online 
  • Use the appropriate traffic source to target your audience 
  • Use the right keywords 
  • Track
  • Optimize
  • Scale
  • Engage with your niche audience using the right platforms

Mistake 9. Committing to Traffic Source (Without Testing Small Portion Of It)

Following on, with many traffic sources such as mobile, social media and organic traffic available, it would be a big mistake to commit to one without testing a small portion first. With that being said, many new affiliates make the mistake of committing to one. This is before assessing whether the traffic source is the right one for them and the product they are driving traffic to. For this reason, we have included this on our list at number 9.

Committing to a traffic source without conducting a test can be costly not only monetary but also a waste of time. Depending on your chosen niche, certain traffic sources may not be appropriate to use. For instance, Google has imposed strict restrictions on adult content, therefore Google Adsense would not be a good source to generate sign ups in the adult niche. 

Below we have included a checklist for you to consider before committing to a traffic source.

Checklist before committing to a traffic source: 

  • The Cost of the Traffic Source
  • The Amount of Traffic Available
  • Does the source have any restrictions, regulations or rules
  • The Overall Quality of the Traffic Source
  • Does it have any targeting Options Available
  • Your niche and/or audience

Mistake 10. Assuming you can leave things running once all is set and works (Eyes on Ball Always)

Finally, how well do you respond to change? Do you faff around and panic or do you t-h-r-i-v-e? Hopefully, you answered yes to the second question. No matter how magical your campaign or your ads… things change in affiliate marketing and fast! Never assume you can leave things running just because it works. Adopting such a mindset will be a tragedy and a one-way ticket to disappointment.

Affiliates, old and new alike must prepare for the inevitable at all times and thus why we at Traffic Mansion always say: never stop optimizing. Always keep your eyes on the ball, read your data, analyse fluctuations in your traffic no matter how small. Moreover, hang out where your target audience does, scope out their social media, read blogs, forums and for goodness sake keep on top of trends. 

Truth is, everyone makes mistakes, especially in the beginning.  Going with Henry H Buckley’s reasoning… now you know the Top 10 biggest mistakes you can begin working towards fixing them. 

If you need any additional information or support, Affiliate Managers Jenna, Artem and Kate are extremely friendly and are on hand to support you. Reach out to them here 

So, I’m curious…which number is your biggest mistake?

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