Affiliate marketing epitomizes agility, making it the ideal domain for inquisitive individuals unafraid to explore uncharted territory. However, when there exists an opportunity to sidestep potential pitfalls and glean insights from the errors of fellow affiliate marketers, why not seize it?
We asked our partners from the global advertising and CPA network Adsterra to create their expert checklist of key pitfalls in affiliate marketing in 2023 and ways to avoid them.
Together, let us delve into the current predicaments that can be addressed today to prevent stumbling upon them tomorrow.
1. Insufficient guidance
Surprisingly, even individuals with some level of knowledge in affiliate marketing can fall into the trap of neglecting proper guidance.
When beginners venture into this field, they often display a willingness to seek information, ask for assistance, and let others steer them in the right direction.
However, if someone transitions from a different niche or a related area, there might be a false sense of familiarity with the field.
How to avoid: Always remember that seeking guidance and assistance is a valuable resource to expedite your learning process. It doesn’t imply that you lack intelligence or the ability to discover things on your own. Instead, it demonstrates wisdom in utilizing the most efficient and accessible means available to you.
2. Promotion of low-quality products
When confronted with low-quality products, it becomes crucial to weigh the risks against the rewards. The outcome must always justify the methods employed.
We take great care in selecting offers for our CPA network to ensure that you won’t come across subpar products within our range.
However, the choice of creatives and promotional strategies still lies in your hands, which is why we highly advise against employing blackhat methods, even if they appear tempting.
How to avoid: Always be mindful of the partners you collaborate with. Establishing a proven and legitimate partnership is key to building a reputable image. For those striving for profitable long-term work, employing whitehat methods is the best approach.
3. Neglecting performance tracking
Surprisingly, many affiliate marketers overlook the importance of tracking tools or delay their implementation, considering the initial attempts as mere trials.
By doing so, they miss out on valuable information that could be used to enhance the profitability of their campaigns.
How to avoid: While expecting extraordinary results from day one may be unrealistic, you can utilize each day of your work to gather meaningful statistics. Start using affiliate tracking software from the very beginning and adapt your campaigns based on the data you acquire. Remember, every moment you spend working is an opportunity to gain experience, which translates into future earnings.
4. Failing to create quality creatives or resorting to misleading tactics
At times, it may feel like the internet has seen it all—every visually appealing banner, every captivating message, every clickbait headline. However, new and innovative ideas constantly emerge, debunking our initial doubts.
Despite the abundance of helpful resources, some short-sighted affiliate marketers still opt for the easiest route by creating misleading and low-quality creatives.
How to avoid: Invest time and effort into crafting creatives that are reliable and honest. This not only aligns with whitehat tactics but also safeguards your reputation, a crucial aspect for anyone committed to long-term success.
5. Targeting highly competitive keywords
Engaging in SEO practices is commendable, even for beginners. However, the strategy employed holds significant importance. It is understandable to be drawn to the most popular keywords, assuming their frequent usage indicates their popularity. However, fixating solely on top queries is one of the primary affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid, not just for novices.
How to avoid: While incorporating high-frequency keywords is advisable, don’t limit yourself to them alone. Include less competitive keywords to make your campaign more visible through specific search queries.
This way, you won’t get lost among numerous similar offers, as search engines tend to prioritize popular yet less explored options. Employing average or low-competition keywords helps your campaign stand out and gain more visibility.
6. Neglecting the readability of content
The visual aspect takes precedence. It is a physiological fact that we are initially drawn to images before reading the accompanying text. Hence, no matter how visually appealing your creative banner may be, the text should not play a secondary role but rather complement the overall message.
How to avoid: Both the picture and the text serve the same purpose: to entice users to click on the banner or perform a specific action.
Ensure that the style of both elements aligns. For example, if the image is humorous and playful, the text should also reflect that tone.
Experiment with various approaches to find the best triggers, such as teasers, discounts, bonuses, seasonal offers, or price comparisons.
7. Lack of deep understanding of the product being promoted
While you don’t have to be an expert in shoemaking to sell boots, it’s equally important not to present yourself as a hairstylist when trying to persuade someone to buy footwear.
Unfortunately, many publishers overlook the different levels of understanding required to effectively promote a product beyond the extremes of complete knowledge or complete ignorance.
How to avoid: You may start from scratch, but immersing yourself in the essence of the product you’re selling should be an integral part of your work. It involves developing the right attitude and investing in knowledge. The more you understand the product, its unique selling proposition (USP), and its benefits, the more effectively you can communicate and sell it to your target audience.
8. Failure to utilize evergreen content
If you generate income from your website or blog as an affiliate marketer, evergreen content becomes a valuable source of passive income through clicks and subsequent revenue. Evergreen content addresses perennially relevant topics, which is wonderful.
However, don’t be deceived: evergreen content is not inherently timeless. When left un-updated, it can become semantically and technically outdated, rendering it useless.
How to avoid: Keep track of all your content and determine the right time to update each piece. Updating involves not only refining the content’s relevance but also ensuring that it aligns with current SEO practices. Even if an article contains helpful information, your work is to make it easily discoverable in search results.
9. Unrealistic income goals at the outset
It’s astonishing how many people still believe in a magical button that can effortlessly bring them billions of dollars.
Don’t be lured by affiliate programs promising massive payouts without clear conditions for achieving them.
This is a common pitfall, particularly in the iGaming industry. If you encounter an offer claiming a $300 payout for a $100 deposit, visit the advertiser’s website and verify.
What if the minimum deposit there is $50? In that case, your profit will require a substantial waiting period.
How to avoid: Prepare yourself for a realistic model of profit through effort, and resist the allure of miracle success stories that promise instant billionaire status. If you’re unsure how to set realistic goals, consider exploring SMART goals, which enable you to chart your own path based on realistic expectations rather than blindly copying others’ strategies.
10. Ignoring the basics of SEO
In affiliate marketing, technical considerations are essential from the outset. The mechanics involved may seem overwhelming when you first delve into the field. Neglecting the importance of SEO can be tempting, making it appear unnecessary, and this pitfall often ensnares newcomers.
How to avoid: It is crucial for every successful affiliate marketer to have a solid understanding of the basics of SEO. This doesn’t imply that you must become an SEO specialist, as it is a distinct profession. However, having knowledge of and utilizing the fundamental principles of SEO can save you valuable time, which directly translates into monetary gains in the realm of affiliate marketing. Therefore, we highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the concept of SEO before embarking on a new campaign, whether it’s your first or subsequent endeavors.
Guest Author : Mikhail Zhukov
Head of the CPM Department at Adsterra
Known as a seasoned practitioner and visionary, Mikhail had been among the most appreciated account managers at Adsterra before he became the Head of the CPM Department. His signature strategy is collaborating across teams, finding the growing points for the product and its partners’ businesses.