7 Things Unsuccessful Affiliate Marketers Do

If you’ve been in affiliate marketing for a while, you know that this is a relationship business. And with any relationship it’s important to manage it properly. Here are the 7 “deadly” mistakes in Affiliate Marketing that could derail your efforts. 

#7 – You’re Not Listening

Your partners have expectations for how an offer should perform, what problems an offer needs to solve for their customers, and how they expect to receive creatives and stat updates. Listen to them and better yet, meet their needs!

Ask quality questions about what your partners expect from successful promotions and make a plan to hit it. If you can’t, let them know where you’re at and if you have plans to sweeten the deal.



#6 – You’re too big for your britches

Yep, we quoted your grandmother. Look, respect, humility, and honesty go a long way in any relationship, especially relationships with your affiliates. If you cannot speak to your partners with respect and honesty then you don’t deserve the relationship with them. Partners like to make money, but they like making money with people they know, like and trust even more.

Additionally, partners you deem “too small” now may grow to have large followings/influence in the future. In fact, I once had a co-worker who was instructed to brush-off a “small partner” (at the time). That “small partner” now is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, runs a highly successful and well known podcast with millions of downloads, and a sought after mastermind community.  That “small potatoes affiliate” superseded the success of my ex-coworker’s employer in just a few years, and they then had to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to have this “small affiliate” speak at an event. What if that relationship had been nurtured, or at least remained respectful, that whole time?

#5 – You’re Not Organized

When you first start out in Affiliate Marketing you wear a lot of hats. Even as you scale and acquire a larger team the workload changes but never truly lessens. Trust me when I say that everyone needs something from you right before you close down for the day, or are boarding a plane to your well-communicated-in-advance beach vacation. The problem isn’t that they need something from you, the problem is that is inconvenient because you’re not organized. Running an affiliate department that will scale requires you to create systems, know where to find your best performing assets easily, and have easy to use resources for your partners to access and utilize.

#4 – You’ve Got A Complicated Order

Remember the MAD TV Skit with Bon Qui Qui (played by Anjelah Johnson) that swept the internet a decade ago where Bon Qui Qui stunned audience with her lack of customer service skills in a fast food joint? You ‘member!!!!


Many affiliate partners have a similar behavior when it comes to working with partners, only it’s not satire. Some act this way without even realizing it.

Now, we are all for protecting your reputation with your list, ensuring a product is quality, and protecting yourself legally – ESPECIALLY when you work in a regulated industry or hold a license (like a Doctor or a Lawyer). However, affiliates are your PARTNERS, not peasants to do your traffic bidding. Causing them to jump through hoops for the sake of jumping through hoops can cause a rocky start to your relationship.

Have simple and clear cut processes of how you vet, test, and scale affiliate relationships and be transparent about how that looks. It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone when an offer isn’t a fit.

#3 – Your Network – And Mindset– Are Too Small

You work with good partners and get consistent traffic, but what happens as your offer and creatives fatigue? Do you have a pipeline of new affiliates to work with or test creatives? How will you get traffic if your media accounts are shut down?

We have always recommended going to events to network, whether they are in your local area or they are a large conference. And now that we all have survived 2020 we know it’s important now, more than ever before, to know how to connect with people you don’t share the same geographical location with. Facebook & Linked In Groups, E-mail Introductions, and Virtual Masterminds are all a very important part of your networking strategy and if  you’re not actively participating with events that are meeting your needs, you’re in the wrong virtual locations.

Participating in online conversations is the easiest way to start talking to strangers in your industry – and you can use a variety of platforms too – gradually, whenever you can, we recommend moving the conversation to Skype or Zoom, so you can start getting to know each other a little deeper, almost face to face.

Of course, we’re not telling you to tweet a thought leader in your industry once, and expect them to hop on Skype with you. Relationships take time to build. But take time every day to take another step forward, and you’ll be significantly ahead of your current game by the end of the year.

Now, maybe you’re already in a group. Or your company just doesn’t have the expense budget right now. Maybe so, but I challenge you to think about if those are “assumed constraints”. Maybe your owner cut back on that fancy agency who was operating your organic Linked-In traffic strategy but could be willing to spend money on events that have a more immediate ROI. And who said you were limited to just one group, anyway? If you “know-everyone” why isn’t everyone sending you traffic? Do you need to deepen your relationships with key people? Are you regularly sharpening your networking skills, so you have the means to do that?

Sometimes we make assumptions that hold us back from moving forward and it’s important to challenge the way you think (and network) if you want to continue to grow and scale your revenue.

#2 – You’re Not Spending Money

Perhaps you have a new offer and partners are leery to test a lot of traffic to your pages until you’re sure it’s a winner. There are strategies that can earn you traffic in higher volumes so you can scale faster, for those willing to pay a little more. At East 5th Avenue, we spend a lot of time educating clients on winning deal strategies for new and existing offers as you scale into new markets and niches, and even how to gain initial traffic to your offer.

However, in most cases you must be willing to spend a little more. Those who are unwilling to pay in cash, will spend more in time and lost opportunities. At least you can always make more cash.

#1 – You’re Not Selling


Affiliate managers need to sell products to both their own audience and to prospective partners who’ll be promoting their products for them, so knowing how to close the deal is a really important skill. 

Now, we know that this is probably the scariest skill we’ve covered today, but – at the risk of contradicting ourselves – don’t worry about it when you’re first getting started.

As Brian Tracy, who has trained over 2 million salespeople across 69 countries, explains in the video below, the top 20% of salespeople – those that often make 80% of their company’s commissions – started at the bottom 20%.

Unless they’re a unicorn, no one is born with sales skills. But as Tracy suggests, if you challenge yourself to make a 100 calls (or send 100 emails) to prospective partners with the intention to getting as many “no” answers as you can, you won’t only practice your pitch – you’ll practice moving through the fear of hearing “no” that stops way too many salespeople from reaching success.

Check out this 5 minute video to hear about how Tracy had a team of salespeople compete on who gets the most “no” answers… and how those ended up being the salespeople who closed the largest number of deals:

It’s Time to Become the Indispensable Affiliate Leader You Know You Can Be

To follow the late Maya Angelou’s advice; life isn’t about beating yourself up for what you’ve done or haven’t done so far. You’ve done the best you could with what you have.

But now that you know better, and understand there’s a lot you can do to learn how to be successful affiliate marketer in order to grow business revenue, you can do better. You can start taking the steps that will set you up for success.

We Can Help

East 5th Avenue offers an affordable, all inclusive, exclusive connection and ROI focused community for businesses looking to scale their affiliate revenue stream with warm leads. The best part is that it’s not a network or agency model where they own the relationships and you pay a percentage. You simply join the community and meet new partners. Plus we provide an incredible library of trainings, monthly live training calls from industry thought leaders, monthly opportunities to earn traffic, practice pitching, and review new and top performing offers. If this sounds too good to be true, pinch yourself and then click the link here to learn more.

Amber Spears

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