Brands, Customer Marketing, Social Marketing

Strategic Affiliate Marketing: 4 mistakes you need to avoid [2022]

Affiliate Marketing 2022Affiliate Marketing is when a commission is earned for the online promotion of another company’s product or service. Affiliate Marketers host websites, run blogs, use their social media, or engage in other digital marketing methods to promote and advertise the product or service. However, the high commission rates in some affiliate marketing programs can cause people to try to skip straight to getting clicks. This means that you have to be strategic with your affiliate marketing initiatives. Make sure you avoid these 4 mistakes that affiliates make.

Why you need to be strategic – affiliate marketing

If you want to make money reliably with affiliate marketing, the most sustainable method is to build systems that drive traffic that aren’t entirely dependent on your constant input. This is often referred to as “passive income”.

The exact definition of passive income varies. Some affiliates consider creating a video and uploading it on YouTube and making money from it months later – passive income -, while others rather post on social media and engage permanently with their audience.

But the fact is, if your strategy doesn’t involve some element of automation or methodology, you’re essentially just creating a job for yourself rather than a scalable source of income. You’ll also need to decide whether to focus on promoting lots of products to increase your earnings or fewer products that have a higher commission.

Affiliate marketing pros and cons

As with anything, affiliate marketing has its pros and cons. Here are the main pros and cons:

Affiliate Marketing Pros

  • Low barrier to entry. Affiliate marketing is easy to get started with, and costs little. Most affiliate programs are free to join, and you don’t have to create, stock, or ship products, which also means less hassle/responsibility.
  • Low risk. You’re not the product owner, so you don’t lose anything if a customer doesn’t buy.
  • Passive income potential. Affiliate marketing provides the potential for passive income.
  • More freedom. When you start earning passive income, you can work anytime and from anywhere, as long as you have internet access.

Affiliate Marketing Cons

  • Not a quick fix. It can take time to generate the amount of traffic needed to result in substantial income.
  • Less control. You don’t own or control the product/service you’re recommending, so you can’t control the quality or customer experience.
  • Competition and audience fatigue. An attractive affiliate program means you might be competing with others for customers.
  • Offer fatigue. Audiences can also get “offer fatigue” if they see too much ongoing promotion from you.
  • Not all affiliate programs are created equal. While most companies that offer affiliate commissions are stable and ethical, there are shady companies out there too, some of which may not pay what they say they will. It’s important to do your homework.

Meet brands that are looking for affiliates

4 mistakes you need to avoid

Affiliate marketing: it’s easy to do— but also it’s easy to do wrong. Anyone can grab a link or coupon code and promote it on their social media. But successful strategic affiliate marketing that delivers value for you and your audience in the long term? That takes work. It also means knowing what not to do.

Here are four affiliate marketing mistakes and traps you need to look out for.

#1 Not considering your audience

Perhaps the biggest strategic affiliate marketing mistake people make is not promoting a product that actually makes sense for their audience. This often happens when someone takes an income-first approach rather than a serving-first one.

You should look for solutions that can help your audience—whether there’s an affiliate opportunity there or not.

Become an affiliate for audience-recommended products

An affiliate marketer’s audience is clearly key to their success. A superb, under-utilized way to build that audience—while also building passive income—is to become an affiliate for the products your target audience recommends.

Social media and YouTube channels are often the first port of call for strategic affiliate marketers looking to share their product recommendations.

#2 Not knowing the product

Unfortunately, affiliate marketing finds its way onto almost every “make money fast!” scheme. Often companies will reach out to you based on a simple algorithm. If you’ve reached a certain threshold of social media followers, for instance, they’ll send you a message asking if they can pay to get in front of your audience.

However, if you don’t know the product or it doesn’t fit your audience, it won’t work. In order for you to stand out as an affiliate, you need to be recognized as an expert, or at the very least a source where people can learn more about the things you are promoting.

Bombarding your audience and saturating your brand with stuff that doesn’t fit would dilute the brand and confuse people’s perception of what you stand for.

Do your homework

In order for you to stand out as an affiliate, you need to be recognized as an expert. Or, at the very least, a source where people can learn more about the things you are promoting.

Complete your due diligence before becoming an affiliate for a service or product. Consider other people’s opinions before trying it out yourself, even if it’s just the demo version. While it might take longer to drive sales for your affiliate products, when you do, people will be more likely to trust the products you recommend.

#3 Not reading the terms and conditions

The idea of getting a big commission for something as simple as deciding to promote a product on social media is enough to make some new affiliates get ahead of themselves.

When all your motivation is financial, you’re unlikely to read the terms and conditions properly. If you then end up violating those conditions, it won’t matter how much traffic you send to the offer; your affiliate partnership can be revoked at a moment’s notice if you go against the terms.

Read the brief and documentation attached to any product or service you use or promote. As a marketing affiliate, it’s your responsibility to represent the merchant and the affiliate network in a positive light.

#4 Not being honest about the terms

A common mistake is to make promises about products or services that simply aren’t real. This is a mistake that, shortly after your audience starts using them, they’ll realize that the products weren’t at all what they would expect.

When you’re promoting your affiliate products, you need to make sure you set the right expectations for your audience. Otherwise, what happens? You lose the trust of the person to whom you recommended that product.

You need to be totally honest about what a product can and can’t do, and make sure you’re not recommending it to someone who’s not a good fit for it.