13 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid on Start

Andrey Novoselov Andrey Novoselov
Reading time:  7  min.

Affiliate marketing for beginners can be difficult, even if you have skills in other niches of marketing. Beginners typically make similar mistakes, so we have collected all of them on one page. We wanted to share the most common mistakes to help you avoid them on your way. This article can be useful for both beginners and experienced Travelpayouts affiliates.

Affiliate marketing

Unreal Income Expectations

With affiliate marketing, you have no profit limits. You may look at the main page of Travelpayouts, where we have listed the TOP payouts. For example, in November 2018, the highest payout for one affiliate was $63,165. Of course, there are cases where people have not even earned one dollar.

Your final income is related to several factors:

  • How much you have worked
  • How smart you worked
  • Your skills of driving traffic to earn money
  • Chosen niche

And many another factors. It is very important to avoid these two main mistakes:

  1. Expect high income from day one
  2. Give up quickly.

All those people who now earn more than $10,000 on a monthly basis with Travelpayouts started from zero. You should work hard and believe in yourself, but your belief and expectations need to be realistic, otherwise you will easily lose motivation.

Thinking That Paid Traffic Is Too Expensive

Paid traffic can be expensive if done the wrong way. You need to build a strategy with paid traffic. The best way to optimize investments is to choose the right keywords to buy and diversify the sources of purchase and the type of ad.

Thinking that paid traffic is too expensive

Here is the short list how you should act:

  • Use long-tail keywords and avoid head keywords, and use keyword planner or SemRush to help you find the right words to use.
  • You can use Bing, Yahoo and Yandex in addition to Google
  • Use social networks, because they are less expensive and often very effective.
  • Diversify your ads to get more information on what advertising to aim for.

We have an article where you can learn more about traffic arbitrage.

Not Building Your Email List

You cannot just point to paid or organic traffic. One big change in Google’s algorithm and you could lose 90% of your traffic! Diversify traffic sources and start to build your email list as soon as possible.

Moreover, many people do not buy anything when they meet your project the first time, that’s why creating your email list is essential. It allows you to earn more from your user, offering your products in a more targeted way.

Not building your email list

This is one of the biggest affiliate marketing mistakes that many make by underestimating the power of the list. You can use these simple software products to get started:

SoftwareFree PlanLanding Page CreatorAutoresponder
MDirectorTest onlyYesYes
MailProTest onlyNoYes
MailchimpUp to 2000 usersYesYes
MailerliteUp to 1000 usersYesYes

At Travelpayouts, we use Mailchimp and GetResponse and find them to be reliable and functional services.

Choose a Niche Which Is Not Interesting for You

The choice of your niche is essential. If you choose to write about topics that you are not excited about, you will hardly find the desire to move forward. Find the right niche where three factors collide:

  • Your passion for a topic
  • How much the topic fascinates the public
  • If the niche is profitable

Create a list of your interests and compare it with the other two points, the more intersections you have among points, the easier it will be to create your niche in the right way. Use Google Trends to find your inspiration.

Do Not Run Tests & Experiments

Nobody likes to eat soup all the time, right? Similarly, you have to vary the way you propose your offers. Experimentation must be your travel companion, and you should not stand still on a single idea or way of doing things.

Do not ask yourself why affiliate marketing doesn’t work. Instead, ask yourself what does not work in your strategy. Diversify your content, try to change the colors of a presentation or change the text of your advertisement and improve your knowledge to get better and better results.

Do not relax when you’ve found the best way to earn. You can always improve it! Make A/B tests and try to find the best way of working with affiliate programs. For example you may try to:

  • Change the color of the search form
  • Use new types of affiliate tools
  • Change the size or form of current tools
  • Place ads in new places
  • And so on.

Create Low Quality Content

Writing quality content is not easy. If you are lacking inspiration one day, it is better to not write at all than to make low-quality content. No business can be sustained without quality whether you sell products at the supermarket or write on the blog, you have to offer the best of yourself.

Building Content

We have shared how to write high quality content before, but you can find a few of those tips below:

  • Write for the user and not for search engines
  • Format your text to help your reader
  • Use images, lists, H2 and H3 in your articles
  • Use Ubersuggest-type programs to come up with new topics to write about

In addition to writing excellent content, aim, to be consistent in publication. Creating good content has additional benefits — you may get backlinks on it for free! Learn how to create content to increase your website’s traffic and bring backlinks.

Rely on Search Traffic Only

We already mentioned this, when talked about email lists. Nevertheless, think bigger! You do not just have search engines and emails you may get traffic from other sources.

Having a good SEO plan is certainly important, but focusing exclusively on organic traffic has a big disadvantage — one day you may lose all. Do not rely on search traffic alone, and begin diversifying your traffic through social networks and create your own paid campaigns in order to have more sources of traffic.

Do Not Analyze Analytics Data / Traffic Data

How can you improve your business if you do not know what your users read, how they get to your site or how long they stay on your site? Unless you are a magician, is it impossible.

Setting up Google Analytics is the first step to help you understand what needs to be improved. In fact, you can monitor the number of users who visit the site, their geographical origin and the source from which they come. Moreover, you can understand if your campaign works or not, just like a multipurpose knife that you always have with you. Find more on how to work with Google Analytics in the official knowledgebase.

Do Not Try New Products, Offers or Niches

You risk confusing users and distancing them from you, if you are not open to new. Services that were popular two years ago might lose popularity. At the same time, if you are not trying new products and offers, you are limiting yourself. Maybe you could earn more in new niches. How will you know without trying?


Always try to use new products and offers, and focus on niches that you have discovered. Travelpayouts helps you to avoid this mistake. We are always working to add new offers to our affiliate network. In August, we added three offers, and nowadays in affiliate networks, you can find offers in more than 10 different travel related niches.

Offering Irrelevant Offers for Your Target Audience

While trying new offers, be careful. Know your audience and do not offer them irrelevant goods and services. For example, if your audience is interested in cheap flights, it does not make sense to advertise making money on cryptocurrencies, even if you think that you could make extra income from it.

Only offer products from your niche. If you go outside of it, the benefits of each niche have to somehow be connected. For example, if you are selling travel insurance, you may carefully try to sell property insurance or health care.

Offer Goods and Services With Low Quality

Trying the products you offer will make you more credible. It is easier to sell good services and products. Even if you do not have chance to try the service yourself, always read the reviews of the services you are selling.

All offers in the Travelpayouts affiliate network are reliable. You may use them personally to be sure of their quality. However, if you work with another affiliate programs, always check the quality before spending money/time to promotion.

Use Spam Techniques

It is important to promote your products correctly. Sending unwanted emails or messages through social networks is not only forbidden by Travelpayouts rules, but it is also a bad way for distributing goods and services according to the affiliate marketing model. It is almost impossible to sell something that a person does not want to buy. However, SPAM is very easy way to make a person angry.

You yourself can even SPAM unwilling. For example, you build the email list and then send emails full of affiliate links, without including any relevant content. Or, even worse, sending dozens of emails in a few days is harmful because it may lead the user to cancel their subscription. Follow our tips on how to avoid these problems:

  • Send your material only to users who have given consent to receive your emails
  • Don’t use social media exclusively to promote, but use it to add value to your brand
  • Comment in the forums related to you niche in order to make you a credible expert in the field
  • Never send more than one email a day, work towards just one or two a month except for important offers

For the last tip, you may also use an A/B test, to see how your audience reacts to your emails. For example, open rates may fall if you send it daily, but if you send it twice per month, the rates would be the highest. Experiment to see.

How to Avoid Mistakes?

It is impossible to avoid mistakes in CPA marketing. It is part of the job and you will make mistakes even after years of work. We try to prevent common mistakes, but you will make some more. Use them as lessons and always experiment to learn how to work more effectively.

As Albert Einstein said, “There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and nuclear power: The will.”  The greatest advice is to never stop trying, to believe deeply in what you do and to commit yourself daily to reaching your goal.

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