Why Newbies Cannot Succeed in Affiliate Marketing

By | December 12, 2014

new affiliate marketing mistakesThere are many of reasons why newbies don’t succeed in affiliate marketing. I have outlined the top 10 reasons why beginners fail at affiliate marketing. More importantly, I will tell you what you can do to avoid these common mistakes so you can be a success story instead of a statistic.


Reason #10: Overselling

No one gets on the internet with the intent of finding your blog, website, or offer. People get online because they are looking for information. They are specifically looking for information on how to solve their problems and improve their lives.

newbie internet marketing mistakesAs soon as you try to sell something, your visitor is going to hit the back button and find another website. New affiliate marketers must resist the urge to try to sell products.

Now this is a dilemma: To make money you need to sell but if you try to sell you will lose website visitors. So how does a newbie make it when both these statements are true?

Go back to the reason why people get on the internet, which is to find information. The key to making money is offering solutions to people’s problems.  Remember that these are real people that are clicking on your website, reading your articles, and looking at your products.

You wouldn’t necessarily try to sell products to your friends and family. But you would tell them about products that you think will help them. Write your articles like you were talking to your best friend. Explain what the product is, what it does, and tell them the good and the bad.


How to overcome overselling:

I’ve already mentioned some of these points but I’ll restate them:

  • Find the most pressing problems for your niche, then offer solutions for those problems.
  • Write your articles as if you are talking to your best friend.
  • Give all the information your audience will need in order to make an informed decision about buying.
  • Be honest.


Reason #9: Product Hopping

internet marketing products

Product hopping will kill your chances of success

New affiliate marketers often think that their success will depend on finding the right product or program. Now here’s a spoiler… no product or program can guarantee success for anyone. Your success as an affiliate marketer has more to do with you than any product.

Most newbies don’t realize this. So instead of rolling up their sleeves and going to work, they hop from product to product hoping to find the Chosen One. Some people call this Shiny Object Syndrome. Essentially what they are looking for is the path of least resistance to the pot of gold.

The truth is that there is no fast track to online success. The only products and programs that actually work are the ones that require work.

Yes, if you are a beginner just starting out you will need to buy a few products or programs to teach you. However, hopping from product to product is a 100% sure way of not making any money.


How to overcome product hopping:

You can overcome product hopping by taking a few days to do nothing but research on the best products and programs that will help you achieve your goals. Don’t spend your money on anything until you sleep on it for a night.

There are some affiliate programs with free trial memberships. Start with these and see if their system is right for you before moving on to the paid ones.

Once you find an affiliate program, stick with it for at least a few months before you try another unless it is really bad.

You should be aware that there are a lot of scams and ripoffs that plague the affiliate marketing world. Unfortunately, I’ve been sucked into a few but I’ve learned a few things that have helped me avoid getting scammed. Check out 8 Signs of Internet Scams for my tricks in avoiding ripoffs. This will help you avoid some of the same mistakes that I made.


Reason #8: Choosing the Wrong Niche

S o much of your success as in affiliate depends on getting off to a good start. Choosing the right niche might be the most important decision you make as a new affiliate marketer.

Here are five common mistakes beginners have when choosing a niche:

1. Not choosing something they are knowledgeable or passionate about: You’ll need to put in a lot of effort before you start making money. You need to pick a niche in an area that you know you will stick with during the tough times. There will be times when you want to give up but being in a niche that you are interested in will make it easier to persevere.

2. Choosing a niche solely on your passions or interests: While it is important to choose a niche you are passionate about, there’s more to it than that. Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean that there are a lot of other people on the internet that share your interests. Even if there are, that doesn’t mean that they are spending money in your niche.

3. Choosing a niche that is too broad: Many new affiliate marketers try to pick a niche that will appeal to everyone. People think that to get a lot of visitors you want a niche that interests everyone. However, the opposite of this statement is true. Broad niches struggle to get traffic. A lot of times niches are so broad that visitors have a hard time identifying what the website is all about.

4. Choosing a niche that is too narrow: One of the dangers of avoiding picking a broad niche is choosing one that is too narrow. If you narrow your niche down too far you may find that there aren’t many people interested in the subject. This is where keyword research comes in. You’ll want to choose niches with high search volumes but not too much competition.

5. Searching for the perfect niche: We all dream of the perfect niche; one with a huge target audience, a ton of monthly searches, amazing products to promote, and no competition. We could just make millions if we could find the perfect niche. Here’s another spoiler… the perfect niche does not exist. There will be challenges with each niche you choose. If you find one with no competition, there’s a reason and it doesn’t have anything to do with no one finding it yet. The perfect niche is as much of a fantasy as bigfoot or the chupacabra.


How to overcome choosing the wrong niche:

Internet Business Niches

Targeted Niche Marketing

The key to choosing the right niche is doing research. I wrote a post called Internet business Niches that can help you pick a profitable niche.

Here’s another article called article called How to Quickly Identify Your Online Money Making Niche. This is a great resource for exploring different niches and then narrowing it down.

While researching for your niche, here are some important things to remember:

  • Pick something you are passionate or knowledgeable about.
  • Make sure there are plenty of ways to make money in your niche.
  • Don’t be so broad that you are trying to appeal to everyone.
  • Don’t be so narrow that your audience is too small to make any money.


Reason #7: “I Can Do That Too” Websites

cookie cutter websiteSo you’ve chosen a niche and you’re ready to start making money just like all the other affiliate marketers out there. Remember that as you enter the field there are already successful and established websites out there. If you try to go head-to-head with these huge successful mega-sites, you will lose.

To increase your chances of success, offer a unique spin for your target audience. Something that separates your website from the competition. I see a lot of new affiliate marketers struggle to make money because they have a “I can do that too” mindset. So they start out trying to mimic what the competition does instead of making it better or more unique. What they end up creating is a cookie-cutter website.

Now I’m not saying that you cannot be successful in your niche. I am saying that if you want to increase your chances of success, and start making money sooner, don’t try to be just like your competition.


How to overcome “I Can Do That” websites:

Once you’ve chosen your niche and you’re ready to start building your site ask yourself this one question: Why will someone choose my website over every other one out there?

The answer to this question needs to be centered on 1) something unique that you bring and 2) the needs of your target audience.

If you’re not sure how to answer that question, don’t worry and don’t get discouraged. Take a look at your competition and see what their websites are lacking or how you could do it better. Then go from there.


Reason #6: Unrealistic Expectations

For some reason a lot of people think that the internet has a wealth of get-rich-quick schemes that work. Others think that making money online doesn’t actually require any work. Many new affiliates think that all they have to do is put up a website, relax for a while, book a trip to Hawaii, then see the money come in by the truckloads. As I said before: programs that work, require work.

I look at succeeding in affiliate marketing like losing weight. The principles in both affiliate marketing and losing weight are simple, but they are not easy. Anyone can lose weight and the principles for doing this are simple: eat healthy and exercise more. However, this is not what people want. What they want is a magic pill so they don’t have to hit the treadmill or stop eating french fries.

Beginners approach affiliate marketing like the magic pill for weight loss. They expect to find some “top secret” formula or product that will do all the work for them. The principles of successful affiliate marketing are as simple as the principles of weight loss. However you have to do the work and it will take time.


How to overcome unrealistic expectations:

You need to be willing to go at least three months without seeing any profit. Some of you will start making sales within a week, others will take longer than three months. The key is to understand that it will take time and you won’t wake up tomorrow with enough money to retire.

It’s important to also set goals. You need to set goals on how much you will make a month and how much time you will spend in a week. You need to create at least two or three quality post per week to start building the traffic levels needed to make money.

I hope I haven’t discouraged anybody from setting out as an affiliate marketer. I’m not trying to discourage anyone, I’m trying to help people be successful and to do this you need to know that it will take time and effort.


Reason #5: Avoiding Self–Promotion

beginner affiliate marketing mistakesA lot of new affiliate marketers think that creating a website with amazing content is all they have to do to be successful. They think that over time people will eventually learn about it and buy it. To be successful you actually have to market your product or website.

Your competition is out there promoting like crazy and they might not have a better product than you do. So why are they successful and you’re not? Because they’re out there promoting while you’re waiting.

Be confident in yourself, your product, and your website. Create something that you want to promote and you know your niche is going to love. Once you’ve done this, go out there and promote it like your next meal depends on it.


How to overcome avoiding self-promotion:

The first thing you need to do is create a product and website that you are proud of and you know that your niche is going to love. Now you will want to develop a marketing plan that includes social media, SEO, email marketing, forum marketing, pay-per click, and every other marketing method you can think of.


Reason #4: Not Collecting Emails

You are not getting into the affiliate marketing business to collect emails, you’re in it to make sales right? The fact is that email marketing is often the most effective way to promote your product or website. It often outperforms all other marketing methods and it’s easier as well.


Rather than go on and on I decided to share this video, which explains the importance of collecting emails much better than I could. He does resort to name calling in the video but he does it out of love.


How to overcome not collecting emails:

At the beginning stages of your website start getting subscribers as soon as possible. Setting up the email account is as easy, if not more so than setting up a Facebook or Twitter account.

AWeber and Getresponse are companies that manage email subscribers. Aweber offers the first month for $1 and Getresponse offers the first month free.

Pop-up ally is a WordPress plug-in with a free feature for pop-up opt in forms. Put other opt in forms in the header and sidebar or you can have them floating.


Reason #3: Not Installing Tracking Codes

tracking codesIf you are not tracking your efforts then you are essentially playing a guessing game. Tracking codes will show you how your visitors are finding your site, which pages they are viewing, how long they are on each page, which pages are converting, and so much more. 

Different tracking codes can give you a lot of detail, but as a beginner you should start out with Google Analytics. This video gives a great overview on what it can do for your site. 


How to overcome not installing tracking codes:

The answer is simple, just install them. It only takes a few minutes but will provide you valuable information.

Here’s  video called Manually Adding Google Analytics to Your Website that will show you how to add tracking codes in just a few minutes.


Reason #2: Choosing the Wrong Program

the best affiliate marketing programs for beginnersIf you are a beginner just starting out then you will need to join the right program to provide training and support. You will need some one-on-one coaching to give you valuable pointers and provide honest feedback.

I do not recommend trying to go it alone for several reasons. The biggest reasons why you shouldn’t go it alone are that it will 1)take much longer to make money and 2) will be much more difficult.

When beginners choose a program they are typically looking for a fast track to success with little effort. Any program that promises to do this is likely a scam or ripoff. For more tips on avoiding scams check out 8 Signs of Internet Scams.

When choosing a program, here are a few things that you should look for:

  • Step-by-step instructions.
  • One that offers webhosting (this will save you $10 a month)
  • One-on-one coaching.
  • Few or no upsells.
  • Free trial membership.
  • Outstanding support.


How to avoid choosing the wrong program:

The single most important thing you can to do avoid choosing the wrong program is to do research first. Don’t get excited and rush into anything (unless it is free).

Here are some keywords to use to help you find out the truth of a program before you spend any money:

  • “PRODUCT NAME” + “reviews”
  • “PRODUCT NAME” + “scam”
  • “PRODUCT NAME” + “ripoff”
  • “PRODUCT NAME” + “complaints”
  • “Does PRODUCT NAME work”

Don’t look at the first few websites in the search rankings because these will be taken by the owners of the website. Sometimes it will help to skip to the 5th page of Google to really find the truth of the program.

I have also been reviewing some of the more popular affiliate marketing programs to make it easier for beginners to find the right one for them. Check out The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners to see the programs that I have checked out.


Or you can read my review of my #1 recommended program for new affiliate marketers.


There are a few that offer free trial memberships so I recommend trying these first.


Reason #1: Giving-Up

The #1 reason why new affiliate marketers fail is because they give up when things get tough. People give up for many reasons like finding it overwhelming, they don’t see profits soon enough, or they don’t believe they can succeed after hitting a few bumps.

Do Not Give Up

Do Not Give Up

Nothing that is worthwhile is life comes easy. The same is true with learning how to make money online. You will make mistakes, you will get frustrated, and you will want to give up. Before you get started on this journey you will be better off if you accept these principles.


How to overcome giving up:

The first thing to do is accept that the road ahead will be difficult. Accept that you will make mistakes that you will laugh about later on down the road. I truly believe that anyone can learn to make money online. Many don’t because they don’t stick to it.

Here are some other things to consider to get yourself into the right mindset:

  • Set realistic goals: “A goal is just a dream with a deadline”  –Marjorie Blanchard.
  • Pace yourself: Affiliate marketing is like running a marathon not a 100 meter dash.
  • Chose the right program: (Reason #4) Check out my #1 recommended program.
  • Pick a niche you will enjoy: (Reason #8)
  • DO NOT GIVE UP!!! “Success is not final…Failure is not fatal…it’s the courage to continue that counts”-Winston Churchill.



My purpose in writing this post is not to discourage anyone from getting into affiliate marketing. Instead I am trying to set you up for success by informing you of the major failures of those who have gone before you. More importantly, I am showing you what you can do to avoid these common mistakes.

Affiliate marketing is simple, but its not necessarily easy. But you can succeed if you go at it with the right mindset and with the right program.


Thanks for reading and please share your own common mistakes in the comments below.

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11 thoughts on “Why Newbies Cannot Succeed in Affiliate Marketing

  1. John

    You made some great points here, Dave, especially #1. You’ll never get anywhere if you give up. Wealthy Affiliate is certainly helping me stick with with it. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Linda

    You’ve offered a lot of good tips for those of us that are still relatively new to affiliate marketing. On mistake I made early on was trying to promote products from too many affiliate programs. I have now narrowed that down to 2 main programs.

    1. Dave


      I’m glad that you enjoyed the article and thanks for reading. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes also. Anyone starting out will have plenty of “what was I thinking” moments. The key is to learn and move forward. Best of luck.


  3. Julia (July)

    Great post, the first point about not overselling was especially thought provoking. I liked the analogy of how you would speak to friends and family about products. Never thought of it like that.

    1. Dave


      Thanks for reading and your feedback. I think overselling is a big mistake newbies make. I’ve found much better luck by just being honest. You gain much better trust with people this way. Also, if someone buys a product that doesn’t work for them but you encouraged them to buy, they will never buy from you again.


  4. stefany

    Your website have offered a lot of great information especially to people like me who is a newbie to affiliate marketing. I have learnes so much from you. I will continue to visit your site because the information is very good.

    1. Dave


      Thanks for the feedback and I’m glad you enjoy the site. I will be posting new information regularly so check back often. You can also join the mailing list for new tips.


  5. Dave

    Thanks for an awesome and comprehensive top 10 list. I find myself needing to add email signup and #4 nails it. Thanks also for including the video which does an awesome job of pounding the point home.

    1. Dave


      First off, awesome name. Adding an email signup is actually really easy. The autoresponders like aweber and getresponse have a lot of training to show you how to do anything. I wish that I would have taken list building more seriously in the beginning but all I can do is learn from my mistakes and move forward.


  6. Rubel


    Well, I am trying to learn affiliate marketing from last few months, but I am finding it very difficult, specially the conversion part, as I am not able to attract any sales expect one or two.

    Although, I am learning it quickly, and Now, I can say, I made a mistake by picking products without enough research and also, I reviewed the product without even using it, so all this resulted in failure.

    But I hope, I will improve on my skills and will succeed in Affiliate marketing soon.

  7. Arthur Siew

    When you choose a niche, you need to find the fine line between passion, broadness and narrow. I make a mistake doing travel niche, I promote hotels, learning language and travel tools and going as far as focusing on too many countries through out Asia.


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