10 Not-So-Obvious Reasons Why Affiliate Marketers Fail

Have you been working hard on your affiliate website and still not earned a cent?

Do you feel like your affiliate website is quickly turning into a massive failure/waste of time?

Are you ready to give up?

Before you do, allow me to share with you a few – not-soo-obvious – reasons why affiliate markers fail.

It might help you identify a few mistakes you’ve been making, fixing them, and eventually turn things around.

One thing I will say before we get to the actual reasons is; affiliate marketing is not as easy as they make it out to be.

In fact, there’s much more to do than just posting affiliate links and hoping for the best.

With that said, here are…

10 Reasons Why You’re Failing As An Affiliate Marketer

  1. You don’t know who your target customer is.
  2. You have no idea what you’re talking about.
  3. You’re following everyone’s advice.
  4. You’re too spread out.
  5. You’re not focusing on the right stuff.
  6. You’re in it to make money right now.
  7. You don’t know how to get the right traffic.
  8. You’re not using your money wisely.
  9. You don’t know how to sell.
  10. You don’t know what you’re doing.

reasons why affiliate marketers fail

Even with the recent Google updates and attacks on small publishers, you can still make money with simple content websites such as this one. Click here to see how I do it.

#1: You Don’t Know Who Your Target Customer Is

As an affiliate, your job is to provide a specific solution that solves a specific issue for a specific group of people (usually in the form of a product or service).

In other words, be specific and you can only be specific if you have a specific end-customer.

If you are trying to reach “everyone“, then you will reach no one, and in case you haven’t figured it out, the “everyone method” is doomed to fail.

For example, don’t make “fat people” your target niche/audience. Instead, build a specific resource that helps middle-aged women looking to lose weight fast.

Do you see the difference?

One is super-broad, the other is super-specific.

#2: You Have No Idea What You’re Talking About

One of my biggest affiliate marketing sins I’m guilty of is launching websites on topics I had absolutely no idea (or interest) about.

I’ve started a cooking blog once, but I’m no chef (nor do I have an above-average interest in food).

I even had a pet-website once, and I’m not too fond of pets, nor do I have one.

All of these affiliate websites failed, and that’s because I had no idea;

  • what I’m doing,
  • what I am talking about – and;
  • who I am trying to reach (my target customer).

If you’re a beginner and you’re trying to do something which does not interest you, this will likely not end well.

You need to know your niche (just like you need to know who your target customer is).

You don’t have to be an expert, but you have to – at least – be interested enough to do the research and understand what needs your target customer has.

If you’re currently in “the beginning phase” of an affiliate website in a topic you do not enjoy, I profoundly suggest you consider getting out of it and doing something you actually like.

It will make the process much more fun, I promise you.

#3: You’re Following Everyone’s Advice

This “online business boom” also brought with it a wave of gurus and business coaches (most prominently found on YouTube).

Yes, Gary Vee is cool, so are Russel Brunson, Grant Cardone, Tai Lopez, and Franklin Hatchett – but you can’t listen to everyone.

You need to find one (maybe two) mentors you want to model and do everything they suggest you do.

Don’t nit-pick what you like and don’t like.  You either follow someone’s advice, or you don’t.

You can’t have too many mentors as this will lead to mass confusion. You’d be jumping from one idea to the next with every new video they release.

This is not a way to run an online business (or any other business, for that matter).

#4: You’re Too Spread Out

Another frequent issue I see is being too spread out doing hundreds of tasks when you should be focusing all your energy on one or two tasks/goals.

Don’t try to grow a Twitter audience, an email list, publish new content, find new affiliate offers, and launch a new course all at the same time.

Take everything one step at a time. You can’t do it all (especially if you’re on your own). Just concentrate on the things that will get you to the next goal.

If your affiliate website is not working out, chances are you need to focus on getting the right traffic and/or make sure you have the best offer for your audience.

Focus on one of these, and just work on that for the next 30 days. You should see your luck starting to turn around.

#5: You’re Not Focusing On The Right Stuff

Since you can’t focus and do everything yourself, your job is to only work on the stuff you know will bring in the money.

As the gurus like to say, focus on high ROI activities only (& they’re right).

Figure out what those tasks are for your business and focus on doing the best job you can (or hire better-qualified people to work on them).

My main skills are picking great niches and search engine optimization, so that’s what I like to focus on.

#6: You’re In It To Make Money Right Now

I have no idea where the idea of “become an affiliate and get rich overnight” comes from.

If anything, affiliate marketing is probably one of the slowest ways to make money.

If you’re just in it to make money quickly, then I’m afraid this path is not for you.

There are many other ways you can make money quickly online, but if you want to build an affiliate business, you need to build for the long-term.

For every new affiliate website I create, I estimate it would start making me a notable income in 12-24 months; that’s just how it goes.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s a great webinar by the gentlemen from IncomeSchool explaining how long a blog actually takes to start earning money.

If you liked the video, you should check out Income School’s Project24 course.

It’s all about how to build a money-making website you can monetize with banner ads and/or affiliate marketing.

After 10 years of making money online (almost), I still learned plenty of new things from Jim & Ricky. Highly recommended.

#7: You Don’t Know How To Get Traffic (Or Worse)

Another major issue I see with aspiring affiliates is they do not know how to get traffic, and traffic is what you need to start making money with affiliate marketing.

You’d be much better off learning how to optimize your content for SEO than “learning affiliate marketing”.

Learn how to build traffic from (free) sources you can continue scaling overtime. If you know how to build (and entertain) an audience, you’re in the money.

#8: You’re Not Using Your Money Wisely

What if I told you your affiliate commissions are not yours to keep?

What if I told you you’d be making an amateur-ish mistake if you quit your job to focus on your affiliate marketing business.

As a beginner affiliate, you should be investing all the money you earn back into your business, especially in the first year.

Hire people to help you grow, invest in some online courses, don’t be cheap; experiment, and buy all the tools you believe will help you grow as quickly as possible.

I say this because I’ve played it cheap for way too long. If I had just invested more in business starting out (instead of quitting my job too soon), I would be much further ahead now.

#9: You Don’t Know How To SELL

This is by far the biggest blunder I have ever done, and I’d forever be ashamed of this.

I ran my affiliate business for 5 years not knowing what copywriting is, and it’s probably the reason why I’m not at the income-levels I should be at.

Copywriting (not to be confused with content writing or worse, copyrighting) is the art of selling with words.

Learn the basics and know how to convince someone to buy something they need. As an affiliate working for a commission, this is a must!

#10: You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

Last but not least, I will have to say that so many people get into affiliate marketing without understanding what affiliate marketing actually is.

They just “heard about it somewhere’ so they decide to “try it out”.

This is why 95% of all affiliate marketers fail before earning their first $1 online.

You absolutely need to know what you are doing.

Affiliate marketing is no walk in the park, and as you’ve hopefully understood reading this guide, it’s not a “quick way to online riches”.

Again, I’d urge you to invest in yourself. Find some courses or find some mentors you can follow from afar.

If you’re clueless, you may want to see how I go about building out affiliate websites, which I now build with colossal confidence they will be a money-maker.

I have been at it for nearly a decade now, and I know what works and what doesn’t, so if you’d like me to help you, check out my linked guide.