Why Do Affiliate Marketers Fail? Here Are 12 Possible Reasons

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular methods of making money online. There are many different types of programs out there. However, many affiliate marketers fail after a short period. 

There are many reasons for this. Some are just pure laziness while others are factors that may be unaware to the individual.

In this article, let's go over the top reasons why affiliate marketers fail.

Top 12 Reasons Why Affiliate Marketers Fail

1. You Don't Know How to Start

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular forms of internet marketing today. But it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know what you're doing because you've seen others do it successfully. You don't.

The truth is, there are no shortcuts to success in affiliate marketing. And there are tons of different programs out there that claim otherwise. So, how do you choose one? What makes a great affiliate program? Where do you even begin?

Most new affiliate marketers just don't know how to start and then guess what happens. They put their ambitions on the backburner without ever doing anything.

2. Picking the Wrong Niche

The biggest mistake I see people make is picking the wrong niche.

They pick something they like, and it seems like a good idea at the time.

Then they start building out a site around it, and... wait, what happened?

They built a site about dog training, but they don’t know anything about dogs. So now they have a bunch of useless information on their site.

Or maybe they picked a niche because it seemed easy. But they didn’t do enough research to understand how difficult it is.

So they build a site about dog training and spend months trying to rank for terms related to dog training. And they just end up frustrated and confused.

There are tons of sites out there that already cover every single topic imaginable. Why would anyone want to compete against those guys?

But here’s the thing: If you choose the wrong niche, you won’t even realize it until it’s too late.

Research is key. Read my article on how to choose a successful affiliate marketing niche. It will save you a lot of time and anguish!

3. Not Picking the Right Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are great because they allow businesses to promote products and services without having to do it themselves. However, most affiliates fail to pick the right ones. Here are some things to consider before signing up for one.

Do You Have Enough Competition?

If your product or service isn't very competitive, you might end up losing money. Before signing up for an affiliate program, make sure that there is healthy competition out there. Competition means money. If no one is promoting something, there's a reason for it.

Stay away from measly commissions. If you're only making a few dollars on a sale, it's going to take you a lot of sales to make some good money. Go for products that make you at a minimum of $20 a sale.

Some vendors just have terrible products. If the sales page is great but the product sucks, why would you want to promote it to your readers? Ensure the product is worthy of promotion.

Some affiliate programs require you to make X amount of dollars before they pay out. While this isn't a bad thing, be sure you know what this number is.

4. They Don't Understand the Products They Promote

There’s another side to affiliate marketing that many people aren’t aware of. And that’s the fact that most affiliates don’t know much about the products they’re promoting. Sure, they might have used the product themselves, but did they use it correctly? Did they test it properly? Or even worse, do they have no idea whether the product works or not?

This is why it’s important to take a look at the products you’re promoting.

Do they work? Are they worth recommending?

Is there anything wrong with them?

 These are questions you need to ask yourself before starting to promote a particular product. Otherwise, you could end up spending hours every day trying to convince customers that a product doesn’t work, only to discover later that it does or vice-versa.

5. They Only Sell and Help Little or Not at All

Salespeople are often obsessed with "making sales," forgetting about how to help people.

Helping people creates an environment of trust, which leads them to buy. If you truly want to make money, you shouldn't focus on sales, because it doesn't bring you closer to your customers. Instead, you should focus on solving their problems.

You should build relationships with your audience, and show them that you care about them. Then, you'll earn their trust, and they'll come back to you again and again.

When an affiliate sends only promotional email messages straight away, he/ she will lose his/ her credibility quickly. So, don't bombard your subscribers with emails that sell something.

Give them tips and helpful advice and at the end, you can say, "hey, by the way, I found this product works great to solve this particular problem." Some emails shouldn't even have affiliate links at all. That's how you build trust with email marketing.

The same thing goes with blog posts. Make sure you have a ton of helpful content. Your site should be about 70% informational and only 30% promotional.

6. Not Willing to Learn

Learning is the key to success, especially in today’s world where technology changes faster than ever.

If you want to stand out among your peers, you need to learn something new every day. 

You don’t have to become an expert overnight, but there is no better way to improve yourself than by learning new things.

There are plenty of free resources available online, including YouTube videos, podcasts, blogs, books, and even live classes. However, some people still prefer to pay money to learn new skills in affiliate marketing. This is understandable because it gives you access to high-quality materials and instructors. But what about those who cannot afford to spend money on education?

A great resource is YouTube. If you're in a good niche, there are going to be resources available. Just make sure the source is trusted before you ingest any of their experience.

7. Not Passionate About Their Work

Affiliate marketing isn’t about being passionate about selling things. Sure, it helps to enjoy the process, but there are plenty of people out there who do it because they hate the idea of having to talk to customers. If you aren’t excited about helping others succeed, you probably shouldn’t be involved in the industry.

Some people think that affiliate marketing is easy money, but it takes hard work and dedication to make it happen. You must be willing to put in the effort to learn how to market products online, develop relationships with companies, and find ways to promote their products.

There are many different aspects to running an effective affiliate program, and it requires a lot of research and planning.

If you want to become a successful affiliate marketer and make good money, you have to figure out what you're good at and focus on those skills.

For example, if you know a lot about technology, you might want to start a blog where you discuss topics related to the latest gadgets and trends. Once you've identified your niche, you'll be able to connect with potential clients and earn commissions off of every sale.

8. Their Content is Not Unique

Make sure you write unique articles. You can't copy others' work word-for-word, post it, and expect to rank. Your site will be flagged by Google and you'll never get anywhere.

I have seen so many sites popping up that just copy and paste articles that have been previously published. Even my site was ripped many times. It just doesn't work and I don't understand why these people still do it. Google is watching. Play smart.

9. Not Giving It Enough Time

You've been working hard on your site, but it doesn't seem to be improving. You're getting traffic, but no one is clicking through to your homepage. Or maybe you're just not seeing much improvement at all. This could mean you're giving up too early.

If you're struggling to make progress, try increasing your frequency of post-production to five or six times per week.

If you're still having trouble, consider making some changes to your content.

Compare your articles to others ranking on page one. How are they different? How can you make your content better?

As I mentioned at the start of this article, most people quit before seeing success. You could be well on your way to start earning your first dollar. So why walk away now?

10. Not Having an Effective Marketing Plan

You've heard it before - "If you don't have a marketing plan, you're wasting money." But do you understand how to put together a solid marketing plan? Here are some tips to help you out.

1) Start with a clear vision of where you want to go. This includes knowing exactly what your target audience wants, and why they want it. If you don't know what your customers want, you won't know what to offer them. You'll end up offering too much, or too little.

2) Define your goals. What do you hope to accomplish with your marketing efforts? Are you looking to increase sales? Grow brand awareness? Generate leads? How will you measure success?

3) Set realistic expectations. When creating a marketing plan, make sure you set yourself up for success. For example, if you think you can generate $10,000 per month in revenue simply by increasing social media followers, you might find yourself disappointed when you start generating those numbers. Instead, aim to reach a goal that makes sense for your business.

4) Make sure you have a budget. Without a budget, you won't be able to properly allocate resources toward marketing. Be aware of how much money you have to spend, and what areas of marketing you can afford to invest in.

5) Create a timeline. With every step of your marketing plan, ask yourself whether it's something you can implement within a reasonable amount of time. Is there anything else you need to take care of first?

6) Keep track of everything. Once you've completed your plan, you'll need to monitor the progress. Track your metrics regularly, and adjust your plan accordingly.

11. Being a Cheapo

While it's possible to do a lot of things for free and on the cheap with your affiliate marketing business, the truth is if you don't invest in your business you're not going to see much success.

For example, let's say your weakness is design. If you don't want to hire someone to make a logo for you, or perhaps set up your WordPress site for you - it will probably suck.

And guess what? Your audience will also think it sucks. 

The rule of thumb is if you suck at doing it, get someone else to do it for you. Sure it might cost you a few bucks, but it will pay off in the end.

You could even team up with another affiliate marketer where you both have different strengths. Maybe he/she is great at design but sucks at copywriting. But, you're great at it. You could join forces and fix up each other's sites without hiring people to do the work for you.

Affiliate marketing requires thinking outside the box. I just thought of that tip above. Maybe I'll use it someday.

12. Unable to Capture the Audience's Attention

Your audience needs to know who YOU are before they decide whether they want to buy from YOU. If they don't know who you are, how do they know what you're selling? You'll never capture their attention if you don't tell them who you are.

If you've been following my blog posts over the past several months, you know I'm obsessed with creating content that resonates with audiences. But there's another reason why it's important to make sure you understand who your audience is, too.

You see, we live in a world where everyone is trying to sell something. And while some businesses succeed because of their products or services, many others fail simply because they aren't able to capture the audience's attention.

In fact, according to research conducted by HubSpot, "only 2% of B2C customers say they choose a brand based solely on its marketing." In other words, most consumers don't care about your product or service unless they already know who you are.

Asides from your "About Page" you should connect with your audience at a personal level at every contact. If you don't they won't care what you're selling because they won't trust you.


I hope this answers the question "why do affiliate marketers fail?" Whether you were just intrigued by the headline of this article or are failing yourself and want to know why, any, or all of these reasons could be the answer.

The good news is that it's not too late to turn this around. With more focus on the areas that you are failing at, you could make a recovery and start earning those much-deserved commissions!

Have you been able to turn around your marketing efforts? Comment below!

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Drew Mann

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