Mistakes: We’ve all made them.
Whether big or little, every mistake is a valuable learning experience.
Still, when you’re new to affiliate marketing, and one mistake could send your program down the wrong path … wouldn’t you rather avoid them altogether?
Instead of creating yet another to-do list, we wanted to share what marketers should not do to make their affiliate programs successful. So we asked the experts to tell us about the biggest mistakes they’ve seen (or made) when starting a new program. Their answers, stories, and advice are collected in our new e-book, “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Affiliate Program.” Download your free copy here.
Rookie marketers, beware! Here are some of the most common — and costly — mistakes our experts warned about.
Failing to Align Early On
“Big mistake: When a client wants to test several affiliate platforms, just to see how it goes, without agreeing on a clear strategy. This creates issues with margins and policies that may be more open on new networks, and then creates misunderstandings with affiliates and networks alike.”
“I have seen clients go into the market too high and have to cut commissions. While it wasn’t a large decrease and seemed minimal, it caused a lot of frustration and impacted promotions.”
“A campaign launches and the client says the traffic looks good, but later comes back to try to reverse it a month later because the traffic is meeting their KPIs. However, there was not clear communication earlier to level-set on benchmarks, milestones with the network agency. … if you are not open and honest early on, affiliates, networks, and agencies will be upset when the conversion rate comes in 3 times less and creates a rocky start to a partnership.”
Assuming Ads Just Work
“A big part about the affiliate space is that there is an assumption that you can copy each other, that if one creative piece works for one, then it should work for all — but it doesn’t really do that.”
“The most overrated part of a program: Banners. So much time on an item that doesn’t move the needle at all.”
Friending Everyone Who Asks
“Toolbar partners! Everyone allows them in their programs for the volume they drive before considering the holistic value they might add to a brand. The same can be said for evergreen offers and constant flash sales, which can really de-value a brand and ruin consumer urgency.”
“Low funnel affiliates. Of course, we love them. But too much time and flat fees are often spent with partners who monetize the demand created elsewhere.”
“A partner asked us to sign a document guaranteeing they would get paid even if we didn’t get paid by the advertiser. I really wanted the partnership, so I agreed and hoped for the best. The partner then sent traffic the advertiser didn’t like, and they threatened to sue if we didn’t pay them. The fallout from that caused the collapse of the business.”
Learn More (from Our Mistakes)
What other mistakes should you look out for? Find out when you download our new e-book, “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting an Affiliate Program.” Our experts’ answers range from cringe-worthy to laugh-out-loud funny. What they all have in common, though, is that they offer insights and advice based on real-world experiences — experiences we hope you won’t go through yourself.
What kinds of mistakes have you seen (or made) in your affiliate marketing career? What were the consequences? Let us know in the comments below!
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.