Affiliate marketing can be fun, flexible and massively rewarding but let’s keep it real, it can also be nerve-wracking, exhausting and bad for your health.
I’m not trying to put you off – I genuinely believe you can become an affiliate marketer and go on to be super successful IF you know what you’re doing and you do it right.
I’ve made some embarrassing mistakes and learned a lot of things the hard way in the eight years I’ve been a digital nomad.
I’ve also discovered the habits of super successful affiliates and got results applying them myself.
So here are my 25 dos and don’ts to help you master affiliate marketing faster.
25 Affiliate Marketing Dos & Don’ts
1. DO Have A Solid Game Plan
You’ll waste months of time and wads of cash if you try to figure out how all the pieces of the affiliate marketing puzzle fit together on your own.
If you’re not careful you’ll…
- Watch a video about the latest SEO strategies
- Read a post about the “only” way to do keyword research
- Hear someone say launch jacking is the only way to go…
- Buy a course on how Pinterest is the “best” new traffic source
And before you know it, you’re left with a messy mish-mash-mosh of different tactics and techniques with no SOLID GAME PLAN to tie them all together.
Watching YouTube and reading blogs on affiliate marketing can be useful, but what you need is an exact blueprint that’ll take you from where you are to where you want to be.
At Commission Academy, we’ll give you a realistic roadmap to take your affiliate marketing business from zero to $1,000, $10,000 and even $100,000 a month.
2. DON’T Try Flogging Unrelated Stuff
I see this a lot – a newbie has a website about bearded dragons then goes right ahead and plasters a big random banner across the top-selling iPhone cases. It’s weird and confusing.
You can sell as many products as you want but remember, relevancy is key to high conversion rates.
If someone’s landed on your golf site, guess what?
They’re interested in golf stuff! So stay on point.
Don’t waste time trying to convince people to buy something they have no interest in. You’ll make more money if you stick to giving your audience what they already want.
3. DO Promote Products You Believe In
Check products before putting your name behind them.
One surefire way of burning your reputation is jumping on the latest product craze only to hear from your followers that the item or service is of poor quality.
If you really like the product then that passion and enthusiasm is gonna show, so decide right now that you’re not going to sell out and are only going to recommend products you wholeheartedly believe in.
Put people first and profits will follow. Put profits first and you’ll have diddlysquat.
You can quote me on that!
4. DON’T Be Naive About Paid Ads
Google, Youtube and Facebook ads can be a great way to earn commissions online, but you have to know what you’re doing if you don’t want to max out your credit card with nothing to show for it
You need to know how to write sales copy, how to create a converting sales funnel, what affiliate programs to promote, how to drive traffic and create a compelling call to action. Rush ahead without learning all this and you might as well pour your money down the drain.
This is why at Commission Academy, we focus on showing you how to get 100% free and organic traffic (through the search engines) so you can earn as you learn.
It’s the best way for beginners because it’s risk-free and gives you time to develop your skills before scaling up with paid ads further down the line.
5. DO Build A Website
Yes you can do social media and you can do YouTube, but a website is an absolute must.
Especially if you want to achieve massive affiliate marketing success.
An affiliate website is your very own piece of online real estate you own and control completely and you’ll struggle without one.
It’s where you’ll drive traffic, promote products and where people will click your links.
Many scream in terror at the mere thought of building a website because they think it’s too techy when this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Gone are the days you needed to be a coding expert to get a website off the ground and today you can create your first website in the next 30 minutes.
6. DO Pick A Niche You Care About
Seriously, make your affiliate marketing life a whole lot easier by choosing a topic that gets you going!
Think about it, you’re going to be:
- Creating content about your niche
- Connecting with people in your niche
- Promoting products within your niche
So why not take whatever you’re passionate about and build a business around that?!
It’ll keep you from getting bored and drastically increase your chances of success in the long term.
Follow our easy 3-step plan to find the best niche:
7. DON’T Lack Self-Discipline
Most of us get into affiliate marketing because we want to be our own boss. I know I did.
I still have bad days; days I just waste time and get nothing done, but being your own boss means… well, that you have to manage yourself and hold yourself accountable!
If you’re serious about getting rich with affiliate marketing then you need to treat this as a REAL business.
Having a to-do list, setting yourself a proper schedule and using organisational tools like Google Sheets isn’t glamourous but it’s how you make it happen.
8. DO Get A Designated Workspace
When I first moved to Thailand my workspace was a laptop on an ironing board:
You might notice there’s no ergonomic office chair. I would sit for hours on the end of my bed hunched over typing on the keyboard. Not exactly what you’d call an ideal work setup!
Thankfully things have changed and now I have a designed office:
Having a specific place to work has helped boost my productivity no end and it’s been a game-changer in terms of getting the work/life balance right.
Plus my back is in much better shape now! 😂
Creating a working environment is what sets the hobbyists apart from the serious go-getting entrepreneurs, so have a specific place that’s as distraction-free as possible so you can focus on building your online empire.
9. DO Develop Systems
After having a solid work ethic, your ability to develop good systems is the biggest factor in determining how much you can earn as an affiliate.
Playing it by ear and “winging it” will only get you so far. The best way to consistently produce quality results is to develop a system and follow it.
This means writing out a content plan and creating post templates. It means developing a system for connecting with your email list and all other aspects of your business.
And batch tasks whenever possible because this allows you to get into the flow state and get more done.
On Friday afternoons I batch my post headings and outlines for the next week.
The same goes for images.
And I always try to do my keyword research for the month (or sometimes for the whole year!) in one go.
10. DON’T Struggle Alone
Drafting is an important cycling technique used to avoid wind resistance and save energy. By riding behind another cyclist going at the same speed, cyclists can conserve their energy by as much as 40% energy.
This principle applies to online business too:
You can work hard to struggle to figure everything out on your own or you can be smart about it and follow someone who’s already doing what you want to be doing.
Imagine how much easier your journey will be if you have expert mentors and a community of like-minded affiliate marketers.
That’s what you get if you join the Commission Academy community.
With weekly live hangouts, step-by-step training and experienced super affiliates on hand, you can ask questions and get answers, get help when you need it most and save yourself a lot of energy, time and heartache!
11. DO Let Your Personality Shine
Sounds like the start of an Annie song, but showing off your personality is the best way to stand out.
When everyone else is churning out boring, generic content for search engines, you blaze your own trail and connect.
Write for real people, not for Google. Imagine you’re talking with a friend in a coffee shop and write like that.
Show your face and use your own images. Everyone else grabs images from Amazon, so imagine how much better your product reviews will be when you post pictures of you actually using the product!
Affiliate marketing is about building trust so be interesting. Be engaging. Be funny. Be opinionated.
12. DON’T Fall Into The “Done-For-You” Trap
Have you seen those affiliate marketing scams offering instant autopilot riches at the click of a mouse?
They give you done-for-you landing pages, sales funnels and traffic sources.
At first glance, these done-for-you affiliate marketing systems seem like a smart way to skip the real work of building a business and making money faster. The reality is people lose $1000s driving low-quality traffic to websites that just don’t convert.
Like everything else that sounds too good to be true, they never deliver as promised, so save yourself a lot of frustration, disappointment and stress and avoid them like the plague!
13. DO Be Realistic About Timeframes
If you’re building a new website know that Google’s algorithm can be a slow-moving machine and it is going to take some time for your posts to get indexed and ranked.
Your website will be a virtual ghost town for probably the first 6 months. Everyone goes through it, but stay on course and the rankings, traffic, clicks and sales will surely come!
I started out saying things like:
- “My website’s going to get 30,000 page views a month!”
- “I’m going to make $10,000 a month!”
- “I am going to achieve super affiliate status!”
Now I say things like:
- “I’m going to hit publish on a new article every day for the next 30 days.”
- “I will record and upload 10 new videos to my YouTube channel this month.”
- “I will find a higher-paying affiliate program.”
See the difference?
The first set of goals keeps you frustrated and annoyed. The second set keeps you motivated and running towards the prize. So set actionable goals and you’ll be in a better mindset to stick it out.
14. DON’T Coast
Whilst we’re talking about goal setting, let me tell you something it took me a while to understand…
I see a lot of affiliate marketers start out strong, achieve what they set out to achieve and then fall into maintenance mode. They just get comfortable and plateau. That’s exactly what I did too.
Once you set the right kind of goals and take the right kind of action to make it happen – celebrate! 🥳
Then go right ahead and set even bigger, more exciting goals for yourself because you didn’t come this far to only come this far and what you have done is nothing compared to what you CAN do!
I really like this quote:
““In order to get to the next level of whatever you’re doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you previously have been. You cannot get to the next phase of a project without a grander mind-set, more acceleration, and extra horsepower.””
If you feel stuck, then go out and get some new ideas to get unstuck. If you’re doing the same thing over and over and it’s not working, try something new. Look at it from a new angle. Bounce some ideas around.
Never be satisfied with where you’re at because there’s always more!
15. DO Keep Your Website Simple
My first website was a mess. For some reason, I thought if I packed in as many videos, blog posts and images as possible onto the homepage people would get value from it. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
We recommend a WordPress theme called GeneratePress to our students primarily because it’s clear, crisp and easy to use. White space is your friend so don’t be afraid to keep it simple with website layout and design.
16. DON’T Become A Stats Addict
Confession time: I’m a Google Analytics addict. They have been times when I’d log in to look at my Google Analytics and commission stats 5 or 6 times a day even though I know it’s a total waste of time.
It links back to what we were saying about results. The word is impatience, and trust me, I totally get it!
It can a good 6 months before you start to see rankings, site visits and commissions start to trickle through:
But rather than sitting there refreshing stats, remember what I said about realistic timeframes.
Set yourself actionable goals and just get it done. Focus on the work and the results will take care of themselves (and yes, I’m telling myself too! 😂)
17. DO Understand Search Intent
Understanding search intent is HUGE! It’s the difference between getting ranked and having little to no conversions vs. getting ranked and making daily sales.
How do you understand searcher intent? It’s about putting yourself in the headspace of the person searching the question or keyword phrase you’re targeting.
Or put another way:
“Search intent is the reason behind a searcher’s query on search engines. It represents the objective the searcher is trying to accomplish. For example, someone might want to learn about something, find something, or buy something.”
For example, I can safely assume someone searching Google for “Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?“ already knows what affiliate marketing is so I don’t need to waste their time or mine to explain it.
Or if I go off on a weird tangent about the difference between internal and external links, I’m going to lose them and they’re going to click away immediately.
Let searcher intent dictate and drive everything you do; what you write, how you write, how you structure posts and give calls to action.
18. DON’T Be A Greasy Car Salesman
I find pushy salespeople annoying. I’m sure you do too.
Oversell and you’ll repel people and that just gives us all a bad name, so play it cool and relax.
Forget the spammy popups and obnoxious banner ads and focus instead on giving people who come to your site the best answers possible.
When you’re recommending products, do it in a natural, organic and (here’s the keyword) HELPFUL way.
Act like a commission-hungry salesman and people will sniff it a mile off and click away quicker than you can say “No sale!”
That’s because affiliate marketing is much more about establishing trust than it is about “selling” something.
It’s about building a relationship with people and helping them out and the better you can help people, the more successful you are going to be in the online world.
Give your audience value, build trust and they’ll be far more likely to click through to an offer based on your recommendation.
19. DO Create A Customer Avatar
Whether you’re writing an email for your follow-up sequence, eyeballing the camera lens for a video or sitting at the keyboard typing out a blog post, always have a clear mental picture of who you’re talking to.
This is your customer avatar; your target audience, the typical person who is consuming your content.
- How old are they?
- What’s their average annual income?
- Where do they live?
- What does their life look like?
- What’s their worldview?
- What are their pain points and struggles, dreams and aspirations?
You can use ChatGPT to help you come up with an avatar. It doesn’t take long and it’s totally worth it.
Whether it’s “Blogger Bob”, “Gardener Gary” or “Snowboarding Susie”, having an ideal customer avatar at the front of your mind will make you a better communicator, a better connector and ultimately, a better affiliate marketer.
20. DON’T Quit Your Job Too Soon
Most of us start affiliate marketing because we want to escape the 9 to 5 grind, beat the rush hour traffic and have the freedom and flexibility to finally live our lives in the way we see fit.
But don’t be too hasty to hand in your notice.
Personally, I would say only think about quitting your job once you’ve made either the same amount or more than your monthly salary for 2-3 months.
How long will it take to get there?
The truth is it varies for everyone.
I made my first commission after 2 weeks, made a consistent income at six months and was finally able to quit my job at around the 12-month mark.
It really depends on your niche, your schedule, your work ethic and if you’re following the right training.
21. DO Give A Clear Call To Action
Before you open up WordPress or set up that tripod, before creating any piece of content, it’s CRUCIAL you know exactly what action you want your audience to take.
You don’t just want people to consume your content, you want them to take some kind of action, otherwise, why bother creating it in the first place?
You might want them to sign up for your email newsletter, buy your top-rated product, read a page on your site or sign up for a free trial.
Whatever it is, let everything you speak or write be with that goal in mind.
22. DON’T Become A Hermit
I love the freedom that comes with working for myself but sometimes that means hours spent in seclusion hammering away at the keyboard. You have to be careful not to overdo it.
According to HuffPost, social isolation can literally shorten your life. So while I’m all about the hustle, be sure to:
- Switch it up and work in a coffee shop for a day
- Take your dog for a walk
- Take a holiday
- Go to the gym
- Give yourself a day off
- Take your partner out for date night
- Message that friend you haven’t seen in ages and meet up
Not only is this the only way to ensure you’re in this for the long haul, but you’ll come back refreshed and re-energised, buzzing with new ideas and inspiration and probably get a lot more done.
23. DO Have An Affiliate Disclosure
You need an affiliate disclosure somewhere on your site for three reasons:
Firstly, it’s a requirement for most affiliate programs.
Secondly, if you want to build trust with your audience then being open and transparent about your affiliate partnerships is the best way to go about it and thirdly, it’s a legal requirement in many countries.
It can just be a standardised page on your site with a link in the footer if you want. Take a look at these affiliate disclosure examples and add yours today without delay!
24. DO Embrace The Power Of AI
The year is 2024 and it’s never been easier to get rich with affiliate marketing thanks to AI.
Tools like ChatGPT can help you create content, find keywords, uncover trending products and give compelling calls to action.
25. DON’T Give Up Before Your Breakthrough
I saved this tip ’til last because giving up too early is what causes most aspiring affiliate marketers to fail.
I’ve been there:
You work day in and day out it’s easy to feel like affiliate marketing is a waste of time.
You want those affiliate commissions coming in and you want them coming in yesterday!
The inconvenient truth is you need to give yourself enough time to develop the income-generating skills you need to succeed and you need to give your business enough time to grow.
Getting rich with affiliate marketing is a total mind game. You have to beat down the self-doubt that says:
- “Is this ever going to work?”
- “Will Google ever find my site?”
- “Did I pick the wrong niche?”
- “Maybe I just can’t do this!”
But the very fact you are reading this right now shows me you DO in fact have the determination and grit to see it through and you DO in fact have what it takes to be a huge internet marketing success.
All you have to do now is grab our free step-by-step training and we’ll get you over the finish line!
There You Have It!
I hope you find these 25 affiliate marketing tips helpful as you start your affiliate marketing career in 2024.
Affiliate marketing offers us all an amazing opportunity if go about it in the right way and avoid the common pitfalls. Follow these dos and don’ts and I’m confident you’ll do very well for yourself in the online space.
What are some other affiliate marketing dos and don’ts that should be on this list?
Let us know in the comments!