Why people fail at affiliate marketing



I’d like to take you back to your formative schooling days. Are you there yet? It’s okay if not. Take a moment, close your eyes and recollect the memories. If you are there you’d remember there used to be a lot of tests and exams. Success and failure was the staple food. And a lot hinged on passing or failing.

If you recall well sweat, blood and tears were dissipated in large portions to get where we are. And why? Well, in short, nobody wanted to deal with the repercussions of failure. Like facing disappointed parents! Or just not being deemed good enough.

Once out of school though you have to admit the success-failure narrative is not so apparent, right? It is mostly self imposed – no exam body to determine this.

Same goes for affiliate marketing. Whether you delve into it as a pastime or for a full time income. But here I’ll lay out factors of why we fail.

Having unrealistic expectations

unrealistic expectations

If you can still reflect back to your academic life, having lots of bravado without putting in the work necessary is well just trying to punch above your weight. While it is worthwhile to have great expectations, it should be tamped down with reality.

Do not sink into self pity if you’ve fallen into this trap.

You are only human after all. Probably you might have come across a fix all, automated, push button affiliate marketing program that promises overnight riches.

And oh boy aren’t these marketing ploys top notch at convincing the masses!

Unrealistic expectations are mostly driven by such programs. Note though they are only after your cash. Most of these scam programs do not have evidence of any affiliate marketing success. And if they do, are not verifiable.

You might also have spoken to a family member, friend or acquaintance and they oversold their success to you. Consequently, and quiet frankly, you based your expectations of their alleged outcomes! Do not beat yourself up though. We all make decisions based on opinions of people we trust. That’s the folly of being social beings.

On the flip side though you get to narrow down on how to have your ducks in a row.

Lack of a proper know-how

know how

Let’s say you do not know how to drive a car and you find yourself in a situation where you have to drive one. What would you do? Of course you would immediately feel uncomfortable and out of depth.

With sweat on your forehead, you will try to recall whatever little you’ve seen drivers do before to move the car. Notwithstanding the fact that seeing and doing are completely different things!

Some will freeze cold at the thought of causing an accident, or God forbid, causing a death.

Not a comfortable situation since you are not competent nor confident.

You can replace the car with another machine or skillset you do not possess. The car was only an analogy.

In the case of affiliate marketing many people get involved due to the prospect of making money. Unfortunately most are not competent on skills required. The severity of failure is not as grim as in the car example thereby encouraging even more people to join. Sounds familiar? I bet it does.

You’ve probably heard of SEO but are you really conversant on it? Same goes for website design, keyword research, content creation etc. If you are not confident in your answer then it’s time you got trained. Don’t worry though as ever super affiliate marketers are constantly learning.

Lack of preparation and planning

prepare and plan

Back to our car. Only for a bit though if you are not into cars. Unfortunately I am! What’s the average time period for a car driving course?

I believe it’s a number of days depending on your jurisdiction around the world. It is stretched out to three weeks in my part of the world.

Three weeks to learn how to drive a car? While it may seem simple at the surface, it involves other skills that are not immediately discernible. Like traffic signs, merging into traffic, driving in the rain etc.

You only thought of driving as moving a car from point A to B?

Affiliate marketing works the same way. You need time to prepare through learning. And learning the proper techniques. And it takes time to be proficient.

Before creating your first website you also need to plan. Planning helps with optimal timing and resources allocation during the execution phase and beyond.  You do not want to hit a brick wall a month down the line.

Not being action oriented

action oriented

While you do not have to be Colin McRae or Carlos Sainz to raise some dust, you have to drive regularly for it to stick. At least at the initial stages after learning. Sorry, am at it again!

With affiliate marketing, failure is also caused by inaction. Maybe due to time constraints or just diminishing interest, you do not get to do enough to see your online entrepreneurship journey through.

No result will come your way once you quit. Quit researching, writing content and promoting your website.

At the onset you need to ask yourself a number of questions on longevity. Will I still be interested in doing this niche six months from now? What will I do one month from now to achieve success? These are all also tied to the point on planning.

In a field where every affiliate marketer is doing the same thing, only being action oriented will differentiate you, and see you go further than the rest.

These are not conclusive reasons why people fail at affiliate marketing. Only the top reasons. Have you had a setback in this business before? Let me know the reason(s) in the comments section below. Also importantly what you did to rise from the ashes.

For aspiring, beginner affiliate marketers or even those already started but frustrated along the way, check out the Wealthy Affiliate review. It’s a multi faceted online platform for learning affiliate marketing. And with all the tools you’ll need to build a fully fledged, functioning online business.


10 thoughts on “Why people fail at affiliate marketing”

  1. Great article, it’s crazy how people are willing to spend their hard-earned money on lottery games but can’t see the value of investing it into something that can generate more money. The lottery is the biggest scheme there is, with more risks and it’s a perfect trap for those looking to get rich quickly. Affiliate marketing, by all means, is not a get-rich scheme, anything that promises fast money is suspicious. Having a business online takes work, dedication and it isn’t for everyone. Some people rather have a job to go to and I understand that. What is annoying though is when people hear about great opportunities like Wealthy Affiliate and call it a scam. Anything who is thinking about joining WA or starting any other kind of business must get educated first. 

    • Hi AquarianDream, I think we sort of convince ourselves that we can win at the lottery. The threshold to participate is so low as compared to starting a real business. It’s unfortunate and to make it worse not many people learn from losing their money after trying.

  2. The topic is a good one because not many people know why they fail so this post explains why which is good. I read it and found it a very interesting read because me myself would not of know this iv been looking for ways to make extra money to support my family.

  3. Wow Kip! You deserve loads of credit for this article. It was educative and Easy to understand. I guess this was very important to me considering I just started Affiliate marketing not long ago. When you said “will you still be interested in this niche 6 months from now?” I think you spoke directly to me. I will ensure to.bookmarks and keep going through this to avoid falling in this journey

  4. Very agreed about the key words you mentioned “Not being action oriented”. Most of the people in the world want to find a job that is get rich quick skim. Working/doing without taking action continuously. When facing some obstacles, most of the people cannot overcome it then they give up. No one will success without taking actions!

  5. Many fail at affiliate marketing for many reasons and you have mentioned a few of the reasons. Some join as affiliate marketers and do not put in the time and effort needed daily to be successful. You need to research and plan new content on daily basis to be successful. I have shared your tips with my social media followers. 

  6. That’s right, bravo for the text. Wealthy Affiliate is a platform that needs to be worked on patiently to see results. If someone wants to get rich overnight then this platform is not for him. These items are all correct and I hope they will help future members and I will recommend the text to friends and family.


Leave a Comment