10 Tips to Becoming an Unsuccessful Affiliate

You’ve probably read plenty of lists with tips on how to become successful affiliates, improve your SEO efforts, or write great copy.  Today, I thought I would put a different spin on it and give you 10 tips on what NOT to do if you want to become a top performing affiliate marketer.  Take a look at the list and hopefully, you won’t relate to any of these bad habits.  Of course, if your goal is to never make any profit as an affiliate, then following these steps will help you get there.

1. Read a lot about affiliate marketing – but never put anything into practice.
One of the best ways to be an unsuccessful affiliate marketer is to learn everything you can about the business and then never actually implement your knowledge.  Go out, read every blog post, check out all the guru products, sit through a few training programs, and then just keep all that knowledge in your head.  This is a sure-fire way to not succeed in affiliate marketing.

2. Ignore your performance data and definitely don’t optimize your campaigns.
If you have actually bothered to run some campaigns, definitely don’t analyze or even look at your results.  If you do happen to glance at some performance metrics, be sure not to use that information to optimize your campaigns or improve their performance.  Follow this tip and you’ll be well on your way to not succeeding.

3. Never test anything.
Who likes testing?  Definitely not unsuccessful affiliate marketers.  Seriously, didn’t you get out of school so you wouldn’t have to think about tests anymore?  If your goal is to be an unsuccessful affiliate, there is no reason to start thinking about testing now.

4. Lock in on just one niche or offer and never diversify your business.
If you are trying to avoid success as an affiliate marketer, then you certainly don’t want to diversify your marketing campaigns.  Just settle in on one vertical.  In fact, pick it at random.  There is no point in spending time trying to build a long-term business if you aren’t trying to be successful.

5. Use the same ad copy for all audiences.
Writing ad copy is time consuming and having to come up with copy that is targeted at each of your audiences is going to require some effort on your part.  Why put in all that time and effort if you want to be unsuccessful?  No reason I can think of.

6. Procrastinate as much as possible.
You should pretty much procrastinate on any project related to affiliate marketing.  Your time is valuable.  There are so many other things you could be doing with your time than working on affiliate marketing.  Play some video games.  Sleep in.  Take long lunches.  If your goal is to be unsuccessful, then there is truly no project that can’t be put off until tomorrow – and there is always a tomorrow.

7. Spend a lot of money upfront.
If you aren’t looking to create a profitable affiliate marketing business, then one great tactic is to spend a bunch of money upfront on your campaigns.  Set those AdWords budgets as high as possible.  Spend all of your money on buying media without any idea of whether it will work or not.  This is another great way to ensure your lack of success.

8. If a campaign isn’t working, just keep doing the same thing.
Have you heard the definition of insanity that talks about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?  Well, this is a great strategy for the unsuccessful affiliate marketer.  If you find something that doesn’t work, just keep doing it!

9. Set up and launch each offer and then just forget about them.
Running your campaigns on auto-pilot is a great way to ensure that you won’t succeed.  Just get those campaigns set up, launch them and then forget them as quickly as possible.  Just let them keep running on their own, eating away at your budget every day.

10. Ignore the advice of your affiliate manager.
Your affiliate manager is an expert on what offers are working on the network.  They can be a resource for feedback on campaign performance, new verticals, and a host of other valuable industry information.  But, if your goal is to be unsuccessful, you should just ignore any and all advice from your affiliate manager.

All kidding aside – I’m hoping that no one reading this blog post would ever follow any of these tips.  Do you have any other really bad advice that no successful affiliate should ever follow?  Submit a comment and let me know.

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  • nice list I always enjoy when such posts are in form of lists and it makes points easy to remember

  • Loved the post!! I think this will help a lot of affiliate marketers who are confused about what to do. What NOT to do is a great way of waking people up to their mistakes (or future mistakes)

  • Jasons luck

    I would say to be unsuccessful get traffic in ways that the offer doesn’t permit such as get incentive traffic when the offer clearly states no incentives, that way your AM can turn off your offer and you can’t monetize that program to make money 🙂

    Another tip is to use google adwords and direct link directly to the offer so you can make google hate you 🙂

  • Joeseph56

    #10 is sarcasm right?

    • Hi Joseph – safe to say that the entire list is very tongue-in-cheek. I sincerely hope no affiliate marketer who actually wants to build a business and make money would ever follow any of these tips.

  • Well put!

  • Great tips, Tom, and excellent approach to the topic (how not to succeed). I especially like points #2 and #3. So many affiliates are not devoting the time to testing and optimization. Glad you’ve mentioned these. Retweeting this post as soon I add this comment.

  • best option follow this all and get success 🙂

  • JG

    Tom, that was hilarious, seriously.

    Your list is quite thorough but I’d like to ad that one should never work too hard if they want to be an unsuccessful affiliate marketer; after all isn’t that what affiliate marketing is all about?


    • Thanks JG. I thought it would be fun to put a different spin on the usual “10 Tips…” type of article.

      Never working too hard is another great tip.

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  • Anthony Lipari

    Great Tips!!! I’ll be on my way to become an unsuccessful affiliate marketer in no time 😉

    • Hey Anthony – Best of luck to you! Actually, would it make more sense if I hope you fail at being unsuccessful. LOL!

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