3 Reasons Why Your Affiliate Program Fails to Grow

Like any endeavour, affiliate marketing can fall victim to the Seven Deadly Affiliate Manager Sins, hindering its potential for growth. In this article, we explore three of these “sins” —Lust, Envy, and Pride—and how they can impede the success of an affiliate program and how you can become more aware to avoid them!

1. Lust: Chasing un-qualified Affiliate Partners

Lust – to want something you shouldn’t or can’t have. In affiliate marketing this deadly sin manifests when the desire for high-traffic partners overshadows strategic decision-making and ignorance to partners that can be just as useful. Chasing the top partners because the competitors are doing this is a key challenge most affiliate managers need to overcome early on in their careers. The temptation to emulate competitors or pursue partnerships solely based on their visual prominence can lead to misguided choices in your affiliate recruitment strategy. This then leads to a lot of wasted time and effort and ultimately poor results. Affiliate managers need to approach potential partners with a rational mindset, conducting thorough due diligence and considering the unique needs of their affiliate program. You want to ensure you’re working with affiliates who can drive customers to your program at all steps of the purchase journey. Focussing on just one aspect or affiliate type is a recipe for disaster. The caution here is against being swayed by the allure of big-name partners without evaluating their actual performance and relevance to your specific goals and customer niches that you’re looking to attract.

2. Envy: Hindrance to Innovation

Envy – the dictionary meaning is discontent or resentful longing of someone else’s possessions. In Affiliate Marketing this can be the cause of great undoing. Both in your authenticity to provide service to your partners, and in the way that you conduct your own commercial negotiation tactics which ultimately impact the bottom line. To be successful in Affiliate marketing you really have to be unique. This industry is still predominately built on the success of personal relationships and if you’re trying to emulate someone else’s mechanics and promotions you’re doing a disservice to your own capabilities as a unique entity to provide something new and innovative that affiliates can enjoy. The temptation to do as others do can be easy to fall into. The problem with that is that you then lack authenticity of being yourself. The importance of focusing on one’s unique selling propositions (USPs) and customer avatars rather than emulating competitors out of envy is something you can’t ignore as a newer program starting out. By avoiding the trap of “constant comparison”, affiliate managers can foster innovation and creative strategies  and idea’s to test in their own program environments – that cater to their distinct audience, fostering a more sustainable and successful affiliate program long term.

3. Pride: Arrogance and Disregard

Pride, marked by excessive self-confidence and arrogance, can lead to a dismissive attitude towards partners and their perspectives.  Remember that affiliates can choose who they want to work with. Your role as the program manager is to provide your partners with the right choices to keep working with you! Beware of assuming superiority in commercial discussions and also when things go wrong. It’s a tough time to be an affiliate right now with constant algorithm changes impacting SEO traffic, the advancement of AI and floods of content being created to maintain growth in a very competitive landscape. Being courteous and asking questions from your partners can help you probe where problems may arise and then how you can find solutions to help solve them. Put pride aside and be humble – understand that choices are made daily of which brands partners want to promote and be aware of the necessity of transparent data sharing and open communication. By acknowledging that partners may have valuable insights into their audiences, affiliate managers can build more collaborative and successful relationships. Additionally, adopt humility in negotiations, ensuring a mutually beneficial partnerships to thrive.

In Conclusion…

Affiliate managers need to educate their internal stakeholders on the value proposition of affiliates, especially when faced with increased targets and stagnant budgets. Ask for the necessary resources, tools, and support to achieve set goals, fostering an environment conducive to program growth.

Recognising and mitigating these aspects  in affiliate marketing is crucial for sustained success. By approaching partnerships strategically, fostering innovation, and embracing humility, affiliate programs can overcome these pitfalls and thrive in a competitive landscape.


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