When considering starting your own affiliate marketing network or program, you may find yourself asking different questions to assess whether or not it’s a good step for your business.

It can appear daunting if you’re new to affiliate marketing – you may even have the wrong assumptions based on what you’ve seen on the internet. There’s surely no lack of spammy and dishonest affiliate marketing examples on the web.

Today, we will examine the 5 most common mistakes about managing your own affiliate network or affiliate program. Let’s get to it right away!

5 Things You Didn't Know About Running An Affiliate Program

It’s too much effort

Of course, many components need to be set up to build a fully functioning affiliate marketing program. However, all and all, it’s not that difficult. 

If you have the experience and technical skills to run your own business, to begin with, you can most likely figure out how to set up and manage your own affiliate program.

Affiliate marketing program’s 4 components:

  1. A target audience/niche. Who are you’re selling your products/services to? You’ll have to study and determine who is interested in the products/services you sell, how much they’re willing to pay, what kind of marketing technique they react good to, etc.
  2. Affiliates. People who are willing to promote your goods. You’ll definitely want to get quality affiliates that are the best match for your business.
  3. Affiliate creatives. The promotional materials your affiliates will use to promote your products/services. You’ll have to either make them yourself or hire a professional who will do the graphic design for you.
  4. An affiliate marketing software. The infrastructure or platform you will use to set up and run your affiliate program? You’ll need to be tech-savvy to use and operate affiliate marketing software. You’ll have to pay an annual fee to license the software. Scaleo, for example, uses such an intuitive interface that requires a minimal technical background. Alternatively, you can signup and be a part of an affiliate network. In this case, you’ll pay for commission fees, service fees, and network fees. Moreover, you will be restricted to only working with affiliates that are active on that network.

Apart from these basic elements, your other duties include things like 

  • inspiring your affiliates to do their best, 
  • getting lazy affiliates to start promoting you, 
  • setting up integrations with other eCommerce or business tools you use, 
  • running seasonal deals and affiliate marketing related campaigns.
5 Things You Didn't Know About Running An Affiliate Program

It may sound like a lot, but it is doable!

Is running an affiliate marketing program easy?

Some people may think that managing an affiliate marketing program is too difficult. Others think it’s easy and passive business.

Who is right? 

No one.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Running An Affiliate Program

Yes, you can start your own affiliate program. Nonetheless, that doesn’t imply it require no continuous investment. 

In other words, you receive from affiliate marketing business exactly what you put into it. It’s not a passive business, and it’s not always easy.

Since affiliate marketing grows on the ground of good relationships between publishers and affiliates, there’s a certain level of effort needed to keep things going. 

You will need to get to know your affiliates, treat them as true partners, and understand what works for them. You will need to also:

  • design materials for them to work with, 
  • improve your methods to adopt innovations in the affiliate marketplace, 
  • maintain an advertising plan with ongoing deals for your affiliate program.
5 Things You Didn't Know About Running An Affiliate Program

All these require time and dedication.

The bottom line? An affiliate marketing program (or network) isn’t something you set up and forget about. It’s continuous work. Also, make sure it has click fraud protection.

The more affiliates – the better

The more money, the better, right? Unfortunately, there’s more to it.

It’s essential to remember that your affiliates serve as your marketing team – or addition to it. They’re out there representing your business (essentially your brand), and you want to ensure you have got the right people on your side.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Running An Affiliate Program

Having “more affiliates” might sound good in theory. However, in the long-term, one of the safest investments you can make in your affiliate program is getting the affiliates who have access to your target audience. 

Of course, having “more affiliates” can be good – but only as long as you have the right partners!

Are affiliate programs only for bigger businesses?

The belief that you should only add an affiliate program if you manage a large-scale corporation fails to account for the affiliate marketing business’s flexible nature.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Running An Affiliate Program

Whether you run a tiny or a large-scale enterprise, adding an affiliate marketing touch can be useful. As long as the efforts needed don’t outweigh the gains.

If you are starting your business and haven’t defined your niche yet, you have a narrow scope of products to work with. 

Sure, in that case, it might not be the best time to recruit affiliates on board.

However, suppose you’ve done your market research, and you’ve confirmed a minimum viable product (MVP). In that case, it really doesn’t matter how many products you have. 

In terms of impact, smaller businesses can benefit more from extra exposure to their target audiences. 

Traffic equals money. 

Affiliate marketing is more than about finding people who send traffic to your website. You also have to convert your site visitors into paying customers. 

5 Things You Didn't Know About Running An Affiliate Program

Hence, concentrating on increasing inbound traffic isn’t very effective without landing pages that convert.

Boosting traffic to your website is necessary, but eventually, you want to have quality traffic. In other words, traffic comes from sources relevant to your niche and actually results in purchases.

Ready to start your new affiliate program?

If you believe you’re ready to add an affiliate marketing program to your existing business, we’ve already written similar posts you can read:

If you want to start your affiliate program, either by adding a referral feature to your existing eCommerce website or starting your own network from scratch – check out our Scaleo affiliate software. The first 14 days are free. No credit card required.

Scaleo - affiliate marketing software

Is there anything else we should add to this blog post? Do you have insights to share based on your practice of running an affiliate program? Be sure to leave us a comment below!

By the way, you can join Scaleo’s affiliate program and earn a lifetime 30% commissions.

Last Updated on November 6, 2020


Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.