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SME Guide

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Affiliate Marketing in Nigeria

Affiliate marketing presents income opportunities for Nigerians, but avoidable mistakes can hinder success for beginners. By sidestepping key pitfalls around strategy, execution, relationships, and compliance, new affiliate marketers can build sustainable careers.

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves partnering with businesses and earning commissions for promoting their products and services online. It provides a way for everyday Nigerians to monetize their websites, blogs, social media channels and content skills to generate income as an online publisher.

Affiliates promote offers to their audience, whether through content, email, search, social media or other digital channels. When the referral converts into a sale or lead, the affiliate earns a predefined commission. Payments are tracked via affiliate links and cookies.

Top verticals for affiliate marketing in Nigeria include financial services, e-commerce, education, travel, and telecoms. Popular networks include Glo, Jumia, Konga, Netify, GSMS. Global programs like Awin, Clickbank, Commission Junction are also leveraged.

For starters, affiliate marketing provides opportunities with:

  • Low entry barriers and costs
  • Flexible work-from-home setup
  • Leveraging digital skills and online audience
  • Performance-based income scalability

Lack of understanding of key aspects can easily derail progress for beginners.

Mistake #1 – Choosing the Wrong Niche

Building authority in a profitable niche with interested audiences is vital to succeed. Some common pitfalls around selecting niches include:

  • Attempting too broad niches like “fashion” or “technology” that have high competition. Go narrower.
  • Jumping into unfamiliar niches without passion or audience insight. Research beforehand.
  • Avoiding popular niches due to the assumption of saturation. There’s still room for authoritative sites.
  • Focusing too much on earning potential rather than genuine audience interest. The latter brings sustainability.
  • Ignoring existing online authority sites. Competing head-on with established sites rarely works.
  • Failing to evaluate advertiser demand and affiliate programs within the niche. Is there a business model?

Beginners should choose niche topics strategically based on personal knowledge, audience engagement potential, advertiser appetite, and growth trends like social commerce and fintech in Nigeria.

Mistake #2 – No Clear Monetization Strategy

Gaining organic traffic or social media followers alone is insufficient for commercial success. Novices often neglect planning revenue generation approaches from the start via:

  • Affiliate product promotions to tap buyer demand and earn commissions
  • Display advertising like Google AdSense to earn from site traffic
  • Sponsored posts and native advertising to showcase brands
  • Email marketing and lead generation offers
  • Selling own products or services

Successful monetization requires focusing on affiliate marketing skills, joining relevant programs, and crafting site content and assets to promote relevant affiliate offers.

Mistake #3 – Choosing the Wrong Affiliate Networks

Joining any affiliate program without evaluating relevance leads to poor results. Factors to assess include:

  • Niche fit – Ensure a match between the program vertical and site’s niche.
  • Target demographics – Evaluate whether the program reaches your site’s audience profile.
  • Commission structure – Check earnings models like CPS, CPA suit monetization goals.
  • Payment reliability – Research reviews and complaints about the advertiser.
  • Affiliate support and resources – Evaluate learning materials, creatives, reporting etc. provided to drive conversions.

Curating a portfolio of handpicked programs in your niche provides better monetization than a spray-and-pray approach.

Mistake #4 – Weak Affiliate Content Strategy

Creating content to organically attract and influence potential buyers is crucial for affiliates. Common content mistakes include:

  • Thinking short blogs will convert readers instantly. Take a long-term value-building approach.
  • Focusing too much on product features rather than customer benefits, purchasing motivations and solving pain points.
  • Failing to integrate affiliate links within naturally embedded relevant content that provides utility to readers. Avoid forced placements.
  • Not having clear calls-to-action for readers to click affiliate links and take next steps.
  • Publishing thin “best product” listicles with multiple affiliate links but little tangible value for readers.
  • Neglecting search intent and keywords leading customers to affiliate products. Optimizing SEO boosts discovery.
  • Using duplicate or low-quality content from other sites instead of original value-adding content.

Becoming a thoughtful subject matter expert is better for conversion than hard sales. Provide utility, opinions and recommendations based on actual usage.

Mistake #5 – Expecting Quick Riches

Affiliate marketing is a long game. Overnight success is atypical without an existing audience. Novices should avoid:

  • Thinking a few promotional posts will instantly generate commissions.
  • Assuming that high traffic volume alone will automatically translate into sales. Conversions involve multiple touchpoints.
  • Not budgeting enough time for consistent content development, audience engagement, and improving conversion funnels.
  • Lack of patience. It takes consistent effort over months to start seeing sustainable income.
  • Giving up too fast after initial discouraging months before establishing authority and conversions.

Managing expectations on realistic timeframes and milestones helps affiliates stay committed for the long haul. Consistency, not intensity, pays off.

Mistake #6 – Obsessing Over Traffic Not Conversions

While traffic is important, affiliates ultimately get paid on conversions. Common pitfalls include:

  • Spending disproportionately on driving raw traffic without optimizing conversion funnels.
  • Deploying ineffective promotional tactics without tracking conversion performance.
  • Not continually A/B testing content, headlines, calls to action, landing pages, offers etc. to improve conversion.
  • Driving low-quality or irrelevant traffic that does not convert instead of targeted promotion.

The key for affiliates is incrementally tweaking and testing website elements and campaign approaches to gain conversions from traffic.

Mistake #7 – No Sales Tracking or Analytics

Monitoring conversions and sales performance is critical for affiliates. However, many novices fail to:

  • Properly integrate affiliate links and tracking codes on their website and other promotion channels. This hampers insights.
  • Consistently log and analyse conversion metrics from affiliate dashboards to identify what campaigns work.
  • Track marketing cost versus income to gauge return on investment (ROI).
  • Leverage A/B testing and analytics tools effectively to gain insights.
  • Monitor affiliate link traffic quality and act on excessive bot volumes or redirects.

Proper tracking integration combined with consistent data analysis is key to gaining affiliate marketing intelligence.

Mistake #8 – Ignoring Mobile Optimization

With over 60% of web traffic in Nigeria coming from mobile devices, an affiliate site that is not optimized for mobile will bleed potential conversions. Mistakes include:

  • Failing to use a mobile responsive template for affiliate sites and landing pages leading to high bounce rates.
  • Not testing user experience on mobile browsers and apps to identify usability issues.
  • Using pop-ups, widgets or other website elements that obstruct reading or navigation on mobile.
  • Not having clear tap-friendly call-to-action buttons above the fold on mobile.
  • Avoid innovations like leveraging QR codes, mobile apps, and interactive content tailored for Nigerian mobile consumers.

Optimizing affiliate content and navigation for smartphones and tablets boosts engagement and conversions.

Mistake #9 – Poor Relationship Management

Managing advertiser relationships is an underappreciated affiliate marketing skill. Common issues include:

  • Not thoroughly reading the terms and conditions of programs leading to violations or bans.
  • Failure to communicate with affiliate managers and respond to inquiries promptly leads to termination.
  • Not providing feedback to improve as per advertiser needs impacts performance.
  • Over-promising on potential results and under-delivering damages credibility over time.
  • Focusing solely on earnings rather than aligning with the advertiser’s business goals and values.

Proactively communicating with affiliate managers builds relationships and improves monetization.

Mistake #10 – Ignoring Compliance

Affiliates especially social media influencers must adhere to truth in advertising principles and disclosure laws on sponsored posts. But many forget to:

  • Clearly label sponsored affiliate content to avoid misleading audiences. This protects reputation long-term.
  • Vet claims in promotions about earnings potential, product capabilities etc. to avoid exaggerations.
  • Abide by the Google affiliate policy limiting promotional language in content.
  • Follow anti-spam laws for email marketing like unsubscribe options, consent requirements etc.
  • Stay up-to-date on changing internet regulations and consumer protection policies in Nigeria.

Novice affiliates should make compliance a priority to build ethical, lawful activities.

Starting Right to Avoid Mistakes

By being mindful of these common stumbling blocks, affiliate marketing beginners can develop successful long-term careers and achieve online income goals through consistent learning and improvement.


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