MLM Success Tips for Affiliate Programs: 7 Mistakes to Avoid

MLM Marketing

Since time immemorial, Multi-level marketing (MLM) has been a marketing strategy, but MLM success tips can also be applied to modern-day affiliate programs. 

Affiliate marketing spending is projected to increase to  $8.2 billion in 2022. With affiliate programs becoming ever more popular, it’s equally important for companies running these programs to avoid common pitfalls. 

Multi-level marketing is a marketing and distribution model where the company doesn’t directly market or sell to the end consumer but instead uses another party like a sales representative to sell directly to the consumer. Those representatives can recruit more representatives to sell more products. 

The MLM marketing strategy can also be employed with an affiliate program, creating multiple affiliates with the same aim. 

Benefits of MLM for Affiliate Programs

By its very nature, an affiliate program is quite similar to MLM. While there are specific differences between traditional MLM and affiliate marketing, the approach is very similar because you’re recruiting another party to market your product and increase its sales. 

There are certain benefits to taking the MLM approach with your affiliate program:

A Bigger Marketing Network Without the Hassle of Management

A multi-level affiliate program can quickly grow your marketing network, bringing expert marketers, brands, and influencers into the fold without putting much management responsibility on your company. 

You don’t necessarily need to recruit all affiliates, train them, and manage their payroll. With a multi-level hierarchy, the responsibilities also get distributed, which allows your company to focus on the bigger picture. 

Better and Bigger Outreach

With your website, store, and social media channels, there are only so many audiences you can target. However, with an affiliate and then their subsequent affiliate marketers, you can grow your program and reach a bigger audience.

This creates — at least — more brand awareness, if not more sales. Also, if you’re using affiliates that target different demographics, you can expand your brand to new markets where you possibly couldn’t on your own. 

7 Affiliate Program Mistakes to Avoid (MLM Success Tips)

Whether you’re using a single-tier affiliate program or reaping benefits from an MLM affiliate program, there are certain mistakes even the best can make:

1. Insufficient Training for Affiliates

Affiliate marketing isn’t as simple as it seems because, at the end of the day, your affiliates are representing your brand and product. Their blunders can cost you sales and even reputation, which is why it’s imperative to train your affiliates and give them all the material they’ll need to succeed. 

This is all the more relevant for a multi-layer affiliate program, where affiliates will be recruiting and training other affiliates, and so on. They can only be expected to train their affiliates well if they are trained themselves properly. 

Companies employing MLM must develop a detailed roadmap of marketing efforts and create clear guidelines and standards for their affiliates. This also allows them to work in sync, so the strategy and brand emphasis are even stronger. 

2. Recruiting Almost Anyone

As affiliate marketing has become increasingly popular, some companies have gone way overboard when recruiting affiliates. You shouldn’t just hire anyone, even if they have excellent marketing expertise or millions of social media followers. 

The key is to find the right match for your product or service, or — better yet — your business niche. You should be asking questions like:

  • Do they have any affiliate marketing experience?
  • Can your target audience relate to them?
  • Are they experts in the niche of your brand?
  • Will they be in it for the long haul?
  • Is their network substantial enough for them to be able to recruit more affiliates?

You should also evaluate the skills and reach of the affiliate to ensure they are capable enough to market your product or service. Most affiliates rely on content (blogs, videos, podcasts, etc. ) which you can view when recruiting. 

3. Misleading Product Information (Too Good to Be True)

The last thing you need is your affiliates promoting a “get rich quick” scheme or something similar to their audience with your product and company. That’s a recipe for disaster in this day and age when customers are not so naïve. 

If you’re pushing falsehoods or exaggerations about your product, and, in turn, the affiliates are further pushing those falsehoods or exaggerations, you’re in for some unpleasant surprises. 

Your affiliates should market the product for what it is and not invent things about it, especially false claims that could end up costing your company. 

Going back to the first mistake mentioned above, proper training of affiliates will help avoid this mistake too!

4. Not Relying on the Data

Is your affiliate program working in your favor? Or are you just pouring in money without paying attention to the numbers?

With today’s powerful data analysis tools, any marketing effort can be quantified to measure its performance. Similarly, you need to keep an eye on the crucial affiliate program metrics

Key performance indicators (KPIs) like click-through, conversion rates, sales volume, and average order value can help you make sense of whether affiliate marketing spending is bringing in more revenue or not. 

5. Poor Management

While the day-to-day tasks for affiliates may not be your headache in a multi-level affiliate program, you do need oversight on all levels of affiliates. Inadequate management of affiliate programs is a big risk, especially with a multi-tier program. 

You cannot just give complete control to the affiliates without any supervision or management. This can lead to issues like wrong commission calculations, late payments, poor communication, and wrong links. 

This problem can be resolved with the help of an effective affiliate program management software like LeadDyno that manages a multi-level marketing affiliate program. With such a tool, you can take care of everything from recruitment to payment in just one integrated system. 

6. Focus on Selling Rather Than on Helping

Some affiliate marketers are just so intensely focused on selling the product or service that they fail to offer value to the audience, which is what should be driving sales anyway. That narrow focus on sales often leads to pushy marketing and false advertisement. 

Instead of just focusing on conversions, affiliates should be focusing on getting conversions through offering value. 

This is why your affiliate program should revolve around promoting the value of the product or service in question. When successful, that may automatically translate into more sales, a win-win for both affiliate program owners and their affiliates. 

7. Not Leaving Room for Some Creativity

While you should create specific rules for your affiliates to ensure compliance with policy, it’s not advisable to be too rigid with it. Such an affiliate program will translate into mundane content by the affiliates that don’t generate enough clicks and conversions. Of course, no one wants that!

It’s important to create guidelines for marketing efforts by affiliates, but it’s also essential to allow some flexibility for the affiliates to work in their own way. 

For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to rule out which types of media they can use, like blogs or videos. If an affiliate wants to use video content for marketing your product, they should be able to do so. 


A multi-level affiliate program can be beneficial in so many ways, provided it’s managed well. With the proper knowledge and tools, you can turn a humble affiliate marketing program into a successful revenue machine that doesn’t just help your company but also helps others who may even discover that they can do this as a full-time job. 

The Multi-Level Marketing tips listed above should be helpful in avoiding the affiliate marketing mistakes companies running such programs often make. Yes, mistakes are learning experiences, but isn’t it better to learn without making a mistake?

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