7 Untold Myths About Affiliate Marketing You Need To Know
If you’ve been perusing the more popular Internet marketing blogs or have been lurking on the forum scene for any good amount of time, you’ve probably heard about affiliate marketing specifically. It’s one of the most ancient (since the 90’s) and popular ways to make money online, and that’s certainly for good reason: You can sell products, but you don’t need to handle inventory, deal with any large amount of overhead, and very often the products are ones that people are already happy to buy.
In fact, chances are that your favorite e-commerce site—like Amazon, Ebay, and the like—has an affiliate program already in place that you could sign up for now if you wanted to, and it’s not like people hesitate to buy from those brands at all.
Of course, it’s not all fun and games. Selling anything online, even when you make things easier by promoting other people’s products, is very competitive. There may be hundreds or even thousands of other marketers out there trying to push the same product.
In addition, there are a lot of myths being spread around that beginners can easily fall prey to, especially if they get their information from someone who is trying to sell them a “miracle” formula for generating online income. So let’s try to cut through some of the more common myths that most people won’t warn you about when you’re first considering getting into Internet marketing:
Let’s get this out of the way: This is a myth that may be pushed on you not from other marketers trying to make a buck, but probably by friends and family who don’t know the first thing about Internet marketing, and are only familiar with Multi-Level Marketing businesses (which I don’t recommend, by the way!).
It’s easy to see why they may not make this distinction; not only are the products that you are selling not of your own brand but often affiliate programs will encourage you to “recruit” others so that you can make a small commission from their sales as well.
The difference, of course, is that in affiliate marketing, the products, and the customers are the center of everything, and are the source of income. Yes, signing others up under you might entitle you to some of what they sell, but it’s a paltry sum and you’re going to make most of your money by generating actual leads.
Myth #2: Affiliate Marketing is Easy
We’ve already glossed over this before, but selling is an important skill that has to be learned in any field of marketing, and if you’re new to it, it’s going to be hard at first. Like a lot of people, you may think you know what your customers want, but you will more than likely have no idea. That’s why business, in general, can be tricky: You have to know what you customers actually want to be able to deliver it to them, and they’re usually not very good at telling you so you’ll have to read a few tea leaves to figure it out.
It’s true that if a company tries to charge you to become their affiliate, you should probably run far, far away because it is likely not an affiliate partnership at all, but rather a pyramid scheme. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have to spend some sort of capital to actually make money. Remember that you are promoting the items that you’re selling, and promotion isn’t always free or cheap.
It is possible to market your products and find leads using 100% “free” methods like posting on forums or running a website that attracts a lot of search engine traffic, but is this really free? It costs you time, and time is a resource like any other, so you should understand that calculating your ROI is always important, even if your promotion methods are “free.”
Myth #4: If You Sign Up Enough New Affiliates Under You, You’ll Never Have to Work
Again, if a company is claiming that you should focus on signing up other people instead of pushing the actual product, be suspicious. Sometimes this makes sense, if you are a customer and also an affiliate—for example, you signed up for a course on how to make money online, and the creators automatically make the customers into affiliates to generate new leads for the course as well—but generally if the company is making weird promises about how you can simply sit back while someone else does all the work, do some extra research because these are not reasonable promises.
Myth #5: You Will Make Money Right Away
There is most definitely a learning curve and tons of competition, so making money with affiliate marketing will take some time, unless you get extremely lucky and pick the perfect product, or else you’re some kind of prodigy. This is a field like any other, so it requires doing your homework, having a willingness to adapt, and having the capacity for out-of-the-box thinking. It is also a field filled to the brim with amateurs, and they will be fiercely competitive.
You’ve probably heard some marketer or another claim that he has the “secret” to getting whatever it is that you want, including money from online sales. “Secret formula” is code for “a way which takes little or no work,” which of course everyone loves because it’s human nature to be a bit lazy and to want to take shortcuts. It’s a modern form of magical thinking, though, to believe that you can get something for nothing.
The fact of the matter is that, yes, there are educational products which will train you on the basics, especially if you lack the technical skills to get started, and they can give you a lot of useful tips. Beyond that, however, there really is no secret except for hard work and finding the right niche for you. If there was a “secret,” why would someone sell it to others? Wouldn’t they just exploit it themselves and continue to keep it a “secret?” Even if this “one simple trick” worked at some point, it doesn’t anymore if the seller is willing to tell you about it.
Myth #7: Affiliate Marketing is Sleazy
Some people have been so burned by over-exposure to spam that they think affiliate marketing is a sleazy business that takes something away from the customer. The truth is that it certainly doesn’t; whether a customer signs up through an affiliate link or a non-affiliate link makes no difference on their end, and the price is the same. Are there some unethical marketers out there? Sure, but affiliate marketing itself is a legitimate way to make money that helps companies generate leads and ultimately helps customers find what they’re looking for.
Now that we’ve cleared up some of those common myths, it’s time to find a blog, or a book, or even a small course about affiliate marketing and get started on your money-making journey!