If you’re anything like me, when you first came across the term affiliate marketing, you started asking yourself whether it was a real thing? Or, maybe you’ve been caught out by a scammer posing as a legit affiliate marketer, and have ended up asking “Is Affiliate Marketing a Myth?”
Affiliate Marketing is an amazing business opportunity. But it can seem a little surreal that just sharing a link can help you earn money, especially if some scammer has caught you out previously.
This post is about challenging some of the most common misconceptions about affiliate marketing so that you can then focus on what’s more important. Creating more valuable content to help you promote your affiliate offers.
We’ll also share with you some legitimate success stories that prove affiliate marketing is real and lucrative. But if you have the wrong mindset, it can hamper your progress.
Let’s get cracking, shall we?
Table of Contents
Before we get into these common affiliate myths, first I want to make sure you have a good idea of what affiliate marketing really is and how it all works. Most of these myths get in the way of new affiliates, as they don’t know the truth.
Knowing affiliate marketing properly, will help you understand how these myths get in the way. If you already feel you know affiliate marketing really well, then feel free to jump ahead straight to our list of 12 common affiliate myths here.
What's Affiliate Marketing?
There are many forms of affiliate marketing when you start looking online. There will be affiliates who promote physical products, and then there will be those that promote digital products or services.
The affiliate marketing industry is a lot bigger than maybe you think it is. But the basic premise is that you are offering a solution to a problem someone has.
Another way of thinking about it is that it’s like a “refer a friend” scheme. You get rewarded for introducing a buyer to a product or service.
Amazon is a common starting point for a new affiliate marketer. They become an Amazon Associate and that gives them access to promote any products that is for sale on Amazon… (that’s a lot). Again, they typically start a blog in a niche and then include affiliate links to products. When a reader clicks on one of their affiliate links and buys something from Amazon, they get rewarded with a commission.
The diagram below shows the basic premise…
The actual process is relatively simple. There are different versions, as there are also paid versions. But the idea stays the same.
An affiliate provides a solution (an affiliate product) to someone and if they make a purchase, the product owner rewards you with a commission.
So, why do so many people get caught out by these affiliate marketing myths? Why are people even asking “Is Affiliate Marketing a Myth?”
Well, that’s because the process might be simple. But the actual time and effort required to make it a money-making endeavour is something that not everyone is willing to put into it. It’s a business model that requires you to work hard, and when it doesn’t make money as quickly as they like, they give it up and claim that it doesn’t work.
Or they tell you that affiliate marketing is a myth.
Believe me, there is huge potential in affiliate marketing and I’ll show you some success stories that prove affiliate marketing works.
But to achieve success, you are going to have to understand that these 12 points are all myths… That’s it, they are not true and everyday people just like you are earning money from affiliate marketing.
If you put in the time and effort, you can be one of those success stories at some point…
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12 Common Affiliate Myths Exposed!
Ok, let’s get into our list of the 12 common affiliate myths. These are regular misconceptions about affiliate marketing that we are going to expose as absolute nonsense… There is no better time to get started with affiliate marketing…
1. You've Missed The Boat - It's TOo Late to Start Affiliate Marketing...
It’s easy to assume that you’ve missed the boat when it comes to affiliate marketing. With the number of affiliate offers on the internet, people think that there is no opportunity left. But that is a myth you need to forget about.
Yes, there are a lot of affiliate marketers out there. That might mean that the competition in a particular niche is high.
But that still doesn’t mean that there is no opportunity. This post talks about that misconception.
But the bottom line is that there is no better time to get started with affiliate marketing.
More people every year are gaining access to high-speed internet. More people are changing their shopping habits to include online shopping. Meaning they are looking for help to solutions. They are looking for the best value for money online. You can provide that.
If you have the staying power that 99% of affiliate marketers lack, then you will be able to outlast them and become an authority much sooner than you might think.
The most common reason that affiliate marketers fail is that they give up. Not the products they promote, not the commission rates, etc. They just give up.
So, today there might be tons of affiliates in the niche you want to go with. But that doesn’t mean they are all going to do a better job than you. If you focus on providing value to your audience and provide solutions to their problems (not sell, but help) then you will be more likely to find success.
But if you never get started, then you will never achieve your goals. There is no better time to start than now.
When I take a look online, most of the affiliate sites out there are mediocre at best. Just because they are promoting the same stuff you want to promote, doesn’t mean their strategy or their content is good enough to compete at the top end.
If you want to outdo these mediocre sites, then you need the right strategies, which you can learn at places like Wealthy Affiliate.
2. The More Traffic You Have, The More Profit You'll Earn
I understand why people believe that the more traffic you get will result in bigger earnings. But it is yet another myth to dispel. Don’t get me wrong, you want traffic coming to your affiliate offers. But you can have all the traffic you want, but if they don’t click on your affiliate links, then you won’t be making money.
When adding affiliate links to your content, they need to make sense and relate to why the reader is on your post. If you are just randomly putting links in that don’t make sense, it won’t lead to sales.
It would be like me adding a link to a laptop in this post and hoping that you click on it. Why would you? It’s not relevant to the content and it’s not going to help you get the answers to your questions about affiliate marketing myths.
You need to ensure everything you do is relevant to your target audience, even down to understanding your target audience and what they need help with.
If you have the traffic coming to your site, but no one is clicking on your affiliate offers, then you need to consider whether everything is working towards your sales funnel.
But there are a couple of other issues that you need to consider about your blog too. To succeed, you want to avoid these common affiliate marketing mistakes:
- Slow page loading time – According to Neil Patel, 50% of people will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. This means that they never actually see your content or your affiliate offers
- A messy or overloaded site design – Are there loads of ads on your site that distract your reader from your affiliate links, or is your site just too messy? The design of your website must be simple and engaging to help focus your reader
- Non-engaging content – Are you creating valuable high-quality content for your reader? Or are they getting bored before they even get to your affiliate offers? Are you promoting relevant products or services that engage with your reader and helps them
- Lack of Keywords – Does your content contain relevant keywords (both long-tail and short-tail) that help the search engines match your website to relevant queries?
Just because a blog gets traffic doesn’t automatically make it profitable. There is more opportunity for sales from a smaller traffic level that are engaged and trust the blogger.
3. Only A Select Few Niches Are Profitable
It can be easy to assume that only a select few niches are profitable.
Most assume you have to be promoting health and fitness products, clothing, make money online, or finance to make money.
But again, that is irrelevant. Think about the number of products that are sold on Amazon. Now think about how many different categories they have. There is an opportunity in every category they have. They wouldn’t sell a product if no one was buying them.
Any niche can be profitable, as long as you are providing value to the people who are interested in that same niche.
Think about a hobby you have, something you enjoy. I bet, you are not the only person interested in that hobby. That means there is an opportunity within that niche, even if it’s niche.
I cannot say every niche is worthwhile. But in the main, most are worth it.
If there are products or services that you can promote and people are looking for help or solutions within that niche, then it’s worthwhile.
If you can find a niche with lower competition levels, you may find it helps speed up the process too.
To what extent a certain niche will be profitable in your case depends on your audience and promotional techniques. For example, if you mostly target millennials, you won’t sell many high-end products, such as cruises or trips to luxury resorts. On the other hand, once you find out what your readers are after, it won’t take long to start making sales.
Travel is one of the niches that offer a lot of earning potential. To learn more about the benefits of the travel niche, watch this video.
4. It's Expensive To Start Affiliate Marketing
This is one of the biggest myths there is about affiliate marketing. It’s one of the main reasons why people also get caught out by so many affiliate scams. Or at least end up paying a lot of money for a low-quality product that ends up doing nothing to aid their chances of success.
There is a point where you will need to invest some money if you want to make this a reality. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend hundreds of dollars on things you don’t necessarily need.
I mean you create a website for free. There are several website builders and hosting servers that offer free plans. You can create content for free and optimise it for the search engines to get free traffic (SEO). You can also learn a lot about affiliate marketing and marketing in general through reading blogs like this or watching YouTube videos.
You can speed up the learning process by going with high-quality courses like the one at Wealthy Affiliate, but they even offer a free starter membership to give you an insight into what they have to offer.
You will need to spend money at some point, but that doesn’t mean you should look for expensive shiny objects that claim to speed the process up but don’t. Anything that is full of hype and then enticing you in with a low starting rate but then hits you with tons of upsells is something to avoid.
It’s also why so many people believe you need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to make a living from affiliate marketing when that isn’t true at all.
Sure, without any investments, it will take longer to achieve success. But, in this regard, affiliate marketing is less expensive than any other business type, as you don’t need to engage in production, delivery, and so on.
5. You Require Technical Skills To Be Successful
Another affiliate myth is that you need to be a technical genius to be successful online. But cannot be farther from the truth. Technology has advanced so much, that anyone (including you) can build a website online. If you’ve got a social media account, then you know enough to get started with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate networks ensure their programs are really easy to use and to share their links, as it benefits them as well as you.
There are some aspects of digital marketing that do require some skill, for example, SEO. But they are all skills that can be learned.
But the biggest barrier appears to be around creating a blog. Everything else doesn’t seem to get thought about. We all just assume building a website is past any of our abilities. I know, as I thought the same thing when I was first getting started.
But the reality is that it was the easiest part of the process. Tools like WordPress make it so easy these days. It took me longer to pick a website name (URL) than it did to launch the website. WordPress isn’t the only website builder, but it is really easy to use. Hence why so many people are using it.
If you’re willing to learn, you can learn everything you need to get online and make money from affiliate marketing. If you want help, you can check out my 7-Day Passive Income Bootcamp which will show you every step needed to make this a reality. (Click the button below).
Turn Your Passion into Profits
6. It's All About The Advertiser
Sure, it does start with picking the right reputable advertiser. Clients will only purchase if you are offering them the right product for what they need. But that isn’t all it takes.
It also depends on how you present what you’re offering too. It needs to be natural and promoted in the right way to ensure it makes sense to the reader.
Think about it…
Have you ever been on a website that has too many ads, has links everywhere to stuff, and you’re just like what is going on?
Stuffing your blog with ads and affiliate links will not have the desired effect. It all needs to be relevant to the person who is clicking.
Affiliate marketing is about providing a solution to an issue. That solution doesn’t always have to be a product or service. It can just be some advice. That builds trust with the readers. They will be more inclined to follow your advice if it looks like you are trying to help, rather than just selling.
You need to research your target audience properly and ensure everything you are offering (both advice and product suggestions) makes sense to them and will help them. Then when you are deciding on the affiliate products you are going to promote makes sense too.
There is little point in linking to big-name brands when it doesn’t fit with the blog. A lesser-known advertiser can still be profitable for you if it’s relevant to the reader on your blog.
7. Affiliate Marketing Isn't a Serious Business Strategy
Can you expect big bucks to come your way by simply sharing a couple of links on your blog? Your income depends on the time and effort you invest. Over time, this can become your main revenue stream. Over 80% of affiliates make more than $20,000 yearly. Furthermore, 57% of bloggers earning over $50,000 per year monetise their blog through affiliate marketing.
Advertisers also consider affiliate marketing a serious strategy, as the tactic generates up to 30% of all sales.
In 2022, the estimated annual spending on affiliate marketing will reach US$8.2 billion, just in the US.
8. Higher Commission Rates = Higher Earnings
Just because the commission rate is high, that doesn’t automatically mean that it will earn you more money. Many digital products have commission rates as high as 90%. But if the product isn’t very good, what does it matter?
You need to consider other factors such as conversion rate, earnings per click, advertiser reputation, support, promotional tools, etc.
Speaking of digital goods, one thing to look for is the refund rate too. Many digital products have a high refund rate when compared to physical products, this can mean you don’t earn any money from the sale.
I know I keep talking about it, but you need to be offering value to your readers. If you’re promoting stuff based just on the commission rate, you will not be offering value. If that’s the case, then the commission rate doesn’t matter at all.
9. Affiliate Marketing Is The Same As Advertising
According to the Millennials survey, 84% of millennials do not like advertising.
That might make you question whether affiliate marketing is worth doing. But, done correctly, affiliate marketing isn’t advertising. The key to successful affiliate campaigns is trust and effective communication. As an affiliate, you’ll be expected to recommend products that you’ve tried yourself and can offer insight by providing valuable content to share your experiences.
Readers will come for your useful tips and personal experience because they don’t want to waste time and money trying everything themselves.
10. Affiliate Marketing Is a Source of Passive Income
This is a little confusing, as in a way, affiliate marketing is a passive income. You don’t stand over the transaction, as you would if you owned the product yourself. Your website does all of the work for you. This means you can make sales even when you aren’t working on your blog. Many affiliate marketers travel the world letting their website do the work.
But the reason why affiliate marketing isn’t a passive income source is that you need to keep on working hard to achieve it. You’ll need to constantly drive traffic to your site, improve the SEO, create new content, update old content, engage in social media, etc.
It can end up being passive when you get to a point where you hire a writer for your blog. But affiliate marketers have been guilty of getting their websites to a point where they are making good money. They then decide to go travelling for 3 months and do nothing with this blog.
They then wonder why their traffic is dropping and their income stream is dwindling. If you aren’t creating regular content for your blog, then it will only work for so long before dropping off.
It’s possible to make it almost passive, but it will never be 100% as (like with any business) you need to monitor all activities and keep on growing them. Many affiliates are earning 6-figure incomes a month from affiliate marketing.
They will all tell you the same thing, keep working on your business.
11. It's A Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
Ever seen an ad that claims that you can retire tomorrow due to this amazing system online that will have you earning thousands of dollars by the end of the day?
It’s a common sales funnel landing page online. I’ve reviewed many of them and they all lead you through a funnel that introduces you to affiliate marketing, and then it tells you the hundreds of dollars it would need to make it a reality.
They never work by the way. But it’s also a reason why people believe there is a get-rich-quick scheme out there.
A scheme that takes away all the hard work that it requires to make this a reality.
The reality is that if you go with the free route, then you will need to invest time and effort for a year to drive enough traffic to your website to be able to see some results from affiliate marketing.
If you try paid ads, without any training, then there is no guarantee anything will work.
But no real or legit method will have you earning thousands overnight. We all wish there was, but that’s the reality. Unless you win the lottery, you are still going to need to go to work tomorrow.
Bottom line, your income potential will be based on how much time and effort you put into your business. Another factor will be whether you follow the right strategy or not…
Some affiliates make $100 their first month, while others start earning only after a few months of work. This can be one of the biggest obstacles for newbies, as many of them quit affiliate marketing if they don’t see fast results.
The number one reason why affiliates fail is that they give up too soon. If you think about it like a regular job, then you’ll fail. As you would want an hour to pay for every hour you put into your business.
An entrepreneur would put the time and effort in, without giving the immediate income a second thought. They are playing the long game and will put in as much time and effort as needed to see those results come true.
But they will not have a specific timescale in mind. That is how you make this successful. Forget about any ideas of waking up rich tomorrow. Think about how hard can you work to earn an income that allows you to leave your job in the next couple of years…
12. You Need a Blog To Get Started
You can start with a blog, social media page, mobile application, traffic arbitrage, and so on.
The easiest way might be to use your social media profile, which will already have some traffic and readers. Focus on bringing value to your community and post affiliate links where appropriate.
The key to success is building trust with your community. People might need to visit your page several times before making a purchase. It doesn’t matter what kind of web page you have, focus on your audience and bring them value.
My recommendation is to create your own blog. Purely down to the fact that you then have full control over it. Social media platforms can be funny with affiliate marketers.
There have been examples where affiliates have been banned from platforms for posting affiliate links. Now, these may be down to them promoting dodgy stuff, but either way, you risk losing income from a platform out of your control.
Another element is the social media platform might disappear completely. Remember Google Plus? Yep, no longer around.
Having your blog gives you the ability to promote your affiliate offers in multiple places…
Don't Let These Affiliate Myths Get In Your Way!
There are many reasons why people aren’t sure whether affiliate marketing is real or even legit. But I’m hoping that this blog post has helped you understand that affiliate marketing isn’t a myth.
It’s a real business model that helps make many people a real income online.
Affiliate marketing is an absolutely legitimate way to earn a living but to succeed you’ll need to invest a lot of time and effort.
Unlike other business strategies, affiliate marketing is easy to begin, doesn’t require much financial investment, and can be either your side job or a full-time occupation.
Affiliate Marketing Success Stories
There are many examples of success stories with affiliate marketing to back up the fact that affiliate marketing isn’t a myth. I also promised you earlier that I would share some affiliate marketing success stories. So, below are some examples. These are real people who are earning money from affiliate marketing.
They all put in the time and effort to achieve their goals… Are you up to the challenge?
Is Affiliate Marketing a Myth? Conclusion
If you’re still with me, I want to thank you for reading this blog post. Is Affiliate Marketing a Myth? Hell No!
There are real people every day getting started on building an affiliate marketing business online. There is no more ideal time to get started than now… Don’t let any of these myths get in your way.
If you have any questions or comments to add, then please write them in the comments section below. 😉
Is affiliate marketing a myth?
Some say it’s a waste of time,
Others swear by its success.
Is it really just a roll of the dice?
Or can you make it really work?
There’s no doubt that affiliate marketing takes some effort,
But if you put in the hard work,
You can see great success.
Just be sure to choose the right help and advice,
And you’ll be on your way.
thanks for checking out my blog. Affiliate Marketing is a fantastic business model, as long as you’ll willing to put the time and effort into achieving that success.
All the best,
Great article! I am an affiliate marketer and I started through WA. I am fairly new, but like you said you can’t look at it as an hourly wage job, I look at it like I am setting up for my future. I’m learning all I can, from a reputable training and community of others who really will go out of their way to help. It helps so much to have a chat that’s love with other members and the expert classes as well as thorough training. I would have given up on my own. I really want to succeed at this because I am self-employed as a cleaner but I don’t want to do that forever, I want to work from home on my terms and do what I enjoy. I don’t know how to make great content for YouTube or how to make an eBook for email subscriptions and all the fancy stuff, but it’ll come if I stay in the training at WA. My niche is Pit Bulls I love them, but once I am an expert on affiliate marketing I will then give back by helping those who also want to learn. I can tell you really want to help your followers, and that’s what it’s all about.
thanks for checking out my blog! Having the right mindset about affiliate marketing is the first major hurdle any affiliate marketer needs to get over. It’s a long-term plan for long-term success. Any time you feel down about it, reach out and you’ll get some motivating chat that will help you push through to your first sale, which will then hopefully snowball, as long as you keep working hard. That is another benefit of Wealthy Affiliate, as they offer a helping hand but also a supportive chat that reinforces that you are doing the right thing!!
I’m sure you’ll nail it Stephanie and the rest will follow. There is always stuff to learn, especially when Google does an update.
All the best,
Been 2 years in affiliate marketing with WA and still haven’t earned anything, but that is the plan. I know I’ve been building my future with it slowly and steadily with hard work. Placing affiliate links into locations of your page/post is one thing, but providing value and help to your future customers and earning their trust is the goal. Agree you are not just selling here. Everything starts with a passion, and with the right help and guidance, and the hard work and not just focusing on making a sale, I believe we will go a long way.
So thank you for reminding me why I started this endeavor.
thanks for checking out my blog! Perseverance is key to building an income stream for the future. Too many people give up too soon, thinking it is a quick route to earning money.
But the other reason is that people focus too much on selling, rather than providing help and value to their readers. People need to trust your opinions! This can only come from providing solutions to problems and not just selling products without any context.
I’m sure you will achieve your goals as long as you stay true and focus on providing value!!
All the best,