Affiliate marketing is an often misunderstood business, and many people outside of the industry have some misconceptions about what it is online marketers do.
If you’ve been thinking about dipping a toe into the waters of affiliate marketing, you need to know the truth behind the myths!
1. Affiliate marketing is too hard
Starting something new is always a bit daunting. But if you’re willing to learn and put your mind to it, almost anyone can do it. Even if you have absolutely no experience, with the right amount of desire you can be get started in no time. The MoreNiche Training program makes it even easier. Completely free, it’s a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, from how to set up your first website to the ins and outs of SEO.
2. Affiliate marketing is easy money
Let’s be clear. Affiliate marketing may not be too difficult, but it’s definitely not a get rich quick scheme, whatever you may read on the internet. Of course there is money to be made, but earning a full-time income could take years. Affiliate marketing should be treated no differently to any other business. You won’t make millions overnight, but with hard work and dedication, you can earn some very decent profits.
3. There’s no money in affiliate marketing
Says who? Twist360 paid out over $5 million in sales in 2014, and our top merchant is paying out well over $100 thousand a month to affiliates! Whoever said there’s no money in affiliate marketing probably threw in the towel before they got to the money making part. As I’ve already said, affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme and it does require time and effort, but done well, it can prove to be an extremely lucrative career.
4. You’ll never be paid for your sales
It’s a sad truth that some unscrupulous merchants have been known to take their affiliate sales and run, and there are affiliate networks where you may well find yourself waiting months on end for your hard-earned royalties. But there are plenty of networks who put affiliates first. Health and Beauty network MoreNiche have a stellar payout record, paying on time, every time. And in the unlikely event a merchant doesn’t pay up, they guarantee you payment of your commissions out of their own pocket.
5. You need a lot of money to be an affiliate
All you need to become an affiliate marketer is a website, which costs next to nothing to set up. You can purchase a domain and hosting for as little as $10.00 and your only monthly cost will be your website hosting. With such low operating costs, almost everything you make will be pure profit for you to reinvest or spend as you like!
6. All the good niches are taken
While it will be difficult to establish yourself in the most popular and broad niches such as gambling and gaming, you don’t need to do this in order to make money. In fact, there are loads of unexploited niches out there to explore. The great thing about these is that because they are not as saturated, they are less competitive than the more popular, mainstream niches. Take a look at our recent article about how to break into the adult market. It’s not nearly as competitive as the mainstream niches.
7. It’s too late, there’s too many affiliates already
Just because there’s lots of affiliates, doesn’t mean they are all making any money. In fact, the majority of affiliates within any network are probably inactive and earning nothing. You haven’t missed the boat. So go for it and become one of the successful ones.
8. Customers don’t like affiliates
It’s easy to believe that customers view affiliate marketers as spammers. But the thing to realise is customers want information about products and they want to hear what other people think about those products before they buy. In other words, they want to visit your website. Of course, this will only work for you if you are running a quality, informative, content filled website, so make sure you are providing your site visitors with the information that they want.
Many affiliate marketers like to remain cloaked in secrecy, believing that if their visitors realise they are on an affiliate site they will leave. But the truth is, customers prefer honesty and transparency. Take the Affiliate Disclosure badge that the MoreNiche affiliate network requires its affiliates display on their websites. It’s actually been shown to increase conversion rates, because its openness instils honesty and trust from the outset.
9. Google doesn’t like affiliates
If your aim is to use as many questionable techniques as possible to gain sales through a spammy site that gives no value to your visitors, then yes, Google will catch up with you and put a swift stop to it. But if you plan to create a high quality, authoritative site which provides value to your customers through informative news and articles, you won’t experience any SEO problems. Google is not out to kill affiliate marketing. It simply wants to stop spammers and those affiliates who are providing no value to web users.
10. Affiliate marketing is dead
Ah, the most famous myth of them all, and one that’s been touted for almost as long as affiliate marketing has been around! If this was true, Twist360 wouldn’t still be in business! Yes, the industry is constantly changing, and Google sure does love to throw some spanners into the works every now and then, but a good affiliate learns to adapt and grow with the changes. As the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy, so embrace the challenge. It’s all part of the beauty of the job!
What About Merchants?
If you’re a merchant considering venturing into affiliate marketing, don’t think we can’t debunk any myths you’ve heard too!
1. Affiliate marketing won’t work if I’m not in a popular niche
Don’t dismiss affiliate marketing because you think your market is too small. Many merchants think affiliate marketing won’t work unless they are in a big, mainstream niche, but this is far from the truth. Affiliates can add tremendous value to your brand by introducing new customers as well as helping convert customers who are already interested in your brand but who need that little bit of extra assurance to make a purchase. In fact, more and more affiliates are actively looking for opportunities to promote brands within smaller sectors purely because mainstream niches are so competitive. Smaller, less popular niches not only require a lot less effort but can also generate income a lot quicker.
There are several advertisers in the Paydot affiliate network who are in less mainstream niches, yet with the help of affiliates are starting to thrive because they are now reaching out to more and more customers. Every business, no matter how small, should have an affiliate marketing strategy on their priority list, especially if their competition is already doing it.
2. Starting an affiliate program is expensive
It can be. This depends on the type of marketing you want to focus on and the margins of your product. A purely performance based approach might be best for small or start-up company, whereas big brands might prefer to pay large up-front fees and a larger percentage of their profit to the network to get access to more affiliates for a quick win. It’s important to do your research and talk to a few different networks before making a decision, but you might be surprised to find out that starting an affiliate program is not as expensive as you thought. Although some networks charge big fees, others don’t, including all four of the networks that MoreNiche support.
3. Affiliates don’t add value
It’s a common misconception that affiliates are just spammers. And it’s not terribly difficult to find plenty of examples to support this view. But consumers rarely buy from these types of affiliates. So if consumers aren’t buying from the spammy affiliates, who are they buying from? Value adding affiliates, with quality, informative and authoritative sites. And there’s plenty of them to go around. So don’t tarnish all affiliates with the same brush. There’s a whole sales force of good, honest, hardworking affiliates out there eager to promote your product for you.
Talk to the network you want to work with too. Find out where they stand on quality and what steps they take to ensure affiliate compliance with their standards. Do they share your expectations on affiliate quality? If not, then find a network who does.
4. I don’t need to use an affiliate network, I can do it on my own in–house
There’s actually a lot of time and hard work that comes with launching and managing your own in-house affiliate campaign. Time and resources that would be much better spent on doing what you do best – running your business rather than an affiliate program. An affiliate network can take care of everything from recruiting affiliates, issuing payments, providing advanced technology and tracking methods, not to mention the expertise and advice that they can bring to the table to make sure your affiliate campaign is as successful as possible.
5. I’ll lose control of my brand
It’s understandable to feel that by allowing the brand you’ve built to be handed over to thousands of advertisers you are losing all control. But as a merchant, you set the terms of promotion; for example, allowed traffic types, domain name rules and PPC policies. Again, it all goes back to communication with the network you choose to work with. Talk to them. Ask them how they will protect your brand. What sort of compliance policies do they enforce to make sure affiliates are promoting your brand to your terms? It’s not about just handing over your brand to an affiliate network; it’s about keeping the communication flowing so that you remain in control.
And don’t forget, it’s in an affiliate network’s best interests to protect your brand. If they don’t, you’ll leave and take your money with you!
So, whether you’re an aspiring affiliate or a merchant looking to grow your business, don’t underestimate the power of affiliate marketing. It offers you an ideal way to open up a new revenue stream at very little cost and very little risk.