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Industry, and For Newbies

6 common myths about affiliate marketing

Andrej Csizmadia

September 2, 2021
Last modified on September 8, 2022 at 6:55 am

In theory, affiliate marketing sounds like a win-win strategy. Everyone involved gets something out of the deal – for companies, it’s a fantastic way of finding new customers, raising brand awareness and fostering engagement. People working as affiliates meanwhile (whether they are bloggers or social media influencers) are rewarded for each customer they bring to the company, so they have a vested interest in making the affiliate program successful.

But exactly because affiliate marketing sounds so good, many myths and rumours are surrounding it. And you surely heard about those at least once – from the one saying affiliate marketing is a foolproof method to earn big bucks without any actual work to another saying that the majority of affiliate programs are scams.

But most of the common myths associated with affiliate marketing can be easily explained. This post will highlight six of the most often appearing affiliate marketing myths on the internet. Once you know the truth behind those, you can start your own affiliate marketing journey without worry – so let’s get down to it.

It isn’t easy to start with affiliate marketing

For many people, “affiliate marketing” sounds so technical and professional, it’s scary. Do you need a marketing degree to become an affiliate? Or experience in a given industry? And do you need to cover the costs of a professional website, affiliate courses, professional tools, ads and the like?

Absolutely not! In fact, starting with affiliate marketing is much easier than you might think as you only need a bit of know-how, a topic you want to share with other people and patience. If you want to have your own website, you can create one for free using one of the many website builders. You can also use your running blog, Youtube channel or social media account as your main marketing channel and focus on them.

As for tools, you can easily find free or very cheap tools around the internet you can use while you are not yet sure if affiliate marketing is the thing for you. Now you just need to find an affiliate program that matches your blog or social media channel main topic, and you are ready to go!

Affiliate marketing is child’s play

This one is probably the most often appearing myth out of all – that affiliate marketing works almost like plug-and-play. Just create a website, blog, or social media channel, add some quickly written content with plenty of affiliate links and your job is done – just wait for the clicks and commissions to pour in.

Nope, that’s not how it works either. While you don’t need a lot of experience or a big budget to get into affiliate marketing, you will have to spend time and effort making affiliate marketing work for you. All of those tasks will take time, from selecting the right niche and program to regularly creating content and building an engaged audience.

And with how competitive the affiliate industry has become, getting yourself noticed and earning the commission became just that much more complicated. Unless you craft useful, valuable content for your audience that will encourage them to try out the products, no one will simply visit your channel and click on the links.

How does commission work

Also, Google algorithms and social media moderators don’t like spammy websites or accounts either. So if your website is deemed to have no original and well-thought-out content but plenty of affiliate links or is backlinking to shady websites, you might even get blacklisted – and it’s tough to make yourself visible once you land on the blacklist.

There are only a few niches that are really worth the effort

When you look at the affiliate commission in different industries, it might seem like there are only a few profitable niches in the industry – namely, health and wellness, banking services, technology and sometimes SaaS products. And it sure makes sense to only go for the niches where you can earn the most money, right?

But joining a popular niche most often means you’ll have to get into heavy competition with other affiliate marketers who are after the same thing as you – commissions.

Another thing you need to think about before choosing an affiliate niche is whether you understand the niche and the audience enough to craft content around the product or service. Your main goal should be to share reliable and worthwhile information for your audience – not merely trying to push a sale.

Two primary ways of categorizing influencers

So if, for example, you are running a cooking video blog where you show your followers how to make a particular dish, then you would probably have a really hard time weaving a bank account promotion or a fashion accessory into it. But a cooking course or a handy gadget? The commission here might be much lower, but as it’s directly related to your niche, it shouldn’t take you long to start earning commissions.

No one buys anything from affiliate marketers anymore

Thanks to the oh so many “affiliate marketers” promoting shady products that don’t work the way they were promoted, spamming message boards with affiliate links, or covering pyramid scams with “affiliate marketing” terms, a lot of people started to see affiliate marketing as just yet another form of fraud.

So yes, it is harder to convince people to click on your link and buy a product. That doesn’t mean that affiliate marketing stopped working entirely. As long as you focus your content around helping your followers (whether it’s with an evening makeup or preparing their garden for autumn) and build trust, you’ll see the clicks and commissions coming in.

But you need to give your audience a reason to trust you – so test every product you want to promote as an affiliate and only write about the things you would be eager to buy. By recommending products that don’t work or backlinking to untrustworthy websites, you’ll only land at the bottom of the internet – and it will be pretty hard to earn any commissions from there!

6 common myths about affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn money straight away

Can affiliate marketing work as a source of extra money in addition to your regular paycheck? Sure it can. Will it make you rich overnight, as many pages claim, though? That’s a myth – but one that brings thousands of people to try out affiliate marketing.

If you already own a website with a sizable audience and stable traffic, then you might see results from affiliate efforts pretty quickly. But what if you are starting from scratch? Then it might take even a few months before you to earn anything – at least, anything worth mentioning.

Also, if you hope you will be earning enough from affiliation to quit your full-time job, then I have to disappoint you – only around 9% of all affiliate marketers make more than $50,000 a year. And it’s in no way a stable source of income-you might have multiple sales in one month but no in the next one.

It’s too late to start affiliate marketing

Now that affiliate marketing is all over the internet, and every brand seems to have an affiliate program. Is it too late to join the club? Not exactly – this might actually be the best time to become an affiliate as affiliate marketing is a remote-friendly method of earning extra cash. What you need to do to stand out in the crowded affiliate industry is to search for a unique niche related to your hobbies or interest and then reach out to a company that has a matching affiliate program – there’s one for almost every single niche out there, so you shouldn’t have much trouble with finding the right one.

Spend some time researching keywords you will use as well. While it might seem to you that using common and broad keywords will be the key to success, the competition might be more than you can handle. Therefore, it’s a much better idea to search for long-tail and not as popular keywords as it will be easier for you to rank high in search engines – you can use any of the free keyword research tools for that.

6 common myths about affiliate marketing


We hope you don’t think anymore that affiliate marketing is some magical way of earning money without lifting a finger. Or the contrary, that only marketing professionals with years of experience can be successful affiliates – neither of this is true.

Affiliate marketing is a legitimate way to earn money with results that speak for themselves. But if you really want to succeed, then you’ll need time, effort, patience and plenty of determination. Now that you know the reality behind some of the myths you are very likely to come across, it should be easier for you to start – and make a name for yourself.

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