Affiliate marketing is a popular method for marketers to convert web traffic into profit without selling their own products. However, there are a handful of misconceptions surrounding this type of performance-based marketing. Whether you’re new to affiliate marketing or an experienced affiliate marketer looking to generate more money, this blog demystifies the top five myths surrounding affiliate marketing.
1. It’s Easy to Start Making Money
You’ve probably heard the empty promises of scammy online marketers claiming it’s “easy to make millions” through affiliate marketing. These clickbait headlines are normally tied to paid courses and trainings that don’t equate to real revenue. In fact, no course can guarantee earnings for affiliate marketers because no course can guarantee sales. While the early days of affiliate marketing had less competition and often led to well-documented, overnight success stories, the competition is now higher than ever, while internet user behaviors remain unpredictable.
In fact, a quick look at the stats illustrates this point. According to one affiliate network, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers are considered successful. The bottom line: Affiliate marketing is not easy. It takes time, talent, and effort to have a shot at converting traffic into commission.
2. Profit Is Based on Luck
In such a competitive space, it’s easy to assume successful affiliate marketers have luck on their side. However, this is rarely the case. Luck doesn’t lead to sales. Affiliate marketing requires top-notch products and offers, qualified traffic, high-quality content, and plenty of trial and error to be successful.
Smart affiliate marketers use constant data analysis, A/B testing, and quantitative factors to hone their strategies over time. People who drive profitable traffic to products and offers are not lucky. They are skilled.
3. Heavy Traffic Equals High Profits
Despite popular belief, volume doesn’t always equate to conversions. While traffic might serve as a good indicator of profit potential, it is not a metric that promises ROI. Eyeballs aren’t always customers and the sources of your traffic need to be constantly audited to ensure you’re generating quality leads.
Successful affiliate marketing networks like CJ Affiliate, ClickBank, Rakuten, are generally willing to pay higher commissions on sales and less, if anything, on clicks. They understand the truth behind this myth. With the prevalence of fake traffic and low-quality sources to pump numbers, heavy traffic does not translate to higher profits.
4. Every Step Can and Should Be Automated
Automation is becoming an increasingly effective way to conduct marketing campaigns at scale. From streamlining campaigns to automated messaging bots and email flows, smart marketers know when to take advantage of automation. That said, automation is not the answer for all of the challenges associated with affiliate marketing.
Automation and the “autopilot trap” can lead visitors to feel like your site is impersonal and solely a source of affiliate revenue. With a strained relationship due to over-automation, nurturing sales is unlikely. Rather than automating everything, successful affiliate marketers build relationships with their visitors. By forming a sense of community, you can build sustainable and profitable relationships.
5. Limited Number of Profitable Niches and Products
Many marketers believe there are only a few niches that are profitable, and only consider affiliate marketing for expensive products within those groups. They assume a lower volume of sales to expensive items will generate more commission. In reality, it’s difficult to get people to purchase big-ticket items via affiliate links, but there are plenty of niches affiliate marketers are generating income from without uber-expensive products. By worrying less about big-ticket items and more about conversions as a whole, affiliate marketers are more likely to lead successful campaigns.
Some businesses have products that are simply over-marketed. Though popular, it’s difficult to hit visitors with a unique, compelling advertisement in these niches. If a visitor clicks on your ad and sees the same ad on another site, this creates a potential dilemma. Why take the risk of driving traffic to the same place as your competition? By finding a lesser known yet profitable niche, you might have a better chance at conversions (think blue ocean strategy vs. red ocean strategy).
Making the Most of Affiliate Marketing
Like any marketing discipline, it takes strategy, time, effort, and skill to reap the rewards of affiliate marketing. That said, performance-based marketing has withstood the test of time because it can be successful. Do your due diligence and use the aforementioned best practices to lead successful affiliate marketing campaigns.
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