Affiliate Marketing Myths

This image is purely decorative. It aims at illustrating 11 Affiliate marketing myths.

Affiliate Marketing is still considered to be highly effective for companies mainly due to performance-based payouts. Advertisers steer consumers in the right direction in order to increase sales of their products, publishers assist and everybody wins.

However, Affiliate marketing had a shady history because it was previously associated with adult content and gambling industries. This prejudice alone was more than enough to give affiliate marketing a bad reputation which was based on false claims.

Today we will uncover 11 false claims about affiliate marketing as well as the myths surrounding them.

1. Affiliate Marketing is not a long term business

This assumption is completely incorrect. The roots of these assumptions mainly come from wrongful perceptions of affiliate business models. The harsh truth is that this concept wasn’t invented by affiliate marketing, in fact, it was here all along.

Promoting someone else’s product or service to receive a commission is a craft almost as old as trade itself. Internet-only made it more popular than it actually was before, so this concept isn’t anything groundbreaking or new.

Affiliate Marketing is a proven model; however, there are two main assumptions that make marketers think it will never work.

I don’t need to build a relationship with my audience

Marketers generally fail if they choose to look at their audience mainly as a source of profit. Assuming that someone will buy from you just because your product is being published and advertised is completely false. People want authentic relationships and trust, the last thing they want is to feel like a number in someone’s bank account.

If you want to build trust with your audience, you’ll need to understand them and publish content according to that. Learn about their interests, concerns, and problems through interactions such as responding to their comments ultimately giving them higher value.

Wrong niche

You’re probably asking yourself what we meant with “niche”, and that is exactly what we’re about to cover now.  The word can be interpreted in many ways, but right now we will focus on its meaning inside affiliate marketing.  Niche marketing is a content creating, product promoting method which tailors itself to a certain market. The definition is simple and yet many fail to utilize it.

This is definitely one of the largest reasons for affiliate marketing failure and the main cause is bad preparation. Before selecting your niche, make sure that you analyze what type of audience that niche attracts. If the niche focuses entirely on people who want free information than even the best content can’t be monetized. Too broad or too narrow niches also won’t work, so aim at the gold spot as much as you can.

How do I aim at the gold spot?

The key to reaching a gold spot lays in specific and well-defined niches, with high upside growth potential. Profitable niches are narrow, well-defined, and adequately targeted.

The most important factor is to have a narrow focus with a long term vision.  Aim at growing your site steadily at a rather moderate pace, focusing entirely on targeting your specified audience.

As you start to grow to shift your focus towards closely related niches which will generate wider traffic. Wider ranges of traffic mean a wider range of keywords which ultimately means a wider range of monetization opportunities. However, if you’ve just started it’s easy to over calculate and lose track, so build authority with high-quality content.

2. Affiliate Marketing has no profitable niches left

A common misconception amongst affiliates is that all profitable niches are already taken. Whatever your niche may be, there is always a potential for the growth of your targeted audience. The global internet population grows as we speak, and that increasing number only implies that potential customers are arriving, every day. 

Even if you’re still not convinced that effective niches still exist, think about the ones that just occurred recently. “Bitcoin”, “cryptocurrency”, “influencer marketing” are just to name a few, think about it, did they exist 3-4 years ago? Hobbies, lifestyles, interests, and needs of customers shift almost yearly which leaves you with countless topics to choose from.

Choose a unique angle

Use your competition to formulate a unique angle that distinguishes you from your competitors. If there are many other businesses that focus on the same niche as you, then you’ve hit the jackpot. Whatever you do, don’t look at competition as a bad thing, it’s a sign of profitability, use it to your advantage.

Approach your niche from a different angle while aiming at long-tail keywords. Besides that, try to find opportunities for medium traffic ranking because it can collectively send you a lot of traffic.  Try to remember that low traffic numbers still help. When you rank for numerous similar keywords, their total traffic number becomes much higher than you could expect. Basically, try to create high-quality content and get some quality backlinks so you can start ranking. Ranking for many closely related long-tail keywords will surely increase your authority on the topic. You can use that same authority you acquired to target more competitive keywords.

So, to sum it up, your strategy should go as follows:

  1. Approach a competitive niche from a unique angle
  2. Build authority in your topics
  3. Advance towards more popular high traffic keywords at a moderate pace.

3. Consumers hate buying through affiliates and Affiliate Networks

People love to buy, but at the same time, they hate being sold to.

So, how do you ask?

It’s very simple, when you think about it, remember those door-to-door salesmen with transparent sale techniques?

The minute they start talking you already realize that their primary goal is to sell, not satisfy. If your approach to customers focuses entirely on sales increase, people simply won’t be interested. That’s the exact assumption on which this prejudice is based which makes people think that affiliates are hated by consumers. However, if you build your relationship based on concrete foundations, such as trust and mutual benefit, you’re guaranteed to succeed.

How do I persuade my customers?

Convince your future customer that your certain product can solve their problems while making their lives easier. If you’re persuasive enough, then you’ll have no problem with your sales even when your customers know you’re getting a commission. Studies have shown that people tend to click on sponsored links only if they trust marketers.

That same study concluded that consumers actually appreciate detailed reviews and recommendations of products as long as there is trust. What do we mean by that?

Well, marketers/influencers need to have a disclosed relationship with the brand they’re sponsoring. The conclusion is that people most likely buy if they feel they’re in a win-win scenario. The ultimate advice is to keep calm, build trust, show benefits, make the sale, and that’s it.

4. Affiliates need to be experts on their topics

People won’t trust your claims and recommendations unless they believe you’re an expert in your field. When it comes to purchasing decision-making, consumers give the most importance to expert content and advice. The logic behind this is clear if an expert recommends it, consumers don’t question it.

The keyword in this whole story is in the word “believe”. You don’t actually have to be an expert, you just need to know more than your targeted audience. Even the simplest terminologies seem advanced for people who have just been introduced to your topic.

So how do I convince my consumers that I am an expert?

  • identify your target audience,
  • Analyze and understand their problems
  • Share something they don’t know.

By searching for books directly correlated to your topic you will most likely have more knowledge than your average reader even if you only commit a day or two for research purposes.

The alternative to that is simply hiring specialists who write your content thoroughly and professionally to ensure authentic content.

However, should you choose to do it by yourself, it’s actually not that hard, just remember all the steps we mentioned and you will be an expert in no time.

5. Affiliates don’t need a marketing strategy for their content

This is by far the most popular myth there is.

People tend to believe that product reviews, comparisons, discount deals, and other content sales is all there is to it.  Unfortunately, that is not the case. Unless you’re a multimillion-dollar brand that invests thousands in advertising, you will most likely need a content marketing strategy.

Why do I need a content strategy in Affiliate Marketing?

  • Helps you to effectively generate traffic by targeting your targeted audience’s problems
  • Helps you convert strangers into subscribers by offering actionable content
  • Helps you convert subscribers into customers through reliable, detailed and verifiable product information.

Divide your strategy into three stages instead of publishing only product-focused content

  1. Top-of-the-Funnel (ToFU)-First stage targets people who have a problem but are unaware of the solution ( product)
  2. Middle-of-the-Funnel (MoFU)- Second stage where people who have a problem and are aware of different solutions but still exploring different options
  3. Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BoFU) -This stage targets people who have a problem, are aware that your product can solve it, and are interested to buy.

Content Strategy Stages

ToFU content aims at complete strangers who have a problem, but don’t know how to solve it.

In this stage, you publish blog posts addressing general problems of your niche without active sales.

The goal is to turn strangers into prospects by spreading awareness of their problems and establishing trust with actionable information. At this stage, your focus should be on providing value to readers because that generates trust.

MoFU targets prospects who are aware of the problem, know that you offer solutions, but not sure what they should do about it.

BoFU is where targets are people who are aware of the problem and are actively interested in buying.

Public product reviews, as well as comparisons and other sale content, is specifically located here.

The goal is to stimulate people to interact through clicking on affiliate links.

All three funnels are interconnected; ToFU leads to MoFu and then MoFU leads to BoFU which is considered to be the final stage of the purchasing process.

Think of it as a mandatory sale process that must be done chronologically in the order that we mentioned above.

Should you choose to publish BoFu content only, you’ll end up with extremely low sales, so trust the process.

6. Affiliates don’t need to have built e-mail lists

As we stated above, it’s imperative to establish good connections and relationships with your customers. While email marketing might sound irrelevant, it’s actually a vital part of this whole system. It’s proven to be one of the most effective ways of bolstering customer relationships and customer satisfaction.

Customers tend to subscribe to newsletters and e-mails just so they can get discounts and product info. What you need to do is utilize this by formulating lead magnets to stimulate interactions with your customers.

So how do I create a lead magnet?

Lead magnets are free resources that readers access by sharing their emails with your platform. The goal is to facilitate a good offer for the customer, in exchange for his email address or other contact information.

Checklists, E-books, email courses, discount coupons and many forms of downloadable content are just to name a few. If the process succeeds, you generate leads, and we all know how important that is.

However, it’s actually not that simple to acquire emails because people don’t share their personal information very easily. Even if they’re huge fans of your brand that is simply not happening until you offer an adequate incentive. So your job is to get their emails by giving them an offer they can’t refuse.

How do I give them an offer they can’t refuse?

  1. Your offer solves real-life problems- if your offer doesn’t reflect on real-life problems of your customers then it’s not it, it won’t work.
  2. It’s promising one quick win-  your lead magnet should focus on delivering one easily achievable win for your customer.
  3. Easily understandable- easy to digest content such as PDF checklists achieve successful conversions, be as precise you can, don’t overwhelm.
  4. Very Specific- don’t generalize, the more specific you are in terms of customer benefits, the higher your conversion rates will be.
  5. Gives high value- Formulate your lead magnet to actually provide high value to customers.
  6. Instant access- don’t make your customers wait, deliver it to them right away, people appreciate instant feedback.
  7. Demonstration of your expertise- lead magnets must demonstrate expertise, this is highly important for conversion rates.

Create your autoresponders

Subscribing is simply not enough for building relationships, engagement through regular emails as well as valuable content. The best way to utilize this is through autoresponders. Welcome emails of campaigns are proven as most important due to higher open rates, so it’s all about first impressions.

When building autoresponders, carefully check all necessary parameters and ask yourself a few questions such as:

  • Does your autoresponder build a connection with your audience?
  • Does it keep them engaged with your content?
  • Does it generate traffic to your content?
  • Does it promote relevant affiliate offers?
  • Does it drive traffic towards your product reviews and sales content?

7. More traffic equals more sales and higher profits in Affiliate Marketing

Let’s face it, traffic is important, everyone wants it, and nobody is ever satisfied, we all want more. However, high traffic does not necessarily mean a high profit.

Despite the fact that traffic is the main driving force of all online businesses, it’s actually pretty useless without conversion. So, if you want to make money, you should aim at convertible traffic.

Generally, there are few main reasons why your traffic isn’t engaging with your affiliate links:

Wrong traffic source

If you generate high traffic through search engines, but your conversion rates are low, then you’re probably targeting the wrong keywords.

You need to re-evaluate your keywords and adjust them according to the product you’re promoting.

If you’re having trouble with that, then simply ask yourself a few basic questions

  • Are my keywords relevant to the product I’m promoting?
  • Do my keywords have the right buyer intent?
  • Does my traffic look for something I’m not offering?

You’re keywords are probably ranking you somewhere where you’re not directly relevant to your product.

However, this can be easily solved with a few adjustments.

Make sure that you do in-depth keyword research in order to identify the right keywords for your strategy.

As soon as you adjust that, you will notice an increase in traffic that actually converts.

No Adequate optimization

Let’s assume that your keywords are precisely targeting your audience, your traffic is high, but isn’t converting, how?

That’s probably because your CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is poorly optimized.

CRO’s main goal is to fully utilize your existing traffic while ensuring that your conversion chances are very high.

And now you’re probably asking yourself how do I do that?

Here’s a quick guide:

  • Site performance evaluation- watch out for your page loading speed, the faster it loads, the better the conversion rate. Use Google’s Page Speed insight to track your performance.
  • Analyze CTAs and check their types and placements- Calls to Action play a vital role in terms of clicks and affiliate links. Analyze them properly and make sure that they’re clearly visible. Test different types of links and utilize them in different parts of your content.
  • Re-evaluate your site design-is it distracting? Is your design clear?  Busy looking pages perform poorly.
  • Content engagement improvement-Content must be clear, informative, and most importantly, engaging. Try to format it into a reader-friendly form where small paragraphs, multiple sub-headings, and images are present.

8. You can promote any product as long as the commission rate is good

It’s true, you can, but the real question is, why should you?

Promoting and recommending products directly impacts your brand. If the product doesn’t deliver the promise, then your audience will simply blame you for that.

 If you want long-term stability and profitability, target only products that meet these conditions:

  • Solves your audience’s problems-People buy products/services that solve their problems so make sure that the promotion is in line with your customer needs. If you choose to promote something that isn’t directly correlated to your customer’s needs, you might sell at first, but over time you will gradually lose respect and integrity amongst your customers.
  • Have complete confidence when it comes to your product-Ideally you should be able to test it yourself, but in real circumstances, that is rarely possible. However, you can always analyze and check the product until you’re 100% sure that the source is reliable.
  • Research the sellers’ online history thoroughly, focusing entirely on product reviews.
  • It’s extremely important to double-check, because the moment you vouch for an online product, your reputation is on the line.

9. Affiliate Marketing is too competitive

Many people assume that affiliate marketing is overcrowded with competitiveness and thus it’s extremely hard to make money.  They go under the assumption that there is absolutely no profit there simply because there are a lot of players in the game.

However, in reality, it’s completely opposite. Competition indicates demand, large competitions mean large demands. Affiliate marketing is a $7 billion industry, it’s virtually impossible to not make money.

10. Previous buyers can’t be persuaded to buy again

This can’t be further than the truth.

This system can never be based on fraudulent activity, even if it is, it won’t last long. So if it’s not based on frauds, there is absolutely no reason for customers to buy only once.

This is plain logic, however, this myth generally focuses on online customer loyalty decreases assumptions, which were also debunked. Customers who participated in good deals and received responsive feedback will most likely come back to purchase again.

It’s all about your angle here, personalize your coupons to initiate better user recurring experiences. A customer who receives exclusive discount codes on specific occasions such as birthdays is a happy customer indeed.

11. Affiliate Marketing make you rich quickly

Here’s a classic one, just to top it off. The sad thing is that most people believe that this is true.

Affiliate networks and affiliate marketing programs take endless tries, time and effort until it reaches full perfection.  Affiliate marketing relies on the right partners and the right relationships, so the key is patience and hard work.

There are a few key factors which cannot be undermined when it comes to affiliate marketing:

  • Constantly facilitating new partner programs
  • Searching for better and more effective partnerships
  • Formulating a content strategy to stimulate up-to-date fresh information.
  • An effective program promoting.

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Affiliate Marketing - Uncovering 11 Myths
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