3 Affiliate Marketing Myths (and How to Debunk Them Yourself)

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Many myths surround the business of affiliate marketing – some good and some bad. Generally speaking, most give off a larger-than-life vibe of the world of affiliate marketing.

Some people think it's a get-rich-quick scheme, while others think it's an online scam. Neither of them is totally wrong, but neither is totally right either.

In this article, we'll give a clear definition of affiliate marketing – including the process, the people involved, and how link clicks truly can generate a healthy income. After a solid understanding of how affiliate marketing works, then we'll debunk a few of the unfortunate myths associated with this straightforward marketing strategy.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of marketing strategy where the merchant (the person who owns the products and services), “hires” a publisher (someone who has a popular online presence in the form of a website, blog, or social media following) to help market their product or service.

The merchant assigns the publisher certain links with special codes (aka affiliate links), which the merchant uses to track the number of clicks that particular publisher gets.

The publisher posts these links on their website, blog, or social media content. Their goal is to promote and advertise the product, trying to drive traffic and get customers to click the links.

When a customer clicks on a link, they are redirected to the merchant's page. If the customer buys the product or service, the merchant gives the publisher a commission, which could be a percentage of the sale or a fixed price for compensation.

Affiliate marketing cycle diagram

3 Affiliate Marketing Myths (and How to Debunk Them)

When done correctly, affiliate marketing can be a beneficial tool for both merchants and publishers to make more money online.

As an affiliate marketer, however, you need to be aware of the myths out there that could negatively affect your pursuit of this online business venture.

Myth #1: Affiliate Marketing is Easy to Set Up and Maintain

The decision to start an affiliate marketing business may be simple, but it's not something that can be built overnight. Planning out a successful affiliate business takes a lot of time, effort, and research.

Here are just a few crucial tasks that you need to ask and answer before you do any type of website building:

  • What is Your Niche? What are you passionate about? Swimming? Gaming? Being Outdoors? Eating healthy? Your niche will serve as the center point of your affiliate business. Do you have the knowledge to create a ton of content revolving around it?
  • Who is Your Audience? You may have a passion for your chosen niche, but do others? In most cases, the internet is filled with people who share the same interest as you. But how will you find these potential customers and direct them to your site?
  • How Competitive is Your Niche? You've picked a popular niche that many other people enjoy – but is it too popular? How will you outshine your affiliate marketing competitors?
  • What Affiliate Program Fits Within Your Niche? You need to find a good and reputable affiliate program that sells the products you want to promote.

As for building your website:

  • You'll need to buy a domain name (make sure it doesn't match another name) and pay for web hosting.
  • You need to choose a theme or design your own, ensuring that the look and feel of your website's overall design reflects what you are promoting.
  • You need to create relevant content and decide where and how to post it. For example, will you publish regular blog posts? Record weekly podcasts? Video product unboxing? Post on social media?

Then, your daily affiliate marketing tasks will most likely include:

  • Developing more ways to drive traffic to your site, such as constant search engine optimization (SEO) work.
  • Monitoring click-through rates and customer interaction on your site.
  • Determine which strategies are working and which aren't by implementing a/b tests.

All of this goes to show that setting up and maintaining an affiliate site is not as easy as it seems. It takes more commitment than you may have originally thought.

Myth #2: You Must be in a Lucrative Niche to Succeed

You may think that the more popular the niche, the more customers you'll have. But you'd be wrong. Why is that? Competition.

Believe it or not, you're not the only one with an interest in making money based on your passion for being outdoors. There are several like-minded individuals with the same idea. And if you're new to affiliate marketing, your competitors already have a leg up on brand awareness and customer outreach.

The good news is, you still have a chance. You just have a few more things to add to that to-do list of yours, the priority being to come up with a sub-niche.

A sub-niche is easily defined as a niche within a niche. Instead of working in such a broad niche, narrow down your interest to something more specific. For example, target your love of the outdoors to more precise outdoor activities, such as hiking, boating, bird watching, etc.

The more you can sub-niche your niche, the more you'll be able to cater to your audience with content that is relevant to their exact needs and expectations.

Myth #3: You Have to Join Several Affiliate Programs and Promote as Many Products as Possible

Some affiliate marketers join up to five affiliate programs in a bid to get more products to promote and make more money. But this approach is not rewarding in any way. Rather, it zaps your energy, takes up all your time, leaves you less productive, and in the end, hurts your bottom line.

Stick with the one affiliate program that works for you and put your time and effort into it. After it's up and running well enough, then you can join another affiliate program if you wish to do so. But two or three should be your limit. You are only human, not a machine.

In Conclusion

There you have it, the basics of affiliate marketing. But despite the positive boost in income it can bring to both merchants and affiliates, the simple marketing tactic also comes with negative accusations.

If you're thinking about starting an affiliate marketing business, you should be aware of the common myths and how to put them to rest in your business planning.

What are some affiliate marketing rumors you've proved to be incorrect? Share them with us in the comment section below.

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15 thoughts on “3 Affiliate Marketing Myths (and How to Debunk Them Yourself)

  1. This is a great post! I appreciate the detailed information and the thoughtful insights. It’s very helpful to have this kind of information laid out in such an organized way. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Informative and eye-opening! This article does a great job of debunking common misconceptions surrounding affiliate marketing. A must-read for anyone looking to start their affiliate marketing journey.

  3. Hi Kally,
    Thanks for taking out time and explaining the myths regarding affiliate marketing in detail. I really appreciated your efforts and as a digital marketing student, I will surely keep these in mind !!

  4. As someone who has been in the affiliate marketing industry for quite some time now, I must say that this article perfectly captures the common misconceptions that many people have about affiliate marketing. The three myths discussed in the article are spot on, and I couldn’t agree more with the author’s take on how to debunk them.

  5. All these “get rich fast” schemes in affiliate marketing drive me crazy. Nothing about affiliate websites is quick or easy (unless you have a ton of money to invest upfront). Great article!

  6. Very interesting and informative. I agree with the second myth. The wider you take a niche, the more difficult it will be to capture the audience, as this is too broad a topic.

  7. Myth: Affiliate marketing is a get-rich-quick scheme. Debunk: Affiliate marketing requires time and effort to build an audience and promote products effectively.
    Myth: Affiliate marketing is only for bloggers. Debunk: Anyone can participate in affiliate marketing, including social media influencers, YouTubers, and podcasters.
    Myth: Affiliate marketing is oversaturated. Debunk: There are always new products and niches to explore, and a unique approach and strategy can differentiate you from competitors.

  8. Hey!
    Your explanation of the affiliate marketing process, from finding the right niche to selecting suitable affiliate programs and promoting products or services, is thorough and easy to follow.

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