Affiliate marketing myths continue to linger after all these years. They seem to stick because of two crowds – those that tried, got frustrated, and gave up or those that are uninformed.
The affiliate marketing myths include:
- It’s expensive to get started
- The market is oversaturated
- Affiliate programs are scams
- Niches aren’t worth the time
- You’re SOL if you’re non-tech
It’s kind of laughable that these old wives’ tales and misconceptions keep appearing in social media discussions and blog posts. It makes you wonder if these non-truths are shared so others don’t get into this wildly addictive game of business.
Affiliate marketing is like any other form of business: you’ve got to hustle and put in the time.
If you want a tl;dr – it’s:
- You can get started with $20-$100 for the website basics
- The big markets are worth it because they generate the most money
- It’s only a scam if you don’t do your research and trust the wrong people
- Niches make money and have less competition (plus they’re super fun)
- You can build basically everything with drag-and-drop editors or tools
How about we look through each and see why these myths are just old wives’ tales rather than defending affiliate marketing and myths being thrown around with it.
The “I don’t have that kind of money to start!” myth
Websites are cheaper than ever to set up thanks to affordable domains, web hosting, free CMS platforms (like WordPress), and themes (free and paid).
The only reason why you’re seeing these high prices getting throw around is from the hand-crafted development.
Yes, if you’re a big business and want a website designed and coded from scratch you can expect to pay thousands (even tens of thousands) of dollars. But, that’s your choice and it’s probably well warranted because you have specific website needs and design goals.
An affiliate website is dirt cheap:
- Domain – $10-$15/yr
- Web Hosting – $10-$15/mo
- Content Management System – Free
- Website theme – Free to about $30-$50
That’s all you need for the barebones – and honestly, you can start with just that and always add to it later if you decided to reinvest your affiliate income.
Look at our complete guide to building an affiliate site if you want to read more.
What these people that push the affiliate marketing myths are probably reasoning are the extras such as adding an e-commerce shopping cart or premium plugins. Yes, they cost money but they aren’t essential for the site operation – these are investments the same you’d do with any other form of business.
BUSTED: You can develop an affiliate website for under $100 (sometimes just $20 with coupons and free website themes).
The “But the market I want to go after is saturated!” myth
Well of course if you’re trying to sell books online or designer sunglasses you’re going to have trouble penetrating the market. But, even then, why would you think Amazon or SunglassHut as one of your main competitors? Wouldn’t an extra $1,000 a month be worthwhile anyway?
There are a reason affiliate marketers go after the big niches:
- Real estate – $2.26 billion
- Professional & business services – $2.09 billion
- Finance & insurance – $1.24 billion
- IT services – $17.5 billion
- Health – $24.4 billion
Does it surprise you that someone would go after the biggest industries because they happen to have the largest marketplace for consumers and selection of products and services?
When you have tens (or hundreds) of millions of customers you’re bound to convert.
But… okay, let’s say you’re shaking because of the competition.
There are ways to combat the competition and put this affiliate marketing myth to rest:
- Research the competition to understand their operations
- Discover your unique selling point so you’re able to stand out
- Build the site, create content, and get active on social media to build attention
- Find affiliated products for things people want or need
That’s it – you overcome the competition by entering the market and having something different to say.
It’s going to be tough but not impossible.
It shouldn’t deter you from trying the larger industries once you have a footing on the affiliate strategies. Hell, it may be worthwhile to start with one because competition will spur creativity and have you working twice as hard!
These “saturated” industries are so massive that even 0.01% of the sales would be millions of dollars.
BUSTED: This affiliate myth that a market is too saturated leaves out that it’s a numbers game.
The “This is just one big scam!” myth
Well, yeah, if you’re getting yourself involved with a company that doesn’t seem legit or just blindly following someone because you think you’re getting quick riches, of course, you’re gonna get burned.
“A fool and his money are soon parted.”
There are a couple of reasons why people think this way:
- They bought into the whole set it and forget it pre-made stuff
- They’re the type of people that buy tons of learning materials but never use them
- They gave up before the campaigns showed real promise
And some are just plain salty about it all.
The giving up aspect is what we see the most because people are quite impatient. Building and growing a site takes time. It could take many months before you see that first affiliate commission. Same for the data you’re collecting which you’ll use to make website improvements.
There are some that launch and begin making money right away… that’s awesome for them.
For the rest of us? It may take a dozen tries across several niches and projects before something sticks.
Again, affiliate marketing is like any business in that you need to do your research, test the waters, and commit once you see a positive return. You can’t be like those that read endless posts and buy up the expensive affiliate learning programs that never build anything – don’t get trapped by analysis paralysis.
BUSTED: Affiliate marketing is offered by some of the biggest, reputable companies in the world so when people think it’s a scam it’s likely because they didn’t do their due diligence.
The “You keep saying “niche” but it’s not going to make money” myth
We, and other affiliate marketing blogs, don’t promote choosing a niche because we want to corner you and cause frustration. We suggest niche selection because it keeps the project in scope and it creates easier opportunities because of fewer competitors.
Those that don’t want to take on the big industries choose a niche because:
- It’s usually something they’re interested in
- They’ve found something neat to promote that others aren’t
- Competition hasn’t really taken hold so there are branding opportunities
- It’s new and exciting so the affiliate is hyped up
A niche is just a refined selection from a larger market – traditional businesses have been doing this for centuries.
You find something you’re good at, make sure others want it, and get in the space.
Here are the neat things about niches:
- You can focus on topics you care for without stretching too thin
- The market is generally passionate because they’re part of a tight-knit community
- Customers are very vocal because they want to see their interest succeed
No one says you must stick to the niche specifically because there are always opportunities to upsell and cross-sell other products. People aren’t only interested in that one thing.
It’s more about creating an audience that trusts your opinions and expertise – it’ll make a community that will buy what you offer if it’s good.
BUSTED: Niches are easier to get into while being able to earn a decent amount of money – it can scale, too – so no, this affiliate marketing myth that “niches suck” is unfounded.
The “I don’t have the techie skills to do this stuff” myth
This is one of my favorite affiliate marketing myths because there are some truths to it but it’s completely dispelled once you realize it’s how people approach a problem.
- You can hand-code the affiliate stuff
- You can manually manage your social
- You can write every post on the blog
Would, or should you? No, there are tools and resources for that.
You don’t expect the regional manager of a McDonald’s to drop in to cook, run the window, and do the cleanup, would you? They could but they won’t because their time is better spent elsewhere.
It’s the same with affiliate marketing.
- Use social media scheduling tools
- Take in guest posts or hire the occasional freelance writer
- Install and tweak drag-and-drop templates
It would be nice if you took the time to learn all the technical skills because you can use them in plenty of other projects. But, you don’t need to with affiliate marketing because there are tons of resources.
Plus, you can do affiliate marketing without a site if you really wanted to.
BUSTED: It’s only technical if you want to make it technical otherwise use WSYWIG builders, templates, plugins, and tools for most of the work.
Share Your Affiliate Marketing Myths
C’mon, let’s hear ‘em!
What sort of affiliate myth have you been hearing? What’s got you scratching your head trying to figure out WTF they’re talking about? Let’s add to this list so we can dispel these old wives’ tales once and for all.
Get at us with a comment!