I hear the same myths about affiliate marketing doing the rounds over and over. Many of them are overly optimistic. Affiliate marketing is a way to get rich quick. Affiliate marketing is easy passive income. But many are much too cynical. It’s too hard to get started. You’ll never even hit the payout threshold for the big networks. Today we’re busting a few myths that might be stopping you from making money with affiliate marketing.
It’s hard to get started
Of course, there’s some hard work needed to get set up, but the steps themselves are pretty simple. See our series about affiliate marketing for a through introduction to the topic.
One of the really encouraging things to keep in mind is that you can earn while you learn. My best tip for bloggers who want to start earning from affiliate marketing is to look at your most popular post, add a high-quality, high-converting, relevant affiliate product to it, then start strategically promoting that post. Then carry on learning and adding new affiliate products to other posts.
It’s hard to get accepted to affiliate programs
Some affiliate programs have requirements you’ll need to meet before they approve you. Many don’t. Some of the bigger affiliate networks such as Share A Sale and Clickbank, are happy to let complete beginners sign up, though you may not be accepted by every merchant within the network. Here are some of the programs that I find work well for me and will work for many new affiliate marketers in a similar niche:
I personally sell two digital products The Busy Blogger’s Success Kit and The Freelance Writer’s Success Kit, and I let pretty much let anyone join my affiliate program. The Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing course has great advice on this area, including a bonus download, How To Always Get Approved To An Affiliate Program.
There’s always a minimum payout
I’m a member of several programs that pay out once or twice a month (or even every week) no matter how small the amount. They include Coachglue, Easy PLR, White Label Perks and the Write Your Way to 1K program.
Some networks such as Share A Sale and Clickbank do have a minimum payout, but I get around it by only promoting bigger ticket items through those networks. For example, the main product I promote from Clickbank is the Blog Writers’ Bootcamp. It pays a 50% commission and usually costs $197 (expensive but totally worth it, so there are very few returns) so every time I make a sale I hit the payout threshold.
You need a self-hosted blog
I do advise anyone who wants to make serious money online to go self-hosted. (It can cost just a few bucks a month if you do it right – find out how here). However, it’s a myth that you can’t make affiliate sales without investing in a self-hosted blog. My first affiliate sales were made from a free Blogger blog. You can even make affiliate sales on social media (I wrote a whole post about that here).
You have to live in the USA
There are a few exceptions, but most affiliate programs pay out by Paypal and can make payments to anywhere in the world. I live in the UK and make money from affiliate sales every month. It is worth checking, of course. Some programs are country specific, but most aren’t. And some companies have some strange rules. Amazon, for example, won’t accept even US residents who live in certain states.
You need a huge audience and a lot of traffic
Certainly, sales increase as your audience grows, but lots of bloggers start making money from affiliate sales while their traffic and email list is quite small. A good resource to check out how they do it is Huge Profits with a Tiny List.
I’d go so far as to say affiliate marketing is one of your best chances of monetisation while your traffic numbers are small. Advertising revenue depends on numbers. But it’s possible to make a significant affiliate sale even if only a few people see your affiliate link.
You need an email list
I’m a big fan of building your email list from the start (you can learn how to do it for free in this post) and there’s some truth in the old idea that ‘the money’s in the list’ but not all affiliate sales come from your subscribers. Your blog readers and social media followers are also likely to have enough trust in you to buy something you recommend.
Targeted blog posts that address a specific problem can also be a good vehicle for promoting relevant affiliate products, especially if they have good SEO to bring in some search traffic. If you address a specific problem, help your readers solve it, then recommend a relevant product that further reduces, explores, or eliminates the problem, you’ll often find affiliate sales will follow.
Want to know more about exactly how to get started with affiliate marketing? Check out the first in our FREE series of blog posts, Affiliate Marketing For Beginners. You might also want to check out the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. If you do, I have a special bonus for you.
Everybody who signs up to the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course through my affiliate link (that’s this one) will get a FREE copy of my Busy Blogger’s Success Kit (it usually sells for $29). Simply sign up through my link, and then forward me the email you receive confirming you’re signed up for the course (don’t worry – there won’t be any personal information like payment details in your confirmation email). Simply send your confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get your Busy Blogger’s Success Kit straight to your inbox.