Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income. The way it works is you earn a commission based on a percentage of sales from marketing someone else’s product. It sounds simple, but it’s not.
Affiliate marketing was created to benefit the business, not you. It’s a hands-off approach for businesses to generate more sales. The only time you’ll hear from the business is when you’ve generated a sale and need to get paid—and even that’s done automatically.
There is a dark side to affiliate marketing that could leave you spinning your wheels and wasting your money chasing big paydays that never come. We share some harsh truths below about affiliate marketing that you need to know before you sign up to sell someone else’s product:
1. Affiliate marketing always favors the business.
To the merchant, you’re just another faceless person who signed an agreement to follow certain rules while marketing their product. You’re not on their payroll so they’re not invested in your success. If you don’t know how to market and sell their product, they don’t care. They’re after the top performers who have made a professional career out of marketing other people’s products.
2. Most affiliate marketers are broke.
Sometimes the only way affiliate marketers make their money is through a tiered commission structure where they get paid a small percentage of other people’s sales. This isn’t exactly affiliate marketing, but for some people, it’s all they can do.
And you can’t always trust the bank statements you see in success stories. While the payouts are legitimate, they’re often commissions earned by highly successful network marketers who have taken their skills to the internet. If that’s not who you are, you can’t expect the same level of success.
3. Many affiliates sell the dream, not the product.
The old marketing gimmick of the ’90s that says you can “get rich sitting on your couch in your underwear without doing any work” is still alive and kicking. And when affiliates can’t sell the actual products, marketers often start selling the dream instead.
To generate income, they create high-priced strategy guides promising to teach you how to become a successful affiliate marketer. But their only source of income is the guide itself. Worst of all, they leave out the negative aspects of affiliate marketing. This is a trap you don’t want to fall into.
4. Success is not guaranteed.
If you’re selling a well-known product that people already love, it doesn’t mean they’re going to buy it from you. Don’t assume the product will sell itself just because it’s popular.
5. You don’t have to create it from the ground up, but it still takes hard work and dedication.
If you believe affiliate marketing is effortless, you’re wrong. Just because you’re marketing a product you didn’t have to create doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. You’ll need to work just as hard as the merchant if you want to see those high profits.
Knowledge is power
In order to succeed as an affiliate marketer, find out everything you can about the company. You need to know how long they’ve been around, what their reputation is, and what it’s like interacting with them when there’s a problem. You’re going to spend time, money, and brainpower creating your sales funnels and email marketing campaigns. The last thing you want is to create an income stream from a merchant that disappears in three months.
Also, analyze how the merchant markets their product. Sign up for the company’s email newsletter and any other promotional materials you can find to use as a template for your own marketing strategy. When you discover what works for them, you can make it work for you.
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