When it comes to making money online, affiliate marketing is one of the most popular business models around.
It’s easy to see why – with a little bit of work, you can earn commissions for promoting other people’s products and services.
But Is affiliate marketing legit? A legitimate way to make money, or is it just a scam?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the truth about affiliate marketing and answer that question once and for all!
Read it to the end to avoid affiliate marketing scams.
Is affiliate marketing legit?
- Affiliate marketing is a process where you promote other people’s products and get commissions for every sale you make.
- As a digital marketing beginner, there are certain steps you need to follow to make it in the affiliate marketing world. These steps include choosing an affiliate niche, finding the best affiliate program, building a website, generating traffic and avoiding scams.
- To choose the right affiliate marketing program, start by promoting products you are already using or network with friends and promote the products they are promoting. You can also join an affiliate network such as ClickBank or ShareASale.
- What is Affiliate Marketing?
- Is Affiliate Marketing an MLM?
- How does Affiliate Marketing work?
- Is Affiliate Marketing profitable?
- Who is the most successful affiliate marketer?
- How can I begin affiliate marketing?
- Affiliate marketing is not a scam, but…
- How do you identify and avoid affiliate scams?
- Examples of affiliate marketing scams
- How to choose Affiliate Marketing Programs?
- Best Affiliate Marketing Books and courses
- Topics & Questions
What is Affiliate Marketing?
To begin with the basics, affiliate marketing is the process of promoting a product and earning a commission from the leads you bring along. Sometimes, merchants pay for clicks, as well. So, you will be paid for any lead and conversion you send their way.
Products have various affiliate commission rates depending on the niche, affiliate network, and solution it offers. Amazon has commission rates of between 2% and 10% of every sale. ClickBank has rates between 40% and 70%.
Is Affiliate Marketing an MLM?
No, it is not. Think about it – multi-level marketing is whereby you are asked to recruit people to promote a company’s product and earn a commission from their sales. In turn, someone in your up-line will also earn a commission from your conversions.
In the end, the business model operates like a pyramid scheme where people at the top make sales at the expense of the people at the bottom of the pyramid.
Affiliate marketing is different since you are not sharing the commission with anyone. You are making money based solely on your efforts.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
It begins when the affiliate merchant, who owns the product, handles the fulfilment and develops an affiliate program. Most e-commerce stores have affiliate programs. Coaches and consultants have it, too.
The thing about affiliate marketing is it is a smart way of marketing. Think about it – you will be having someone promote your product and only pay them when the lead they bring along converts to purchases.
To do that, you, as an affiliate merchant, need to list your product on affiliate networks or develop an affiliate system on your website. Affiliate marketers will then sign up to promote it and get a unique affiliate link.
Once they send traffic through their unique affiliate links, your affiliate system or network will track all the clicks and conversion into the affiliate account.
Once you hit a certain amount in affiliate sales, you can withdraw using your preferred payment processor as an affiliate marketer.
Is Affiliate Marketing profitable?
Maybe you are asking, “Can affiliate marketing really make money?” Well, yes. It can. If you put in the effort, affiliate marketing is a legit passive income earner.
According to a Statistic report, publishers will spend about $8.2 billion in affiliate marketing in 2022. Research also shows that the average affiliate marketer salary is $51,639 annually.
That’s a huge number. It should encourage you to jump on in and try it out.
Who is the most successful affiliate marketer?
Here are some of the most successful affiliate marketers on the internet today:
In May 2021, Spencer, the founder of Niche Pursuits, made over $58,000 from his blog related to squirrels and some other backyard content.
The money came basically from affiliate revenue and display ads, which advertisers placed on his website. Spencer is one of the best affiliate marketers to follow and learn affiliate marketing strategies.
Almost anybody in the affiliate marketing world has heard of Pat. He is the founder of the Smart Passive Income blog, where he shares his best affiliate products and promotes his courses related to affiliate marketing.
His affiliate marketing worth was about $105,619 in 2017 primarily from his blog.
Alex and Lauren
These two have a blog where they document their affiliate marketing journey and promote their courses.
Their blog, Create and Go, makes over $100,000 per month, primarily from affiliate marketing in three years. You can always follow them. They often share earnings reports on their affiliate journey to motivate those wanting to start affiliate marketing.
How can I begin affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is not rocket science. Once you learn the basics, it is easy to build up on those and learn. As a digital marketing beginner, there are certain steps you need to follow to make it in the affiliate marketing world.
Let’s check out some of the steps:
Affiliate Niches: Which one is for you?
Well, there are a ton of niches to choose from. So, take your time and think through the best that can work for you. It should be the niche you are passionate about and have the most information about.
The money is in the niche you choose. So, don’t choose niches that don’t have a lot of buyers. For example, fishing might not have many buyers compared to health and wellness or making money online niches.
You should also niche down to a specific sub-niche. You can easily rank in a niche such as Facebook Budget Optimization rather than Facebook ads.
Affiliate program: Choose the best
Once you have settled for a niche, it is time to choose the best affiliate marketing products to promote.
There are some aspects to consider, such as price, features, and how best the product can solve the target audience’s challenges.
I prefer digital products such as e-books, courses, and webinars since you won’t need to stock or ship them whenever you get an order.
Understanding your audience will also help you determine their purchasing power and promote a product they will most likely purchase. Selling high-ticket offers could often mean you are targeting high-end customers – those with high purchasing power.
Affiliate websites: Your income engine
Your website forms the cornerstone of all your affiliate marketing efforts. A website helps you create product descriptions, tap into the social and organic traffic, and lead the web visitors down your sales pipeline.
How do you build one?
In summary, you just need to find a good web host such as BlueHost, install WordPress and a ton of caching and SEO plugins such as RankMath and begin creating search engine optimized content.
Again, you can always hire an expert on Fiverr to do all this for you for as low as $10 to $100. They will handle all the web design and development for you. You will then create blog content relating to the products you are promoting.
Traffic: Invest in targeted traffic
There are different ways of acquiring traffic. We are saying targeted traffic because you are looking for leads and sales, not just web visitors.
Most successful affiliate marketers have mastered the art of optimizing content for search engines. It is the best method of acquiring targeted traffic since it involves targeting peoples’ search intent and providing information that can help them make prime decisions.
You can also decide to go the social media way. If you already have a good social media following, don’t hesitate to tap into that for sales. Create a Facebook group related to what you are promoting and post as much value as possible before selling your affiliate products.
Other traffic generation methods include PPC, Facebook and Google Ads, and blogging on social forums and platforms such as Quora. All these are great ways to drive traffic and sales as a new affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing is not a scam, but…
Not all products on the internet are legit. Some affiliate merchants want to taint the picture of affiliate marketing by bringing in unwanted malpractices and wrong business models.
But you shouldn’t worry since it’s easy to notice a suspicious affiliate program and avoid it. You will focus on products that bring in revenue and build a sustainable online business.
How do you identify and avoid affiliate scams?
To avoid being scammed, you must learn to identify scam products and services online. However, the rule of thumb is to never invest in an affiliate program that’s too good to be true. Most of the time, it is a scam.
Start off with the images. The program might be a scam if you notice that the images are unclear or of low quality. It can even be someone selling a fake product.
In addition, watch out for websites with many ads on them. I’m sure you have ever landed on a website with ads on the sidebar, middle, top bar, footer, and sometimes in the sub-footer. Avoid these sites because what they promise might never come by.
Avoid websites with poor design and many redirects as well. Think about it – someone selling a legit product will take time to design a clean and highly responsive site, whereas a scammer will not since the product can be pulled down after some time.
In addition, avoid it if you find a site with a lot of copy that constantly promises to make you thousands of dollars.
Most legit programs assure you that they will only give you the tricks, techniques, and formulas. The rest is up to you. So, avoid programs that promise you heaven on earth.
You can also do a quick search on Google; maybe someone reported the product as a scam. Just type the [product name] scam and hit ‘enter’ to ascertain the credibility of a product.
Examples of affiliate marketing scams
What are some of these programs? Let’s check them out. You should have come across some of these while browsing online;
Pay to join programs
Sometimes, it can make sense to pay to join an affiliate program. You can always pay to use and promote a legit product after being recommended by friends, colleagues, or someone you follow online.
In fact, most of the products you use online have an affiliate program. For example, I’m using RankMath to optimize this post. RankMath has an affiliate program. I bought a pricing package to use the tool in my blog.
Some excellent affiliate programs online might also sometime have a value ladder. They will allow you to join and promote only a specific product until you hit certain sales before upgrading.
However, don’t let all this confuse you from the fact that most affiliate programs are free to join. I can promote some of the tools I currently use without necessarily purchasing their packages.
Therefore, be careful when joining programs that promise quick returns but ask you to pay a certain amount.
This common affiliate marketing scam is all over the internet. And since people want to make quick money to travel the world and solve their challenges, most fall into the trap.
These programs often promise to make you a millionaire overnight without really doing anything. They will ask you to invest a certain amount of money and get insane results.
It is easy to realize that the deal is unrealistic if someone asks you to invest between $5 to $20 to make $5000 in a day or two. Not many people make that much money. Even the richest men in the world had to struggle for 20 to 30 years to reach their current level.
That means you can easily spot this scam from far and avoid it like the plague.
This is yet another affiliate scam to watch out for in your online marketing journey.
Like in any other market – even brick and mortar businesses – some people tend to create a copy of a product and sell it at a cheaper price.
Similarly, there are fake products and services in the online space, which you ought to avoid. These scammers are also known for buying many positive reviews online to lure as many buyers as possible.
Watch out for offers with full catalogs, lengthy product descriptions, and many customer reviews to boost social proof and appear original.
It is easy to identify a fake product when undertaking online affiliate marketing. The website might often lack the ‘contact us’ page or owner’s contact information, making it hard to reach them.
How to choose Affiliate Marketing Programs?
Now that you know there are common affiliate marketing scams, how can you choose the right affiliate marketing program to promote and make money?
It is easy.
Start off with the products you are already using. If you are a blogger, there are plugins you are currently using that have an affiliate program. Go with that since promoting a product you are already using is much easier.
You should also network with friends and promote the products they are promoting. Yes, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Some successful affiliate marketers simply copied others and improved on already existing techniques.
In addition to that, several affiliate networks bring together merchants and affiliate products. ClickBank, ShareASale, and Commission Junction are some of these networks. Most products here are legit and can make you passive income. Use those and avoid scammy affiliate marketers.
Best Affiliate Marketing Books and courses
To learn the best affiliate marketing techniques and methods, here are some of the books to read:
Traffic Secrets Book written by Russell Brunson, has all you need to drive traffic to your affiliate offers. Coming to think of it, if you know how to drive targeted traffic to an affiliate offer, you can never lack sales. So, it’s worth learning a few tricks from the pros.
Dotcom Secrets book could be one of the best books you will ever lay your hands on. It was also written by Russell Brunson, the founder of ClickFunnels.
It may not be directly related to affiliate marketing, but it has most of the techniques you will need to make it in the affiliate marketing space.
In fact, you should purchase the Secret Trilogy, which is a pack of three books talking about establishing and running a profitable online business.
Take the 15-Days online business builder challenge
This isn’t an ordinary challenge. It is a practical step-by-step challenge giving you the skills and expertise needed to establish and run an online business. By the 15th day, you will have a fully operational business.
Topics & Questions
Is there a better way to make money than by simply promoting others’ products on the internet?
Affiliate marketing gives you an opportunity for success with little investment. With so many people into e-commerce, this industry will always have legs!
All it takes is following some best practices and getting advice from successful affiliates in order to optimize your efforts – then watch as those profits grow exponentially before our eyes.