When you first heard of affiliate marketing, you may have thought that it sounded too good to be true. Am I right?
Well I’m here to tell you that it’s not. In fact, it’s possible to become extremely successful and independent through affiliate marketing.
If you follow affiliate marketing gurus, they make it sound like it’s as easy as an overnight success story. But the truth is that affiliate marketing takes some time and effort to pay off.
Here are 21 things that affiliate marketing gurus won’t tell you.
1) It Isn’t a Get Rich Quick Scheme
One of the biggest misconceptions about affiliate marketing is that it’s a ‘get rich quick’ plan. The fact is, it takes a hard, dedicated work for it to really pay off. You can work hard for 6-12 months and not see much of a return.
However, you could be making a great income within a couple of short years. Which is a short period of time when you think about it, and well worth the effort when you consider the benefits of owning an online business.
2) Get Rich Quick Plans Don’t Work Anyways…
You should be cautious of people trying to sell you a “get rich quick” plan for affiliate marketing. That’s a sure sign of a scam. Affiliate marketing is about the long game, not the overnight sensation. If someone is asking you to pay for information on affiliate marketing, think carefully and do your homework. Don’t fall for someone else’s get rich quick scheme.
3) You Need Education
I’m not talking about formal education here, but you should invest the time to read as much as you can about affiliate marketing, watch videos, and take online courses as often as you can. The fact that you’re here reading this post is a great start.
4) You Need Tools
Whether it’s plugins on WordPress, SEO tools, or quality web hosting, every successful affiliate marketer needs quality tools. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on tools and resources to help you on your affiliate marketing journey. But you will need the basics.
Check out the complete guide to affiliate marketing to see what training and tools I use to build my affiliate business.
5) You Need Support
Being fully committed to affiliate marketing can be a tough challenge, so getting support for your affiliate questions, web hosting issues, and content writing feedback is essential.
Try finding a community of like-minded affiliate marketers to get great additional support and resources. Like Wealthy Affiliate for example.
6) You Can Do Everything For Free- But You Probably Shouldn’t
Yes, it’s true that you can start an affiliate marketing site with virtually no money. However, starting out with no monetary investment makes it harder to gain traction. Decent hosting services don’t cost a lot of money and can give you the tools you need to be successful.
A small up-front investment is more than worth it, in the long run, to ensure you have the tools, training, and support you need to succeed.
7) Website Design is Important
Related to number 6 on our list, your website design is important for keeping viewers on your page. Taking the time to learn the basics of WordPress and a good site structure is worthwhile for any affiliate site.
A simple, clean site structure with clear ‘call to actions’ will keep your viewers on your site for longer and can make a big difference to your overall success.
With that being said, the next point is far more important than design…
8) Content is King (and Keyword Research Is Queen)
Publishing quality content is (hands down) the most important thing you could do with your affiliate site. Period.
This is what will give your audience value (which leads to higher conversions) and it’s what will help you rank higher in search engines. Which in turn will drive targeted free traffic to your site. Every affiliate needs traffic, so this is critical to your success.
It is literally in Google’s best interests to serve the most useful and relevant content possible. So do your best to fill this need and you will have a very successful site for many years to come, regardless of what algorithm changes happen.
You can use all the ‘SEO tricks’ in the world- but this will trump all of them.
It’s also important to learn about keyword research.
Understanding which keywords the people within your niche are using to find your content is key. Not only will this give you ideas on what to write about, but it will also give you a ‘roadmap’ on getting your content ranked a lot easier.
You can have the best content in the world, but if no one can find it, it’s useless. So if content is King, then keyword research is Queen.
9) Success Is Very Cumulative In Nature
When you see successful affiliate marketers showing off their high-end cars and homes. As if it they just started using this system and the money started pouring in (lol).
Do not buy into this nonsense!
What they don’t tell you, is that they’re putting in a lot more than 40 hours a week on their affiliate business. And even though you can earn passive income with affiliate marketing (which I do myself) it certainly doesn’t start that way. This is something you build over time.
In any case, being successful at affiliate marketing takes a lot of hard work and effort, so be ready to put in a lot of hours working from home. Especially in the first year.
10) Success is Not Guaranteed
This one may be a tough point to swallow, but success is not guaranteed. There have been plenty of people who have tried and failed at affiliate marketing countless times. In fact I would say a lot more people fail than succeed.
What separates the successful from the not successful, is that every time they fail, they assess what caused them to fail and try again. Determination is one of the biggest indicators of success in affiliate marketing.
So in reality, making mistakes is actually something you want to embrace.
Because it happens to ALL successful affiliates at one point or another, and to varying extents. This is critical to learning and reaching your goals.
11) Not Everyone Can Learn Affiliate Marketing Quickly
Affiliate marketing is a skill that needs to be learned. Like most skills, some people learn it faster and more thoroughly than others. Don’t feel rushed if you do not understand something. Take the time to thoroughly understand the topic and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
12) Everyone Can Do Affiliate Marketing
While there are those who will understand affiliate marketing better than others, it truly is something that everyone can do. If you have a passion for a niche and the willpower to learn some basic information about affiliate networks and building sites, you can become an affiliate marketer.
Don’t be discouraged from affiliate marketing just because you have little technical experience. Being successful is WAY more about persistence than technical skills.
13) Any Niche Will Work—Some Better Than Others
One of the biggest myths you’ll hear about affiliate marketing is that you have to pick a perfect, secret niche in order to make big money off of affiliate marketing.
Some gurus will even try to sell you lists of niches that they believe will help make you rich. If everyone’s buying that list, what does that mean for the competition in those niches? Virtually ANY niche can be profitable, although some niches will obviously be more profitable than others. What matters is creating content that is engaging and genuine.
Your readers will be able to tell if you’re not passionate about your topic.
14) There Are More Affiliate Programs Than Amazon
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, you may hear a lot of people talking about the Amazon Affiliate Program or creating specific sites just for Amazon.
While Amazon does have a good affiliate program with a robust selection of products, there are plenty of other affiliate programs that offer much higher commissions on sales.
Those other affiliate programs might also cater better to your specific niche.
15) You Need to Adapt to Change
Adapting to change is an essential skill for any successful affiliate marketer. As your subscribers grow, you’ll notice a shift in their wants and needs, and you need to be ready to capitalize on those changes.
The online world is a rapidly changing environment, so it pays to know your niche.
16) You Can Overuse Affiliate Links
Overusing affiliate links is one of the biggest mistakes new affiliate marketers can make. In fact, if you’re starting a purely content-driven site, you shouldn’t include affiliate links in your first few published pieces.
Starting out with an overload of affiliate links is a quick way to drive viewers away from your site. And it could lead Google to believe you are running a ‘thin affiliate site’.
Which as you can imagine, is a very bad thing if you want traffic. And you need traffic.
Start with a foundation of quality content to keep viewers coming back for more. Once you’ve built trust with your audience, slowly introduce affiliate links to convert readers into buyers.
17) You Need Social Media
Social media is an important avenue for promoting your affiliate site. Whether it’s through personal posts or an ad campaign, social media allows you to connect with millions of potential readers with the click of a button.
18) It Isn’t Autopilot
You’ll hear a lot of affiliate marketing gurus talk about how their affiliate marketing is set to ‘autopilot.’ It’s true that certain aspects of your business can be automated, especially over time. But you shouldn’t expect to “plugin to an autopilot system” to make money.
Because this is not the reality. And in most cases anyone telling you this is real, is scamming you. It’s important to set the right expectations that affiliate marketing requires work to set up and maintain.
19) Age Doesn’t Matter
It doesn’t matter how old or young you are to get into affiliate marketing. All you need to do is have a passion for something and the ability to produce great content, and there will always be an audience there waiting to hear what you have to say and recommend.
There are plenty of ways to learn how to build an effective affiliate website, and with one-click installs, getting the software you need has never been easier.
20) It’s a Long-Term Gig
If you’re getting into affiliate marketing to get rich overnight, affiliate marketing isn’t right for you. It often takes years to generate significant income, and even then, you need to continue working hard to continue that success. Remember that most successful affiliate marketers start out by putting in a lot more hours than a typical 40-hour work week.
21) You Don’t Need To Pay Someone To Tell You What You Already Know
We have seen and heard affiliate marketing ‘gurus’ sell the same pitch over and over. They weren’t making money on their affiliate marketing, they were making money selling people outdated information they can get for free.
You don’t need to pay anyone to tell you what you already know. Often times these ‘amazing new systems’ are about the same old stuff, just packaged differently.
It might be tempting to purchase something that you believe will make you rich overnight. You don’t need to waste your money listening to someone give away their ‘secrets’ that really aren’t secrets at all.