Many people dream of making huge sums of money doing a job that they love. This remains a dream for the majority of people, but some people are doing just that through affiliate marketing. While the sky can be the limit, the pros and cons of affiliate marketing should be considered by anyone wanting to pursue this venture.
Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry. It is very popular as it offers people from all walks of life the ability to start up their own online business. Anyone, including you, can become an online entrepreneur. This is because being an affiliate marketer requires very little outlay of funds. Another attraction is that you don’t need any experience as most people learn as they go along.
When first starting out, many affiliate marketers run their online business on the side. They then quit their full-time jobs when their business takes off. Successful affiliate marketers can literally make money while they sleep. Wouldn’t you love a job like that?
But to be successful in this industry requires time, effort, determination and skill. So, before you leap in and take on this commitment, it may be best to first consider all the pros and cons of affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is an online marketing technique. It consists of a merchant or retailer (e.g. Amazon, Nike, eBay etc.) who has goods or services which they want to sell. The merchant pays a commission to affiliate marketers who sell their products or services through their promotion efforts.
Affiliate marketing has become one of the most popular ways of making money online. This is because it’s a low-cost way for people with no experience to earn a passive income. Anyone, including you, can sign up to become an affiliate marketer.
Once you sign up, the merchant issues you with a customized affiliate link. This link is for your exclusive use. You then promote your merchant’s items that are associated with your niche. Your review, promotion or recommendation can be via your website, YouTube channel, or on social media. Attach your customized merchant’s link to the items that you promote.
When one of your visitors clicks on your link they get sent to your merchant’s website. If your visitor then proceeds to buy, register, or download an item through one of your affiliate links, you earn a fixed commission. Commission rates vary from one merchant to another, so you will need to be familiar with these.
Your affiliate network handles all the payments made by the customer, any customer inquiries, and the delivery of the goods. They are also responsible for the payment of your commission. There are some dodgy affiliate networks around so make sure to research any affiliate programs before joining up with them.
Before proceeding with this venture, it’s important that you carefully consider all the pros and cons of affiliate marketing.
Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing For The Affiliate
Easy to Join, Low Cost Business
One of the pros of affiliate marketing is that the majority of affiliate programs are free and easy to join. Affiliate marketing is an attractive option because there are very few barriers to entry. Anyone can become an affiliate marketer, including you!
To start an online business all you need to do is to create a website. You can create a free website by clicking here. You then choose a niche (topic) that you are passionate about. Once you have your niche, you determine which products or services you want to promote.
You then simply sign up for an affiliate marketing program that provides products or services that would be of interest to your niche audience. Now you’re ready to start!
Love Your Job
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you can make money doing what you love. If you have a favorite hobby or have a good knowledge of a certain topic, choose this as your niche (topic) for your website. Another option for a niche is to choose items that you like and personally use.
Then join affiliate programs that have products that relate to your niche. There are an enormous number of affiliate programs to choose from depending on where your passions lie. You then proceed in promoting or reviewing your merchant’s products or services.
When you review products and services that you are passionate about, this can become a labor of love. If you love a product or service, it is easy to write a review based on your personal experience. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.
The best reviews are those that provide helpful information to your audience. Reviews that help your audience to solve a problem are ranked highly in search engines. This is because a good review helps people to find the right product or service for their requirements.
Experience Isn’t A Requirement
Anyone can become an affiliate marketer because you don’t need any experience or expertise. You can learn as you go through trial and error. You do this by identifying, and then optimizing the products or mediums that perform the best.
Another way to gain experience is by learning the ropes through an affiliate training program. I recommend Wealthy Affiliate. This is because it has the best training program in the world. Anyone who is serious about making money through affiliate marketing should consider getting professional training.
The best part is that you can join Wealthy Affiliate as a Starter member for free (no credit card required). As a Starter member you get 2 websites complete with hosting for FREE. In addition to this you get some basic training on how to build a website and some training on the basic concepts of affiliate marketing.
Sure, you can go it alone. That is what I initially did. But when you go it alone you make a heap of mistakes. Mistakes that you wouldn’t otherwise make when you get a good training foundation from marketing experts. Getting proper training saves a lot of time lost on fruitless searches. It also saves you the frustration that you would otherwise experience when you go solo.
Wealthy Affiliate also offers a Premium membership for less than $1 US a day when you pay for an annual membership. This is phenomenal value! As a Premium member you can operate 25 free domain websites plus 25 paid domain websites, complete with hosting.
You will also have access to all the training that you will ever need regarding affiliate marketing and running an online business. Wealthy Affiliate offers a huge amount of resources and tools that will help you improve your SEO rankings. They also run live weekly webinars that you can take part in. Included in your membership is 24/7 assistance, so if you get stuck you are never alone.
Low Operating Costs
Another pro of affiliate marketing is that the costs to operate this business model are minimal. Most affiliate programs are free to join, although some do have a nominal joining fee.
One of the great advantages as an affiliate marketer is that you can work from home. You can work online from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection. When compared to a physical brick and mortar business, operating a business online is dirt cheap. This is because you don’t have any of the associated costs of running a physical business such as leases and insurance costs.
As an affiliate marketer you promote other people’s items or services. You therefore don’t have any costs associated with product development, acquisition and/or storage of inventory. Furthermore you don’t need to have your own stock or incur any related operating costs such as customer service, hiring of staff, postage costs, guarantees, insurances, etc.
The beauty of joining an affiliate marketing network is that all banners and promotional materials are provided by the merchant. They are available at no cost for your use. You therefore don’t have to pay for any marketing materials to promote your products.
You will however incur expenses related to setting up a domain, web hosting, web security, web design and advertising. But if you join Wealthy Affiliate you can get 2 websites with hosting for free. You can also learn how to set up your website yourself in under 30 seconds. Watch the video below to find out how!
Another benefit to being an affiliate marketer is that you have a huge amount of flexibility because you work for yourself. Many people when first starting out as an affiliate marketer, do it on the side. There are 2 main advantages to starting up your business in this fashion. Firstly, your main source of income is secure as you don’t need to give up your job. Secondly, for a small set up cost you can experiment on the side to see if this business is right for you.
An additional benefit is that you can select products and services that you are passionate about. Choose several different products that relate to your chosen niche from different companies. This way you can determine which products are easier to sell or which ones give you the best returns.
You don’t have to stick with one affiliate program or network. Different affiliate networks and products pay different commissions. As an affiliate marketer you are free to pick and choose who you want to work with without having to give an account to anybody. You can then optimize the programs that work best for you. This approach minimizes your risks while maximizing your potential to make money.
As a self-employed affiliate marketer, you can work from anywhere in the world. This means that you can work while commuting on public transport, or in the waiting room at the doctor’s surgery. If you are a parent, you can work while waiting for your kids to finish their extra curriculum activities.
Because you set your own rules, not only can you decide where you will work, but what you will wear. You can choose to work from a hammock by the pool, while wearing your swimmers and drinking a martini. Or you could lounge on a couch in front of an open fire in your pajamas. How good is that!
Another benefit to being an online affiliate marketer is that you can work at any time during the day or night. This flexibility can be great if you currently have a full time job, or work casual hours. Regardless of whether you like to sleep in, or prefer to work at the break of dawn, you can adjust your work hours to suit yourself. When unexpected events occur, you can easily change your work schedule to cater for these.
Accountable Only To Yourself
When you first start out as an affiliate marketer you are bound to make errors of judgement. But because you are your own boss and accountable only to yourself. Therefore no-one will take you to task if you make mistakes.
It takes a lot of time and effort to become a successful affiliate marketer. You need to build trust with your audience. You do this by regularly posting good original content on your website, YouTube channel or on social media. Your content needs to be helpful or informative so that you can build up trust with your audience and search engines.
Search engines that trust your site will rank it highly. This ensures more traffic to your site. The more traffic you get, the bigger the change that your audience will convert. A trusting audience is more likely to buy the products or services that you recommend. Gaining trust is important because if your audience doesn’t convert into buyers, you won’t make any sales. You therefore won’t get a commission for all the work that you have done.
Unless you are a volunteer working for a charity, working hard for no pay sucks! To become a successful affiliate marketer, you can go it alone and make many mistakes. Or you can join Wealthy Affiliate and get taught through a step by step, easy to follow training process all you need to know about affiliate marketing.
No Dealings With Customers
As an affiliate you never have to deal with physical objects or the transportation of these. Because you don’t own the products and services that you recommend, you don’t have to worry about retaining customers. Nor do you have to worry about any customer service issues. So if you receive a post-sale query, quickly reply to it, then pass it on to the merchant’s customer service team.
A word of warning, if the products that you are promoting, constantly receive bad reviews, you should drop these items like hot cakes. This is because your audience will quickly abandon your site if the products that you recommend are of poor quality or have other issues.
Product quality and service issues such as returns, postage problems, guarantees and refunds are not your concern. However, they will impact on the trust between you and your audience if you continue to peruse bad performing items.
Earn Passive Income
The ability to earn a passive income is what draws the majority of people to affiliate marketing. This means that you can literally earn money while you sleep. This will only occur once your website is monopolized and ranked in Google. How good is that!
Once your website is up and running and ranked in Google, your website can potentially continue to earn you an ongoing income. As long as the products that you recommend remain current and desirable, you can continue to receive an income from your website without any additional work. You won’t get that from your 9-5 job!
As an affiliate marketer no-one gets to determine what you are worth. A successful website has the potential to earn huge sums of money. The sky is literally the limit. To speed up the prospect of becoming a successful affiliate marketer, join Wealthy Affiliate and get all the training you need to make it big.
Performance Based Income
As an affiliate marketer, you work for yourself in your own business. That means that your success or failure is totally dependent on you. Going into business for one’s self is always a bit of a gamble. If you have big dreams, are persistent and are willing to work hard then success is sure to follow.
As with any business how much money you earn will be dependent on many factors. Factors include the niche that you are recommending, how often you post new content, and the capacity of your niche audience to purchase goods. You also need to have the ability to persuade your visitors to buy your products.
Other factors that will impact on how much you earn is the internet medium that you use to get your message across. You can choose to promote your goods via your website, blog, YouTube channel or on social media. Different mediums have different conversion rates, as do different products and services. Paying for advertising may also affect conversion rates and if you want to go down this track you need to set aside money for it.
On top of all this you need to be persistent and preserve. As with any business it takes time to build up a name for one’s self and gain consumer trust. You need to promote your items often through your medium. To see decent results from your affiliate marketing efforts can take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years.
We have now discussed the pros of affiliate marketing. But before you decide to take on this venture, you should take a close look at the cons of affiliate marketing.
The Cons of Affiliate Marketing
Can’t Control Affiliate Marketing Programs
As an affiliate marketer you don’t own the affiliate marketing programs that you join. You are thus entirely dependent on your merchant’s rules, conditions and the commissions that they choose to pay you. If you don’t agree with their terms and conditions, then your only choice is to go elsewhere.
A program may initially be an attractive option but over time it may become less competitive. This can happen if more affiliates join the program you are with. The products that you promote can also become less profitable when similar products enter the market via other merchants. If a merchant’s product becomes less competitive, then your only course of action would be to ditch it.
The amount of work that you need to put into recommending products and services is the same regardless of the payout. It is therefore in your own best interest to go for products and services that convert easily and/or pay out good commissions.
No Control Over Competition
When you go into business for yourself you will need to compete against other businesses that operate within your chosen niche. If the niche that you choose is very competitive, then you may struggle to make any money. This is why it is important to get some training in affiliate marketing.
The training that Wealthy Affiliate provides is second to none. Getting the right training will help you avoid the pit falls that many people encounter when going it alone.
The training at you will put you ahead of the pack. When you combine this with hard work and your will to succeed, your business will soon start to make money while you sleep!! Click on the above banner if you are interested in learning how to make money as an affiliate marketer!
Revenue Isn’t Guaranteed
All business people are risk takers! Going into business for yourself can be a huge gamble as your revenue is never guaranteed. If you are dependent on a steady income, then affiliate marketing isn’t for you! To reduce the risks, you can run your online business as a side business. Continue to work at your paid job until such a time that your business makes enough money for you to quit your job.
Being an affiliate isn’t easy. Firstly it takes a while (up to 2 years), to build up enough traffic to start making a decent amount of money. You then only make money when someone purchases something. And once a purchase is made the chances of a repeat purchase is slim. This is because the customer will deal directly with the vendor (not with you), for any of their future requirements.
One of the biggest disadvantages of being an affiliate marketer is that you will always have to chase new leads. Revenue isn’t guaranteed and it’s difficult to predict how much you will make day to day. One way to counter this is to establish a subscription to an email list.
People who subscribe to your email list are already interested in what you have to say. They are therefore likely to be interested in other future products that you may want to promote. An email list is very valuable to affiliate marketers as it provides them with a ready audience.
Not A Get Rich Quick Scheme
As with any real business, being an affiliate marketer is hard work. If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme then affiliate marketing isn’t for you!
When you first start out as an affiliate marketer you will need to invest a lot of time and effort into establishing your business. Know in advance that this can take up to 40 hours per week if you decide to do it as a full-time job. If you take on this venture as a part time job, it can cost you many hours at night after work. And potentially your side business could use up all your weekends as well.
Over time it is possible to make a huge amount of money with your own online business. Many affiliate marketers have done just that and are earning 6 figure sums or more. If you are sick of working for a boss that doesn’t value you, then affiliate marketing can be the business that you are searching for.
Freelance Jobs Aren’t For Everyone
Affiliate marketing isn’t for everyone. Working from home on your own can make you feel isolated, lonely, frustrated or stagnated. But because of the ability to work from anywhere, feelings of isolation can be overcome. You can get out of the house by choosing to work from an internet cafe or even from your local library.
If you can afford it, consider leasing a co-working space. This is where you rent a desk or space and work along side other aspiring entrepreneurs. This way you can build connections with other people who have similar aspirations as yourself.
It takes a particular personality to go into business for themselves. There are many characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. Some of these are: determination, hard work, persistence and perseverance. Without these traits the most successful business entrepreneur wouldn’t be at the top of their game. If you have these traits then you should give it a go.
But the thing that most people find difficult to deal with is that you will be solely responsible for the amount of income that you can generate. When starting out, it’s easy to make mistakes which can become disheartening. However, if you join Wealthy Affiliate and undertake their step by step training program, the number of mistakes you make will be minimized.
Affiliates May Not Get Paid
When entering into any business venture it is very important to first research it thoroughly. Read reviews and research different merchants to get a feel for their policies and the commissions that they pay.
Doing your research will prevent you from falling victim of merchants who aren’t legit or who aren’t doing well. If you join a program that is in jeopardy of folding, then the work that you put into promoting their items can be all in vain. This is because you may not get paid for any referrals that you make.
Sometimes affiliates join a program where they are promised high commissions. They then receive less than what they were originally offered. Once again it is important to do your research so you know upfront whether or not your merchant is legit.
It is important to compare what commissions different merchants offer. This is because you will put in the same amount of effort to promote goods and services. The amount of work is the same regardless of the commission that you get paid. Therefore you may as well go with a merchant that pays a higher commission.
As mentioned previously, the majority of affiliate programs are free to join. Some however do require a fee. Make sure that the fee is minimal and that you get other benefits. Benefits may include things such as training, memberships, software, gifts or other products that are of value to you.
As you can see the pros and cons of affiliate marketing are substantial. However there are more benefits than negatives so many people try their hand at affiliate marketing. The biggest benefits are the low costs of investments for the potential high-profit opportunities. Furthermore, no expertise is needed as affiliate marketing is open to anyone.
Now that you have read this blog, you should have a better understanding of the pros and cons of affiliate marketing. The pros and cons of affiliate marketing discussed above, should help you decide whether or not this business venture is something that you truly want to peruse.
The journey to affiliate marketing success can be a long and grueling process. But for many people the benefits outweigh the negatives. The best part is that once your business is established and successful it can incur sustainable and recurring revenue. This makes all the blood, sweat and tears well worth the effort.
If you are ready and willing to invest your time and effort into starting a potentially lucrative business, then I strongly encourage you to join Wealthy Affiliate. This is one of the best decisions that I have ever made as the training is world class. It has helped me make sense of affiliate marketing. The training has helped me navigate through all the ins and outs of doing business online.
If you want to have the best chance of success as an affiliate marketer click on the banner below!
Do you love your job or find the work that you do to be satisfying?
Have you ever considered starting your own online business?
Do you want to know more about affiliate marketing?
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please leave your comments at the end of this post.