There is a lot of misinformation and bad perceptions about affiliate marketing spread by people who don’t know the real truth about it.
And this false information has made countless groups of people who tried to make affiliate marketing work for them fail terribly, so it is information you want to be aware of and completely drop these myths if you look forward to creating a long term successful business with this business model.
I will be going through the 21 most popular myths about affiliate marketing that sound true but which are quite the contrary and help you understand what the actual reality and truth are.
Let’s get right in.
Myth #1. Affiliate marketing is a walk in the park
The truth – Affiliate marketing is not as easy as many people make it seem. It is a business strategy that is as demanding as any other strategy out there. It is going to demand your full commitment and hard work. Based on my personal experience with it, I have come to learn that it is not easy but also not hard. I’d say it is fairly challenging.
Those who tell you that you only need to create good content, drop your affiliate links and you will earn your commissions immediately after that are simply lying to you. Also, those who tell you that affiliate marketing is so hard that no beginner can succeed at it also don’t know the real truth about it.
Affiliate marketing is doable and you can make it work if you really want to. It is going to ask more from you. Your time, your effort, and your attention but it will be worth it in the end. Generally, nothing good in life is easy and nothing is also hard to the point you can’t do it. You can be good at it if you set your mind on it.
Myth #2. Affiliate marketing makes you money in less than a week
The truth – It is not always the case. Affiliate marketing can make you money in your first few days but that is not what happens to everyone. Some are fortunate enough to get it but for the most part, it takes time for you to start making money with it.
The best way to put it is to say that it is always a different experience with every affiliate marketer.
There are those who make their first sales in a few days, some a few weeks, others a few months, and even others a few years. The funny thing is that a huge percentage of the people who take a long time to earn their first few commissions often make money in the long term compared to those who start making money in a short time.
Many of the super affiliates whose income reports I have had a peek at took years to build their affiliate businesses but when they started getting money, they soared to more than $100,000 per month and have been earning from it for many years. You can check out my post on the profitability of affiliate marketing and how long it takes for more information.
Read the post here -> Is affiliate marketing profitable?
However, there are also others who earn in their first few days who also go on to make more money as they build out their businesses in the following years.
As I said earlier, it is a very different experience for everyone and you can only get to know what your fate is by giving it a go yourself.
Myth #3. Affiliate marketing is dead
The truth – Affiliate marketing is very much there and growing in a big way as the years go by. Many more companies are starting to take advantage of it as their marketing strategy and they are allocating more money as investments into it. Reports are showing that affiliate marketing is playing a huge role in the digital media industry and brings in a substantial amount of revenue every year.
I have discussed this topic at length and given plenty of evidence that affiliate marketing is not only alive but also growing greatly and it seems to be a good business model designed for the future.
You can check out the detailed post here -> Is affiliate marketing dead?
Myth #4. Affiliate marketing has not changed at all
The truth – Affiliate marketing has changed heavily in the last decade. How it used to be done then is not how it’s being done today, the founding principles of the strategy haven’t changed though. You still get to acquire your affiliate links, promote products using the links, and earn money when someone makes a purchase through them.
However, the approach has really changed. Back then, most people did it through websites. Nowadays, even more people have started using other platforms such as social media, YouTube channels, and even podcasts. Also, people used a lot of black hat methods of affiliate marketing and got to make a decent amount of income back in the days. These days, however, the old black hat methods are no longer working.
Affiliate marketing has been refined and those who do it the wrong way are barely making anything good from it. And this has raised its value since it is becoming hard for those who don’t want to do it properly and many are turning away from it as it takes time to master the right strategies and apply them the right way.
What I can say is that it has evolved into a much better business strategy and as it keeps getting better, more companies will trust it and it is going to grow much more.
Myth #5. Affiliate marketing is all about promoting products and making money
The truth – On the outside, it appears so but that is not all that it is about. In my opinion, it is about creating a business that serves the interests of your audience as best as possible. It is about creating a brand within your niche that aims at solving the problems of your audience, helping them make the right choices and follow the right path and see the kind of results they are looking for.
Whether it is in fitness and health, woodworking, dog care, or any other niche you could be in.
Affiliate marketing is about serving the people in that niche and creating a good relationship with them that is founded in integrity, loyalty, and genuine concern. That is how you build a business that your audience is proud of being associated with and also how you make money in the long term.
If you get into it with your main focus on money, you will fail sooner than you started. What drives successful affiliate businesses is the desire to change people’s lives for the better and making money in the process.
Myth #6. Affiliate marketing is all about creating content
The Truth – Affiliate marketing is not just about creating content. There is more to it than meets the eye. See, many online pieces of training on affiliate marketing focus on content creation because it carries a great deal of weight. Without good content that serves the needs of your audience, you are not going to earn much trust which in turn will hurt the ability of your audience to buy the products you promote since they don’t trust you.
In the long run, this hurts your income earning abilities.
And while content is a crucial factor of success, there are other factors such as optimization and consistent growth that really matter. Imagine you have created really fantastic content that cannot be seen by your audience. Does it help? Not at all.
Optimization is what makes your content easy to reach by your audience as well as easy to read. For those who use websites, you need to optimize your websites for search engines (off-page optimization) and for your users (on-page optimization) so that you are well ranked and receive more exposure and make it count.
The same case applies to all other platforms that people use to do affiliate marketing.
There are certain actions you need to take to make sure your content and business as a whole is well optimized for your users and for the ability of your business to get more audience.
So, don’t believe those who tell you to focus only on the content. Take the extra step of optimizing it and keep on improving all the necessary aspects of your business. This is how you grow and increase your chances of making more money for years to come.
Myth #7. Affiliate marketing is all about good optimization
The truth – Again, I see people getting lost in the optimization of their businesses and forget that their content matters too, I know I said that optimization is required and it might seem a little contrasting but there is a need for balance. You need to learn how to balance good content, good optimization, and consistent growth.
If you focus on one too much and neglect the other, you are pretty much setting yourself up for failure.
Think about it this way. You have a business where you have employed a group of people to help you improve the quality of your business and sell the products you are producing as the owner. Now if you focus on creating good products and spend all the money on them without minding the salaries of your employees, there will be chaos after a while within the company.
Also, if you focus on paying the salaries and go to the extent of paying your employees’ salaries for the next 6 months without minding about other crucial expenses and the resources for your products, there will be problems with the quality of the products you create as well as debts for other resources you need.
That is how it works with affiliate marketing too.
You need to balance all these aspects if you want to be successful. Lack of proper balance is what leads to failure for most marketers.
Myth #8. You don’t need relationships to be successful in affiliate marketing
The truth – You do need good relationships with other people in your niche if you want to make it. See, when I started out, I only thought that I needed to work quietly on my affiliate businesses without needing to interact with others and I would be good.
I have to admit that I am very poor when it comes to social relations, and interacting with people even if it is through email is usually the last thing on my mind. But as my businesses grew, I came to realize the power of relating with others in my niche and how much value there is in that.
Not only does it promote healthy competition but also increases your experience and insight within your niche.
It takes you to a whole new level and gives you confidence. It also sharpens your skills and understanding. Many people don’t do it but it is one of the strategies that have really soared my affiliate sites. Look at most people online who are well-known.
They are people who have the most relations and connections with other great people.
And you don’t need a lot to create these relationships. Just start with the one you feel is available. That person will introduce you to another person. And then that other person will introduce you to another person and before long, you are well-known and valued within the industry you are in.
But this is usually important in the later stages when you have established a good brand for yourself.
Myth #9. Affiliate marketing is a short term strategy to help you get money for something bigger
The truth – That is one way of looking at it. See, affiliate marketing can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a short term thing for you to get capital for a bigger project you have in mind or it can be a side hustle aimed at becoming a full-time hustle after a while or it can become a full-time thing for you right off the bat.
It all depends on you.
However, it is worth noting that affiliate marketing is often discouraging to those who see it as a short term thing because they think it is a quick moneymaker, which is not really the case. As I earlier mentioned, affiliate marketing is quite a unique experience for everyone and your niche plays a key role in how soon you will make money.
If you say you want to make $10,000 per month in the next year with fitness, you are going to come out a very discouraged person because of the high level of competition.
So I would say it is important to see it as a long term project that will not only help you get the money for the other project you want to do but also a long term income source for your other projects and life plans in general. That is how you become more invested and work seriously on it.
Myth #10. You can become an affiliate marketing expert in a very short time
The truth – I wouldn’t want to use the term “expert” at all when it comes to any craft out there. I would rather we use experienced. Being an expert at something is not quite possible as it sounds. In affiliate marketing, for instance, it is easy to become more knowledgeable and experienced in a fairly short while, if you are 100% committed to doing it. The effort you put into it on a daily basis exposes you to new experiences and opportunities to learn.
And this knowledge and experience come in handy for you as you proceed.
But it important to keep in mind that every day is always a learning day for every affiliate. You get to figure out something new as you go about building your business.
So you cannot become entirely an expert to the extent that you don’t need more information or experiences since you have had it all.
That scenario is almost impossible.
You will even hear the super affiliates saying that they learned something new today after trying out something different.
So, it is possible to become highly knowledgeable and experienced but being an expert is a whole new thing altogether.
The moment you feel you are an expert is the moment you will stop learning, hence, the beginning of your end.
Myth #11. Affiliate marketing is all about making money while sleeping
The truth – Affiliate marketing can make money for you as you sleep but it not like that from when you start working on it. This ability has been exaggerated by many people especially those who are advertising affiliate training courses.
Affiliate marketing takes time to build up to the level where you are earning money even when you are asleep or generally not working on your affiliate business. But by the time you are making money this way, you will have spent lots of sleepless nights improving the quality of the actual business and optimizing it.
It is more like an investment. Before you get to the point where you are putting your money into investments that will bring returns even without the need of working on the investments, you will have taken more effort, time and patience in raising the capital or building the income source that will provide you with the money to invest.
And then afterward, you can invest the money and rest as you watch it do the work for you and bring in more money.
In essence, it first takes a huge amount of effort before you get to earn without putting more work into your business. It just doesn’t happen instantly.
Myth #12. Affiliate marketing costs a fortune to do
The truth – Affiliate marketing can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. There are people who start out with virtually nothing, like me, using the free available resources.
And then slowly invest as you make money.
There are also those who choose to invest from the get-go and keep investing as they develop. And that is fine too.
It all depends on what you are willing to start out with.
You can first use the free resources and then invest as you grow or if you have the money and desire to build a high-quality business from the start, you can invest initial capital.
Most free resources are low quality and paid-for resources are much better.
So, there are advantages and disadvantages to each option. You just need to look through the options well and decide what path you want to take.
I actually wrote an in-depth guide on the cost of starting and running an affiliate business on almost all platforms and I believe it will give you a better perspective as to the resources you will need, the cost, and how much it will cost you to maintain and grow the business.
You can check out the post here -> How much does affiliate marketing cost
Myth #13. Affiliate marketing is too competitive
The truth – Affiliate marketing can be competitive but it is not as much as you’d think. The thing is, most folks think that affiliate marketing is a saturated area but it is actually not.
First, all the competitors you have in your niche might not be doing it the right way. Some of them don’t have the right skills. Others think that they have the right skill set when all they do is spam the web. And then there is a small percentage that is actually doing it correctly.
That means that if you aim to do it correctly and do it, you will have beaten almost 50% of your competition or more depending on various factors.
Second, many people are leaving affiliate marketing and going to do other things after they have failed and given up. There are many reasons why people are frustrated by affiliate marketing and I have explained this whole concept of failure, why people give up on online marketing, and why others think it is competitive when it’s not.
I have also given clear proof that there will always be space for any beginner who wishes to do affiliate marketing even in the coming years. I would encourage you to read that detailed post here -> Is affiliate marketing saturated?
But you should also know that there are some niches that are overly competitive but still manageable if you have the patience and will to do it.
Myth #14. Many consumers hate to buy through affiliates
The truth – Affiliates are really useful to consumers. They play a part that no other party can play. And that is the role of positive informers. Affiliate marketers are people who know the market well and are also often consumers too.
So when other consumers are coming to look for more information about certain problems and the best products to solve the problems, affiliates come in handy in this department.
They help consumers understand the problem well, know the variety of products there are for the problem, and which one is the best of them all.
And then direct the consumers to the seller that offers the best prices for the products through their affiliate links and make a commission.
If you are a consumer, wouldn’t you want all these benefits?
My post on how affiliate marketing proves to be profitable for the buyer, the seller, and the affiliate will help you understand everything well.
Myth #15. More traffic to your business equals to more sales
The truth – While a section of that myth is true, there is also a false section. I will give you 2 scenarios so that you get the idea of how this is not so.
Imagine you have built a good business with good content and then you have promoted it online. Here, you have not targeted the people you know are interested in your content and who are actually potential buyers. You have targeted everyone who is online.
The second scenario is where you have a really good business as in the first case but this time you targeted your promotion to people who are interested and have a higher chance of buying the products you are recommending. The people you have targeted are less than the first scenario though.
Out of these 2 scenarios, which one do you think is most likely to make more sales?
Many would say that it is the first case, which is wrong.
The second case is the one that is likely to make more sales since the content has gotten to exactly the right kind of people.
People go online for different reasons and promoting a shoe to someone who is looking to learn programming will not likely earn you a sale.
However, if you promote a shoe to someone who wants to buy it, they will buy it.
Targeting is very important in making sales and I had to learn this the hard way.
Myth #16. You can promote any affiliate products and make good money from it
The truth – Again, affiliate marketing is not about promoting products and making money. When it comes to your audience, it is about recommending worthwhile products to them that will solve their problems once and for all. You don’t want to promote a product just simply because it pays well.
You will want to promote a product because it is of high quality and it helps your audience genuinely. If you fall into the habit of promoting all the products you get online, you will lose trust with your audience and they will see you as a greedy person who wants to make money by destroying their lives and making them incur losses on top of their already troubled hearts.
People want to work with someone they can trust. Trust comes before profits just as surely as clouds come before the rain.
If you fail to apply this, you will be called out by your audience and have a very bad reputation that will greatly hurt your affiliate business.
Myth #17. Affiliate marketing is based on luck
The truth – Affiliate marketing has nothing to do with luck unless of course, your definition of luck is when opportunity meets preparedness.
Like any other type of business, affiliate marketing is about applying the right strategies and putting in a crazy amount of effort.
If you are not willing to do that then you are going to have a really difficult time. There are people who say they were lucky enough to have this or that which enabled them to make the kind of money they are making with their affiliate businesses.
There are times this happens to some people but it doesn’t always happen to everyone.
Having a luck mindset is what has made millions of people to fail, not only in affiliate marketing but also in other aspects of life. They think that if they can just get lucky, they would go so far,
This world is not driven by luck but by effort and when you decide to do affiliate marketing, you will want to plan properly, get the best strategies and put them into action as you should, so as to see rewarding results.
Myth #18. Affiliate marketing is easy to do without having to learn
The truth – Not really. This is a very common myth that people believe. They have been led into thinking that if they can join a marketing forum or a YouTube channel and watch a couple of videos they are good to go.
You need to understand that affiliate marketing is more than just a money-making strategy, it is a whole career for others and a whole business too. And you have to take time to learn the tricks of this trade. You have to invest in a good online course so that you get the right training on how to build and run your affiliate business in a way that will bring good results.
You want to know why people fail and throw in the towel? A big percentage does know what they are doing. They didn’t take a course and never thought it was necessary.
Take a course from any platform you can and you will see yourself how much of an edge it will give you.
You don’t need to get a degree but a few weeks or months course can do a lot of good to you and your business.
If you don’t learn how to play chess, how will you ever win? You don’t know what the bishop, king, queen or the pawns do, so how do you expect to just get into it and figure things out all the while beating your competition? This doesn’t add up.
Myth #19. The most popular niches are the best to make a huge chunk of money with
The truth – That idea is your first ingredient for disaster. I am not discouraging you from going with the niche you are passionate about but I would want to warn you as early as possible that if you go for popular niches and fail to narrow down, especially when you are a newbie, you are going to have one of your worst moments ever doing internet marketing.
See, the well-known niches are some of the most competitive ones.
Here, there are well-established authority brands that have been operating for years and have gained trust with their audiences as well as with search engines.
Beating this kind of competition is overly difficult.
It is possible but quite extremely difficult.
It might take you years to get where they are and remember, they are still growing too. They are not stagnant.
If you have a good strategy in place and you’re patient enough to wait for years to beat them, then you can do it.
But if you were to ask me, I would rather you do proper niche research and get yourself another niche that will take much less effort than fight many reputable brands.
Myth #20. You need to be in a certain country to make it in affiliate marketing
The truth – Affiliate marketing is doable in any country as long as you have good internet and a computer, and most of all, you are determined. There are some people who say that people in a certain country have better resources than others but this, to me, doesn’t really count.
The internet does not discriminate.
If you do a good job with your affiliate business, people will come to it and take the action you want them to. Based on my experience, high quality and value-able work are what people are all in need of.
Myth #21. You need technical skills to be successful in affiliate marketing
The truth – Well, affiliate marketing requires a lot of technical skills to set up the business and get it to be in the best state possible. But the good thing is, you don’t actually require to have the technical skills as the owner of the business. You can always hire a skilled person to do it for you.
If you have the skills to do it yourself, that is fine but if you don’t, you can easily jump on freelance websites and get affordable services of website development and SEO if you are running an affiliate website or other services based on the platform you are using.
You can choose to start with the free resources and then hire afterward or hire from the beginning so that everything is in line with your vision for the business. You can actually run an affiliate business without knowing all the technicalities involved.
As far as you have a good basic grasp of the overall strategies needed to run the business smoothly, you will only need to hire and direct the skilled people on how to make things fall in place as per your plan.
In conclusion, I would like you to know that these myths are usually spread by people who have little understanding of affiliate marketing.
They know a few things that work for them, but they are short-lived.
So you need to be patient and learn the true concept of affiliate marketing from people who have been in it for years and who know what they are talking about.
You could start by reading our beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing that shares the essential basics of the craft along with illustrations of how successful affiliates did it.
I also want to point out that I am not the only one who knows the truth about it, there are many other genuine websites with real experienced affiliates out there that can add more value to you as well. Some I even look up to.
Be sure to look for them and follow their advice. But remember to do your due diligence and make sure that they are people who know what they are saying.
Are there any other myths I have left out? Let me know in the comments section what myths you have believed all this while. 🙂