Is affiliate marketing worth it, or are you best to concentrate on other monetization methods?
With all the myths, bad press, good press, and sometimes outright lies, it's enough to drive you insane. The truth is, only you can decide if the affiliate marketing business model is worth it for you and your business.
You're going to have to ask yourself some deep questions, and the only way to get the answers is by doing some research and snooping around.
What exactly are you looking to find?
That's what you're about to learn in this article.
You're going to learn how to decide if it's worth being an affiliate marketer in general, and for specific products or services affiliate sales.
Let's jump in.
- When Is Affiliate Marketing Worth Doing?
- When Is Affiliate Marketing Not Worth It?
- What Are The Pros and Cons Of Affiliate Marketing?
- What Is The Success Rate Of Affiliate Marketing?
- Affiliate Marketing Statistics
- Affiliate Marketing Vs. Direct Advertising (What Should I Choose?)
- Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It? Only You Can Decide
When Is Affiliate Marketing Worth Doing?
If you listen to some people, they'll tell you affiliate marketing is dead, but this can't be true because marketers and bloggers earn thousands of dollars each month from the affiliate links on their sites.
The reality is that there are times when becoming an affiliate partner is worth doing, so let's take a look at the reasons and times when being an affiliate marketer is a good idea.
When You have personal experience with the product
It's not essential, but having personal experience with the product you're promoting as an affiliate will benefit you for the following reasons:
- You know precisely how good the product/service is because you have purchased or received a review copy.
- When you own the product you don't have to research other people's opinions of the product; you can give your own opinion and list the pros and cons.
- It's ethical marketing and makes you look more reliable.
- You can run a case study of the product and record your findings.
- You can record unboxing videos and be more precise with your reviews.
- When you own or have access to the product, you can reach out to the owner and ask questions directly about specific areas of concern.
- Often, purchasing a product will give you access to a private Facebook group with hundreds of other people who have purchased the product; this gives you access to the thoughts of other actual users and, in return, gives you even more knowledge about the product.
You Have Experience With Affiliate Marketing
Having affiliate marketing experience will help you to launch successful campaigns and stand you in a good place to make money from promoting the product.
If you're new to being an affiliate, you're going to have to learn the basics and get to know the working strategies; otherwise, you'll probably fail.
It's not overly hard to understand, but it does take time, and you need to ask yourself if you have the time to learn the strategies because a lot of people are too busy.
Going in all guns blazing with no experience is a sure-fire way to lose money and fail as an affiliate marketer.
When You Have Good Traffic Numbers
It's pretty obvious this one. The more traffic numbers or, the bigger your audience will make it easier to make money through your affiliate links.
If you have the luxury of traffic on tap, it's going to be easier for you to start a successful affiliate marketing business. If you don't, you will have to use other tactics to get your affiliate offers in front of people, which usually requires time and money.
When you have good traffic numbers or an active audience on social media channels, affiliate marketing can be very lucrative and is often worth doing.
When You Have An Email List
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘the money is in the email list?' Of course, it's an overused saying, but it's still 100% true today!
If you have an active and responsive email list, you're in a great position to market affiliate products to your email subscribers. Email marketing is an effective strategy for earning affiliate commission.
According to HubSpot, marketers have seen a 78% rise in email engagement during the past 12 months.
Email is still thriving!
When The Product You're Promoting Compliments A Product You Own
When you sell your own products or services, it can be very profitable to use affiliate products to compliment the product you're selling.
If you can find a product closely related to your product yet different, affiliate marketing is almost certainly worth considering.
Just be sure that the product you promote will benefit those you target.
High Earnings Per Click
Earnings per click (EPC) is a vital piece of data that can help you determine if it's worth promoting a specific product in your affiliate marketing business.
This metric shows you how much you can earn on average each time someone clicks on your affiliate link. It's an important statistic for those using paid traffic methods such as facebooks ads in their affiliate marketing campaigns.
You calculate EPC by taking the commission you earn from a product and dividing it by the affiliate link's number of clicks.
Typically, (but not always) the higher the EPC, the more you should consider promoting the product.
When Is Affiliate Marketing Not Worth It?
There are times when affiliate marketing will be a bad idea, and identifying when this is the case can save you time and money.
Here are a few reasons when it's not worth being an affiliate marketer in general or for a specific product or service.
You Have No Desire Or Passion For The Product
Some will disagree with the passion part because you can promote (and do well) without passion for the product, but typically you will do better if you have some interest in the product you're promoting.
As for desire, you need this to be successful in any line of business, and affiliate marketing is no different.
You will write better reviews and adverts and come across as more knowledgeable on the product or service if you have a passion for the market and the desire to work hard.
If you lack in either of these, you may want to reconsider being an affiliate; if you lack in both, you should probably dodge the idea altogether.
You Want To Make Money Overnight
Think again if you believe writing a Google Ad or throwing up a social media post will have you earning a commission overnight.
Affiliate marketers need to work hard, understand brand awareness, and have a proper marketing strategy to be successful — this isn't an instant hit.
The affiliate marketing industry is full of successful marketers, and almost all of them will tell you that it takes time to make money.
You won't be an overnight success, and if that's what you want, it might be best to consider another business model.
The Product Has Poor Reviews
A product can look great and have an excellent sales page, but diving in and blindly promoting products just because of the sales page is a bad idea.
You could promote the product to your audience and lose their trust forever if it's a rubbish product.
That's why having a personal experience with the product is a good idea.
If you can't get a copy for yourself, you will have to snoop around on various websites looking for reviews. If the product has a high percentage of bad feedback, walk away.
The Website Owner Has A Poor History Or Chequered Past
Check out the owner of the product or service you're thinking about promoting, and if they have a chequered past with lots of people labeling him a scam or con artist, reconsider your options.
Google the person's name and see what you can find out about them. It's not hard to find bad press about someone; you simply run searches online and through social media channels.
If the bad reviews or feedback outweigh the positive feedback, you should be concerned about promoting their affiliate program.
The Vendor Is Not Using A Recognized Affiliate Software
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scam artists out there, and they're giving the affiliate marketing industry some bad press.
If the person you are thinking about promoting isn't using a recognized affiliate software platform, you should be looking for other reasons to promote him.
Be careful because many stories online feature marketers not getting paid their affiliate commission.
Below are a few of the good affiliate platforms:
- Amazon Associates
- Warrior Plus
- Share A Sale
- CJ Affiliate
- Rakuten Advertising
- eBay Partner Service
The Vendor Isn't Displaying The Appropriate Disclaimers And Disclosures
If the affiliate vendor isn't displaying the correct disclaimers and disclosures on their websites, they risk the chance of getting closed down by the affiliate platforms, which would result in you not getting paid.
Affiliate link disclosures are vital and a legal requirement from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They state that all affiliates and vendors need specific disclaimers and disclosures or risk getting fined.
These FTC guidelines, which occurred in 2009, resulted in the main affiliate platforms rewriting their website terms. As a result, anyone who did not apply the new terms and rules lost their account.
Look at the product owner's website and make sure they're displaying all the relevant FTC and affiliate disclaimers. If they're not, you should be concerned.
What Are The Pros and Cons Of Affiliate Marketing?
Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of affiliate marketing because knowing what they are will further help you decide if an affiliate marketing business is worth it.
You Don't Need To Create A Product or Course
Creating a product is time-consuming and can take anything from 30 days to 2 years. In addition, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes, and not having to do this yourself is a significant bonus for affiliates.
The Product Owner Deals With Customer Service And Returns
Dealing with customer service and processing returns is a full-time job and comes with an extra cost to the Vendor.
If the product is good, they could receive hundreds of inquiries every day.
As an affiliate, you won't ever have to worry about customer service because it's the product owner's responsibility, not yours.
A Great Way To Monetize Your Website
Affiliate marketing is still a legal and profitable way to monetize your website. As long as you choose the correct products and stick to the rules, it's a fantastic monetization method.
The affiliate marketing business is a low-cost option for those looking to earn money online. If you already have an audience, it's arguably the best method.
The basics you need are a domain name, hosting, email autoresponder, and the desire to be successful.
Of course, these costs could rise if you use paid traffic methods, but to get started, you could be up and running for less than ten bucks.
You can even get started in affiliate marketing without a website.
This kind of ties in with the first two pros above, but it's worth elaborating on the convenience aspects.
Besides not creating a product yourself and dealing with customer service, it's also a very convenient business model.
You can find affiliate products quite quickly, and each time you target a new topic on your website or email list, you can look for a new (and appropriate) affiliate product to promote.
With all the affiliate platforms available, finding a new affiliate partner is easy, and getting paid is managed by the software on autopilot.
Effectively, you get your audience to their sales page, and the rest is passive income.
Affiliate marketing is scalable in more ways than you think. You can scale your income with the upsells on offer for the products you promote, and once you start earning money, you can build a team to target specific keywords related to the product.
If you have a blog, creating a team to write articles will help with SEO, and if you have affiliate earnings, you could use the money to develop affiliate funnels and use paid traffic.
You could also build numerous campaigns for many products and have multiple income streams from each one. Once the affiliate marketing work is done, these in essence will earn passive income,
You're Effectively Building Another Business Instead Of Your Own
All your efforts effectively promote and build the email list of another business. That's the top and bottom of it when you promote an affiliate product.
However, you can still build your email list first before directing the traffic, but still, you are sending your traffic to another website, which has the chance to become your subscriber's go-to website in the future.
No Control Over The Product
You could be promoting the product, and the owner could change and add sections that you disagree with or don't find appropriate — you have no say over this.
The owner could also pull the product at the drop of a hat without notice. They could decide that they no longer want to run the business, change the affiliate platform or never update the content.
Competition Could Overtake
You could find yourself in competition with a big hitter in the industry. This will make it harder for you to succeed and earn a decent profit.
For example, you could be doing well with a particular product advertising on Facebook ads, and your affiliate funnel could be working like a dream. Then all of a sudden, you start getting outbid for keywords by another marketer with deep pockets to outspend you on the ads.
Overnight, your income will have taken a hit, and there's usually nothing you can do about it.
Many people don't trust affiliate marketers because scam artists have given them a bad reputation.
Things are improving, but sometimes you will come across software companies not allowing you to use the software if you promote an affiliate link.
Email autoresponder software companies will often not allow affiliate links in your emails unless you link to your blog first. In contrast, some will only allow them for specific industries and niche markets.
What Is The Success Rate Of Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a great business model, but only if you do it correctly. According to Entrepreneurs Unstuck, 5% of affiliates are successful with their affiliate campaigns, which means a whopping 95% are falling flat on their face.
However, don't let this put you off because many of the reasons behind the failures are them doing things wrong and not having a solid strategy.
Affiliate Marketing Statistics
We've almost covered everything you need to know now about whether affiliate marketing is worth it, but before we wrap up, I'm going to list some interesting stats.
Here they are:
- 80% of brands in the US have affiliate programs. (Source: Mediakix.)
- The fashion industry is responsible for 18.7% of affiliate programs. (Source: AM Navigator.)
- 85% of online shoppers check Google for reviews before making a purchase (Source: Kenshoo.)
- It's estimated that 8.6 billion dollars will be the amount of money spent on affiliate products by 2022. (Source: Statista.)
- The number of marketers who consider affiliate marketing a crucial skill is 40%. (Source: Bloggingx)
- Affiliate marketing revenue estimate in the US is close to 5 Billion. (Source: Call Hippo)
- Clickbank has partnered with more than 100,000 sellers and marketers. (Source: Clickbank.)
- Clickbank has paid out over 5 Billion in affiliate commission. (Source: Clickbank)
- CJ Affiliates outperforms various other affiliate marketplaces by double-digits. (Source: CJ.com.)
- Amazon Associates' commission rate is between 1-10%. (Source: Amazon.)
Affiliate Marketing Vs. Direct Advertising (What Should I Choose?)
Affiliate marketing promotes other people's products via a unique affiliate link, while direct advertising is another form of monetization that you can use for blogging.
You join up with an ad network company such as Ezoic or Google Adsense, and they place adverts on your blog, which you receive payments when people click on the ad (CPC).
With affiliate marketing, you choose products to promote via affiliate marketplaces or a vendor's website.
Which is better?
It depends on the type of content you have and the traffic you receive. If you have a high-traffic website in a niche market that doesn't have many (or any) products, using advertising would be beneficial for obvious reasons.
You let the advertising company place the ads, and you concentrate on adding content and building up your own website.
If your blog is in a niche with many available products and courses, you will possibly find affiliate marketing more profitable and you could become a successful affiliate marketer.
Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It? Only You Can Decide
If you have read this article, you should now understand better whether affiliate marketing and affiliate marketing spend is worth it or not.
You should also know the benefits and pros of being an affiliate and the cons and reasons to stay clear.
Ultimately, it's your decision.
There is money to be made as an affiliate, big money sometimes, but you need to be sure that your heart is in it and that the products or services you promote are beneficial and suitable to your audience.
If you can answer these questions, you have a chance of success.
It won't be easy or overly complicated either, but you do need to take your time and set your campaigns up correctly.
The next time you ask yourself, “Is affiliate marketing worth it?”
Also, ask yourself if you can offer products to your audience that will truly benefit them.
If you can, then yes, affiliate marketing is almost certainly worth doing.
For some more inspiration check out Neil Patel's Net Worth. He's a successful marketer who still chooses to earn good money with affiliate marketing.