21 Things Affiliate Marketing Gurus Won’t Tell You

If you’ve looked through the Internet for home business ideas, then you have likely read blog articles claiming that affiliate marketing is the way to go. Most affiliate marketers promise huge monthly earnings while still allowing you the time to travel the world and enjoy life.

However, the cold, hard truth is that those affiliate marketing gurus might not be giving you the whole truth…

What is affiliate marketing?

Let’s begin with the basics.

An individual or blogger becomes an affiliate marketer when he or she gets involved with an online market, such as Amazon or Etsy, and creates content promoting a particular product. Amazon or Etsy then pays the affiliate marketer a commission for any sales.

This involves a website that sees a high volume of traffic. Many so-called affiliate marketing experts will tell you this is easy to do, but here are 21 things they do not tell you.

  1. You will not become a millionaire overnight. In fact, you may not make any money for the first year. Affiliate marketers like to make it sound like this is the Golden Ticket to your Hawaiian getaway, but the truth is it’s a lot of hard work that may not show any return or reward for the first few years.
  2. The pay is inconsistent. Your income rests upon someone clicking a link and then purchasing the product at that link. During any given month, there may be 1,000 purchases or 100, which can mean a big difference in income.
  3. You cannot go from 0 to 60 to making money. The story is you don’t need a lot of training to start making money from affiliate marketing. The truth is you need to learn the business. Like most jobs, affiliate marketing requires research and training before you can make money.
  4. Affiliate marketing is more than just SEO. Experts would like you to believe that if you use the right keywords in your articles and choose the right phrases you will get rich. While that will help, you need to plan your attack from multiple angles. That includes email lists, SEO, and analytics.
  5. It’s about the content, not the sales. It’s the content that really leads to sales. Therefore, never skimp on creating quality content. For example, providing audiences with a list of reasons why they buy a particular product might seem like a glorified sales pitch. However, providing that same list but putting some thought and research behind it not only makes you a trustworthy source, it’s also how readers turn into buyers.
  6. Affiliate marketing is hard work. Most affiliate marketing experts will tell you how they travel the world while the money flows into their bank account. Maybe that’s true. More likely, they’re sitting at a laptop in another country looking at the screen rather than the city around them. Affiliate marketing takes a lot of time and work.
  7. More isn’t always better. Some experts will tell you affiliate marketing is  all about making sales. It’s not. You want to be particular about which affiliate programs you team up with. Some programs treat their affiliates better than others. Some programs have better tracking technology than others. Do your research before you team up with an affiliate program.
  8. More isn’t always better—part two. Loading down your blog posts with affiliate links does not make your site better and it does not make you more sales. You want to ensure that your website is readable and helpful. If it looks like you’re just trying to sell someone something, then you’ve failed.
  9. Build on value. Think of affiliate marketing like a block tower. You have to have a solid foundation (good content) before you start to build upwards to sales.
  10. You do not need their secret method. One of the things affiliate marketing experts say before they try to get you to buy their online class or ebook is that there’s a secret sales category you need to be in to make money. The truth is almost any category will sell if you market it correctly and consistently.
  11. Two years later and you’re still working. There is no real point where you stop working. Despite what you’re told, if you stop working on your affiliate marketing site then you stop making money. You have to keep working to keep making money.
  12. Quality is important. It’s fine to recommend the most expensive product, and you may make money in the beginning. However, if the item falls apart after the third use, you lose your credibility with your readers. Your products must be reliable, trustworthy, and helpful. If they are, then the sales should follow.
  13. Focus on your message. Ads on your site confuse the message. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between an ad and what you’re promoting. That’s not good. You have control over your content. You do not have control over what a third party decides to post on your website.
  14. Do not stray from your plan simply to chase the money. If you’ve done the proper research in the beginning, then you’ve come up with a solid plan. It’s tempting to keep altering that plan based on what other affiliate marketers tell you to do. However, what most people discover when they chase money is that the money is gone when they get there.
  15. Passion is important. For affiliate marketing gurus, it’s all about the right category. But that’s not entirely true. If you’re writing about pet products and you dislike dogs, find another category or find another writer. Your passion for a product comes through in your writing.
  16. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses. You may have the right category, but the wrong product. One thing affiliate marketers cannot teach is you when to drop a product because it’s not working.
  17. Social media is important. Your site will do the heavy lifting, but there are ways to drive traffic to the website and increase the number of views besides SEO. Social media is an essential component to building a successful affiliate marketing site.
  18. Affiliate marketing is a business, not just a blog. You need a website, links, and a strategy. Building a strategy means mapping out what you’re going to promote each month, figuring out how much money you want to make in a month, and how to promote your product. 19. Be patient. Most affiliate marketing gurus teach you how to get rich quick, so patience is certainly not something they promote. The truth is patience is what you need to become an effective affiliate marketer. It takes time to build your empire.
  19. You cannot do it for free. Okay, you can, but the results will not be the best. There are quality products like web hosts and SEO aides that can be licensed for fairly cheap, but you have to be prepared to pay out some money.
  20. You can fail. Everyone brags about the successes, but obviously not the failures. Not everyone makes it big in affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is definitely a viable way to make money, but there are some caveats to be aware of.

Affiliate marketing gurus who promise to help you get rich quick or offer you a surefire way to make money without working for it may not have your best interests at heart.

However, with a little patience, money, and hard work, you, too can be a successful affiliate marketer.

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