Taking Down Affiliate Marketing Myths

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George Washington had wooden teeth. Dogs are colorblind. Lighting doesn’t strike the same place twice.

All of these “facts” have two things in common: 1) Millions of people believe they’re true and 2) they are all completely false.

The same is true of affiliate marketing. Just Google the term and you’ll come across dozens of fake experts offering affiliate advice that is completely disconnected from reality.

Affiliate marketing can be an important tool in any business’s arsenal, and we’ve written in-depth about its benefits, but there’s plenty of misinformation you need to avoid while researching. It can be difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction, but fortunately, we are here to steer you in the right direction.

Myth No. 1: Affiliate marketing is for a niche group and is limited in both its scale and potential impact. 

Perhaps, this myth arose out of fear of taking the risk and stepping outside of the business comfort zone. But affiliate marketing can be lucrative with room for substantial impact and growth. For instance, according to a Partnerize study, 96% of 1200 leading retail, travel, and financial brands had affiliate partners. Likewise, a little over half garnered more than 30% of their sales from affiliate partnerships. All that to say, there’s potential for almost any brand to earn real money through affiliates. 

Taken together with a Business Insider report that affiliate partnerships account for 16% of total e-commerce sales, you can see why affiliate marketing can be an important part of your business. 

Myth No. 2: Affiliate partners are limited to just content creators.

Similar to the first myth, you shouldn’t limit affiliate marketing to such a small scale. While bloggers and influencers can be an important part of your network, an affiliate partner can be any organization that shares your interest and audience.

From emails & newsletters to coupon, cashback and loyalty sites, the scope of potential affiliate partner types is massive, which means that you can build a network that meets the marketing needs of almost any brand, service or product. 

Myth No. 3: Social media popularity will translate into marketing success. 

Influencers with the biggest followings can deliver the biggest sales is another popular myth that we need to squash.

Your buyer may love a celebrity for their movies, music or style, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to buy just anything their favorite star puts their name on.

Customers want quality products and like digital Sherlock Holmes, they do their homework as well. According to a CyberCash Worldwide study, 74% of shoppers check multiple affiliate websites before deciding on a purchase. So don’t expect to make quick cash on popularity alone. Instead, seek out influencers who have a high level of credibility within your vertical, even if their audience isn’t the biggest.

Myth No. 4: Affiliate marketing is so easy, you can make money in your sleep. 

This may be the most popular, and in some ways the most infuriating of all the myths we see. Affiliate marketing can be a highly effective way to drive sales, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

There are no quick rich schemes in the world of business. You can’t expect to just drop affiliate links into posts and reap the benefits. Figuring out the right affiliates for your brand, commission structures and recruitment strategies are just the start of what it takes to succeed in this marketing channel and if you aren’t prepared to do the hard work it takes to build a strong network, then you’ll never drive the sales you’re looking for. 

Affiliate marketing may seem a bit like a magic act at a glance. But like any good show, it requires practice and training on the magician’s part. The business world can be full of myths and misconceptions, so it’s important to do your research and take the time to separate fact from fiction.

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