Is Affiliate Marketing Legit?

99% of the videos and posts you read about affiliate marketing are trying to funnel you into buying a product or course. So, is it all a scam?

Okay, you just watched a video or read an article about how you can make six figures as an affiliate marketer. Is this too good to be true? Well, yes and no. The truth is, 99% of the videos and posts you read about affiliate marketing are trying to funnel you into buying their course, purchasing an affiliate product (such as a web design or SEO tools), or making money off of ad revenue.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these tactics. Some of the more helpful content creators in this space will actually put out information to help you become a successful affiliate marketer. Still, it’s important to understand that most “simple tricks” being peddled are overused, unethical, or worthless.

So, how do you make money with affiliate marketing?

If you haven’t read my article on how to turn a business idea into an actual business, go back and check it out now. The methods discussed in that article apply to affiliate marketing as well. The principles of starting an affiliate marketing business are similar to those discussed in my other article.

Don’t Fall For “Get Rich Quick Schemes”

Let’s get this out of the way now. Get-rich-quick schemes don’t work. The simple reason is because of supply and demand. If there were an easy, legal, and low-effort way to make lots of money, then EVERYBODY would be doing it.

Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works. Any “easy” method to getting rich will be quickly exploited. Such methods may work for a short period, but eventually, the well runs dry. This is the tricky part of many ” courses ” being sold online, including affiliate marketing courses. The author may be teaching you a method that briefly worked, but chances are, once it’s sold to you, that “simple trick” has been exploited to the point where it no longer works.

Other affiliate marketing “gurus” may try to sell you on a system that works like a pyramid scheme or mid-level marketing (MLM) scheme. Typically, they will offer “coaching” services to help you get your affiliate marketing business off the ground. Others may ask you to market MLM products to friends and family under the guise of affiliate marketing.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

So far, I’ve been harping about ways affiliate marketing doesn’t work. Let’s talk about how it can.

Market What You Know

The first rule to good affiliate marketing is marketing products you understand. Many gurus will try to sell you courses on how to market “high ticket” items with big commissions. Others may stress finding an untapped niche. While both items might be profitable, making them work will depend mainly on your understanding of the product.

If you are parroting what everybody else has to say, what will make your site stand out in the sea of competitors? Like any business, it’s crucial to offer something unique. This may be very difficult if you don’t even understand the product you’re marketing.

Find an Edge

When you understand the product, you will start to see issues buyers care about. So instead of speaking about generalities, you can offer unique and authoritative insights into the product. For example, say you’re a parent who only buys BPA-free toys for your kids. You could make reviews on safe, BPA-free toys that give real value to consumers. Sure, you get a commission, but you’re helping people and not just creating a virtual billboard for a product. People do start to notice high-quality content.

Listen to the Customers

A temptation that ruins many businesses, including affiliate marketing sites, is to try to create a product based on what you think the market wants. If you pay close enough attention, over time, you will start to learn what consumers really want. So while you thought a particular blog format was working, you may find the majority of your page views come from something else. Listen to the consumer. If you see them going after a specific idea, explore that further!

Be Consistent

Finally, if you want to make money from affiliate marketing, you must do the work. Despite what some gurus say, it is not passive income. You need to do your research and produce meaningful content to succeed. This may mean you also need a social media presence in addition to your website. Your niche may rely heavily on YouTube or TikTok as well. Like everything, hard work is the key to success. Even if one particular affiliate marketing site doesn’t succeed, the work you put in learning how to write and research may pay off on your next try.

Affiliate Marketing is Not a Scam, But It’s Not Easy Either

Affiliate marketing, in and of itself, is not a scam. Still, those looking to get rich quickly may be getting scammed. The truth is that it takes hard work and an edge to create a successful affiliate marketing site. Success will not be overnight, either. It may take many months to get traction for your website. You will likely experience a lot of trial and error trying to find the right product and marketing plan.

Treat affiliate marketing like any other business idea. Take your time, do your research, and find your edge. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, it could be an excellent business for you.