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Is Affiliate Marketing Right for Me? Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

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If you’ve been wondering, ‘Is affiliate marketing right for me?’ this article will help answer that question.

It’s likely if you’re here, you’ve heard alot about affiliate marketing.

And, there is all kinds of information about it!

You may have heard that you can make money while you sleep with affiliate marketing. 

Or that it’s a get-rich-quick scheme, the kind that takes your money and disappears.

There are tons of courses out there that claim to teach you about affiliate marketing, but with the astronomical claims, it definitely makes the whole industry seem shady. And yet, you may also have heard some real success stories—people making hundreds of thousands through affiliate marketing.

Well, today, we have an honest guide for you. We’ll be looking at what exactly affiliate marketing is, how it works and how it could work for you.

We also throw in a FREE Affiliate Marketing Ebook that you can use to guide you through your affiliate marketing journey.

Let’s start with what affiliate marketing is.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you help a company sell its products in exchange for some commission.

You would use an existing network that you have, like a Youtube channel with followers or a blog with an audience. And you then refer your audience to the company’s products, encouraging them to make a purchase.

A person that does affiliate marketing is referred to as an Affiliate.

The company they affiliate for is often known as the Merchant.

You will probably see these words mentioned a lot if you pursue affiliate marketing, so do note them.

Now, as an affiliate, the commission you get paid is based on different things. It could be based on the amount of traffic you drive to their business or the conversions you make.

Let’s find out more about how affiliate marketing works.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

When you affiliate with a company, they give you a unique link with a tracking ID that you will use on your platforms.

So, for instance, if you have a blog, you would add that link to one of your articles.

And if a user clicks on the link, a ‘cookie’ would be placed on their device. The cookie would track the user and see if they make a purchase. 

*Cookie – a small file that stores basic information about the user, such as the IP address and the site they are coming from.

For affiliate marketing, the cookie informs the merchant which affiliate referred a user to their site. It makes it easier for them to pay their affiliates appropriately.

What if the Customer Purchases a Week Later? Do you still get your Commission?

Users or followers may not purchase a product immediately after clicking on your affiliate link.

And that’s another way that the cookies come in handy.

They usually have an expiration date, where they are valid for maybe 30 to 90 days.

And so, even if your audience makes the purchase days later, their purchase will still be attributed to you, and you still end up getting your commission from the sales.

Pretty cool, right?

So how does one become an affiliate marketer?

How Do I Become an Affiliate Marketer?

The steps are pretty straightforward.

  1. You find a merchant who offers an affiliate program in a niche you are interested in.
  2. Pick out products that you would like to market.
  3. Get your unique link and add it to different content.
  4. Encourage people to click on those links.
  5. Get paid for sales made from your links.

And as promised, get this FREE Ebook to see how Tiffany grew her affiliate marketing business to earning her first $10,000 in affiliate sales. 

Find tips on how you can get started on your own affiliate marketing business in this FREE Affiliate Marketing Guide.

Now let’s see how you go about step 1, finding a merchant to work with.

Where do I Find Affiliate Programs?

Ideally, you can research different companies that you are interested in. This could help you find if they have affiliate programs that you can join.

You could even approach a company and set up your affiliate links directly, so you get paid by them without any third parties.

That takes a lot of work on both you and the merchant’s side, but it still works.

There is a different option—an easier way to get numerous affiliate programs in one place.

Affiliate Networks for your Affiliate Program

These are platforms have lots of affiliate products from different merchants. And you can pick products from these networks to promote.

Some affiliate networks include:

  1. Amazon Associates
  2. CJ Affiliate
  3. ClickBank
  4. ShareASale
  5. eBay Partner Network (EPN)

They make things easier by handling the payments, reporting and creating a unique link for affiliates.

Affiliate networks are a great place for beginners and more seasoned affiliate marketers.

Let’s see how much money you would need to start affiliate marketing.

How Much Does it Cost to Start Affiliate Marketing?

It could cost you as little as zero dollars!

Affiliate marketing requires very little investment in terms of capital.

  • You could set up a Youtube channel for FREE! Start to create and share videos with easily accessible equipment like your smartphone.
  • You could also begin by answering questions on forums like Quora, also for absolutely no initial investment. And then add your links on the forums so people can purchase through them.
  • When it comes to a blog, you may need to spend some money to purchase a domain name and hosting. But that could also only cost you as little as $200 per year.
  • You could decide to hire a team to do the heavy lifting for you, create content, design your sites, publish. This would increase your budget while taking some of the workload off you.

So it really doesn’t take that much money to start affiliate marketing.

But does that mean it’s easy?

Is Affiliate Marketing Easy?

Most people make affiliate marketing look super easy. Just add a bunch of links to your site and make money in your sleep.

But is affiliate marketing really that easy?

We would be lying if we said it is.

Affiliate marketing takes a lot of time and effort.

Here are some things that you would need to get right before you can make money from affiliate marketing.

1. Getting Noticed by Your Target Audience

Affiliate marketing is all about numbers. 

How many people can you get to buy from you?

So you will need to create an audience and get people to view your content.

For instance, if you have a blog, that would mean getting ranked high on Google’s Search Engine Results Page through SEO. 

SEO for a new blog requires consistent effort in creating and promoting content. And that may take anywhere from about six months and more.

It takes you that long to rank higher, and with more interaction from your audience, your blog will keep ranking higher.

2. Maintaining the Interaction with Your Platform

Interaction with your platform also needs to be kept high.

To keep the engagement high, you need to keep creating and updating content.

And the content needs to be valuable enough for the reader or viewer.

Some questions you can ask yourself to create valuable content include:

  • Was the content relevant to the audience?
  • Have they been helped?
  • Did they get what they were looking for?
  • Was it easy for them to access the information they were interested in?
  • Can they trust you?
  • Will they remember you and possibly come back for more?

Once you have an affirmative answer to these questions, you will encourage your audience to engage with the content on your platform.

And when you do sell an affiliate product to them, you can expect better results.

3. Constantly Promoting your Content to Keep Gaining Traction

Lastly, to remain relevant, you need to promote your content as well. 

You may market it through social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

A mix of content promotion through forums like Reddit and professional sites like Linkedin may also be helpful.

So, affiliate marketing is not easy, but with determination, you can do it..

And you can get to make income even when you are not working on the platforms.

That’s where the famous line comes in … 

Making Money While You Sleep with Affiliate Marketing (Is it Really True?)

Yes, you can make money while you sleep with affiliate marketing.

But remember that it isn’t easy! 

With your hard work and constant effort, you will start to see people making purchases through the links you added on past posts.

Whenever an audience lands on your post and clicks on a link, you get paid without having to be present physically or virtually.

So even if you were sleeping or running errands, you would still get paid!

No clocking in needed.

How Much Money do Affiliate Marketers Make?

According to Payscale, affiliate marketers earn an average of $51,639 per year.

But the range can be anywhere between $12,000 to hundreds of thousands depending on your level and reach. 

Beginners can expect to earn much less than more seasoned affiliate marketers, but your income will start to increase with time and effort.

Who is Affiliate Marketing NOT Right For?

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn an income. But it’s not for everyone.

Let’s see situations where affiliate marketing may not be suitable for you.

1. You are Looking to Get Rich Overnight

You need lots of patience with affiliate marketing, especially when you are just starting.

It takes time to see results, and if you are looking to become an overnight success, then affiliate marketing may only frustrate you.

2. Are Unwilling to Manage the Affiliate Site

There is a lot of work that goes with an affiliate platform. 

From updating content to creating new ones, optimizing the site for search engines, looking at trends to make sure you remain relevant.

And promoting the content.


Get to a point where you can manage the affiliate site to ensure you get the results you want.

3. Have No Interest in Learning as You Go

You don’t need to be the best marketer out there for affiliate marketing to work for you.

But you do need to be willing to learn.

Most affiliates learn as they go. 

They do A/B testing, try out different techniques to see which works best. For instance, they could try email marketing for their audience to see if it converts more.

They could also try out different titles for their articles or videos.

It may be as little as playing around with the link placement, adding mid-content or at the end or both to see which works better.

And they keep learning and applying what they learn to their affiliate platforms.

If you are not willing to learn from mistakes and past actions, affiliate marketing may not work.

And Finally … 

Try out affiliate marketing to get some extra income. 

You now know what it is and even who it would or wouldn’t work for.

So, where do you fall?

And are you ready to start your affiliate marketing journey?

Don’t wait too long; just start right now and slowly grow your income.

Book a strategy call with us HERE to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground and start to move towards making your first $10,000 in affiliate sales.

Ready to Take the Next Step to Grow Your Business? If so, Start Here

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Hey there! I'm Leah Ngari.

Hey there! I'm Leah Ngari.

I am a Copywriter/Blogger that's very passionate about helping others. I joined the How to Entrepreneur team in 2021 and my goal is to help entrepreneurs and business people grow by informing and educating them through written content.
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