Is Affiliate Marketing Worth the Effort?

Before getting into any type of online business, you must first ask yourself if it’s worth your time, effort and investment.

After all, you’ll not only be a lot of time on it, you will also be shelling out money to get started.

If you are considering getting into affiliate marketing, you should ask yourself this very same question.

Answering it may not come that easily especially if you’ve never tried it or any other similar business model before.

But to help you come up with the answer, we’ve enumerated circumstances that make affiliate marketing worth all your effort.

Yes, if you are able to choose the right niche and profitable product

It all starts with the right niche and product.

You can’t expect to achieve success in affiliate marketing if you are not able to come up with the right decision regarding this matter.

In order for you to pick the right niche to work in, you need to consider these three things:

  • Your knowledge and expertise
  • Your interests and passion
  • Profitability and consumer demand

It’s necessary to choose a niche that’s within your area of expertise and knowledge so it’ll be easier to position yourself as the go-to-person for any relevant topic.

For people to believe in your product recommendations, they need to see that you know exactly what you are talking about, and that you are the right person to give advice and suggestions.

You can only do this if your niche is something that you are an expert in or at least knowledgeable about.

It doesn’t make sense to choose a niche that you have zero idea about.

For example, if you are a technophobe, then you won’t do well in the tech niche. If you don’t even know how a Bluetooth device works, how can you help people make the right buying decisions or assist them in setting up this device?

It’s also a must to choose a niche that is related to your passion and interests.

Why is this important? As you know, affiliate marketing can take quite a while before it can finally take off and give you the results that you are expecting.

If you are not the least interested in the niche you’ve chosen to work in, how can you stay on it long enough to achieve success? You’ll probably lose interest in a month or two.

It’s also difficult to write about topics that you don’t enjoy writing. Even if you plan to outsource this to a freelance writer, things still won’t work if you don’t get into a niche that you can relate to.

Finally, you cannot overlook consumer demand and profitability.

Even if a niche is within your area of expertise and interests, if there is no demand for it, and no one’s interested in the products that you are selling, nothing will happen to your affiliate marketing business.

Now, as for the product, you have to choose between physical and digital products.

Each of these two options has its own pros and cons that you need to know about.

Pros of physical products

  • Physical products are easier to sell to customers as customers see these as “real products”.
  • Physical products tend to have higher earning potential because they cost more and have higher commission rates.

Cons of physical products

  • It takes a longer time to get your commission from physical products because the order processing and shipping takes longer than with digital products.
  • There is the possibility of returns if the product turns out to be defective.

Pros of digital products

  • Digital products are more convenient to sell. There’s no shipping required. The merchant will only have to send the file electronically.
  • Since the transaction is completed faster, you can get your commission more quickly.

Cons of digital products

  • It can be harder to convince customers to buy digital products since some people don’t see digital products as real products.
  • Commissions tend to be lower for digital products not only because the product price are usually lower, but also because of the lower percentage set by the merchants.

If you are not able to select the right niche and product for your affiliate marketing business, it won’t be long before your business come crumbling down and you find out that all your efforts have been useless.

Yes, if you are able to choose a reputable affiliate program

Aside from the right niche and product, another thing that would make affiliate marketing worth all your hard work is the affiliate program that will join.

The affiliate program will give you access to affiliate products and links that you can promote.

This is where you will find all the necessary details about earning commissions, promoting links and so on.

If you are not able to make the right choice on this matter, your affiliate marketing business will not become a successful venture.

Here are the ways on how you can ensure the reputability of the program you’re eyeing to join.

Do a background check about the merchant.

First things first, know what there is to know about the owner of the product or the one running the affiliate program. Here’s the thing, since you know that affiliate marketing success depends heavily on trust, then you know that it’s crucial to maintain a positive online reputation.

If you happen to be associated with a merchant who has questionable background, this can taint your reputation as an affiliate. You also don’t want to become a victim of this merchant who’s probably not practicing affiliate marketing with integrity.  

Next, find out about the program’s payment system.

It’s also a must to find out about the program’s payment system. If you think that the commission rate is the only thing that you have to consider, you’re wrong. There are other factors that will affect your earnings, and these include the cookie duration, average product per sale, product price, and payment duration.

The cookie life is the duration by which a cookie stays active. All sales made within the cookie duration will be credited to your account so this means that the longer the cookie life is, the more favorable it is for you as the affiliate. Also, you need to consider the product price and average product per sale. A high percentage means nothing if the product price is extremely low or the product hardly ever gets sold.

Then you must also inquire about how long it takes for payments to be released. Obviously, you don’t want to work with a program that takes forever to release their payments.

Also, it’d be a good idea to read online reviews from your fellow affiliates.

This will give you a good idea about how the people behind the program are treating its affiliates.

Here are some things worth probing about:

  • Do they give efficient affiliate support? Some affiliate programs provide their affiliates with ample support as well as help in advertisements and promotional strategies.
  • How long does it take to get your payment? Sometimes the payment duration stated in the program is different from what happens in real life.
  • How long does it take before they respond to questions and complaints? You don’t want to promote a product that comes from a program that does not provide excellent customer support to the people who will buy the affiliate products.

Finally, you should definitely consider using well-known affiliate networks.

Affiliate networks are online platforms where you can find several affiliate programs that you can join.

Some of the most popular affiliate networks include:

Yes, if you have what it takes to succeed in affiliate marketing

Before getting started with affiliate marketing, it’s crucial to realize that this type of online business is not for everyone.

There are certain types of people who have better chances of succeeding in this venture than others.

Experts confirm that this business model is more suitable to those who have the following qualities:

Guts

Affiliate marketing is not for the weak or the faint-hearted. It is a cutthroat industry loaded with fierce competition everywhere.

In your mind, you’re probably imagining affiliates slashing each other’s throats as they fight over their customer’s attention.

Well, it’s not that bad.

But you definitely need guts (lots of it) to make it through, survive and eventually succeed.

If you are the type who’d back out when faced with conflict or challenge, you’d probably save yourself the stress and heartache by not getting started with this type of business in the first place.

Consistency

Like any other business, affiliate marketing requires consistency.

For one, you have to be consistent with your business’ brand identity. This should be apparent in all the aspects of your business—your website design and layout, your social media site accounts, your blog content, your email templates and so on. Having a consistent brand identity makes it easier for your customers to recognize your products and business.

Also, you need to be consistent with your efforts. This applies to every affiliate marketing task there is. From creating content on a regular basis to being active and present at social media at all times. You can’t be active on one day and then, suddenly disappear the next couple of days. Your affiliate marketing business needs your constant hands-on attention, especially in the initial phase.

Selflessness

The ability to put others’ needs in front of yours is something that not everyone has.

If you are not willing and capable of helping other people and taking the time out of your busy schedule to attend to their concerns and solve their problems, then it is most likely that you will not succeed in this business.

As discussed earlier, trust is one of the core foundations of affiliate marketing success.

And for people to trust you and believe your product recommendations enough to buy your affiliate products, you need to show them that you are more concerned about helping them than making a one-time sale and taking their money.

Resilience

Resilience refers to the ability to recover from hardships and mistakes.

There are plenty of these in affiliate marketing.

You will not go through this journey unscathed.

If you are not resilient enough, you are bound to give up after one, two or a couple of mishaps.

But if you can stand up from where you stumbled and get back on your path, there is a bigger chance that you will get to the peak of success which others find too elusive.

Determination

Having a positive mindset, one that is determined to succeed is another key ingredient in affiliate marketing success.

If right from the start, you set your mind that you will succeed, then it becomes a lot easier to do so than if you imagine that you are bound to fail.

Commitment

Are you serious about this business? If not, it will just be a big waste of time.

Commitment is necessary so you can carry out all the tasks necessary to get the results that you expect.

Commitment is what will drive you to go back to where you are after you have encountered a couple of obstacles along the way.

If you do not have all these qualities, it’ll be a very big challenge for you to make it big in this industry. You might be better off doing something else.

Yes, if you’re ready to stay for the long haul

Here’s the thing about affiliate marketing that everyone should realize and accept: it is NOT a get rich quick scheme.

People have become notorious for wanting things to be easy and instant.

This is the reason why so many people fall for scams, as scammers capitalize on people’s innate desire for instant gratification.

Shortcut to wealth, overnight success, instant millionaire—these are just few of the many things that scammers use to lure in their victims to the affiliate marketing traps that they’ve set.

It’s a must to know that if you want to convert affiliate marketing as a reliable source of passive income, you need to work hard and long for it.

It won’t take days or weeks to get there. It will take long months or even a few years.

If you are the type who gives up too easily, or who cannot stay for the long haul, then this is definitely not the route for you to take.

Here are the reasons why affiliate marketing takes time.

Reason # 1 – It takes time to set things up

You can’t finish setting up your affiliate marketing business in one or two days.

There are many things that you have to do to get things running.

For one, you will have to build a website.

In order to do this, you need to look for a website builder or CMS, web hosting provider and domain name provider. As you can imagine, all these would already consume so much of your time.

After you’ve built your website, you need to create valuable content.

Creating valuable content entails extensive research not only on the topic but also for keywords that will help optimize your content for the search engines, as well as on your audience as you need to create content tailor fit to meet their needs and resolve their problems.

Then let’s not forget about driving traffic to your site. This is probably the part of the business setup that takes the most amount of time.

Reason # 2 – It takes time to build active and engaged communities

Another crucial aspect of affiliate marketing is having a highly engaged community of customers.

You cannot simply create a group on Facebook and expect that people will immediately become active in posting content and interacting with each other.

It takes time to build a following, and for these a person to become interested in what the community is all about.

Reason # 3 – It takes time to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers

Building trust is another part of this business that will take a very long time.

When you first get into affiliate marketing, you’ll be eager to help people and show off your expertise.

But even if you are able to show them that you are concerned about their plight, you’re willing to go out of your way to help them out, and you are the right person to ask for advice in the niche, people still will not trust you in an instant.

It takes time to build trust.

It will take you not days but weeks or months for people to start trusting you and your business.

Reason # 4 – It takes time to formulate, conduct and maintain online marketing strategies

Creating a comprehensive marketing strategy is a must to be able to promote your affiliate products to the right audience in the right way.

Your marketing plan will have to cover all the powerful marketing channels in order for it to work.

Each of these channels will consume a lot of your time.

Building your email list for one cannot be done in an instant. Sure, you can buy an email list, but this is not ethical and legal. It will also not give you the results that you need to succeed as an affiliate.

As you can see, if you won’t stay for the long haul, then it only means one thing: affiliate marketing won’t be worth your time and effort.

Yes, if you’re willing to adapt to changes and keep up with its ever-changing nature

Affiliate marketing is constantly changing and evolving and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

The same is true for any other business that resides online since the internet is highly dynamic and ever-changing as well.

Here are just few of the things that you need to keep up with:

  • SEO – Optimizing your content for the search engines is necessary to land a higher ranking in the search engine results pages. It takes ample knowledge of SEO to get this done. But one thing that you have to know about SEO is that it doesn’t stay the same all the time. Strategies that work today may no longer work tomorrow. For example, keyword stuffing which used to be a common practice back in the day has now been banned by Google. If you’re not updated with the latest SEO techniques, you might risk losing your high ranking, or worse, you might even get banned or penalized.
  • Marketing – Just like SEO, online marketing strategies change all the time. This is another area of your business in which you have to constantly stay updated. You should keep up with the latest developments and trends in the digital marketing world to ensure that you are using the currently effective tactics, and you won’t waste your time with old school methods that no longer work.
  • Content – The way you create content is basically the same today as it is before. You always have to create value for your audience. However, it also undergoes certain changes that you always have to know about. Just one example: in the past, content creators are advised to stay within to stay within the 500-word range when writing blog posts and articles. But today, this is no longer the ideal word count. Affiliates are advised to churn out up to 2,500 words per post to discuss a topic comprehensively.
  • Customers – People change all the time. You think you already know your audience well enough to provide them with what they need and to resolve the problems they are struggling with. But before you know it, they’ve changed and now have different needs, wants and expectations. For example, online users many years ago do not crave for instant gratification. But the online users of today will not sit for more than five seconds if your affiliate website does not load instantly.
  • Affiliate Programs – Before joining any affiliate program, you need to read and understand its rules and regulations so you don’t make any violation that will be grounds for your account’s cancellation. It’s a must to be aware that these rules can change without prior notice. You have to be proactive in keeping yourself updated with the program’s latest rules and regulations so just in case there are any changes, you can adjust and revise accordingly. This way, you will not commit any costly mistake.

If you resist change and you’re not willing to adapt, don’t bother trying to become an affiliate. It won’t become your route to success. You can only make it big if you are flexible and adaptive.

So what do you think? Do you think affiliate marketing will be worth it for you? If yes, then by all means go ahead and explore the many benefits it can bring you.