Is Affiliate Marketing Good or Bad?

Is Affiliate Marketing good or bad? Should brands hire affiliates to do marketing on their behalf? And can bloggers and others really make a quick buck through Affiliate Marketing? Hi, my name is Francisco. If you have been looking for answers to these questions, then you have come to the right place. I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a company that specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Remarketing. I have been in business for over a decade and, in all that time, I have learnt a lot about affiliate marketing. Not only am I an affiliate for other companies, but I also run my own affiliate marketing program in-house. So, you can rest assured that I know what I am talking about here! In this article, I am going to;

  1. Give you a definition of Affiliate Marketing.
  2. Tell you who can become an affiliate
  3. Show you some of the advantages of affiliate marketing.
  4. Show you some of the disadvantages of affiliate marketing.
  5. Advise you on whether you should go for it or not.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

In affiliate marketing brands assign affiliates to hunt for customers for a commission

One of the things that I have noticed is that when people talk about affiliate marketing, they mostly think about the affiliate. So, most of the articles that you will find out there are rather one sided. However, the simple truth is that there are two sides to affiliate marketing. First, there is the brand/merchant or company that has products or services that needs to be sold. Then there is the affiliate; an individual that offers to sell the product or service for a commission. So, what is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing can be defined as a system under which affiliates are hired by brands to sell different products and services so as to earn a commission. If you are looking for an in-depth definition of affiliate marketing and how it works, check out the article in the provided link.

Who can become an affiliate?

Most people are interested in becoming affiliates. I mean, who can resist the allure of a quick buck? I couldn’t! In fact, a large chunk of the money that my company, Planet Marketing, earns comes from affiliate marketing. In answer to the above question; anybody can become an affiliate. However, there are some people who are better placed to become affiliates than others;

  • Bloggers: A large number of the affiliates who are out there are bloggers. If you have a website and if you have the traffic, then this is one good way of monetizing your site. Bloggers are well placed to become affiliates because they do so much content writing. Much of the traffic that’s across the web is driven by blogging. So, these people have a much better chance of reaching a merchant’s target audience than others.
  • YouTubers: This is another group that has really embraced affiliate marketing. Some of the YouTubers that are out there have millions of followers. YouTube is very much social, and has the advantage that it does not solely rely on search engines. What I mean is, if you have a thousand followers, then they could very well be regarded as one of your assets. If you are a big brand, imagine the kind of reach that you are going to get should your products or services be endorsed by a person that has a million followers!
  • Social media users: If you have a thousand followers on social media, then affiliate marketing is something that you should consider. It’s one way of turning your audience into a source of income.
  • Others: It’s possible for everyone else to become an affiliate. You can directly ask people to sign up for this or that product using your link. If they accept, then you will earn something for your efforts.

Advantages of affiliate marketing

Affiliates get a percentage for each sale

As already mentioned, I am well versed in affiliate marketing. Not only am I an affiliate, but I am also a merchant. So, I am able to look at whether affiliate marketing is good or bad from both sides. So, what are some of the advantages of affiliate marketing? Check them out in the list below;

  • Affiliate marketing enables vendors to have greater reach for their products and services. Instead of trying to sell things using only your blog or website, why not have a thousand bloggers dotted around the world do it on your behalf?
  • If you are a merchant, another advantage is that you don’t actually pay anything till an affiliate has made a sale. So, it’s free marketing in a way. If you start doing affiliate marketing, you will get hundreds or thousands of people talking about your brand. It’s a great way of increasing your visibility in today’s crowded marketplace. If you want an example of what I am talking about, I am an affiliate of Kinsta, the company with which this website is hosted. Now, I have written a number of articles on the company in a bid to convince people that they are good. Okay, they are actually good! Otherwise I wouldn’t have been using them. So, if Kinsta has a thousand affiliates, then they will have a thousand articles talking about them! And they don’t actually need to pay anything till a sale is made.
  • For affiliates, affiliate marketing is a good way of making money. In fact, affiliate marketing is probably one of the things that keep the blogging world going. If you go on the internet today, you will come across a lot of eye watering stories featuring bloggers who earn tens of thousands every month. Well, a lot of these get their money through affiliate marketing.

Disadvantages of affiliate marketing

So, it can’t all be rosy, right? Well, it’s certainly! Affiliate marketing has a number of disadvantages, both for affiliates and for merchants;

  • If you are an affiliate, it takes time to start earning anything meaningful. Forget everything that you hear about people becoming rich via affiliate marketing. It’s probably all a mirage. Of course, there are a few people who have made it big. It’s the nature of the internet. If you are a latecomer, you are probably going to have to settle for the crumbs.  So, what you need to understand is that you are not going to start earning money just because you have launched your own blog and have signed up for affiliate marketing programs. Far from it! You need to be patient while building your audience.
  • You may not get paid for affiliate work. This rarely happens, but it’s not unheard of. There are, of course, some bad apples among brands. They will try to sell you short in spite of the fact that you may be bringing customers to their doors.
  • The competition is fierce. This is something that you will just have to get used to. There is simply too much competition! I mean, I am an affiliate of various Web Hosting companies, and I make very few sales. That’s probably because I got into the game late. There are other well established players out there and it’s hard to compete. So, you can be an affiliate for various companies without making any sales! That’s because so many people are looking to become affiliates!
  • It can be hard to choose which products and services to promote. I resolve this problem by mostly selling products and services that I have personally tried out. That way I know I am not selling my readers a dummy.
  • Affiliates have virtually no control. They just peddle other people’s products. There is no control over pricing. And there is no control over the commission that you are paid. Believe me; that can be frustrating. I bring hundreds of customers to the brand for which I am an affiliate. And it sometimes feels as if I am a bystander. HOWEVER, this scenario is not always the case. I am an affiliate for Shopper Approved, a company that does online reviews! Due to the fact that I have been able to bring them so many people, I have been able to negotiate a different price structure for people who use my affiliate link. So, if you sign up using the PM link, you will get a BIG discount!
If they are big enough, affiliates can negotiate better pricing for their readers

Affiliate marketing: Good or bad?

So, is affiliate marketing good or bad? Personally, and from an affiliate’s point of view, I wouldn’t say affiliate marketing is bad. Indeed, affiliate marketing really works! You just need to be persistent. It’s not going to happen overnight! Some of us have been at it for decades! Eventually, you will start reaping the rewards for your hard work. If others could do it, then what’s stopping you from following in their footsteps? The thing to do is to tone down on your expectations. If you start blogging today, you are probably not going to get rich tomorrow, unless you are very fortunate! So, you need to think of your site as an investment! Stick with it, and five years down the line, you may start earning something for your effort!

By all means, go for it!

And speaking as someone who runs an in-house program, I would also say affiliate marketing is good. I have already mentioned that it’s a great way of broadening your reach. Instead of being the lone voice in the wilderness, trying to peddle your products and services, why not engage the services of others do help you do the work? Often, you will discover that they are able to do a better job than you. And you won’t even need to pay them until they have produced the desired results.

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