March 27, 2014
Of all the services we offer here at HigherVisibility, affiliate marketing is probably the topic that gets the most questions and people are least educated about when they come to us for help. There are a lot of myths out there surrounding affiliate marketing, and these can often cause companies to pass on these types of programs. It’s important you understand some of these myths so you can make the right decision for your business without any false information clouding your judgment.
Affiliate marketing is essentially just a partnership with other companies. Ideally, you would have affiliates that are complimentary companies in your industry, and many companies have an affiliate marketing program where they have several different affiliates that they work with. For example, if you were a fitness trainer you might want to have affiliate relationships with a bike shop and/or a nutrition magazine.
This is a performance-based marketing strategy, so how it works like this: If your affiliates bring customers to your business with their own marketing efforts, then you pay that affiliate. If they don’t, then you don’t have to pay. Sounds easy, right? There is actually quite a bit that goes into affiliate marketing, which you can learn about here, which also explains why myths in this strategy are so easy to find.
The truth is that an affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most cases there is a lot of competition so you’re not going to be earning money right away. People assume that all you need to do is setup a website and choose an affiliate to partner with and then just let it run its course. This pretty easy route unfortunately won’t get you anywhere.
The affiliate marketing industry really does rely on relationship building (although still slightly different than referral marketing). You have to bring in the right partners for your program, continually search for new partners, and constantly be updating content to keep things fresh. You have to have the right offer out there for readers, and remember, an affiliate program will only help bring you traffic—you’re in charge of making that traffic convert.
As discussed above, you want to continually be trying to add affiliates to your program. You don’t want to have too many affiliates, but you don’t just want to have one. Try to constantly be looking for quality affiliate that can help grow the program.
A lot of companies don’t even bother trying an affiliate marketing program because they think their niche is too small. Some companies will even try to break into larger niches even if they have no interest at all in the subject matter, but this needs to stop.
It is true that some of the more popular niches do better with affiliate marketing, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance at success. Stay in line with the goals and message of your business and find affiliates who understand the importance of working in a niche where you’re comfortable.
This is a huge myth that can get you in a lot of trouble. It definitely sounds like there is nothing to lose when it comes to these types of programs, but there are things that can go wrong. You have to make sure that your product or service is represented fairly and doesn’t make you look like spam. Sometimes with affiliate programs your message shows up as a pop-up or some sort of forced click. You have to manage your affiliates to make sure this doesn’t happen and make your company look like it’s poor quality.
It’s also worth noting that this could be looked down upon by Google and other search engines. You don’t want poor quality links associated with your company, and sometimes affiliate programs can give you these poor links.
Fortunately, although this strategy isn’t risk-free you can help minimize risks with careful management. Always talk to your affiliates and use different tools to help you see their success.
We mentioned it a little bit before, but people are very concerned about how affiliate marketing will affect their SEO and standing with Google—and rightfully so. Because search engines are often changing and link building is becoming taboo, it’s easy to make the assumption that affiliate marketing is slowly dying.
While it is true that affiliate marketing isn’t as popular as it was in the past, it’s not going anywhere. You might run into a few link issues with Google if you’re not managing your program, but for this most part the whole idea of affiliate marketing still makes sense to Google—it offers another relevant and related resource to consumers.
You should also be aware of some of the myths out there regarding anything and everything search. Search engines and optimization for your website is constantly changing, so there are quite a few more myths in this industry than you might find anywhere else.
Below are a few other articles we’ve written to help you keep your facts straight:
Do you know of any other affiliate marketing myths or search myths in general? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
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