Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?

The truth about affiliate marketing you must know

If you search “best ways to earn money online” through Google, no matter which listicle you click, you’ll find affiliate marketing among the top ten.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective methods of earning a decent income online.

But, if you dig a bit deeper, you’ll discover an online debate going on about whether affiliate marketing is dead or not.

On one hand, affiliate marketing is a popular online business model; on the other hand, people are saying it has become obsolete.

Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?
chapter1

What should you trust?

Affiliate marketing is not dead. It’s on an upward trajectory with more revenue being added each year. However, changes in search engine policies and consumer trends have changed affiliate marketing strategies.

Affiliate marketers who adapted to these changes achieved success while those who didn’t lost business

If you read on, you’ll discover not only that affiliate marketing is very much alive and thriving, but also why people might think it’s dead (and not wrongly so).

What should you trust?

Numbers don’t lie: Affiliate marketing is not dead

I could reference countless statistics to show the rising trend in affiliate marketing.

With the expected US affiliate marketing revenue reaching $8.2 billion by 2022 (as compared to $5.4 billion in 2017), one cannot say that affiliate marketing is dying any time soon.

And if you consider the fact that internet traffic is on the rise, it is only logical to assume that the affiliate marketing industry is destined to grow.

Why do people say affiliate marketing is dying?

It’s not that people claiming that affiliate marketing is dead are lying or that they are ignorant of the numbers.

The truth is: Affiliate marketing is not the same business it was a decade ago.

One of the main reasons being that Google’s (and other giants’) harsh policies against affiliate links.

Gone are the days when spamming affiliate links, using black-hat SEO for higher ranking, and other such tactics used to do the trick.

One could say instead:

“Easy affiliate marketing” is dead.

However, value-added affiliate marketing, with top-notch content, is in demand and will be in the future.

But it’s more than that.

Affiliate marketing is essentially marketing which mainly depends upon consumer trends.

And with the introduction of smartphones, voice searches, interactive websites, social media, etc., consumer trends have witnessed drastic changes.

It is only logical to assume that online marketing (and affiliate marketing in particular) will also witness modifications as a result of changes in consumer trends.

Several affiliates failed to cater to the changing demands of the industry and ultimately lost business, which led to the notion that affiliate marketing is dying.

Is affiliate marketing easy?

The affiliate marketing industry is by far the only industry I can think of that doesn’t demand much, or anything for that matter, in the name of certifications, experience, and expertise.

The idea of an industry, worth well over $8 billion, allowing entrance to anyone is enticing, to say the least.

But that does not make affiliate marketing easy.

Most people think affiliate marketing is easy and decide they want a piece of that $8.2 billion pie without having even a basic understanding of email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, or paid ads.

These newbie affiliate marketers expect huge gains without putting in the required effort in learning, content creation and promotion, and end up not only disappointed, but several hundred dollars in loss within the first few months.

Here are some of the things that you should be ready to do if you want to become a successful affiliate marketer:

Upfront Work

Most gurus won’t say how hard it is to land your first affiliate order, because if they do, their course won’t get many sales.

But the truth is, not only does affiliate marketing require a whole lot of upfront work in terms of adding value-added, premium quality content, research, but also learning a whole lot of skills from search engine optimization and email marketing to niche selection and WordPress blog creation and management.

Affiliate marketing demands your undivided attention and unflinching dedication before reaping the results you wish.

Never-ending learning

Affiliate marketing, as it is with most online business models, is an ever-growing and ever-changing industry that demands constant learning and testing.

No one will give you a formula that will keep on generating income for you, because there isn’t one to begin with.

Most people don’t realize this.

They work tirelessly on a single strategy and just can’t pick themselves up to try something new when it fails miserably.

The rules of the game keep changing and one needs to be learning constantly to apply new techniques to grow, or at least sustain, your income.

What might work for one product might not work for the other. What is working now might not work the next month or next season.

The best source of learning is by following the footsteps of the giants of affiliate marketing and connecting with others on affiliate marketing forums and social media groups.

Knowing your metrics

Affiliate marketing isn’t just about selling products by writing reviews and counting all the money rolling in.

There are many more intricacies involved than one might fathom, at least in the beginning.

Analytics, traffic sources, tracking measures, split testing, etc., are the things you need to know if you’re thinking about making some money out of this business model.

Even though these tools and metrics are not too tough to master, most people fail to realize their importance.

Persistence is the name of the game

If there is one thing that is a must-have if you want to make it big in affiliate marketing, apart from knowledge, it’s persistence.

If you remain vigilant, healthy dedicated, and loyal to the business, there isn’t much stopping you from achieving a handsome income.

 

chapter2

Is Becoming An Affiliate Worth It?

Of all the ways to make money online, affiliate marketing will always be among the top 10.

Because it does not require you to have a skill, although having one is always welcomed.

All you need is a willingness to learn and unwavering persistence to make it big in affiliate marketing.

But does that mean everyone and anyone can win at affiliate marketing?

Not necessarily.

And if you look at the numbers, you’ll realize that most people end up losing countless hours and hundreds of dollars instead of making money.

Is Becoming An Affiliate Worth It?

I’ve mentioned some of the most common reasons for failure already, and topping the list are having unrealistic expectations and a lack of basic understanding.

Before starting any business, you must do your research, meet people who are already in the business, and learn anything and everything you can before spending your resources on it.

Affiliate marketing is no different.

Once you know what you’re getting yourself into, it is easier for you to decide whether the kind of work you’d be doing is worth it or not.

Let us weigh the benefits and drawbacks of affiliate marketing to get a better understanding:

The good

All-inclusive: No expertise required

The best thing about affiliate marketing, as already mentioned, is that you don’t need to be an expert. Even though having marketing experience might help, it is not required.

Most, if not all, affiliates learn along the way, trying different strategies and sticking to what works best.

Low investment

You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars in affiliate marketing, which makes it an accessible business model.

However, you do need to invest in a website (or landing pages), paid ads, and tools, which should cost around $500-1,000 if you’re serious about the business.

Even though these costs tend to increase over time, so does your revenue.

Flexibility

The digital nomad lifestyle has gained great praise in recent years.

The idea of working from anywhere without limiting yourself to a set time frame is truly liberating.

And affiliate marketing is one of the most effective business models to achieve such a lifestyle.

The bad

You don’t make the rules

Affiliate marketers use affiliate marketing programs and affiliate networks to run their business.

This makes affiliates dependent on them 100%

The merchants decide on the rules and can change them whenever it suits them without notice.

All you (an affiliate) can do is request to make adjustments and wait for them to apply those changes (if they deem fit).

You don’t create a customer base

Affiliates need to drive new leads day in and day out.

That’s because once a lead buys through your referral, it is only obvious that since s/he now knows, s/he will buy directly from the vendor in the future.

So, there are no recurring customers in the affiliate business. However, building your own list might fix this problem. 

No guarantee of earning

Affiliate marketing demands a lot of upfront work, sometimes even for months before yielding any gains.

But even if you work tirelessly, there is no guarantee that you are going to get compensated.

Maybe the offer you are promoting isn’t worth it, maybe the niche you’re working in is too competitive for newcomers, maybe the paid ad campaigns require tweaking, etc.

Even after months of content creation, promotion, networking, etc., things might not work out in your favor.

Having said that, if you learn the rules of the game and study beforehand what works and what doesn’t, you can increase your chances of success exponentially.

Not a get-rich-quick scheme

It’s not a drawback if you consider the gains you get after months of struggle and persistence.

However, it is important to share that, contrary to what many fake gurus might have gotten you thinking, affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Affiliate marketing is a proper business, with its intricacies and demands.

You’ll need to keep networking, build followers, reach out to various affiliate marketing programs, etc. all of which take serious time and work investment.