11 Biggest affiliate marketing myths

By Leon Tranter | Affiliate Marketing

Nov 07
affiliate marketing myths busted

There are a whole bunch of weird and dangerous myths about affiliate marketing going around. In this article, I’m going to blow apart these eleven dangerous myths right before your very eyes! So let’s get started busting some affiliate marketing myths.

Affiliate marketing is easy

Some people think that affiliate marketing is some super easy and “cheating” way to make instant money. That’s not at all true.

It definitely requires research, dedication and hard work. That’s not to say it can’t be very profitable. And it’s certainly easier than building your own products from the ground up. That’s one of the most difficult ways to make money (and one of the most profitable).

So affiliate marketing is definitely a good way to make money online, but it is not a cakewalk. Anyone who says it is is probably about to try and sell you their “push a button make loads of money” phoney product or system. Buyer beware!

Lots of traffic means lots of money

Some people think that it’s all about traffic. If you can get traffic, you can get sales, as easy as that.

While traffic is required to get anywhere, it’s not at all as simple as that. You also need conversion. Traffic that just looks at offers and moves on is a waste of time.

A lot of people get discouraged early on in affiliate marketing because they buy some cheap or easy traffic source (like solo ads), throw it at some random offer, and get poor results.

There are a few problems. One, not all traffic sources are created equal. You need to do some research, find out about the platform or the seller, and see what niches are working and which are not.

affiliate marketing traffic

Traffic doesn’t necessarily mean making money

You also need to consider the fact that when you’re starting out, nobody knows you. Do you buy things on recommendations from people you barely know? Probably not. The same is for other people buying things on your recommendations.

If you’re just starting and you’re buying traffic from here and there, it is cold traffic. These people don’t know or trust you. That trust takes time and effort to build up.

Another thing is that not all offers are created equal. Some offers are just duds. Some will only work with certain sub-niches, platforms or traffic sources. Some might be too old (everyone has seen them before), or too young (nobody has ever heard of the product or vendor). Or there might be mistakes on the page or bugs in the form.

You need to research, test, and practice. Once you have your numbers looking good and your offer performing well with a small test set of traffic, only then should you dial up the volume and sending more traffic.

Affiliate marketing only works in top niches

Some people think affiliate marketing can only work in the big “super-niches”: health, wealth and relationships. I wrote a whole article talking about the biggest and best affiliate niches here.

But there are plenty of other options. You can (and should) consider sub-niches: diets for vegetarian diabetics. Managed funds for students. Dating for retirees. The list goes on (and on).

There are also all the “irrational passions”: golf, poker, craft, cooking. Or just branch it into the oddball niches: comic art, gin distilling, ultimate frisbee. Your imagination is the limit. There won’t be huge markets but there won’t be hardly any competition.

Affiliate marketing is dying

Some people think that the heyday of affiliate marketing has passed, and it’s all downhill from here. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Now there are definitely some problems in this area. CPA (Cost Per Action) marketing is struggling with scammers, spammers and fake traffic. But it has always done that.

The good marketplaces screen people and are employing smarter managers and smarter software to keep things under control. I feel CPA marketing will always be in a kind of arms race between the scammers and legitimate marketers. I don’t specialise in CPA marketing so this is something I don’t really have to worry about.

But from what I gather, CPA marketing isn’t dying anytime soon. In fact, since the action price is so low (usually nothing), CPA marketing is potentially about to explode. That’s because developing countries with huge populations are getting online more and getting targeted by more CPA networks.

So now is probably the best time to be a CPA marketer.

I do CPS (Cost Per Sale) marketing, which is doing just fine. There are plenty of people to market to and plenty of products to market. Clickbank has more products than you could ever promote in a lifetime! And that’s just one affiliate marketplace. There are bunch of good affiliate marketplaces to get started.

Sure, there are some dud products and some phoney gurus, but that has always been the case. And I don’t think it is much worse today than it was a few years ago.

The set of tools available to marketers (e.g. funnel builders, auto-responders) is getting better and cheaper every year, which is great. Email is probably not quite the powerhouse it was a couple of years ago, but it still works fine. Some people are trying messenger bots and push notification lists, but email is still very effective. I see those as complementary rather than replacement strategies. I wrote more about this in my article Is Email Marketing Still Effective.

You need a lot of money to get started

Some people think you need a big pile of money to get started with affiliate marketing. And that this makes it impossible for the “little guy” to make a start and get some marketing successes.

Nothing is further from the truth! Affiliate marketing probably has the lowest barrier to entry of any business model on the planet.

You don’t need any stock, any buildings, any employees. You don’t need any raw material or inventory. You don’t need a job, a degree, or any qualifications.

All you need is a computer of some kind (although some people manage to do everything with a smartphone – true story!), and an internet connection.

If you want to do paid advertising, that will obviously cost you. But there are plenty of ways to get free traffic.

In fact, I published a big article on free traffic sources that you can try right away.

And once you’ve made some money with free traffic, you can invest that money into paid traffic, to scale up your earnings.

If you want to accelerate your affiliate earnings with free traffic methods, I would recommend you to learn from the experts. The best courses on free traffic I know of are Instant Buyer Traffic (click here for my review or here to see the best price), or The Trinity (click here for my review or here to see the best price).

So money is definitely not a barrier for affiliate marketing. However, if you are starting off with a very limited budget, I wouldn’t begin with CPA marketing. Since CPA marketing doesn’t involve building relationships and email lists, it is usually heavily dependent on paid traffic.

You need a mentor to get started

There is a common myth that you can’t start on your own, and that you need some sort of super mentor or guru to get started. That’s just not true at all.

I didn’t start with a mentor and I still don’t really have one (though I’ve built up some connections and learnt a lot from some great people).

Starting without a mentor might seem daunting, but there is just so much good material available online. Some of it costs money and some of it is free. Obviously, the free route is going to be a bit slower and harder, but the options are all there. You don’t need a mentor, you just need to start learning, start applying, take action and put in the work. It’s that simple!

If you do feel you need some additional mentoring or coaching, there are a limited number of spots opened up here to be taught by three of the top internet marketers on the planet right now. So that could be something of interest to you if you want elite mentoring to accelerate your progress.

You need to be a technical expert

Some people think “I’m not a programmer! I’m not a graphic designer! I’m not a web developer! So I can’t do this!”. The good news, that is not a barrier. I am none of those things, and I’m doing pretty well.

The truth is, those things might have been barriers 10 or 15 years ago, but they definitely aren’t now. There are a wide vvarietyof tools and systems that can get you up and running in no time.

And if you get really stuck, there are great websites like Fiverr or Upwork where you can pay people to get things sorted out. And since these people are often in developing or poorer countries, where US dollars go a long way, the rates are really cheap. A tiny fraction of what you would have paid some consultant five years ago.

You don’t need any technical skills

Now, this is an interesting point and one where some people may disagree with me. And it might seem to contradict with my previous point. But hear me out.

While you don’t need to be a technical expert to get started, in fact, you barely need to know anything beyond using a browser, you really should start learning skills.

If you can’t even design a simple banner in Canva, and have to outsource it every day, that will really cost you in the long run. Not just in money, but in time.

The first time you make a banner in some graphics tool, it might take you a long time. Longer than it would take you to find and pay someone on Upwork to do it.

But with practice, you can get much quicker. And it’s not just graphics. Knowing your way around WordPress, even some basic CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), can really help. The more you can do yourself, the better.

You don’t want to be completely dependent on consultants and specialists to manage every single part of your business. Make sure you are always learning new skills and technologies. This will slow you down a bit but pay off in the long run.

It’s all about luck

Some people think that success in marketing is all about luck. Someone just happened to be in the right place at the right time, or choose the right product for the right market, or know the right people. I think that’s BS.

I feel that people make their own luck. People launch successful products when they understand the market and what people there need. Knowing the right people comes out of putting time and careful effort into building up relationships.

Sometimes people get genuinely lucky, when they hit a trend just as it is rising, or buy or sell bitcoin just at the right time. But nine times out of ten, luck has nothing to do with it. And that’s a good thing! It means if you research, plan, study, take action and put in the effort, you can get great results.

You need to have a website

OK, so a lot of people think you need a website to do affiliate marketing. And I am quite loathe to dispel this myth. Because I do have a website and I love it and get a lot of value out of it. And it is a crucial (in fact essential) part of my long-term marketing strategy.

But it is not completely essential. If for some weird reason you really, really don’t want a website, you can actually do affiliate marketing without one. In fact, I did a big article on how to do affiliate marketing without a website. So you can go check that out. There are plenty of ideas there.

But I still think you should get a website! Every serious marketer has one.

Affiliate marketing is a get rich quick scheme

Some people think affiliate marketing is some kind of weird get rich scheme or pyramid scheme or scam. Now, there are definitely some of those around.

marketing pyramid scheme

Beware of MLM and pyramid schemes!

I would be very, very careful of any program that requires you to buy a membership to get access to products that you have to buy in order to then on-sell them.

Those are often (not always, but often) scams. The product component of them was added to stop them being shut down as being pyramid schemes. Several big programs like this have still been prosecuted and disbanded by authorities, like Digital Altitude and My Online Business Empire. But there’s another reason to avoid them.

You just don’t need them! There are plenty of ways to get started with internet marketing. You can promote any products on Clickbank right now without even getting approval! And getting approved on Warrior Plus or JV Zoo isn’t that hard, if you go about it the right way.

So affiliate marketing is only a get rich quick scheme if you go about it the wrong way, and buy into a silly pyramid program. Avoid them and you’ll be fine.


I hope you enjoyed me bust this set of affiliate marketing myths! Can you think of any others? Please let me know in the comments. And if you want to get started with affiliate and internet marketing, this article is a good place to begin.