9 Myths About Affiliate Marketing for Niche Businesses

Affiliate marketing can be a difficult and challenging business, however there are some myths surrounding it that perhaps need to be dispelled. This article focuses on the niche businesses that actually promote the products on behalf of other companies.

myths of affiliate marketing

The other side of affiliate marketing are the companies that manage the actual products and provide the links and statistics to support affiliate marketers, but information on that is in another article.

Myth One – Affiliate Marketing is Easy

Affiliate marketing can be seen as an easy option for starting a business. After all you just need a website and a few affiliate links and you are ready to go.

However, this is the first myth that needs to be mentioned because affiliate marketing is no easier than any other form of business venture. It is very time intensive, which can become the biggest resource that goes into developing it into a full time income source.

Time and Resources

The biggest challenge that affiliate marketers face is the time required to develop a website. In order to provide detailed information for visitors there needs to be a substantial amount of content developed, this requires the following resources.

  • Researching the topic in order to understand the issues.
  • Developing keywords and applying SEO techniques to ensure good ranking positions.
  • Writing content.
  • Sourcing video and other media sources to support the written content
  • Promoting the content and material produced – on multiple social media and promotion platforms.

Myth Two – Only Certain Niches Can Be Profitable

It can also be easy to assume that some niches are more profitable than others. The trick is just to find the right niche in which to make money.

In fact all niches can make money it depends on how they are developed and promoted. The skills that are needed to make a successful business are therefore what is important, not the particular choice of niche.

The choice of niche is often dependent upon,

  • What drives your passion?
  • What interests or hobbies do you have?

Learning all the skills of promoting and creating content is the vital part of affiliate marketing. Programs such as the Wealthy Affiliate University show that any niche can be profitable with the correct skills and knowledge.

However don’t be tempted to fall for myth number three.

Myth Three – A Broader Niche is Better and Means More Products

Affiliate marketing has traditionally been associated with niche marketing businesses. These businesses focus on a small sub sector of an industry and become specialised in the issues.

image niche

“Niche Smartphone Shows Web Opening Or Specialty” by Stuart Miles (freedigitalphotos.net)

It works because by focusing on such a small area, it allows authority and expertise to be developed, which form the basis of building trust with potential customers.

This can prove very challenging because any content that is developed has to be quite focused and specific. Instead the temptation might be to become more generalised and offer a broader range of affiliate products.

However this means the expertise becomes less, trust isn’t as easily established and the model of marketing becomes weakened.

Myth Four – The Affiliate Market is Shrinking

Affiliate marketing sites are constantly changing which may give the impression that the market is turbulent or shrinking. However the growth in companies using affiliate schemes has been consistently increasing.

Affiliate schemes originally started in the U.S in 1994 and have now extended to many other countries across the world. According to Marketing Land the luxury goods market is the latest industry to embrace affiliate schemes as more and more people continue to make purchases on-line.

Businesses are also seeing the benefit of affiliate sites, as a report (also cited on Marketing Land) showed that shoppers coming from affiliate sites tended to spend slightly more money than other customers.

Myth Five – Google Penalises Affiliate Links

There have been a lot of changes to Google’s algorithm over the last couple of years. Most of the changes have been to improve the quality of material and content being produced on websites.

As part of the process of upgrading content available to searchers, many affiliate sites were hit with Google penalties and lost their ranking position. For this reason many affiliate marketers decided that Google was specifically targeting them.

The reality is that Google does not like weak content sites. Early affiliate sites were often very weak and were often promoting the same product and simply providing the same details and information.

The penalties can be avoided though by producing strong content, such as;

  • original material
  • detailed product reviews
  • opinions and thoughts on the broader industry or niche topic
  • answering questions that potential customers might have about products

Myth Six – Affiliate Marketing is Just About Selling Products

Many affiliate marketing sites nowadays use a content based marketing strategy. In other words they use content to inform readers and potential customers and build a relationship with them.

Marketing and sales can often be seen as two different functions within business, but in affiliate marketing they come together. However the focus isn’t just on sales.

Content is produced to inform readers about the product, the industry, the company and other aspects that could be seen as relevant to the industry. The scope of content is now a lot broader and is a key part of the overall affiliate marketing business.

Myth Seven – You Only Need to Write Content

Although content is very important, the work doesn’t stop there. In fact producing good quality content on your website is just the first step in marketing.

There are other stages that also need to followed.

  • Add images that will attract the readers attention.
  • Differ the content to cater for people who prefer to watch a video, or listen to a podcast, or skim read over an article.
  • Provide links to your posts on different social media sites, this can include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tsu, LinkedIn.
  • Promote your website on industry forums relevant to your chosen niche.
image social media

“Social Media” by ddpavumba (freedigitalphotos.net)

Promotion is also ongoing, so posting to Twitter needs to be done regularly.

The same post will need several promotions and gradually needs to be added to all your social media and marketing sources.

Myth Eight – Everyone Will Like and Share My Posts on Social Media

Social media is a great source of free advertising, but there are times when paid advertisements are also needed.

In order for people to share your content they usually like to know that you are also engaging with others on social media sites. This means that as well as promoting your own content you need to curate content, i.e. share other work that is relevant to your industry or niche.

Why Share?

There are a number of reasons why sharing is good and a productive way to disseminate material, as well as gain more followers.

  • It shows that you are social and interested in others on the site and the material that they produce. This leads to a sense of reciprocity and people share your stuff back in return.
  • Curating content is quicker and easier than writing your own, but you are still giving value to your own followers and potential customers.
  • Sharing other content implies that you are reading broadly and studying your niche, which leads to more trust and respect from others as you are seen as an authority on the topic.

The downside to all this social media work is that it all takes time, however as with all marketing approaches it is an investment for a return.

Myth Nine – You Need A Lot Of Traffic To Your Website to Make Any Money

Traditional forms of marketing have relied on a numbers approach. The more visitors the more conversions is the agreed practice.

This belief is accepted because generally advertising is aimed at a broad sector of the population and only a small amount of that population will be interested in purchasing. The conversion level is always small.

In content marketing the target audience is more focused, by the time someone arrives at your website they are already interested at some level in what you are offering. Therefore traffic to the site doesn’t need to be as high because conversion levels should be higher and so more sales can be achieved with far lower numbers of visitors.

Affiliate and content marketing aim to achieve a relevant number of quality visitors rather than large numbers of uninterested visitors.

9 Myths of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is definitely challenging but before you embark on setting up a new business, make sure you don’t believe any of these myths.

  1. Affiliate Marketing is Easy
  2. Only Certain Niches Can Be Profitable
  3. A Broader Niche is Better and Means More Products
  4. The Affiliate Market is Shrinking
  5. Google Penalises Affiliate Links
  6. Affiliate Marketing is Just About Selling Products
  7. You Only Need to Write Content
  8. Everyone Will Like and Share My Posts on Social Media
  9. You Need A Lot Of Traffic To Your Website to Make Any Money

Further Reading

If you are interested in more reading on this subject the following articles are also available on this site.

If you can think of any more myths please do add them into the comments section below, thanks for reading and don’t forget to share the information on your chosen social media.

8 thoughts on “9 Myths About Affiliate Marketing for Niche Businesses

  1. Henning

    Thanks for a very thorough article about affiliate marketing myths. There are some good news as well as bad news in there for me.

    The good news: I was convinced that only some niches are viable and that you need a lot of traffic to succeed.

    The bad news: The drawbacks of a broader niche. Great article, I learned a lot.

    1. Marie

      Hi thanks for commenting and sharing your learning.

      Along with your good and bad news there are also the other variables to consider, such as the time and effort you invest into your content production and promotion, as well as how creative you can become to stand out in the market. With these traits most other obstacles and challenges can be overcome and all niches are therefore potential revenue streams.

  2. Trevor

    Thanks for busting some of those myths!

    I think that niche selection is essential – if you’re only interested in the niche for the money, that will show through in the content you create and the (lack of) sales you end up getting.

    Small niches can be incredibly passionate about their topic and often spend as much, if not more, money than people in bigger niches.

    1. Marie Post author

      Hi Trevor thanks for dropping by its good to meet you. I agree I think smaller genuine niche sites are very passionate about their subject and often invest a lot more time and research into their business than many of the larger sites. As someone interested in affiliate marketing there is a strong affiliate marketing forum if you are interested in joining, which you can read more about in this post Digital Marketing at Wealthy Affiliate University

  3. conformancefugitive.com

    Great, informative post… I too am an affiliate marketer, and I have to admit it really is very time consuming – but if you choose a niche/topic you’re very interested in anyway, this becomes much easier to research and, thus, write about!! 🙂
    The social and marketing side is, as you say, a pretty time consuming aspect!!
    It’s good to hear a realistic guide – many people seem to think affiliate marketing is easy!! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Marie

      Hi and thank you for sharing your own experience, I think Myth ten should probably be it doesn’t take much time!

      I agree all aspects of writing content, social media engagement and creating and working on new marketing strategies are all time consuming. At the end of the day it is a full time job and needs to be treated as such.

      I have also just produced a new introductory guide on content marketing that you may find interesting and which can be found in Books and Resources

  4. Alex

    Hello there,
    I am relatively new to affiliate marketing so I actually believed a few of these myths. A lot of people have told me that the affiliate marketing business is going away because of how competitive it is recently. I am sure that with this information in mind and continuing to work hard on my affiliate sites that I can make money through affiliate marketing.
    Thanks for the info!

    1. Marie

      Hi Alex thanks for your comments. I agree there are some contradictory messages out there, but with social media playing such a large role in referral marketing and more people buying on-line there is actually a bigger market for affiliates than ever before.

      There is no doubt there is a strong competition, but when I first started out in marketing I remember one authority figure saying if you produce a good quality website you are already 90% above all the rest.

      Thanks again and good luck with your own business, Marie

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