The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

If you’re thinking about getting into affiliate marketing, here are some things for you to consider:

Pros

  • Great way to learn how to market products. Affiliate marketing in general is competitive and it’s a good way to train yourself in SEO, advertising and marketing generally. Learning this skill will give you an advantage when starting any business.
  • Less maintenance. When done correctly, you should have less overall work to do than if you’re starting your own line of product/service offering. This is because as an affiliate, you don’t have to deal with post-purchase activities like product fulfillment, customer service, and more which will typically take a team.
  • Minimal Capital To Get Started. Generally you don’t need a ton of money to start an affiliate business. It can be just using your smartphone and making a bunch of videos.
  • A good way to build up a “passive” income stream. The right product can deliver recurring income. Of course, it’s never going to be 100% passive in that even if you promote software, there will typically be some level of churn and you’ll need to put in some consistent effort to ensure that your affiliate income is being maintained or growing
  • Work anywhere. Like any other online businesses, an affiliate business will allow you to work from anywhere.

Cons

  • Out of your control. The company that’s paying your affiliate commission may go out of business, decide not to pay you, fudge the commission numbers, delete your account and claim you never referred customers, change the payment commission against the initial agreed upon terms. If you’ve built your entire affiliate business off a single company, that can be a huge risk. Especially if you’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort into it. All of these things have happened to me and they can happen to you also. The best you can really do is vet the company and look at forums to see whether they’ve been reliable. There’s one company that paid commissions on time for 6 years and then one day, they got acquired and everything fell to shit. It happens.
  • Cut throat competition. Generally the better the affiliate program, the more competitive the marketing will be. The barrier to entry for affiliate marketing is low and that generally attracts marketers from across the spectrum. If you’re just starting out, then going up against seasoned marketers can seem discouraging initially.

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