Is Affiliate Marketing a Waste of Time, Money, and Effort?


If you’ve been doing affiliate marketing for any period you know how long it can take for things to happen. I’ve been doing it for 12 years now and I can tell you from my personal experience that it wasn’t an immediate success. Does this beg the question is affiliate marketing a waste of time, effort, and money?

No, affiliate marketing is not a waste of time. It is not something you will see a quick return from and typically takes between 3 to 6 months to see some results. People who put in consistent effort and time will see the best results.

If you are struggling to see results from your affiliate marketing efforts this article is going to share my top tips plus where you can go to get extra help to succeed.

Is Affiliate Marketing a Waste of Time

If you’re like most people you’ve set out on this journey to earn an income from affiliate marketing that so many people are talking about.

So you start a blog, you do a few review post, add your links and then…. nothing happens.

It’s at this point affiliate marketing isn’t what you hoped it would be. Over time you might even be thinking is this just a waste of time, money and effort?

The truth is if you don’t follow some basic rules affiliate marketing is going to feel like an uphill battle. I can attest to this, the first product I promoted on my first blog it only made a handful of commissions at best.

However, even with all the time spent on this financial endeavor, it is still not a waste of time.

So here are a few rules to follow…

1. Give it Time

For most people getting into affiliate marketing, you’re likely starting with a new blog and no audience. Building up an audience takes time. In most cases, you won’t start to see search traffic coming to your site for at least 3 months or more.

Ranking for search terms takes time. It can take upwards of 8 to 12 months to finally rank in Google for a search term. I know because I’ve seen it time and time again.

2. Keep Working

The second rule to succeeding with affiliate marketing is that you need to keep working at it. If all you do is create 1 review article and let your blog sit your chances of seeing huge success are slim to none.

You need to create a lot of content. 100 to 200 articles is a good start. I’ve certainly made money with a lot less than that but your odds of success go way up the more content you create.

Think of it like fishing, the more lines you have in the water the more likely you’ll succeed.

3. Keep Learning

Finally, keep learning as you go. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Look for the things that work and don’t work. When you find something that does work stop doing the things that don’t and focus in on what does.

Also, consider learning more about affiliate marketing. Listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, read blog posts, and take courses.

Side Note: At the end of this article I will share a course I’m in that has helped me a lot.

9 Tips to Make Affiliate Marketing Worth Your Time

Now that you know affiliate marketing isn’t a waste of time what are some tips to help you improve your efforts.

Below are 9 tips that I’ve found helpful from my own experiences.

1. Only Work with a Handful of Affiliate Programs

You don’t want to promote everything under the sun. You wan to promote useful stuff that your audience will find helpful.

For example, if you have a website all about camping gear and one article is talking about all the different kinds of flashlights but it can feel overwhelming to your audience.

Instead narrow things down to the top 5 flashlights and pick the one you like most, or which one is the best flashlight for the money. Often times people share a whole bunch of products and fail to tell you which one they prefer.

So be straight forward and tell your audience which one you like. Don’t make it any more complicated than that.

2. Pick Products You Use

Next, promote products that you use. When you talk about products that you’ve actually used it can come out more genuine. If you are promoting products you haven’t used your audience is going to pick up on that real quick.

Anyone can skim a few Amazon reviews and write their own product review. Instead if you actually own the product you can talk from personal experice and this hugely valuable.

Now you might be wondering what if I don’t own the product?

Then buy it.

I know that sounds simple but the thing is you can always return it. Amazon has a 30-day return policy. Buy the product and try it out. See how it works and what you do and don’t like about it.

If you like the product and can afford it, keep it. If you don’t like it return it.

Some products like web solutions will give you free trials. I recently did this with Kajabi. I’ve been looking for a solid membership platform and I decided to sign up for their 14-day free trial.

I was able to work Kajabi into my daily life and see what I liked and didn’t like about the product. After a month of review and playing around with it I decided to keep it and write a review.

3. Share Your Own Images

Next, if you want to beat out the competition then you’ll need to do things other aren’t and one way to stand out from all the others is to take your own pictures.

When you go to a review post for a product and you see nothing but all the images from the manufactor then its easy to assume that they didn’t do much research.

Instead buy the product and take your own pictures. A picture of you using the product will go a long way.

For example, here is a picture of some welding gloves I did a review on. The pictures aren’t perfect and really doesn’t look all that great.

But that’s the point. It looks authentic because I actually bought those gloves, used them, and took pictures of them.

Now you might be saying, ” I can’t afford them.”

Then buy the product and return it when you’re done. If you like the product keep it.

The point is when you take real pictures and use the product you can speak from a position of authority because you actually used the product.

4. Create a Video Review

Now that you had a chance to review the product and had the opportunity to take some pictures, this can also be the perfect opportunity to shoot a video review as well.

All you need is a smartphone and a product and you’re good to go.

Side Note: If you’re reviewing a software product then you’ll want to use a screen recorder like Screencast-O-Matic or Camtasia.

People want to see others using the product, how it functions, and the pros and cons. When you’re creating the video think about the things your audience wants to know about the product.

Here is a 30-minute video I recently created using Kajabi that I did a complete review on as an example.

If you want to take it a step further and you have an email list or a private Facebook group just ask them what they would like to know about the product.

These questions are golden.

5. Create Informational Content

When a lot of people think about affiliate marketing their mind usually goes directly to doing product reviews, buyer guides, or best x for y content.

However, I’ve found over the years that these types of articles typically are the most competitive, and have less traffic. So what should you do?

Focus on writing more informational content that actually helps people.

If all you do is write product focused content you’re going to be fighting over the same audience everyone else is going for. Instead go for content that helps people solve a specific problem.

For example, I wrote an article about how to start a mobile welding business and in the article, I suggest a specific welder you may want to consider buying and I link to it with my affiliate link.

If all your affiliate blog does is try’s to push people to buy a product you may come away as pushy and salesy. Instead just be helpful and make recommendations.

6. Pick Products You Like

Want to know a little secret to picking good affiliate products?

Pick products that you actually like.

I know that sounds too simple so I’ll break it down for you. If all you do is recommend the same products as your competitor then what makes you different from them?

If you really like a certain product, talk about it. This works especially great when it’s a product that’s an underdog to a more superior product.

If your competitors are all recommending the superior product and you come out recommending the underdog it will draw curiosity, and like most things, people can’t resist curiosity and want to know why.

For example, if you created a video titled Google Pixel Review it might be pretty competitive and not nearly as exciting.

But if you would title it Why I Ditched my iPhone for this, you’re curiosity would almost get the better of you because you just got to know why they got rid of their iPhone and what was so great about the other product.

How can you add curiosity to your content?

7. Recurring Product Commissions

Ok by now you’re mind is probably spinning with all kinds of ideas to improve your affiliate marketing efforts. And by now I’m hoping you’re starting to see that affiliate marketing is not a waste of your time.

But I have a few more valuable tips to go and my next tip is to look into products that offer recurring commissions. These are my favorite product to promote because you only have to sell it once and as long as they are a paying customer you will continue to get paid.

As you already probably know I’m an affiliate for Kajabi. I personally use Kajabi and I like how it works compared to other course platforms.

With Kajabi it earns a 30% commission as long as they keep paying. Kajabi runs $149 monthly which means at 30% I would earn a recurring commission of $44.70 a month.

If you get a hundred people a month doing that you would earn $4470 per month or $53,640 a year. Not bad.

So what are some products you know of that offer recurring commissions in your niche?

8. Give a Bonus

If you want to go to the next level with your affiliate promotions then consider offering a bonus.

A bonus is a great way to give something in addition to buying the product that other people won’t get if they were to buy it from someone else.

For example, going along with my Kajabi affiliate promotion I could offer a free 20-minute coaching call to sweeten the deal. If you’re selling a physical product you could send them a video of your top tips to getting the most out of that product.

So what could you give as a promotion? Write down the affiliate products you promote and list ideas of extra bonuses you could hand out.

9. Target the Right Keywords

Finally, the last tip is to target the right keywords for your articles. As I mentioned earlier you should consider targeting more informational keywords for your articles not just product based keywords.

For most people they think they need some special keyword tool like ahrefs or Longtailpro but you don’t. In most cases all you need is Google.

Let me show you.

Let’s say your blog is all about fixing up your house and you are installing vinyl plank flooring and you’re wondering what kind of articles could you write on this topic.

Just do a search.

So I typed in, is vinyl plank, in Google and I got tons of ideas. In this one search, I came up with 6 or 7 ideas right off the bat.

Now you might be wondering how many searches does each of these keyword ideas get and the answer is I don’t know.

But if a search shows up in Google in their autosuggest it means people are searching these terms and that if you write an article on this topic and rank for it you’ll likely get some decent traffic.

In fact, I’ve written articles that seem like they would never drive search traffic and I will get hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors from them.

Best of all your competition is typically not even looking at these terms and this could give you a viable way to get more traffic than your competitors.

Where to Learn More About Affiliate Marketing

Finally, if you’re looking for some quality training on affiliate marketing the right way I suggest checking out Project 24 by Income School.

This membership consists of courses, a membership forum, and even private weekly podcast episodes to help you grow your business.

You can read my full review of Project 24 here.

I’ve been a member of this program for 3 years now and Jim and Ricky have been very helpful and down to earth.

You can learn more about Project 24 by Income School by clicking here now.

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