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As someone who’s worked in digital marketing for a decade, I’ve always been wary of affiliate marketing.
That’s mainly because my first experience was trying to implement it for a luxury jewelry brand where the cheapest item was $1,000.
And the affiliate network we were approved for did not have the type of sites that would generate sales as we were working with sites and affiliates that were targeting a non-luxury market.
So ultimately, that wariness was actually just ignorance on my part, ignorance that I’m continuing to correct as I learn more about what it takes to make affiliate marketing work for you.
We talk about a lot of different ways to earn money online here, but for many sectors of online marketers and businesses, affiliate marketing is the end-all be-all.
And that’s precisely why many flounder in affiliate marketing as they either give their money to a site that’s ultimately a scam or not right for them or it’s just not something that makes sense for their unique brand.
As we outlined in our introduction to affiliate marketing, like any online business, while you can absolutely make solid money through affiliate marketing, it’s also not something that you can just sign up for and expect to start raking in the dough.
Does Affiliate Marketing Work in 2018?
Yes, but like most things in life, there’s a bit more nuance that we need to explore.
Making Affiliate Marketing Work For You
And that’s what it’s really all about.
As we commonly discuss in looking at get-rich-quick schemes and “coaching” programs, they offer you the world and then provide you with little in return for your hard-earned money.
That’s why we advocate a much more cautious, slower, but ultimately safer and more effective path to affiliate marketing.
First and foremost, what kind of affiliate marketer are you? Are you a successful blogger who wants to run ads on your site and earn a healthy commission? Or do you
Are you a successful blogger who wants to run ads on your site and earn a healthy commission? Or do you want to sign up (and pay) for a program or network of affiliate marketers like Stack That Money where you can supposedly learn from those affiliate marketing veterans who are moving around constantly from vertical to vertical and tactic to tactic?
Ultimately research is essential to this step of the process, figuring out how you want to approach affiliate marketing and what makes the most sense for your own personal brand.
Because above all else, whether you run a business or are looking to become a professional affiliate marketer, you need to have a clear and workable idea of what you stand for and the image you want to project.
Be Realistic About Your Income Goals
When it comes to making money online, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the hype that comes from the many marketing campaigns running out there along with legitimate forums on Reddit like Beer Money that pool simple, low-profit, but easy-to-implement extra income strategies.
But as this poll from Stack That Money shows, there is quite a wide range of incomes that one can supposedly make online (assuming that the respondents were being truthful.) 20% of the respondents said that they made under $20,000 a year where another 20% said they make over a million a year.
Now, one thing to keep in mind is the difference between profit and revenue.
Revenue is the amount of money you’ve made before you deduct overhead like money spent on ads and other costs of affiliate marketing (like if you pay to be a member of a network).
One can be making a massive sum of money but at a margin that makes their actual profit no different from someone making $20,000 a year from affiliate marketing (which is nothing to sneeze at.)
Ultimately, exercise caution in getting wrapped up in false promises of making a few thousand a week in no time. As we’ve reported time and time again, if it looks too good to be true, that’s because it almost certainly is.
Mix It Up
If there’s one constant piece of advice amongst affiliate marketers, other than not to give your money to a disreputable company, is to take a diverse approach to your affiliate marketing strategy.
When you look into those who’ve made a living (and a killing) from affiliate marketing, they’ve done so by constantly shifting verticals, programs, products, and whatever else needed to maximize profit.
And when we say mix it up, we don’t mean simply hop from thing to thing without thought.
We mean that even if you’re using basic digital marketing and not paid ads to drive traffic to your affiliate, try as many different strategies as possible, from SEO to content marketing to infographics and anything else that makes sense for you.
Also, when it comes to the affiliate program you’re promoting, never get tied into an extended contract.
You want to be able to move from program to program as it makes sense. If the one you’re in now, like Amazon’s, isn’t working for you, seek out something better.
In the end, when it comes to answering the question “Does affiliate marketing work in 2018?”
It’s all a matter of perspective.
If you’re not willing to put in the effort, research, and hard work, then no, it doesn’t work (like most things in life.)
But if you’re down to do your homework, be adventurous, adaptable, and dogged in your quest to make a healthy living from affiliate marketing, then anything is possible.