I have an online friend who has very definite views on two things, MLM and affiliate or referral marketing. He despises them both. Now I can understand his misgivings about MLM or network marketing because 99% of the industry is smoke and mirrors with overpriced goods that do little to no good (I am thinking of Agel, any Goji Juice scam and even Herbalife here. If you are a rep of these companies and want to complain just talk to yourself in the mirror and don’t bother to get in touch with me. I have my own opinions on these things and you cannot evangelise me!) I actually do promote an MLM business because the product is great but enough of that.
However where I don’t agree with him is on referral marketing or affiliate marketing because in the social media World that is where we are heading and more importantly all business to public commerce is effectively affiliate marketing. Are you more likely to buy something if a friend of yours tells you it is great? Do you go to the cinema to see the latest films if your mates tell you it is great? You are probably more likely to.
His beef is that affiliate marketing is a scam. I cannot agree. I would say that it is even a purer form of commerce than buying stuff from a shop. Or is it that Microsoft own every shop where PC’s with their software on are being sold?
Let me give you an example. Let’s say I am promoting a book from Amazon on my site. I put in the affiliate code in a clickable link with full disclosure that if you buy this book I earn money. If you go directly to Amazon without passing through my link you will pay exactly the same price so where’s the problem? Also if you buy the book from a shop it is very likely that you will actually pay more for it because you have all of the following possibly taking a cut; the Publisher, the distributor, the warehousing company, the transport company and the shop itself. All of these levels in the chain need to make money to justify their existence so the price is raised at each level.
Now you may have noticed that in this post there is no link to any affiliate product. However wherever you find a link in my site to a recommended book or product you can more or less assume it is an affiliate link. Then again I will only recommend stuff that I would use myself, already use myself or have actually produced.
Now the year I am following the Challenge again, and no that is not an affiliate link. One of the recommended strategies will be to use other people’s products to test a market and that is another great thing about affiliate marketing. You don’t need to spend too much time thinking of what products you can make for a market until you know that in that market there is a possibility of actually selling stuff.
So after reading this and especially for those who are doing the Challenge this year, what do you think about affiliate marketing?