As you may or may not know, I am personally against any form of MLM, but proponents of it often ask what other opportunity is there to make money online besides through this method?
The answer is affiliate marketing and in my honest opinion/experience, I feel this alternative is far better. It is actually identical to MLM in some ways, but in many other cases, different and most people don’t know that. So I’ll explain:
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting someone else’s product through your website/email/social network. With affiliate marketing, you are essentially a middleman.
Here’s how this works in the most basic example:
People look for things on the internet, often products/services. They hop onto places like Google and do a search for such thing/s. If you own a website which appears to these people and they visit it, you can sell them something related to their interest.
What you sell is a product/service and you act as an affiliate, meaning if they buy it through you, then you earn a commission.
- Someone looks for ways to stop their dog from barking, so they hop on Google.
- Your site appears and they decide to visit it in hopes of finding an answer to their problem.
- Your site shows them ways to help dogs stop barking, as well as promotes a book on disciplining dogs.
- They like the information you have to offer and decide to buy the book you are promoting.
- Once they buy the book from your site, you earn a commission.
- Now take that person and multiply it by the hundreds, thousands and many more who also look for similar things on a weekly basis, then multiply the potential to earn money from these people and you have yourself the potential of a strong online business.
- Here’s a getting started guide on making money online (with affiliate marketing). on how to realistically make that into a business.
Here are some pros of affiliate marketing:
1) You can sell pretty much ANYTHING as an affiliate. One of the most popular ways affiliates make money online is through product reviews. Since there’s millions of different products available online, there are also millions of different opportunities to promote them.
2) Generally if you do things correctly, you don’t really have to sell much since people already know what they want. As an affiliate, you just make it easier for them to buy it, thus there’s no typical sales process necessary.
3) You can really make a lot of money with affiliate marketing. See my Wealthy Affiliate page and see my stats on that.
Cons of affiliate marketing:
1) In 99.9% of cases, you need to have fundamental things in place before you become a successful internet marketing:
- A niche.
- A website.
- Traffic (visitors).
This takes time to amass, but once you do, the rewards and profits can come in on autopilot.
What is multilevel marketing?
Also known as MLM, this is a business model which in has similarities to affiliate marketing, but goes deeper and grey area territory as far as I’m concerned. MLM in general is a process of marketing in which you usually get people to sign up to a program you’re promoting.
The more people you sign up, the more you can make in commissions. In that sense, it works exactly like affiliate marketing, but one key difference is this:
If the people you refer start to refer others into the business, you can make money of those secondary referrals. Now on paper this may seem like a much more profitable opportunity than affiliate marketing, but as you’ll find out in the cons, theory and realism are 2 different things.
The pros of multilevel marketing:
1) Considering you are either a very good salesman or have a large list of leads at your disposal, you can make a lot of money through referring people into an MLM. This is something most people lack and thus fail in the business (among other reasons).
2) You can potentially make a lot of money with an MLM vs affiliate marketing. In fact, affiliate marketing is part of the MLM process anyway because there is a promotional element going on and a middleman involved in those promotions making money, but in practice, you already know that there’s distinguishing features between both models.
The cons of multilevel marketing:
1) Generally, many MLM programs get a bad rep because often times they are accused of being pyramid schemes.
2) It is VERY difficult to sell an MLM program/product to someone. Unlike in affiliate marketing where people come to you, with MLM programs, generally you come to them and it is VERY rare that you can sell an idea to someone.
Most of the time, people are sold on a business idea of how they can make a lot of money through an MLM, only to find out the hard way it’s just a dream.
3) Many MLM programs come and go (often because they are pyramid schemes) so it is very difficult to find stability. Even if you have a strong list of people who follow you everywhere you go, it’s difficult to keep hopping from one MLM to another and maintaining credibility within your list’s eyes, at least from my point of view. They are however people who keep doing this and make a very successful living doing so. I am personally not for that sort of business because I feel it is basically a wild goose chase for many.
4) There are a lot of MLM programs which have their own products to sell to others. They recruit people, sell them these products and allow them to re-sell it. Usually the process of re-selling is difficult in my experience because the products being sold have other competitors on the market, often times more popular, making it even more difficult to sell.
Now affiliate marketing is itself also a competitive and often saturated field, but if you understand how to attract audiences, not only can you bypass that issue, but you can even implement that same model to promote an MLM program (not that I’d choose that route, but still).
Affiliate marketing vs MLM. And the winner is:
I have to say affiliate marketing. I have tried MLM before and did not succeed. What I can absolutely say without a doubt is this:
If you want to succeed in either industry, I suggest doing it online and if that’s the case to get proper training in places like Wealthy Affiliate on doing so. Personally I advise against getting involved with MLM’s because I feel they are more difficult to sell to people, not to mention their business model can be very questionable.
With affiliate marketing, there is massive potential to not only make a lot of money, but also genuinely help people as well as materialize a success online business which is built upon YOUR personal passion.
I know I am a bit biased towards MLM programs, so if you agree/disagree with my position on this, let me know in the comments section below!