Many people that use multi-level marketing (MLM) programs often say that it’s the best way of making money online. But many of these people are either in the higher levels of MLM (they were there at the beginning of the program), or they are extremely talented at selling ideas to people. Unfortunately, for most people MLM programs are an extremely difficult way to make money online. In fact, some say it’s impossible to make a living from these methods unless you’re one of these lucky people.

There is a more realistic method of making money online, and it’s called affiliate marketing. For many, it’s a less challenging way of making money and also a more rewarding experience. First, let’s take a look at what both of these marketing strategies involve.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a tried-and-tested method of making money using the Internet by promoting someone else’s product or service through your own website or social network. Usually, it involves chasing single commissions from products you are affiliating yourself with. Basically, it involves three parties: the merchant or store, the affiliate, and the customer. The customer uses a search engine to look for a product or service, they see the link to your website and click the link. They then click on a link to a product on your website and buy the product. You then earn a commission.

Pros of Affiliate Marketing

As an affiliate marketer, you can choose a product or service that caters to a specific audience (a niche product) and then choose how you promote it, either using online or offline marketing strategies, or a combination of both. Many affiliate marketers make money as an affiliate marketer through product reviews. These are the main benefits of affiliate marketing:

  • You choose the products you want to sell. As there are millions of different products available online, the choice of products to promote is unlimited, and there are also many different promotional techniques you can use
  • When you get it right, you don’t actually have to do much “selling” – you are just making it easier for potential customers to find the product that they are already searching for
  • Affiliate marketing is one of the cheapest ways to start making money through the Internet. You can start an affiliate business without having to make a large initial investment
  • Most affiliate programs are free to join

Cons of Affiliate Marketing

  • You are the one who has to find a niche product or service to sell
  • You need to set up a website or build a presence on a social media network
  • Driving enough traffic to your website or social network can take time. (Once you get the traffic, however, you can just sit back and watch the commissions roll in)

What is Multi-Level Marketing?

Also known as MLM, or network marketing, multi-level marketing is a business model that has some similarities to affiliate marketing, but it’s not the same. Usually, you have to get people to sign up to a program you are promoting. Anything these people sell earns you a commission. This is the key difference: you earn multiple levels of commissions through the people you recruit. Ultimately MLM is more about building a team in order to promote a product or service. The more people you recruit, the more commissions you’ll earn.

Pros of Multi-Level Marketing

  • If you’re a very good sales person and the people you recruit are loyal, you can earn money through MLM
  • It gives you an opportunity to enjoy residual income
  • You can work from home or remotely

Cons of Multi-Level Marketing

  • If you’re not good at recruiting people, it’s difficult to succeed in MLM
  • It’s difficult to sell an MLM product to someone else. Unlike affiliate programs, you usually have to sell the idea of the product or service to other people, not just the product itself
  • Many MLM products have a relatively high amount of competition online, so selling the product can be difficult
  • Finding a reputable MLM company can be a struggle
  • You often have to pay an introductory fee to join an MLM program

Affiliate Marketing Vs. Multi-Level Marketing

The main difference between affiliate marketing and multi-level marketing is the fact that you have complete control of what to sell with affiliate marketing, while with MLM you can only sell the products of the MLM program you’re involved with. In affiliate marketing, it’s much more comparable to owning your own business, where you are responsible for promoting the products and you receive the commissions without assistance from other people. With MLM, it’s more about how many people you can recruit to sell on your behalf.

The Bottom Line

Many MLM programs just involve multiple levels of marketers signing up more marketers with no one really selling many products. If you think you have the time and passion for recruiting others, it may be worth considering, but making a living is notoriously difficult. If you want to start making money from promoting products and services that you actually care about, affiliate marketing is a simpler and more fulfilling route to financial gains. This is why affiliate marketing is better than multi-level marketing. With affiliate marketing, you have the potential to make money and also help people find products that you actually care about.

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