How to Make Affiliate Marketing Work for You
When you hear the phrase “affiliate marketing,” what comes to mind?
Maybe you think it’s too complicated. Maybe you imagine an army of affiliates spamming people with useless and fake reviews making “pie in the sky” promises, just to make a quick buck?
Because of these types of misconceptions, many small business owners think affiliate marketing is something to avoid or for other types of business, not their own.
What if you’re wrong?
What is Affiliate Marketing Really?
The truth is, there is no limit to the types of niches that can benefit from affiliate revenue. Done right, you can use this potential revenue stream to maximize your ROI in a fairly simple way.
All companies no matter the size—from two to 20 or even 20,000—need to consistently create new opportunities for revenue.
Look at some of the most well-known brands like Verizon, Microsoft and Amazon. They all use affiliates to promote their products. Apart from the increased profits, it doesn’t cost these companies anything extra. They pay by performance, so if an affiliate doesn’t sell anything, they pay nothing.
So if you sign up as an affiliate for any of these companies, your number one job is to bring people to the company’s offer—the product or service.
You can do this any number of ways:
- A blog
- Mailing list
- Free online classified sites
- Social media pages/platforms
- Paid ads
Why YOU Should Be Doing Affiliate Marketing
For the entrepreneur just starting out, affiliate marketing is a great way to get going—especially if you don’t have any products or offerings of your own. By adding affiliate marketing to your business plan, you are creating freedom and opportunity for you and your business.
Take for example my company, Novice to Advanced Marketing System aka NAMS. More than 50% of our revenue comes from affiliate sales which we use to cover our operating costs. This provides us the freedom to create quality products while keeping our business goals in line because we know affiliate marketing revenue is taking care of our “nut.”
Another example of the effective use of affiliate marketing comes from one of our NAMS instructors, Connie Ragen Green. She earned her first $100,000 in affiliate revenue with only 651 people on her list. It can be just as easy for you, too.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing
First let’s look at how Connie defines affiliate marketing.
She refers to it as, “The process of recommending what you love to your friends and business associates in return for monetary compensation.” When you think of it in those terms, it doesn’t seem so hard, does it?
When you consider how many times you’ve loved a product or service and then raved about it to a friend in passing conversation, you are already a affiliate marketer. You’ve just been doing it for free.
Now that you’ve wrapped your mind around what it really is, how do you implement this in your burgeoning business?
1. What do you love?
Let’s continue with Connie’s affiliate marketing philosophy. Think about the products and services you already love to use for yourself. Then consider if this something that would be useful for your clients and/or customers?
Connie’s recommendation is to only share those products and services you have personally used or participated in on some level.
People know when you truly believe in something and it’s your energy and excitement that makes them want a part of that, too. Authenticity, your authenticity, is what sells the product or service.
So you love the product and determined it is something you readers will benefit from.
Next, do a little research to see if the company that provides this product or service has an affiliate program.
There are a number of ways to do this.
- Check the company website for a link somewhere in the footer or contact/about us pages.
- Google the name of the product or service with “affiliate program”
- Sign up for affiliate networks like Clickbank and Commission Junction
If you can’t find any of these things, don’t worry. Email the company directly and ask.
2. Get Creative
Once you really know the product and believe in it, it’s time to get creative.
What is the best way to communicate to your audience about this amazing new product or service you know will help them? Maybe a video unboxing, a blog post review, or maybe a case study about how the product helped you.
It’s important to remember that affiliate marketing is just like any other type of marketing—the more creative you can be, the more successful you’ll be.
So Now What?
Now that you understand the basics of affiliate marketing, it’s time to take action.
Follow Connie’s advice and look at what you use that you love. Then do the research, join some affiliate programs and figure out how to get the word out.
Let us know in the comments below…
- What products/services do you really believe in?
- How would you use affiliate marketing to sell those products services?
- Have you been an affiliate before?
- Would you do it again?
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"The ultimate product you create is...yourself!" David Perdew