Affiliate marketing – Why you should be looking at it in your small business
Whenever someone recommends a product or service for me to buy online I ask them if they have an affiliate link. Why is that, you might then ask!
That is because affiliate marketing is a great source of extra income for Solopreneurs. You can use it on your website, in a blog post, in podcasts, youtube videos, share it on your social media accounts. However, you need to be authentic while using affiliate marketing.
This article will contain affiliate links, which means that if you use the links, and buy from the provider, I will earn a commission. This will be of no extra cost to you, and sometimes you will even get a better price for using my link – I will let you know if there is an opportunity for this.
So, what is affiliate marketing?
Oxford dictionary defines it as:
A marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.
I define it as:
A great way for a Solopreneur to earn an additional income.
You even have people creating their entire business around affiliate marketing. I’ll come back to why this can be a bad strategy.
To me, affiliate marketing is of cause about earning an extra income, but it’s also about helping each other out as business owners. This is why I ask other Solopreneurs if they have an affiliate link when they recommend a service or product to me. If they don’t, I also usually ask if they want to try and get one, before I sign up for the service. This way I can support them, without it costing me any extra money.
How do I get started?
It is always easier to recommend products you like and use yourself. It is also more trustworthy. This is why I will recommend you going through all of the services, subscriptions, software, and places you shop online yourself first.
- Make a list
- Go over that list to see if these are relevant for your audience
- Look up if the companies have affiliate partnerships
- If they do, sign up
- If they don’t, write and ask if they would be willing to set it up
- Start using the links in your content
But what if I do not use the same products and services as my customer? Is affiliate marketing not for me then?
That is a really great question. And the answer depends on you! Some people would never recommend products they have not tried themselves. But an alternative method for this could be to just be real honest about it. Make it clear that you have not necessarily tried the products, and then give your clients some options.
Let them know, that this is what you have found from earlier clients that worked for them (if that is the case).
The key really is honesty here.
Different comission models
When entering into an affiliate marketing contract with another business, you should be aware of the strategy they are for your commission.
You have one type where you get paid a one-time fee when some use your link. These are typically physical products or non-recurring products.
I have an affiliate for the 90X planning system – The planner I use (use the code friends15 and get 15% on your first purchase). For this, I get a one-time commission when someone buys through my link. Be aware that if some clicks on your link, it often has an expiration time – for example, 72 hours, meaning that you only get the kickback, if the person buys within that time. Otherwise, they need to go back and reactivate your link.
The other option is when you have a reoccurring payment as long as the person you referred is a customer at the company. This is the case for Mailerlite – For each customer, you refer to them, who becomes a paying customer, you will earn a monthly commission from that of 30% (April 2021).
There are even companies where you get the choice as to what format you want to use. I recently applied for being an affiliate for Buzzsprout – a podcast hosting platform. Here I got the option if I wanted a fixed one-time payment of 25 USD for each referral, or I, wanted a 20% commission every month. You need to think of if you think the people using your links would be long-term clients of the service.
Other companies you can become affiliated with is:
Canva – Great for making posts for social media, setting up your reports, or freebies.
Fiverr – The service version of Amazon.
Thinkific – A online course host platform (Not using this at the moment myself, since I don’t have a course at the moment)
AppSumo – Software offers
Amazon – All physical products
Bad affiliate marketing strategies
Promoting random stuff
Just promoting random stuff for no reason (other than earning a quick pay). This would be if I put an affiliate link on my site for cat food for example. That would not align with my brand, and you might start to trust me less.
So whenever you use affiliate links, they should align with your brand. As written before you can be marketing products and services you do not use yourself. You just need to very up front about that being the case.
Keeping to only one affiliate program
Back in the April of 2020 Amazon chose to change their commission payouts, some were cut more than 50%. This had a huge impact on the affiliates who build up their business only using Amazon. And they did this with very little warning.
That is why I recommend branching out, having more than one company that you earn affiliate income from – If something happens to one program, you do not lose your entire affiliate income.
A word of caution
If you are based in a country like Denmark, we have really strict marketing laws. Every time I use affiliate links in my articles or on any posts I do need to make the reader aware of it. So either I will write it at the beginning of the post or every time there is an affiliate link.
I recommend you do this as well for two reasons. One, so that you don’t get into trouble with the authorities. Two, it’s playing nice with your reader to make them aware.
Always remember – Have fun and Get Shit Done!