How To Use Affiliate Marketing To Boost Your Business
Today I want to talk to you about affiliate marketing and how you can use affiliate marketing to boost your business. Don’t go running scared now, this isn’t scary and could potentially bring huge amounts into your business each month. If you do it right. So, today I’m going to introduce you to the concept of affiliate marketing, what it is and how it could help your business.
This post may contain affiliate links. As a result of any purchases you make I may receive a percentage of the retail value, at no expense to you. Thank you for supporting my business by making any purchases through my links
What is Affiliate Marketing?
In definition, Affiliate Marketing is “a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.” That basically means that you sign up to a program run by a retailer who sells something you like or use, or something that would also be appropriate to your customers. You share these products or services via your social media channels and your own website, and then take a cut of any sales you make via your affiliate links. It’s really that straight forward.
The retailer (owner of the affiliate program) gets to make sales they wouldn’t normally have made, through paying for advertising by you. The benefit for the retailers that run programs like these is simple; they only pay for the advertising that generates actual sales. Instead of forking out lots of cash for magazine ads, social media promotions and other similar advertising avenues that may not provide a return, they pay you AFTER a sale has been made. You benefit because you’re making a percentage of the profit with very little work in most cases, without having to create a product or service yourself. It’s win win. And when you do it right, the potential for matching or even outselling your current income stream from your business. It’s that good.
Affiliate Marketing Does Not Have To Be Hard
The first thing you need to understand about affiliate marketing is that is doesn’t have to be hard sell. I don’t consider myself a natural salesperson and cannot think of anything I’d feel more uncomfortable with than spammy selling! If you get working as an affiliate right, you don’t need to sell anything to anyone! The products and your writing/sharing style ensure these items sell themselves. You simply benefit from the passive income ticking into the bank each month. Then you know you are certainly doing the job right.
When I first started exploring affiliate programmes it was confusing. I felt like I needed to join every single programme available to me, whatever product they may be selling! Because they’d asked me to join their program, I felt like I need to join and start to sell their products whether or not they were suitable for my niche.
STOP RIGHT THERE!
Not so much!
Understanding the promotions that would be suitable for your audience is key to ensuring that not only will you be accepted to these programmes when you apply, but you also make sales!
JoelleByrne.com is a blog about making more money from your existing business; if I started to flog you shampoo on my website and in my social media posts, you’d think I’d lost my mind (and I’d probably lose a huge chunk of my lovely audience who I’d like to keep – coz – ya’ know…..) To avoid this fatal error (and trust me, I’ve seen lovely ladies fall into this trap!) I’d suggest that you follow these few steps before diving into affiliate marketing:
Do Your Research
- Check back over previous blog posts or social media posts both on your personal pages and on your business accounts.
- Make a note of the products/ideas/services that you have been recommending?
- List these including the product/service and where it could be obtained from – i.e. is it a specific brand that you’re promoting or is it a generic product that could be grabbed from general marketplaces like Amazon?
- Consider value for money and customer experience for your customers above everything else. Your audience trusts you to recommend the best product and experience. The worst thing you can do for your business is promote something else that turns out to be crap!
- Next ask yourself if what you’ve already promoted is suitable to your niche and audience? Are you selling the right things that solve your customers problems?
- Double check your niche market and make sure you’ve really drilled down. What are your customers problems? Find out their pain points (you should already know this to be running your business to the peak of its potential!)
Get with the Program
- Finding whether or not a product or service has an affiliate program is as simple as Google. Literally type in “affiliate program for….” and insert your product/service.
- If you know that lots of the items you’d like to promote are available from marketplaces like Amazon, then head over there and join!
- You may need a website to join some programs. If you don’t have one, and plan on promoting via social media then you have two choices:
- pick a different program that doesn’t require a website
- create a really basic, free website using sites like WordPress.Org, Wix or SquareSpace with a cover page that says “website coming soon”. Do this first, then apply for the program. You’re much more likely to be accepted.
Whatever it is that you’re selling, there are items that would work well alongside your own businesses offer. Somewhere out there is a complementary product or service that would fit nicely with what you sell. Expanding your bottom line is very simple by signposting or recommending selected products or services that complement your own.
For example, if you sell handmade jewellery, you might consider offers like:
- clothing lines that your customers can wear alongside your items to highlight their beauty
- jewellery cleaning products to keep your products in top condition
- storage solutions to keep your offers safe and cared for
See where I’m going with this?
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing, when done right, is exactly this. It does not have to be “salesy” or scary. When you find the right products to promote, you can simply join the affiliate scheme and be paid a percentage of the sale price for every sale that comes from you. Blending your existing business with affiliate sales expands your product range without you lifting a finger and provides a one-stop-shop for your customer base.
It’s a big concept I know. But, once grasped, it’s actually super simple and can have enormous returns.
Read the T’s & C’s
Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to joining and promoting affiliate links. You must declare that links are affiliate links, not matter where you share them. Depending which country you’re in, the rules are different, so make sure you know exactly what you can/can’t do legally.
Also, you’ll be signing an agreement with a company, and they want you to make them look good too. They have a rep to protect just like you. Don’t be a spammy pammy! Share links appropriately, with helpful insight and with a mix of other, non-affiliated content. Constantly filling your Facebook newsfeed with sales pitches does nothing for your reputation or the company you’re promoting (this applies to selling your own stuff too!).
Be valuable! Provide so much good stuff, both free and paid for, that people can’t help but love you! If they love you, they’ll buy from you. It’s that simple. People buy people (I learned that from my amazing friend and mentor, Jules White. Check out her book here, you won’t regret it!)
So, there you have it; an introduction to Affiliate Marketing. It’s pretty clear that promoting other people’s products that are COMPLIMENTARY to your own, is definitely a way of boosting your business bottom line. If you have a blog, it’s an excellent way of monetising that content in a completely passive way. Also, if you have an online shop, you might consider throwing some affiliate products amongst your own. Otherwise, a slightly less passive way is to use social media. Facebook and Instagram posts tend to have more longevity than Twitter, but test the water and see how you get on.
What affiliate programs are you thinking of joining? What’s suitable for your audience? Any questions? Shout out in the comments!