When you started your small business, you probably focused on being great at your one product or service. As your business grew and you learned more about your target market, you probably added additional offerings. While having multiple products or services is good, having different types of income streams for your business is a great way to diversify and help with seasonal and fluctuating sales. One way to earn more money in your small business (outside or your own products and services) is through affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is promoting and recommending another company’s products and services in exchange for a commission.
Why Would You Do Affiliate Marketing?
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to invest your own time or money into creating the product or service. Based on the specific needs and burning pains of your audience, you show them how this other product or service could help them
In other words, you’re the middle man or connector.
You help your audience learn about a product that they may not know exists, and connect them to purchase from this other company.
If you don’t have a lot of time, money, or skills to build your own product, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn money by promoting another company’s existing products. All you have to do is figure out how to create content, share, and promote these affiliate products.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Here are the steps for how to get started with earning affiliate income and commission:
- Identify the specific needs, wants, struggles, and burning pain of your audience.
- Next, search for companies that have existing products that fulfill your audience’s needs and solves their problems.
- Then, reach out to the company to see if they have an existing affiliate program. This can also be known as a referral program or partnership program.
- Sign up for the affiliate program (or convince the company to start an affiliate program by sharing how you could promote their products to your audience for a win-win.)
- Get your unique URL link to the product or set of products that will be tied to you and your business. This is also known as your affiliate link.
- Create content to share with your audience how this product can help them and their business, and be sure to include your affiliate link. (*IMPORTANT – Be sure to include disclaimers that this is an affiliate link and that you may earn a commission if they choose to purchase, at no additional cost to them.)
- If you can send traffic through your link, the company will pay you a commission as a reward or thank you.
- Depending on the pay-out requirements, you may get commission as you earn them each month, or you may need to earn a specific threshold before the company sends you a check.
- Periodically, re-evaluate your affiliates and determine if they are still meeting the needs and solving your audience’s problems.
Example of Affiliate Marketing
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What are the Downfalls of Affiliate Marketing?
Be sure that you really evaluate the product and genuinely recommend the company and product to solve your audience’s needs and wants. If you’re just promoting and pushing a product because you will earn a great commission, but the product is bad or the customer service is horrible, your audience will likely get mad at you….not the other company.
Don’t risk upsetting your audience that you’ve built through trust, just to make an easy buck. Research and vet all the products that you are sharing with your audience, and be honest if you actually use the product or not.
How to Immediately Get Started Earning Affiliate Income
When I learned about affiliate marketing for the first time at FinCon, I didn’t know where to start. Here’s how to get smart fast on affiliate marketing and start earning extra money today:
- Take Pat Flynn’s 123 Affiliate Marketing course
- This is one of the best online courses to learn more about affiliate marketing and do it the right way. It’s so good that it’s one of the courses that I recommend on the Resources page.
- I took Pat’s course and was amazed with the content and advice. He shares templates for how to get companies without an affiliate marketing program to start one, what types of promotional strategies work best, and what NOT to do (to avoid getting kicked out of affiliate programs like Amazon).
- At one point of his business, 80% of Pat’s income was coming from affiliate marketing. That meant he earned more money promoting other companies’ products than his own!
- Create a Resources page
- Have one page on your website that has a list of all your product recommendations, a short description of why you recommend it, and your affiliate link should your audience decide to purchase.
- I recommend grouping your recommendations so your audience can quickly see categories or benefits for your recommendations.
- Example: SMI Financial Coaching Resource page is grouped by Get Organized & Save Time, Save & Make Money, and Learn & Be Successful.
- Sign up with an Affiliate Marketing Network
- Sign up for access to merchants who list their affiliate programs, requirements, and commission payouts. You can sign up to be an affiliate, as well as a merchant who wants access to affiliates to promote your own company’s products.
- Example: Sign up with ShareASale to get a list of over 3,900 merchants. Search for products that you would want to recommend to your audience, and apply to be approved as an affiliate.
Summary: Earning Extra Money in Your Small Business through Affiliate Marketing
If you’re a small business owner with an audience, I highly recommend you take the time to learn and implement affiliate marketing for an additional source of income in your business. It can help boost your income during slower sales months and be a consistent revenue stream depending on how well you promote and share the benefits of these affiliate products.
I’d love to hear from you! Are you doing affiliate marketing? If so, what % of your monthly sales is affiliate income? If not…why? Post in the comments your thoughts or feedback.