If you have a small business or an influential blog, you can earn extra income with affiliate marketing. This affiliate marketing for beginners post will show you why this is a viable option for many businesses, and how to begin.
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 likely 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 or fluctuating sales. One way to earn more money in your small business (outside of 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 You Should Try 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 have the opportunity to show them how this other product or service could help them
In other words, you can act as 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. In return, you receive a percentage of the sale as a “thank you” from the company for referring them business.
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:
- Acknowledge your audience’s needs. Identify the specific needs, wants, struggles, and burning pain of your audience.
- Find products that meet those needs. Next, search for companies that have existing products that fulfill your audience’s needs and solves their problems.
- Join affiliate programs. Then, reach out to the company to see if they have an existing affiliate program. This can also be called a referral program or partnership program.
- Sign up for the affiliate program. If the company doesn’t have one, try to convince them to start an affiliate program by sharing how you could promote their products to your audience for a win-win. It never hurts to ask!
- Grab your affiliate links. 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 that sells those products. Create content to share with your audience about how this product can help them and their businesses, 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 a 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
If you are still confused, here’s an easy example of how it works. This is an example of a promotional paragraph I might put into either a social media post or a blog post about credit cards. You can see where I put the links and how I worded the post to encourage people to want to sign up.
One of my favorite business credit cards, Chase Ink Business Unlimited, is doing a promotional offer of $500 bonus cashback for new users. I love these types of cards since you don’t have to worry about which category earns a % or need to convert points for rewards. Find out more and Apply now.
Once a reader clicks on the link (because they want the $500 and the category-free points), and applies for the card, I get a small “thank you” commission from Chase.
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 the 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.
In the example above, I have no qualms about promoting the Chase Ink Business Unlimited because I truly believe it’s a great deal.
Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
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
123 Affiliate Marketing is one of the best online courses to learn more about affiliate marketing and how to do it the right way. It’s so good that it’s one of the few 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 in 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
Once you get your affiliate links, place them all on your resource page. This is a single 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 into categories so your audience can quickly see categories or benefits for your recommendations.
SMI Financial Coaching Resource page is grouped by:
- Get Organized & Save Time
- Save & Make Money
- Learn & Be Successful
Sign up with Affiliate Marketing Programs
Sign up with different programs to get 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.
Some of the most popular affiliate marketing programs are:
- Commission Junction
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partners
- Rakuten Affiliate Network
How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
In order to make money with affiliate marketing, you have to have authority and knowledge in the things you are trying to sell. People should trust your referrals and want to click and buy what you suggest.
These are the best ways to make money with affiliate links.
- Create informational blog posts. Tell people about the products and why they are essential.
- Share deals on social media.
- Answer questions with your affiliate links. If someone asks for the best web host, share your affiliate link. They are shopping for a web host, it’s the perfect chance.
- Share links every chance you can get. The more times you share your affiliate links, the more chances you will have of earning clicks. Don’t be spammy about it, but don’t be afraid to weave in the links naturally in blog posts. For example, if you write a post about summertime sun protection, include links for sunglasses.
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 percentage of your monthly sales are affiliate income? If not, why not? Post in the comments your thoughts or feedback.