Affiliate Marketing–I'm sure of heard of it before, but maybe you've shied away from it because you thought in order to be successful online, you have to create and sell your own products.
Well, I'm a huge proponent of diversifying your income. Why? Because as an entrepreneur, putting all your eggs in one basket (or all your income potential in one source) is a recipe for disaster!
If that one income source were to suddenly disappear, your financial situation could take a turn for the worse overnight.
I currently make a couple hundred dollars per month using affiliate marketing. It's a form of passive income that I too stayed away from for a long time because I thought I needed to be CREATING MY OWN PRODUCTS.
But I now realize that in my niche, it's important for me to share helpful resources with other creative entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out a path for their online biz. So sharing affiliate products has become a way for me to help them learn about the tools they need while getting paid to promote a product that I love and use.
In this post, I'm going to help you do a little risk management by showing you how to begin diversifying your income by promoting affiliate products/services. Let's get started.
A Brief Overview
Affiliate products/services are offerings by other companies or business owners that you promote to your own audience in order to earn a commission on the sale. You can promote these products and services to your email list, to your Facebook followers, Instagram or Pinterest followers, and so on.
Promoting affiliate products can be a really great option for someone who does not yet have their own product to promote. It’s a way to generate immediate income without having to wait the weeks or months that it may take you to create your own product to sell.
To be clear, I create and sell information products like ebooks and online courses, not physical products (well, other than the paperback books and t-shirts that I create and sell). Likewise, the affiliate products I promote are mainly information products.
My exception to this rule would be the physical goal planners that I tend to promote at the beginning of each year from entrepreneurs like Leonie Dawson; her planners are colorful and fun and have helped me two years in a row with my goal planning.
Personally, I choose to promote products and services that I have previously or currently used myself…and love. Occasionally, I will promote affiliate products that I have not used, but that are from a brand that I follow and trust. But again, 99% of the time, anything I promote with affiliate links I will have already tried myself.
It’s important for me to protect my readers and my integrity, so I keep this as my general rule of thumb. If I have personal experience with the product, I can better serve my audience, showing you how I have personally used the particular product and how it can help you and your business.
I encourage you to consider doing the same as you aim to add affiliate products as an income stream.
There are several different ways to go about finding affiliate products to promote. Here are the ways I most frequently use.
There are many different online affiliate marketplaces/networks that offer access to a wide variety of affiliate programs from different companies. You can pretty much become an affiliate for anything you can think of these days!
Below are a few different affiliate networks that you can look into. I have personal experience with the last two on this list so I will share what I know about those!
It’s typically free to create accounts on these sites, and once you do, you can search for affiliate links to different products.
For Clickbank and Shareasale, I typically log-in to my account and run a search using specific keywords. Once the results show up, I scan the list looking for products or company names that are familiar to me. I often find products that I have actually used. If I previously had a good experience with that product, I note that listing as a potential product to promote.
Note: On Shareasale you must complete a brief application for any products you are interested in promoting. About 80% of the time, I've been approved as an affiliate for products I apply for. However, I've also been denied on some for various reasons. Don’t let it discourage you! There are plenty of good products out there for you to promote. If at first you don't succeed, try again!
Company Websites of Products You Use
Another way to quickly search for affiliate programs is to start with products you are currently using. Search the websites of those products/services. Try looking in the footer area of the homepage for a link that says “affiliate” or “partner program”. Many companies provide information on how to become an affiliate.
Here is an example of Restored 316 Designs (the company I often use for WordPress themes). The snapshot shows the footer of the company's website and I've circled the “Become an Affiliate” link.
This way of finding an affiliate program is amazing because you already know this product. You bring your personal experience to the table and it makes for a better understanding of why someone else should follow your lead and use the product.
If you can’t find partner program information on a company’s website, another thing you can try is doing a Google search to see if that company has an affiliate program. So for instance, if you were interested in seeing if Bluehost offered an affiliate program, you would type the following into the Google search bar: “Affiliate + Bluehost”. Don’t type the quotation marks. Just use the name of the company + affiliate.
If you can’t seem to find any info at all on a company’s affiliate program, then email their customer service and politely ask if they offer an affiliate program. Tell them you are a current user and would love to begin promoting the product to your readers.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
One of the best investments that I made in 2016 was enrolling in a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. If you are really interested in learning the ropes of affiliate marketing, I suggest signing up for this course. The creator of this course (Michelle) earns $50,000 a month in affiliate commissions–I said $50,000 folks! It's not a joke!
I just finished this course myself, and even as someone who knows a little something about affiliate marketing, I found tremendous value in this course. But check it out for yourself!
And there you have it folks! A few easy ways to find affiliate marketing programs and an awesome course to help you succeed! I look forward to hearing about your affiliate marketing journey! Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you have any helpful tips you can share about your own affiliate marketing journey!