If you keep up with marketing blogs and online business in general, it’s likely you’ve heard the word affiliate thrown around a lot. And it’s no wonder… Programs of this type are everywhere these days.
But many of you have asked me exactly what an affiliate is, and so I want to back up for a moment and clear up this concept once and for all.
An affiliate is someone who earns commissions for promoting someone else’s products or services.
For example, have you ever recommended a great book to a friend? You could sign up as an Amazon.com affiliate, and start earning money for making these recommendations. Or, if you’re a big fan of creating websites through GoDaddy.com and are raving about them to your colleagues at networking events, you could join GoDaddy’s affiliate program and start earning commission every time you send them new customers. This is how you become an affiliate marketer.
Let’s take a look at WHY affiliate marketing is gaining popularity these days…
#1: It’s profitable
How much you earn depends on how involved you want to get. Referral fees range from percent arrangements (15-25% for example) to flat fees for sales. Why would a business give away this income? It’s simple: Affiliates increase their reach. You’re giving them a sale they may not have gotten at all, so everybody wins.
For example, in my own affiliate program, I pay out 25% commission on products and 40% commission on my Elevate online training program. I know the huge value and the high-quality clients that referrals bring, so I’m happy to pay out a generous commission to keep those referrals coming in year-round.
I know several online entrepreneurs who make six-figures and even much more… just through affiliate marketing. Some don’t even have their own products or offer any service—all they do is sell on behalf of others. It’s a great way to bring in extra income, and in some cases, a substantial full-time living.
#2: It’s scalable
You can be as passive or assertive an affiliate as you wish. For example, perhaps you just want to pass on a link to a friend in an email, or list your personal recommendations on your website or a blog. To take it further, you can do solo emails to your ezine list, create videos about the product or program you’re promoting, or even buy advertising (such as on Facebook) to really increase your click-throughs.
#3: There’s no cost to you
Most affiliate programs are free to join. And this goes back to that win-win partnership. You earn checks, and the business gets more sales and more exposure to lists they wouldn’t be able to reach without your help. Also, you have no overhead as an affiliate marketer. You don’t have to create a product, hire a team, or anything. All you have to do is promote other people’s stuff. The only money you would typically spend if you want to is getting involved in paid advertising (e.g. Facebook or in ezines).
How do you get started as an affiliate?
It’s easy to get started as an affiliate by just signing up with your name, contact information, and agreeing to terms such as not to spam people when you promote a company’s product. You may also be asked HOW you’d like to be paid. Common methods are check or PayPal. Additionally, you may be asked to provide your social security number for tax-reporting purposes, should you make more than $600 a year from the program. (And wouldn’t you like that problem?)
After you sign up, you’ll receive an affiliate link that has your unique affiliate code embedded in it. This is an important link, your key to getting a commission when recommending products/services. You’ll want to use that link in emails, and ezines, your blog, Twitter, and Facebook, basically anywhere online that you might be spreading the word about the product, event, or course involved.
Sophisticated affiliate programs have resource centers where you can copy images with your affiliate link embedded in them for easy online posting. These centers have reporting functions so that you can track your earnings over time. You’ll want a program that keeps in touch with you often, providing you tools such as prewritten emails, tweets, and Facebook status updates for quick turnaround to your community of contacts.
TIP: If you plan to sign up as an affiliate for more than one program, I suggest keeping a simple spreadsheet of all the information to keep it handy. You’ll want to have a column for the affiliate resource center, your user id, password, and you could even track your promotions and results, if you want. Check each of your accounts at least on a quarterly basis, just to make sure that your contact information is up-to-date. You wouldn’t want to miss out on any payments!
Whom should you partner with?
I highly recommend only becoming an affiliate for a company, person, or program that you “know,” like, and trust, or with whom you’ve had personal positive experiences. You want to maintain your reputation with your friends, colleagues, and your Internet peeps. It’s best of all if you’ve used the actual product or service that you’re touting. (Our BEST affiliates are our own clients, customers, and readers, because they are very familiar with my offerings.)
You want to look for programs that provide you with pre-written copy, ideas, and images to use. And look for companies that spend time and money on planning big launches, especially leading with valuable free information. This means they invest a lot in making sure the sale will happen, so all you need to do is send them the prospect. You look great by sending your peeps to a valuable free video series, report, webinar, teleseminar, etc. and then the company does the work from there.
If you know that someone makes high-quality products, has a stellar reputation in the community, and is serious about their marketing, you really can’t go wrong joining forces with them and becoming an affiliate.
Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com