I feel like my middle name should be “affiliate!” Affiliate marketing has changed my life and my business. My business friends joke when I’m talking about things I love – which I tend to do often – that I need to ask for an affiliate link for everything. Maybe it’s because I’m a natural sales woman or maybe it’s just because when I love something, I’m a wildly passionate advocate. Whatever it is, I want the world to know more about the power of affiliate marketing.
Here’s a fun fact: We nearly DOUBLED our affiliate income in the last year as a company which was a huge increase for us! This didn’t happen accidentally and it also isn’t an overnight success story. This was an intentional focus for us as a company, specifically when it was clear that the world wasn’t just going back to normal anytime soon.
If you’re just starting with affiliate marketing work OR if you’ve been at it for a while and can’t seem to crack the code to bringing in income with it… I want to share exactly how we doubled my affiliate income with five tangible tips to try so that you can expand this income opportunity within your own brand.
Start acting like an influencer before you get paid
This one is huge and so many people want to skip it. They learn about affiliate marketing and suddenly want to get paid for everything they share about or dive off the deep end recommending everything that has a coupon code.
Start by simply building your audience’s trust and getting comfortable sharing the things you use and love with zero strings or dollars attached. This is a low stakes way to grow your confidence and start showing up with recommendations.
Does this mean you need to go on a giant shopping spree and do a “try on haul” like your favorite fashion influencer with 2 million followers? Noooo, not at all, in fact, please don’t just start buying and spending like crazy in order to get your affiliate side hustle off the ground. Instead, keep a tab on the things you organically choose to purchase and spend your hard earned money on and take note on what you end up loving or naturally recommend to others. Whether you keep a little notepad next to where you grab your packages or scan your bank statement to take inventory of what you’re purchasing, start paying attention and think about sharing the stuff you’re organically using and loving.
The key to successful affiliate marketing is getting comfortable sharing recommendations in a way that truly feels authentic to you so that people trust you and what you’re sharing. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it looks but with practice (and no strings attached) your confidence will grow so that when you start affiliate marketing, you’ll know what resonates, how to speak about things in a way that causes people to take action, and which categories your audience cares about.
After a while, your recommendations will gain merit with your audience, and THAT is when you can reach out to or sign up with your favorite brands – ones you’ve already been sharing – to see if they have an affiliate program you can join. In fact, many brands these days have information to sign up as an affiliate right on their website.
One of the MAIN things to remember as an affiliate marketer is that you’re an advocate or a raving fan, not a hired salesperson. You don’t want to push things on people, you don’t want to see the features of the product or service, … you want to share your own authentic experiences and benefits you’ve had because of these items. Share your story as a service to your audience who might want a similar experience or result.
And lastly for step one, make sure you continue to organically share even after you become an affiliate for things! Build up your confidence through sharing what you love, affiliate or not, and build your audience’s trust in your recommendations knowing there’s nothing in it for you.
Go deep, not wide.
This is something we did at a high level over the last year. While I’m signed up for or a part of over 30 affiliate programs as a paying customer, I decided to really look at what was resonating, working, and generating results in the form of happy customers and through commissions. When I looked at all of the affiliate opportunities, I noticed Pareto’s Principle at play here: 90% of the results were driven by less than 10% of the affiliate programs. We drilled deep into our top affiliate partnerships and let the rest fall away or shift out of focus.
We’ve found over and over again that 3 of my affiliate partners outperform everything else by a landslide, and so while we could be an affiliate for like 20-30 brands, we really focus on our top 3 and share them consistently – I mean over the span of years!
So when I say go deep, not wide, what I mean is, don’t become an affiliate for every single thing that you love. Instead, start by picking JUST 1 to 3 brands, companies, or products you love – 5 tops – and really do a good job sharing about them. Don’t be afraid to test out different recommendations or offers, but know that the real power is in going deep and sharing strategically with your audience.
Share consistently, talk about them often, share why you love them, how you use them, what they have available, what you’re ordering. Share them in the context of your real life, share your transformation and features, or how you get results with the product. Get creative in how you share about the products or opportunities and remember that only a small % sees your posts and most people need to be exposed to a product or offer multiple times before they make a decision, so know that it’s a marathon, not a sprint but the more you authentically share, the more you have true influence, especially as an affiliate.
Create resources that can serve, inform, and live on forever
So this was the biggest change we made that really impacted our results. Once we had discovered that just a few affiliate partnerships were resonating the most and driving the biggest results, we got busy creating creative resources that would serve longer than 24 hours.
What I mean by this is that a lot of times, people just rely on things like Instagram Stories to try and share about an offer. They jump on stories, share about something once, and then expect results. And while the link button DOES make that a more accessible option, those stories are only seen by a small % of your audience and likely don’t give people enough information to make a purchase.
Instagram stories can definitely be a PART of your strategy, but it shouldn’t be the full strategy. We’ve found that having long-form content (like blog posts) that live on, helps so much! Not only does it give us a library of content that is searchable, but it gives us a place to better educate, inform, and add value to someone who is considering a purchase. Meaning, we get to keep informing and helping people qualify themselves as a fit for the product on their path to becoming a customer.
What does this look like in real life? Here’s an example: One of my favorite and top affiliate partners is Primally Pure. I’ve used them for over 5 years, am good friends with the founder, have converted so many of my friends and loved ones tot their products. They are my go-to non-toxic skincare line that has truly changed just about everything with my skin.
If you go and look on our blog, we have a bunch of resources educating on skincare and sharing my journey with their products and how I use them, so that anyone in my audience that’s curious about switching to non-toxic products or their thinking about trying their specific products, they can find a whole library of resources that educate and share about the product. These posts live on, create linkable resources, perform well on platforms like Pinterest, and they serve for weeks, months – even years!
Not only is this strategy SEO smart, gives you clickable links, allows people to enjoy the content long after it’s posted, and gives you a better shot at serving before you go to sell to someone. Long-form content will often wins the long game!
Find any opportunities where you get recurring revenue
Now this one isn’t AS easy but when you can find these opportunities, really prioritize them. Recurring revenue in the land of affiliate marketing means where someone isn’t just a one-and-done purchase but a returning one. Think of subscription sites like ThriveMarket, Winc Wine Club, or Daily Harvest, things you order again and again and then see if they have an affiliate program that offers recurring commissions if people stay a member of the service.
This means each time someone renews or stays on another month, you’re getting that lifetime value which can often times trump any one-off affiliate opportunities in the long run. These aren’t always available BUT iif you can, try to seek out opportunities that pay you month by month or when someone renews rather than the pay-once-and-move-on approach.
Once you find these opportunities, share about them in the same ways that I’ve shared about in this episode, just remember, the goal here is to simply help your audience see and get results with the product by sharing your own experiences, story, and recommendations.
Do concentrated campaigns and pushes
While most affiliate programs are available all days, all hours, your results might be greater if you market them more in concentrated way in a condensed amount of time. Is there a certain time of year where you really push or promote one thing for a period of time?
Some of our best results come from concentrated pushes, where we push the product for a short about of time, stacking our information, resources, and promotion with a start and end date! I recommend doing a concentrated promotion for anywhere between 48 hours to 1 week long.
The truth is, when you’re an ongoing affiliate for a brand, there’s no real sense of urgency for people to buy at any given time. But, if you can plan a push around a big sale like Black Friday weekend or even communicate with the brand to collaborate on a short-term sale together, you can build urgency that encourages people to take advantage of the sale period.
The Big Picture
Do you feel ready to begin sharing some things that you love? Because that’s what affiliate marketing really boils down to… and so many of us do just that for free, anyway! We might as well continue sharing and serving our audiences in that way, and also bring in some side income at the same time.
Share, share, and keep sharing – both affiliate products and not – and I know you’ll begin building trust and generating a new slice of revenue with this awesome marketing strategy. Keep your eyes set on serving those who follow you, and keep on consistently sharing the value and results of the items you use and love… and you’ll be an affiliate marketing pro in no time!