What is Affiliate Marketing? And is it Worth Your Time?

Jenna Kutcher 

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October 5, 2023


Have you ever found yourself curious about the world of affiliate marketing? Perhaps you’ve been eyeing this concept from the sidelines, but the initial uncertainty makes you wonder, “Is it worth my time, energy, and creativity, especially if I don’t have a massive following or an ultra-engaged audience?”

But from my own experiences (and, in some cases, experiments!) with affiliate marketing, I can confidently assure you that this is more than just a passing trend. Affiliate marketing is not only here to stay, but it’s also a brilliant opportunity waiting for you to reap the rewards within your own business!

With your valid questions in tow, let’s unpack the affiliate marketing system. Imagine today as the day you take the plunge into your very first affiliate marketing endeavor as we explore the steps required to make your first affiliate sale.

(Before we keep going, click here to download my free guide that will walk you through how to make your first sale step-by-step!)

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply put, when you’re an affiliate for a brand, you’re selling something you believe in, what you’re affiliated with, even though you didn’t create it. In the best case scenario, you wouldn’t ever have a desire to create a similar product yourself because you already believe the product to be the best version of it out there! When I love a product or offer and there’s an opportunity to become an affiliate for that product, I can share it with my audience so they can enjoy those results, and I get a kick-back for sharing it. It’s a win-win-win in the realest sense!

This is a major win for you, too, because you don’t have to create the product. And you don’t even have to manage the back end of the sale, be a customer service department, or keep track of inventory. You simply get to share the results with people who trust you!

I talk more about this on The Goal Digger Podcast in Episode 436!

Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

When I choose to be an affiliate for a brand or product, it’s because I already know I love the offer from my own personal experience with it. Connecting affiliate offers to our personal stories is an easy, low-lift way to sell with authenticity and zero stress. When I have a personal connection to and positive experience with the offer I want to promote, I never have to wonder what kind of story I’ll be weaving into my marketing messaging or social media posts!

This is a great mindset to have when you’re choosing that first affiliate you might want to work with. Think about what offers, products, and services you already know and love! The story of your experience can drive your sales message and all you have to do is drop the link.

Finding your first affiliate marketing offer is often as easy as thinking about the day ahead of you. Are there products you love in your daily routine? What about business or lifestyle tools that you rely on every single day? Use these as jumping-off points to help you research who has affiliate programs and how you can sign-up or apply. Sometimes its as easy as just a few clicks on a brand’s website, and you’re in!

Weaving an Affiliate Offer into Your Daily Life

While some affiliate launches can be pretty big and complex productions so to speak, not all of them need to be. In fact, much like a glacier, a lot of what I affiliate-sell throughout the year tends to be within small moments here on the blog, tucked into emails, and even on my Instagram stories. I look for ways to weave in what I love and who I am affiliated with in easy ways with what I am already sharing.

This kind of affiliate marketing is perfect for a busy human (like you) or the kind of person that doesn’t want a big project on their plate. Do you want to affiliate-sell with a more low-key vibe that is still impactful? Think about the offers that would be easy to drop into the way you talk and share with your audience already. What about your favorite business tools that you use every single day that can come up in Q&As and can be dropped onto your business-building favorites page on your website?

The beauty of creating your own, intentional strategy for how you want to bring affiliate marketing into your life is that you can have a diverse range of things you’re promoting. You don’t have to stick to one niche like a business normally would. Instead, you can sell courses, your favorite skincare, and even your favorite local dentist who gives out the best cavity-fighting swag bags!

Stand Out from Other Affiliates

Often when you sign-up to be an affiliate for an offer, you’ll get access to marketing messaging you can swipe and use that may not quite fit your vibe and brand. This is where my team and I like to flex our creative muscles and ask ourselves, “How do WE want to say this?”

When you’re selecting that first brand you want to feature, allow yourself time to make sure that your promotional verbiage looks and feels like you. You want your messaging to stand out from everyone else who is promoting the same thing! Otherwise, your offer will feel as jarring as the loud commercials that come on when you’re watching a show that makes you go, “Um… can’t we mute this?!”

Rather than driving your audience to put you on mute, take any and all promotional messaging a brand gives you as a point of inspiration and not merely and opportunity to copy and paste. Trust me, your people will spot a copy+paste moment from a mile away, and that will decrease their trust in you. And trust? It’s worth protecting at all costs!

Making Your First Affiliate Sale

More often than not, the only thing between someone choosing what they want to affiliate-sell and actually making the sale is being willing to sell! It can be uncomfortable to leverage ‘selling’ language, but a mindset shift here can help you change that. Rather than imagining that every single post you share is going out to a LARGE audience of onlookers, pretend you’re telling your best friend. Just one person. Write your email, your social post, or your ad just for them. This mindset will help you shape your story into something less “hear ye, hear ye!” and a lot more like a text from a BFF saying “I love this and thought you would, too!”

I can’t encourage you enough to take a chance on affiliate marketing, because it’s such an easy win for you whether it’s the sole focus of your business, a facet that you integrate into your own offers, or an additional stream of income to help support your family! Stick with the offers you love, because in my own experience, sharing them as an affiliate means they can finally love you back.

Want to dive even deeper into affiliate marketing?

Download my free, step-by-step guide on how to make your first affiliate sale!

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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