Hear me out on this one. I was about a year into my business and we had had some success. I kept thinking, how can you scale faster? *Insert I really wanted to leave my corporate job.* But you can't or at least I couldn't go and create multiple courses, teach live, etc because my time was super limited. Insert where affiliates came into play.
If you haven't read my blog post about networking
, read that one after this because the first step in figuring out who to be an affiliate for is networking
What are Affiliates?
Let's just pause and talk about what affiliates really mean. It basically means you share a link, product, or service on your website or social media which results in a sale of that widget which is either a company or another person. Because you "shared" the link, you get a commission based off of the sale. The most common example is what you see "fashion" influencers do. They share links to their favorite clothes and in return, the clothing brand pays them a commission.
If you aren't a fashion influencer don't worry. There are other ways you can benefit from this model.
How to Use Affiliate Marketing in Your Business
As we went into building out our affiliate income, there were two paths that we created. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Who can you work with that offers products and services that you do not that compliment what you offer?
2) What software, services, etc do you use that have an affiliate program?
Let's take the first one first. I actually think this one is the most powerful. I was in a mastermind this summer and several of the coaches offered programs that supplemented what I taught. Mindset. Pinterest. Podcasting. I don't have specific courses on these topics but they are essential to the success of a business. So in this case I was an affiliate for their programs. This means I share their resources and get a kickback if someone purchases.
We also do this now in our community. I wish that I knew all the things but I don't. So I bring in experts to help fill the gaps in what our clients need. If that expert has a program that is valuable, I ask to be an affiliate and share it.
The second example is a little easier as most software and services have affiliate programs you can just sign up for online. As an example, I love Kajabi. It's a customer service based platform where we house all our courses and host our website. I share my kajabi affiliate with a lot of my clients because I truly believe in it AND I am able to offer a longer free trial than they have on their website. By sharing the link a few times, I managed to get my subscription paid for. As a new business owner, this can be super powerful.
Gain Without the Pain
“Being an affiliate marketer is very cost-effective. You don't have to put much money into an affiliate program in order to gain a lot." Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity if you truly believe in the value of the product you're selling.
The trick with affiliate marketing is it has to be something you genuinely use and love. You don't want to share something different every day. Pat Flynn says - “Many people who get into affiliate marketing do so with the same mindset: making money first, and thinking of their audience second (if they think of them at all!). That’s a recipe for disaster or at least lousy results.” “Affiliate marketing is not a ‘push-button’ solution. It takes focus and commitment, and a certain choreography to make it happen the way you want it to.” — Pat Flynn
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The flip side of this equation is that you can create affiliate programs for your program. As an example, for our mastermind, we pay $1,000 per referral. Almost 50% of our members come from referrals, which means our affiliates are making money too. It is truly a win-win. And in this case, it is not a fancy setup. There is no tech or anything fancy involved. We ask if anyone referred the new member to the program and if they did we follow up with the person they mentioned. Period. Remember, keep it simple. Down the road you can make it fancy.
Put your Audience Before the Sale
As you think about what to share and how to share it, think first about how your audience can benefit. Remember, it is about them, not you at first
Understand their pain points and think about how you can solve their problem. You also want to make sure you share it genuinely.
1) How are you using the product or service? Show it in real life.
2) Build a toolkit. Maybe you have 4-5 tools you use. Create a download or freebie or a place on your website where you share it. Some of them may be affiliate links, some may not.
3) Have guests come into your community and share their expertise and then use their affiliate link to their resources for bonus support.
“Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity if you truly believe in the value of the product you’re selling. Because many times, you can make money off of something you would probably recommend anyway.” — Neil Patel
I am so curious, have you thought about affiliate marketing as an income stream? What are your favorite things to share?
Looking for more on this topic and your High-Level Action items? Check out the Strategy Lab in the Crush the Rush Club!