Curious about how to incorporate affiliate marketing into your solopreneur business strategy? It may be worth your time to explore how affiliate marketing can bring in a bit of passive income to supplement the revenue that your current products and services generate.
Brush up on the basics of affiliate marketing
Essentially, affiliate marketing entails promoting another business' products or services through your existing public platforms, such as your website, your email list, and your social media accounts. In exchange, you receive an agreed-upon percentage of the revenue generated by the sales you inspire. Though having a large audience is generally considered important for success as an affiliate marketer, a small but engaged community can also bring in a steady income stream.
Here's how it works: you post a unique link on your website or other online platforms, people click through to the website of the product or service you're promoting, and, if they make a purchase, you receive a pre-determined percentage of the total sale.
Want more in-depth information on how it works? Here are 17 articles on affiliate marketing that you should read.
Determine your stance on affiliate marketing
Will you promote only products or services that you have used yourself? Will you consider promoting a service or product that you haven't specifically used but whose creator you trust? Will you promote any product that seems valuable to your audience? There's no right or wrong answer, as long as you openly disclose your experience with the product or service.
We here at One Woman Shop generally promote products and services that we use and love (like BluChic's WordPress themes, Evernote, and HootSuite), but we also occasionally mention products and services that we haven't used but trust because our familiarity with other work from the creator (like Alexis Grant's ebooks and the Small Business Bodyguard).
Brainstorm categories of products and services to promote
What products and services could your client base and those who land on your website benefit from that complement your current offerings? If you offer digital marketing consulting, your community might be interested in social media management tools, website hosting, and WordPress themes.
If you coach busy women, your clients might want resources for eating healthy on the go, reducing stress, and staying fit while traveling (think: cookbooks, a meditation app, and portable exercise equipment).
If you teach photography to beginners, your students might be looking to purchase a DSLR camera, a stylish but sturdy case, and an edition of Photoshop.
Think about the minute-by-minute daily needs of your community, as well as the products and services that you use on a regular basis if you are within your target market- whether it's a food processor, a convertible dress, a coding class, or a productivity e-course.
Find products and services to promote
Now that you have a sense of the kinds of products and services you're interested in showcasing to your community, it's time to find specific affiliate programs to join.
Search the sites of products and services you'd like to promote
Already have an idea of a product or service you'd like to share with your community? Search the website by using this Google search string: websiteurl.com affiliate OR "partner program"
For example: Googling "restored316designs.com affiliate" leads you to a page dedicated to information on their affiliate program
Email business owners that you respect
Can't find mention of an affiliate program on the website of someone you've previously partnered with or benefitted from? Email them to ask if they have an existing affiliate program or might consider an affiliate relationship with you.
Browse affiliate marketing networks
Many companies run their affiliate programs through networks like CJ Affiliate by Conversant, ShareASale, and E-junkie. These sites have directories of their partners so that you can easily scroll through to find fitting products.
Think back to the categories you brainstormed earlier then turn to Google for a bit of help. Google ("affiliate" OR "partner program") AND (keyword related to your industry).
For example: Googling cookware affiliate program brings up several legitimate companies, such as the RachelRayStore.com, Le Creuset, and EmerilStore.com
Ensure that your chosen products and services pass your litmus test
A few questions to ask yourself: will my audience find this genuinely useful? Will my community feel alienated if I promote this product or service? Does this fit into the budget of my audience?
If you're not sure that you can comfortably vouch for the product or service, consider asking for a sample to review or ask the company or business owner if you can send them a list of questions you think your audience might want the answers to.
Stay tuned for more on properly disclosing your affiliate relationships and creative ways to promote products and services that you're an affiliate for!