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photos by Ban Avenue
A few days ago, I wrote a post explaining why anyone and everyone (small business owner, photographer, blogger, etc.) should be using affiliate links. A common misconception is that affiliate marketing is only for bloggers, but this isn't the case! I explained why in that first post, and today we'll get a little more in depth about the ropes of using affiliate links and how it works.
Jumping right in, let's talk about some of the main reasons why you should be using these links:
-Cost effective: Marketing on the internet is cheap and you don’t have to worry about production cost. You don’t need a physical business location or to hire employees.
-Global market: Online marketing gives you the opportunity to reach people all over the world easily.
-No Fees: You don’t need to pay anything to join affiliate programs.
-No storage or shipping: You don’t need to worry about storage, packing or shipment of the product since they are all taken care of by the seller. Coming from someone who's owned a small Etsy shop, I know what a plus this is! Trips to the post office are the worst.
-No customer support: You don’t need to provide any customer support or deal with consumer complaints as the seller does that for you.
-Passive income: A regular job can give you a fixed income as long as you continue to work. Depending on your marketing skills, affiliate marketing can create a steady flow of income even when you are not in front of your computer.
-Work from home: An obvious plus! Couch potatoes unite.
Now you're probably thinking, "where do I sign up for these programs?". And honestly, tons of retailers have an affiliate program if you just go to their website and check. I prefer the easy method of googling "____ (Target, Walmart, etc.) affiliate program" and if the retailer has one, it will always pop up. Some great retailer programs are Best Buy, Sam's Club, Target, Walmart, and Nordstrom. Some other programs that I suggest you sign up for are:
Affiliate by Conversant
What they'll usually ask for when you sign up:
-Your social security number (some won’t ask this right away but you’ll eventually have to submit a W-9 to get paid)
-Name of your blog/URL
-Description of your website, how many unique visits you have, customer demographics (again, depth of what they ask will vary). You can find this information through Google Analytics or Squarespace provides it if you use that platform (that's what I use)
Now that you know more of what to expect, here is some food for thought:
-Some affiliates have 30-day cookies, meaning that if someone didn’t buy right then but bought 20 days later (and bought other stuff too), you get a commission for that purchase. Research this when you sign up for each program, as it should tell you in the fine print how long the window of commission lasts. Amazon Affiliates, for example, only has a 24 hour cookie. Meaning if someone clicks on your link, they only have 24 hours to make a purchase in order for you to receive commission.
-Forrester estimates the affiliate industry will grow to $6.8 billion by 2020. This is huge, you guys! Time to get in and make some moolah.
-Share your links on social media, always adding #affiliate (#aff is not acceptable per the FTC). You can share your links on Facebook, Pinterest, or even just give them to friends and family to use. Just make sure you're always giving proper disclosure that it's an affiliate link.
-According to Missy Ward, founder of Affiliate Summit, disclosures need to be at the top of each post. Often bloggers put this disclosure at the end of a post, something like "This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting those who support Hello Honey". However, the disclosure should actually be at the very top of a post. If you're wondering why I don't do this in the majority of my posts, it's because I'm a member of rewardStyle which is what I usually use in all my posts, and the rules are a little different.
-Average product commission is 4-10%, anything above 10% is considered very high. This information will also be in the fine print when you sign up for a program, and it's very important to take note of these rates. Say, for example, you're a photographer and you're always getting asked which camera/lens you use. When you send someone the info, you should be using an affiliate link! Imagine the commission you'll make if just 1 out of 10 people who ask buy your camera. That's a hefty sale! The reason why it's important to know commission rates for each program is because say Best Buy has a 6% commission rate (just guessing here, I don't actually know this information) and Target has a 12% commission rate and both stores have your exact camera for sale. You'll earn TWICE as much using your Target link, so it's extremely valuable to know this information as this can make hundreds of dollars difference on a big sale.
-You can earn a 4% commission on anything at Amazon. However, once you’ve referred at least 7 items in a calendar month, your commission will bump up to 6%, then 6.5%, 7 up to a max of around 8.5%. Some programs work on an incentive basis like this which is more motivation to push those links.
-Develop a good relationship with an affiliate manager. This is a big one that nobody really talks about, but it's really crucial in having a successful run with affiliate links. Anytime you sign up for an affiliate program, you'll receive an email with a personalized link and more information from a manager who will be your "go to" any time you need help. This person isn't just a robot, it's an actual human being whose job is to help you and drive sales to their employer. Utilize this person! Email them, call them, ask for any advice they can give you. I can't tell you how many times I've reached out to affiliate managers and they've been extremely helpful, often times even driving more traffic to my links.
And that's a wrap on affiliate links, y'all! Can we all heave a big sigh of relief? :) I could talk about this all day so if you have any questions that I didn't cover or if something didn't make sense (which I'm sure is the case in parts of this post), please feel free to leave them in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TGIF! Hope you have the best weekend and Happy Father's Day to all you amazing Dads out there, especially my own Pops and Zach!
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