How to Grow an Affiliate Income Quickly
I strongly believe that solopreneurs and online businesses should create more than one income stream. Growing your passive income using affiliate marketing is one solid way to give yourself an extra source of income. This week I've invited my long-time colleague and marketing expert Karon Thackston to give us her top 5 tips about growing passive income as an affiliate marketer. Karon is the President of Marketing Works, a copywriting and content agency which trains online business owners to communicate with, connect, & convert their audiences.
If you are already into affiliate marketing, you understand how valuable it is as an additional stream of income. Having the freedom to promote a quality product or service that you don’t have to spend time creating, maintaining, or supporting is quite the prize, especially when it delivers passive and semi-passive income. If you’re not taking advantage of affiliate marketing, it’s simple enough to get started. The 5 ways below will offer a path to steady revenue.
What is affiliate income and does it require a subscriber list?
Sometimes called “referral marketing,” affiliate marketing brings you dollars when you tell other people about what you’ve found or used. It would be hard to make any money if you didn’t have anyone to tell about the affiliate products you recommend — because then there wouldn’t be anybody to go and buy them. So, does affiliate marketing require an existing list? Yes and no.
You can and should absolutely include affiliate links in your blog posts, social posts, emails, and other communications. That being said, you will probably have to wait a little bit to see a return on those links until you start getting some steady traffic.
Here are 5 ways to quickly grow your passive income using affiliate marketing.
- Find the right affiliate products that fit your audience. Too many times, those who are new to affiliate marketing make the mistake of trying to force affiliate links into their copy just because the commission is high. But if it isn’t a product your readers will respond to, what good does it do?
How do you go about finding out specifically what your readers are into? Take a look around. If you have a blog about gardening, for example, obviously your readers are into growing flowers or vegetables. But what about the specifics within those general categories? Maybe they want to know more about container gardening or organic gardening. Maybe they aren’t sure what types of fertilizer to use for tomatoes or daisies. In addition to information about gardening, what products might they want to buy? Gardening tools? Gardening clothes… rubber clogs that rinse off easily, pants with kneepads built-in? How about gardening décor? Pretty little signs that mark which flowers or vegetables are in the garden, or T-shirts with gardening sayings on them?
The more you find out about your audience, the better you can select the right affiliate products to promote. Yes, it will take some experimenting, but having their feedback goes a long way toward pointing you in the right direction. One easy way to do this is to set up a free survey on a site such as Survey Monkey or even Google Forms. Email the link to your subscriber list and you’re off and going!
Another way to hone your affiliate marketing is to get training. My Passive Income Jumpstart course will show you specifically how to find profitable affiliate products your list will love. (That's Sue Painter's affiliate link.)
- Insert affiliate links in your blog post or show notes. It’s really as simple as that! As you write a post or record a podcast or video, review the list of affiliate links you have and, whenever appropriate, insert links into your content.
Of course, you can create entire posts focused on the affiliate product or a grouping of affiliate products. The most popular of these is a review blog post or video. That allows you the full length of the post to talk about nothing but that product. And, as you write, you are sprinkling your affiliate link throughout the entire piece.
There are lots of other ways to write about affiliate products other than reviews. You can do standoffs, case studies, spotlights, or interviews, to name just a few. Blog Post Shortcuts are a clever way to jumpstart your creativity. Yes, I named them “Blog Post” Shortcuts, but I should have chosen “Content Marketing Shortcuts.” Why? Because these super-templates are also excellent when used to generate ideas for podcasts, Facebook Lives, Instagram TV, emails, videos, and much more.
- Create a favorite resources page on your site. One page on my site that generates a steady trickle of affiliate sales is my “recommended“ page. I don’t get a flood of sales from this page, but having all the products I recommend in one place gives people who are interested in my opinion and what I use in my own business somewhere to review everything quickly.
How do you set it up? I group my affiliate links into sections. You can set yours up however you like. One way is to group it by topic. You might use categories such as e-books and training courses, webinar replays, or coupons as an example. And of course, as you include products for which you are an affiliate, insert the appropriate links.
- Schedule social posts out for at least six months. If you use social posting software, think about this. It only takes you a few minutes longer to post the same content once or twice a month as it does for the next 6 months. If you have evergreen affiliate promotions, go ahead and schedule them for as many months as the social platform will allow. In this way, you can create another stream of passive income with auto-posted social posts. Click To Tweet
Often an arbitrary affiliate commission notice will pop up in my email inbox and I wonder where in the world this came from because I hadn’t promoted it in a long time. Then it dawns on me: it probably came from an auto-posted social mention.
Don’t have any blog posts or other content you’re sharing on social? Write some! Ask the affiliate manager for each product you promote if they offer:
- Blog posts
- Links to free content
- Opt-in freebies.
- Turn blog posts into opt-in freebies. This strategy is a game-changer for affiliates! With it, I’ve won affiliate contests, and doubled (sometimes tripled) my affiliate sales for different products.
- It’s quick to create (you can be ready in 7 days or less).
- It involves no selling.
- Pulls double duty to grow your list and earn you passive affiliate commissions.
- Brings in fresh, qualified traffic when shared.
- Allows you to give something away for free with no selling needed.
- Delivers high conversions for your favorite affiliate products.
Create your own freebie to promote an affiliate product. This could be a guide, an infographic, a checklist, a cheat sheet — whichever format you are most comfortable with. The cool thing is, you can easily use blog posts you’ve written about this affiliate product or transcripts of videos and turn those into any of the freebies I just mentioned. I love repurposing!
- You’ll need a blog post (or new content that you write).
- An evergreen coupon code from the product creator, if possible.
- An opt-in form that people fill out to get your freebie.
- A way to send follow-up emails.
By offering this free content from you that your follower can’t get anywhere else, you build good will and foster a sense of community. After people download the freebie, you may want to set up a couple of follow up emails just to remind them about the coupon code. Once it’s set up, it runs on autopilot!
I hope these five tips give you some ideas that you can begin to implement this week. If you don’t take action, you’ll never get any commissions from the affiliate links you have. It’s all about doing, not just about learning.
(Links in this post are affiliate links.)
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About Karon Thackston
Karon Thackston is President of Marketing Words copywriting & content agency, which trains online business owners to communicate with, connect, & convert their audiences. Through easy-to-understand courses, Karon can help you master your communication skills and boost revenue. Reach out to Karon online at MarketingWords.com/blog or Youtube.com/marketingwords.