Online business has incredible rewards – freedom, flexibility, the opportunity to pursue your passion – but you also need to earn a living. No matter the business you are in, whether you blog in your spare time or your online business feeds the family, generating an income is a necessary part of the deal.
Within your own business framework, you push to understand your audience, solve their pain points and build relationships. You work hard to nurture clients and encourage them down the sales funnel to finally sign a contract, and that becomes your sole focus. However for some, there is a way to scoop a little extra cream off the top of the digital explosion in between – commission from affiliate marketing.
“In plain English, affiliate marketing is being paid a commission when someone you refer to a product or service makes a purchase. Companies offering affiliate commissions help you create a unique link so that purchase can be credited to you. The amount of money you make varies enormously,” explains expert digital marketer Jillian Bowen. Jillian runs her own online business, Digital Decluttered, where she uses her 15 years’ experience in marketing and communications to teach other entrepreneurs the tricks of the trade.
“Over the years, I have worked for multi-nationals both in-house and as a consultant, I was asked to present at over 20 conferences and seminars on my strategies. I became really inspired by the idea of empowering others with this knowledge, particularly taking big business strategies and making them accessible to solopreneurs and small business,” Jillian said.
Affiliate marketing has grown exponentially in recent years as an integral part of business advertising strategy. It has been estimated that 16 percent of all online orders have been generated through affiliate marketing and a massive 81 percent of brands utilise affiliate marketing to advertise their goods and services.
Amazon, for example, has been very successful at offering affiliate commissions. It seems every second blogger is recommending some product or another through Amazon, and every time one of their readers makes a purchase, the blogger gets a little kickback in return. This can be anywhere from 10 percent for big ticket items, to just one percent for smaller sales. Other programs offer as much as 50 percent commission on products such as online courses or other high-performing digital products.
So, why wouldn’t you jump on the wagon too? While there are certainly some impressive success stories, making money online through affiliate programs takes a detailed strategy, flexibility – and patience.
IT ABSOLUTELY CAN BE LUCRATIVE. BUT IT’S LIKE ANY BUSINESS VENTURE. IN MOST CASES YOU GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT.”
To get you started, Jillian has shared her top five tips to affiliate marketing success:
1. Promote products/services you use personally and believe in, so you are promoting them with authenticity. Pairing them with an in-house ‘bonus’ can be an effective way to show your recommendation is genuine, and at the same time increase the chance of achieving a sale (Jillian has a list of content upgrade ideas on her blog that could be also be utilised for adding bonuses to affiliate purchases).
2. You get back what you put in. The most successful affiliate marketers develop detailed strategies with content, social media and newsletter promotion to their audiences. Facebook and Google ad campaigns are increasingly used.
3. Always disclose your status as an affiliate prominently and ensure you are following relevant legislation.
4. Affiliate networks like shareasale.com are great places to find opportunities when you are starting out.
5. Keep a ‘swipe file’ of other people’s affiliate marketing promotions including website articles, social media posts and newsletter campaigns. These are great to help you map out your own ideas (not to literally swipe their content).
Her last piece of advice is to approach affiliate marketing as a long-term strategy, not a way to earn a quick dollar. Make sure you have other monetisation strategies in place and keep working hard on your core business.
Done well, affiliate marketing can offer a welcome addition to your business’ income stream. For more tips from Jillian on monetising your online business through affiliate marketing, visit her blog
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