🤝 What is affiliate marketing for dummies?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing agreement between a creator of a product and an influencer who would like to sell that product and earn a commission. The influencer usually drives website traffic to the product creators homepage to help generate sales and all the activity is tracked via a unique affiliate ID given to the influencer.
The biggest affiliate marketers out there are celebrities and YouTube personalities.
If you ever notice a celebrity talking casually about a product they like (think Kim Kardashian or Oprah) then they usually are an affiliate for that product and it’s no mistake they are speaking highly of the product.
Celebrities with millions of followers on social media usually make millions of dollars promoting various products to their audiences. They might have used the product anyways in the normal course of their lives but now they get the product for free and make commissions off of mentioning it.
It pays to be a celebrity and that’s why America is unhealthily obsessed with celebrity status.
Popular channels for affiliate marketing?
Basically any social media channel that you have an audience on will help you be successful. Some of the biggest channels right now are:
- YouTube | (great for long content marketing or explainer videos)
- Twitter | (great for info marketers or informational products)
- SnapChat | (great for affiliate products)
- Instagram | (great for photo driven and emotional buys
- Email lists | (great for drip sequences)
Are you an influencer?
You may or may not already have an “audience” and you can be successful with affiliate marketing without an audience but it’s a lot easier to make affiliate sales when you do have an audience.
If you don’t have an audience then you’ll need to push traffic to your affiliate products via paid ads. That can get very expensive if you don’t know what your doing but it can also be extremely lucrative as well.
I know some guys that are paying $.50 a click and getting $7-$10 commissions off the products they are marketing.
In 2018 and beyond, you MUST be building your audience online. Monetizing yourself gets a whole lot easier once you have a solid following.
How do I become an influencer 🎤 then?
The short answer is to start a YouTube channel or a podcast.
People attention spans are very short these days and even videos longer than 3 mins don’t capture audiences well anymore. Podcasts are great because they serve a very specific learning niche which is filling the daily commute for listeners.
The thing is, you can’t capture an audience of listeners unless you can speak on some authority level about a particular subject.
So what are you an authority on?
I bet you are really good at something and you didn’t even know you could be teaching others about it. For Jeff and I, it’s growth hacking a SaaS business. We didn’t start this community however until we had some authority on the subject.
Find your niche, scratch the itch
In every niche subject their are pain points or unanswered questions. Those unanswered questions represent an opportunity.
That opportunity is you being able to fill the gap with answers for an audience on your subject of expertise and sell them either your own products or pitch them other products and get paid as an affiliate marketer.
Don’t fall prey to the imposter syndrome.
You are an expert on something. We don’t care what the hell it is. But you ARE an expert on something.
They are teachers in this world and then there are students. And we all take that journey. We hope one day we have mastered a subject and can turn around and pay it forward.
Here is a short list of some wacky subjects I’ve seen affiliate products for:
- Picking up women
- Composting with human feces
If peeps can make money 💰 with those subjects than so can you cowboy.
SaaS affiliate marketing
When Jeff and I created AccelerList we were the new kids on the block and it didn’t seem like we had a snowball chance in Hell to beat our biggest competitor. But we kept our head down for two years and grinded it out. Innovating our product, providing good customer service. And finally, we started to attract influencers who wanted to work with us as affiliates.
We saw explosive “hockey stick” 🏒 growth as soon as we installed the First Promoter affiliate code into our website and started inviting affiliates to promote us. It was amazing to see.
We had tons of mix emotions about it too.
Did we deserve this? Can we handle the influx of new customers? Have we finally arrived? How the hell is this happening right now? You mean…you really like us?
Make it juicy 🍇…
Once the dust settled we were really able to take stock of what happened and start preparing for a wild ride.
Part of having a successful affiliate program is to make sure it’s real juicy for the influencer. Not too juicy you can’t pay your bills but juicy enough where you keep the interest of the influencer for a long time.
We didn’t want any of our affiliates to do a “pump and dump” on us so we structured the program in a way that keeps their interests and loyalty in place.
For every new customer they brought us we would pay the $20 upfront of the $29 we collected AFTER the user converted from the trial and then $10 a month for every month the user stayed with us.
I know, its really juicy and some would argue insane.
But Jeff and I really don’t have any overhead in our business besides server and marketing costs so we could afford to do it.
And besides, we knew creating a large and stable foundation of users would have positive ripple effects (better known as “word of mouth” marketing) that would help us grow our subscriptions without having to pay an affiliate.
We also just recently raised our monthly subscription fee to $34 a month which now helps to offset our affiliate payouts as well.
Software and Informational Products
We happen to develop software and leverage influencers to help promote our application. But you don’t have to do that.
You could be the influencer. Or you could make informational products (online course, webinars, eBooks, etc) that can be sold by other influencers. Whatever path you take, get started now. Others have a head start on you but it’s a marathon. The most persistent and consistent win the race.
If you would like to chat us up about affiliate marketing or just say hello…find us over at Indie Hackers or drop us an email. Feel free to join our email list too.