While wearing my author/e-publisher hat, I’ve been looking into affiliate programs a lot lately.
What is an Affiliate Program?
It’s a system set up to reward people for spreading the word about a product, service or upcoming event. They’ve been in use for decades and over the past twenty years have lent themselves really well to online marketing initiatives.
I’ve known about affiliate programs for a while, but couldn’t figure out a way to take advantage of them. Then a fellow I knew told me about an seminar his company was hosting. He mentioned they’d started an affiliate program. I was curious and asked for him to send me the details.
In a nut shell, if I was an affiliate, I would be given a unique URL to use when mentioning the event on my website or blog. The URL would track how many people signed up for the event through my link and I would receive a percentage of the ticket price.
Since this was a great event and I was going to tell my associates anyway, it seemed like a no-brainer.
Over the past week I’ve been looking at Amazon’s affiliate program. Because I’ve been recommending books to read through this blog, My author website suenelsonbuckley.ca and PaperBox Books it seemed like a wise idea to join their affiliate program. We can’t earn affiliate commission through the sale of our own books of course, but most programs will pay commission for anything purchased during the session started through your link.
For example, if I say hey, check out my new novels:
The Trouble with Jake – a young adult paranormal romance, or read the original adult romance versionThe Problem with Jake, or if you are a writer or attend a book club and would love to compare the two stories, buy them for together and save 17% Double Version.
These links will take you to Smashwords, our distributor. While I can’t earn any affiliate commission on my books, I will earn it on anything else you buy through Smashwords during this session, or if you return to Smashwords over the next 48 hours.
(Yes, I’m aware at how shameless that plug for my books was)
Seriously not a bad was to earn passive income.
Now, I realize that not everyone’s business will benefit from the same affiliate programs that I will. But, with some investigating, you may be able to find one that suits.
Personally, I like affiliate marketing over programs such as Google AdSense because most iewers have trained themselves to ignore obvious advertising on websites and stick to the content.
Plus, with the big ad companies, you don’t have much control over what is displayed on your website. It could be your biggest competitor. With the affiliate programs, you can add relevant links to products or services that complement what you offer. It’s truly a win win.
To start, take a look at your suppliers and companies you already work closely with to see if they have any affiliate programs already in place. If they don’t, ask if you can set up an affiliation or partnership.
This can be beneficial to small businesses.
If you offer to recommend a partner’s company and they agree to recommend yours, even if no money is exchanged, you’re both growing your businesses… and business these days is all about building and maintaining relationships.
Affiliate income cannot be guaranteed, so please don’t build it into your budget as a key part of your earnings structure. There are some bloggers out there who earn thousands a year through affiliate and advertising links, but it’s become their business – they devote several hours a week to managing the advertising and affiliates on their site.