By Mary C. Long, Chief Ghost, Digital Media Ghost
Everyone thinks that they can make money online: start an online business, get rich; nothing could be easier right? As a marketer, your job is often to help clients fulfill those dreams, but have you considered the possibilities that your OWN social presence offers? It’s time to practice what you’re preaching, and for your own benefit!
Marketers are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities offered by affiliate marketing. A successful marketer is a social expert who has built a large following in a niche market. And as you know, this is just the thing certain advertisers are looking for!
First, what affiliate marketing isn’t:
There are a lot of myths out there about affiliate marketing (just google “myths about affiliate marketing” if you don’t believe it). Some of the more pernicious:
- Affiliate Marketing is dying – yes, Google’s algorithm update has changed how affiliate marketing is done; the mass-produced banner ads are a thing of the past. But that’s a good thing for those aiming at a niche audience, the advertising on your site should be as targeted as your content is.
- Affiliate Marketing is easy – come on, you know better than that. If it were easy everyone would be rich. But you, dear marketer, have put in the time to build your following, so you are well-positioned to make this work.
- Affiliate Marketing is a rip-off – rumors abound about advertisers who don’t pay what is owed, and while this undoubtedly happens sometimes, the truth is most are honest. Think they want the negative blowback from influencers when they’re not?
There is money to be made in affiliate marketing. But even marketers can be a bit ‘pie in the sky’ about it:
This is not about cluttering your social media sites with random links and posts that reek of ‘buy me’ spam. It’s about monetizing the influence that your expertise has earned you with your targeted audience. And if you don’t have a targeted audience yet, you certainly know how to create one! Who knows better than you?
Beyond that cake walk, the key, really, is finding the right affiliate network to link you to advertisers.
If you look at the different networks out there, it soon becomes obvious that the same advertisers are found on many of them. And then there are sites like Clickbooth where the advertisers and affiliates are largely exclusive to their network. There are pluses and minuses to approaching affiliate marketing this way, of course. It works with small businesses and entrepreneurs that seek to develop reciprocal “long term, lasting relationships” – but it can sound scary for those new to the game, or who like their eggs spread out evenly among many baskets.
The point is, there are options and you shouldn’t settle on the first one you happen upon and leave it at that. If that was a good strategy, everyone would be on Shareasale or one of the other usual suspects, but they aren’t – because this affiliate opportunity is flourishing and continues to expand (so keep an eye on options as you progress too!).
So is it right for you?
Are you a candidate for affiliate marketing? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a significant, targeted following? (Again, go create one, if not.)
- Do you create new content (images, videos, posts) regularly? If you don’t, this would be another no brainer for you to accomplish.
- Do you participate a good amount on social media – or are you willing to level up? This one is the sticking point. If you’re not willing to engage authentically online, don’t bother.
How to succeed:
If you answered yes to the questions above, you’re in good shape! Here are some tips to take you the rest of the way:
- Continue developing your niche – the key here is to be narrow and deep.
- Be excellent – no matter how specialized your niche is, there are others posting about it as well. You need to be better. Write well and engagingly, keep abreast of changes, and know your audience.
- Adapt to mobile devices – increasingly your audience is accessing content through mobile devices, if your site doesn’t display well you will lose followers.
- Be innovative – get out in front of trends, experiment with different content formats. Don’t get stuck in a rut.
- And finally, don’t become that spammy link-bait person. You’re better than that!
Now start exploring your options and plan your strategy as you would for a client! You’re welcome!