Imagine waking up every single day to copious Stripe notifications from your passive digital products – or bringing in 5, 10 or 20x more revenue from your next course launch.
Sound like a dream come true? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’m spilling the proverbial tea on a few unique ways to supercharge your income with – wait for it – affiliate marketing.
But don’t roll your eyes just yet. I get it. When you hear “affiliate marketing,” you might immediately think about your fave fashion bloggers who’s constantly hawking her Amazon storefront or an old girlfriend from high school doling out discount codes for CBD oil on social media.
While there’s nothing wrong with either of those avenues – being an online business owner with your own digital products & courses (or on your way to having them) means you can also experiment with selling online products–like other creator’s courses, software and apps and more.
When done right, affiliate marketing really is like having a secret money-making weapon in your entrepreneurial toolkit. The issue is that many entrepreneurs dive into affiliate marketing without a strategy–or without really thinking about how it fits into the bigger picture of their business.
While I’m not going to walk you through specific strategies, apps or affiliate programs you can join in this post, I will talk you through how to ensure you have a solid foundation for everything you promote as an affiliate. Sound good? Let’s dig in.
1) Know Your Audience Inside Out
Choosing the right affiliate products and offers to promote is key to making more sales as an affiliate. And that all starts with intimately understanding your audience.
Dive deep into their world. What keeps them up at night? What dreams are they chasing? What other products or offers have they been loving lately?
This will allow you to think about what types of affiliate offers they might purchase from you.
2) Choose the Right Affiliate Offers
As online business owners, our world is digital, and that opens up exciting possibilities for affiliate marketing. It’s not just about mimicking what those fashionistas do. Think strategically about the kind of affiliate marketing that complements your online offerings.
Consider software applications or tools that make your business run smoother–especially if you sell B2B. For example, a fitness coach could recommend fitness tracking apps or meal planning tools, where a biz coach could sign up for affiliate programs for landing page software.
But don’t limit yourself to just tools and apps. What other digital products have changed the game for you in your area of expertise? Maybe your favorite mentor has an affiliate program, or there’s a specific digital course that really changed the game for you. Be discerning and choose your first (or next) affiliate based on what you know about your audience, and yourself. On that note…
3) Be Authentic
Authenticity is truly the name of the game here. We’ve become jaded as consumers and nobody really likes “being sold to.” That said, you should only share products and offers you’ve tried firsthand or are from companies, brands or individuals you personally know, like and trust. You need to feel good about what – and who – you’re promoting.
And there’s another way to keep authentic, which is…
4) Niche Down for Impact
Another way to really amp up your affiliate earnings? Keep the number – and type – of offers you’re an affiliate for super small. You might ‘niche’ down by only promoting 1-2 specific affiliate offers year-round or choosing a specific subtopic within your general niche to promote.
For example, let’s say you’re a health and wellness coach. Instead of promoting a smorgasbord of different products, focus on a specific niche, like just organic skincare. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure this aligns with your audience’s pain points, desires, and preferences. But if it does? It’s fair game–and you can tailor your affiliate marketing efforts accordingly.
The reason this works is that niching down can help you become a trusted source on a particular topic–and show that you’re not just out here promoting any old thing or any old company.
If going wide within your industry hasn’t worked, try going deep instead.
5) Pick Programs with Lucrative Commission Structures
While loving and trusting the offer or product you’re promoting is a big deal, it’s also important to ensure that the juice is ultimately worth the squeeze.
To ensure you’re maximizing your affiliate earning potential, the affiliate programs you sign up for should have real, solid potential to move you closer to your money goals.
So, when you’re scoping out potential affiliate programs, ask yourself the basics: How much does the product/offer cost? How much money will you pocket from each sale? What do the numbers tell you about how many sales you’re likely to make based on your audience size–and your promotion/marketing plans?
When thinking about this, also consider how much time, energy and other resources (like extra hours you’ll need to pay your VA) you’ll need to successfully promote this affiliate offer. If it’s an evergreen offer, you might not need to pour as much into it as a live launch. Either way, make sure any affiliate program or promotion you sign up for aligns with your goals–and fits into your schedule.
6) Craft Trust-Building Content
Trust is the name of the game in affiliate marketing. Your audience needs to trust you and trust the products you recommend. So, how do you build that trust? It starts with your content.
Share your personal experiences with the products and offer up honest reviews. When people see your authentic connection to the products, they’re more likely to click that “Buy Now” button.
Oh, and here’s a pro tip: be there for your audience when they have questions about the offer. Engage with them, address their concerns and build a real relationship. Because trust isn’t something you can fake; it’s something you earn.
And while we’re talking content, one more thing: Make sure you treat any affiliate promotion like you would a promotion for a product in your own business. Take it seriously. The more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out of it.
7) Experiment, Optimize and Pivot as Needed
Don’t be afraid to shake things up! Experiment with different affiliate programs, product types (for example, do smaller digital products or larger courses tend to sell with your audience–or vice versa?), and strategies. Track your results and adjust your approach accordingly. Keep an eye on what’s working and what’s not, and – most important of all – don’t hesitate to “Pivot!” when needed. (Cue all the Friends references.)
Here’s an example: If you’re a tech VA, you might kick off your affiliate journey by promoting the software you use & love every day in your business, like your email service provider or website host. However, after a promotion cycle or two, you might discover that your audience is actually all about DIY tech programs (like your colleague’s epic, “Website in a Week” course), go with the flow and adapt your strategy to fit your audience’s preferences because you’ll likely boost your income as a result.
It’s a bit like a science experiment – keep what works and toss what doesn’t.
8) Create Your Own Affiliate Program
The best thing about affiliate marketing, if you ask me? You can create your very own affiliate program! Why not give your audience the opportunity to sing your praises and earn a commission sharing your offers with their audience? It’s a complete win-win-win situation. You’re exposed to new audiences, make more money than you would had you not been–and your affiliates pocket cash, too.
While it can take work to get set up a successful affiliate program, it can eventually become a wildly lucrative and powerful income stream. It’s a fantastic way to tap into the power of your community and reward those who believe in your products and services. And if you need a little help setting up a program to help you sell your stuff, check out my Affiliate Templates Package.
Bottom line: Affiliate marketing isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon, but with the right strategy in place from the start, you can easily turn it into a lucrative income stream – without creating any new products or offers on your end.