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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to make passive income? I’m talking about money you can make in your sleep that doesn’t require you to do much work other than in the initial startup… sounds a little too good to be true right?
While no income can be entirely passive, there are so many ways you can create additional revenue in your business that flows seamlessly day in and day out. One of my favorite ways to generate passive income in my business is through affiliate marketing.
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?
I think we need to first address what affiliate marketing actually is for those of you who maybe have never heard of it before or you think you know what it is. Because I have heard a lot of misconceptions about it.
First thing to note is that affiliate marketing is NOT the same thing as being in an MLM (multi level marketing company), direct sales or sponsored.
A sponsorship or influencer marketing is when you would post a photo of a product and get paid for that regardless of how effective the post was. Meaning, no one could buy the product based on that post and you still would make the agreed upon money.
With affiliate marketing you are often times given a discount code and no up front payment from a company. It’s purely commission based. You are able to offer your followers a discount on a product you love, and if they choose to use that code to buy, you will make a commission off of that purchase.
If you are part of an MLM you might be thinking affiliate marketing sounds very similar to what you do, and I can see why but there are some key differences.
With affiliate marketing you have control over the products you choose to share about or the companies you want to be an affiliate for.
There is also no startup cost to be an affiliate for a brand or company. Plus you are not responsible for closing the deal yourself as an affiliate. You are essentially just passing on information and links, but the actual brand and company takes care of the rest.
YOUR AUDIENCE NEEDS TO TRUST YOU
Another common misconception a lot of people have when it comes to affiliate marketing is that you have to have some huge following. Which is simply not true.
The most important factor of being successful at affiliate marketing is having an audience that trusts you and engages with you.
In other words, you need to have people on your side that actually care about what you have to say and share with them.
I have several Instagram related episodes that will help teach you these basic foundations so that you can start to build this relationship with your followers so make sure to check out Episodes 041, 029, 054, and 055.
You need to remember that affiliate marketing is not going to earn you 6 figures right away. In fact it may not make you a whole lot for a while. BUT truly this is when I have to say it again… consistency is key.
When you are regularly talking about something. Telling why you love it. Showing different ways you use it. And just making it a part of your day to day lifestyle, people will start to catch on. They need to see that you are not just trying to make a quick buck off of them and that the product you are sharing about is legit. This is going to make them trust you and people are going to be more likely to pay for something when they feel like they can trust it.
It’s the same reason why people read reviews before buying something. They want that social proof that it actually works.
I am an affiliate for several different brands including Honeybook, Flodesk, Farm Girl Boutique, Pink Blush Maternity and a few others. These are all brands I use on a daily basis or have products from that I absolutely LOVE.
I cannot stress this enough, but if you are not a raving fan of the products you share, it’s not worth trying to make a quick buck off of them. Your audience is not dumb and they can tell when you are not being genuine or if the products do not align with your brand.
I have many brand opportunities fall into my inbox every week and 99% of them I say no to because I want to make sure I am only sharing things that I know my followers will actually like.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Go onto websites where you are already a member and see if they have promo codes already set up for you. Some companies do not require you to apply or sign up. You can just start sharing immediately.
You also need to decide how you are going to share the links and codes you have. Will they be in Instagram captions? Blog Posts? Youtube videos? Podcast ads? Etc…
The possibilities are truly endless. Personally I share on all of the above but I also like to create my own landing pages for the brands I am affiliated with on my website. That way I can fully customize the experience for my followers and they can really see why I love these products so much.
YOUR BLUEPRINT STRATEGY
Talk about your own experiences
Have you talked about your own experiences you have had with the brand? Story telling is so powerful in marketing and can create a way stronger impact. Instead of just telling someone that you like the clothes you bought from a boutique and they should buy them, share about a time when you were wearing an outfit from this boutique and you got so many compliments that day. Or share about how a certain resource you use in your business has made you life easier. Give them the details. Go big.
Don’t make it all about you
Do not make it all about you. People are inherently selfish and want to know what that product is going to do for them. Not just what it did for you so many sure to use inclusive language and tell your followers how this product is going to change their life.
Share the products in unique ways
Are you sharing about the product in a unique way? Some brands will offer up templates or stock images for you to share but if you really want to stand out and be original then you have to do just that. Take your own images and put your own spin on the words. Make it sound like the rest of your content so there is a nice flow and it doesn’t just feel like a random advertisement from no where.
Add on extra incentives
Add on extras if you can. When HoneyBook first came out with their affiliate program a lot of people were offering 20 minute phone calls when you signed up using their link. Which was a great idea! But it also became saturated and everyone started offering it so very quickly it was no longer an original idea. But maybe you can think of something similar to offer for a brand you are an affiliate for. Get creative!
Casually bring up your codes in your other content
You don’t always have to make a big deal about it. You can incorporate your affiliate codes in the mix with your other content. Meaning instead of writing an entire blog post about the brand, you could write a blog post on a relatable topic and then sprinkle in your discount code. Or if you are on Instagram stories using the product you can just casually drop in a quick note about your code and then move on. Having a nice balance is key here!
TO WRAP IT UP
I hope you found this information to be not only helpful but also transformational. I think often times we need to shift our mindset on the concept of selling and what that can really mean. The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you can share the things you love, without actually having to create the products and you still get paid for it.
It’s such a cool way to add income to your life, or even make a full on living if you are serious enough about it!
Affiliate marketing also just allows you to become more well rounded as a business owner. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there, do the things others are not and share the things you love.
Because as long as you are being honest with yourself and you genuinely LOVE the products you are sharing about, then it would be selfish of you not to talk about them.
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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