These days it seems as though everyone’s hustling products, from celebrities, athletes, and even politicians. Usually, they can be found promoting anything from beauty products to prescription meds, often serving as an affiliate of a company or of several companies. Before I go on, let me explain what an affiliate does: An affiliate is a person or entity chosen to promote services or products on behalf of a business. Affiliates are usually given a percentage of any sale made through them.
There is serious money to be made these days selling products to your online audience. And today, an indie author can approach affiliate marketing in two ways first, as an affiliate (also known as a content creator), and as an advertiser.
Now I have to be honest, most indie authors say that the earnings they make from affiliate marketing can barely cover their Netflix subscription. On the other hand, there are few who are making thousands from affiliate marketing. It all depends on what you sell and the deal you make.
Popular Things Authors Sell and Promote
- Books; digital, audio and print versions.
- Writing or editing software.
- Learning eCourses.
- Subscription services like; Audible or Amazon Prime.
- Book related swag like; T-shirts, posters and tote bags.
- Book cover design services.
- Editing services.
- Conference or workshop tickets.
Before You Start
Before you go signing up for all the affiliate programs available, please be careful and realistic as to what you are most comfortable promoting. If you’re a religious person, maybe signing up with Harlequin (a romance publisher) isn’t the best idea. Keep in mind, if you don’t like or understand a product, this affiliate experience will most likely end in a disaster.
Another thing to seriously consider is your audience’s tolerance for promotion. When your readers sign up for your blog or liked your social media page, they are signing up to connect with YOU not your benefactor. It is possible that if you promote too much, your audience may get turned off by it and leave.
You Don’t Have To Sell Your Soul
As a content creator, it is up to you as to who you’ll work with and what products you’ll promote. You can always say no to a deal especially, if the terms are unreasonable or pathetic. As I said before, it’s all about what you’re comfortable with.
It’s not uncommon for a company to want a content creator to write an article or review about their product. This can mean anything from a Youtube video or a blog post. And as the content creator, you’ll have to act natural as well as keep the dialog organic.
Spaces You Can Rent To An Advertiser
- Social Media
- Newsletters (Check the rules, Amazon doesn’t allow affiliate links in emails while other sites do.)
Be warned that some companies might give you a script that you’ll be required to read from or post on your blog. Usually, these scripts consist of the sales copy, a call to action and links to the product. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are companies who will give you the freedom to sell a product anyway you see fit.
Know Who You’re Selling To
The only way for this affiliate marketing thing to work is to make sure that you’re selling to the right crowd. For example, you can’t sell wheat bread to an audience of Celiacs. I mean you could, but I doubt they would appreciate you for it. So you need to know your audience before you can sell them ANYTHING. Hopefully, you’ve gotten to know your audience through your analytics, the comment section of your blog or through random polls. If you haven’t done this, you had better get started. The most common questions content creators ask their audiences are;
- What are you struggling with? (Find a product that can help them with their problems.)
- What are your favorite books or products? (Try pitching that publisher/ company for an affiliate opportunity.)
- What products do you hate? (Avoid them like the plague.)
- What are your goals? (Find a product to help them reach their goals.)
If you can get your audience to answer some of these questions, you’ll have a pretty good idea as to which products to sell and which ones to avoid.
Well there you have it, tune in next week where I’ll discuss the requirements for successful affiliate marketing.
You can check out Part 2 here: Affiliate Marketing for Indie Authors Part 2.