Last week, I talked about the basics of affiliate marketing and today, I’ll be discussing the steps a indie author can take for a successful and hopefully, a stress free campaign.
When selling someone’s product, it’s obvious you should put as much effort into it as if it were your own product. That means learning the rules and laws concerning selling products, yes, there are rules and if you don’t follow them there could be serious consequences. We’re talking about being banned as well as getting fined by the government in extreme cases.
Today, I’ll be discussing why you need not only a large following but an engaged one to sell anything. So let’s get started…
Rule #1: If They Don’t Make Money, You Don’t Make Money!
Affiliate marketing shouldn’t be something taken lightly. If your campaign is a disaster, you could lose long term opportunities. That means future advertisers won’t touch your platform with a 10 foot pole. Your goal should be to make the advertisers some money. That’s why it’s important to be choosey as to which products you’ll endorse. This is a job and not a get rich quick scheme so treat it like you would any professional project.
Rule #2: Platform Is Vital
In order to get sales, you’ll need to get a significantly large audience. Marketers know for a fact that a website needs a large number of visitors before someone converts (clicks buy). It’s not unusual for a large company to require bloggers have an audience of at least 10,000 unique visitors per month before they will consider doing business with them. Keep in mind they will require you prove your stats through a service like Google Analytics or Clicky.
With social media it’s worse, you not only need a large following but an engaged one before you can make a conversion. That means conversations where you’re not talking to yourself and lots of likes on your posts. This is important because your sales will be tracked with a special link. If you don’t make any money, it’s unlikely you’ll get another shot with that advertiser. So there’s no faking it till you make it here.
Rule #3: Share Those Links
If you are going to promote a product be sure to use those affiliate links everywhere. However just be sure not to spam people and don’t be too annoying. Also, if you’re a traditionally published or indie author, you can make more money promoting your own book so why not share those links on your blog, and social media accounts? Amazon and most retailers make that possible now.
Rule #4: Know the Law
Recently, reality television star Kim Kardashian, got in hot water with the FDA when she promoted an antinausea drug for pregnant women on her Instagram account. Apparently, the drug company she was affiliated with didn’t list the correct warnings by failing to mention the drug was never approved for pregnant women with a severe type of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. Sadly, that fact wasn’t addressed in Kim’s post and because of that, it had to be taken down. Though this wasn’t Ms. Kardashian’s fault, it was still a faux-pas that could have been avoided. If you’re promoting prescription drugs, alcohol, adult products, or cigarettes, you need to know what the laws are concerning those products.
Another important law to remember, if you live in the U.S., is that you need to let others know you’re a paid affiliate if not, you can be fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There is a PDF file you can download if you want to know more.
Rule #5: Know The Rules
As if that wasn’t enough, they are also the rules concerning social media sites like Facebook, who forbid selling anything on personal accounts. You must have a business or a fan page for that. Also keep in mind that Facebook likes to lockdown accounts that post nudity or sexually suggestive images. So if you’re selling erotic books, be careful about the images you’re posting. If in doubt, go to Facebook’s community standards post and to their ad policies.
Every social media site from Pinterest to Youtube has its own rules and it’s your responsibility to find out what those rules are least you find yourself locked out of your own account.
Now if all this has you scared, be assured that most affiliate marketing campaigns go off without a hitch. However you do need to be educated about what’s expected of you.
Rule #6: Know Where To Look For Legit Opportunities
Did you know there are actually two ways to get affiliate deals? Many entrepreneurs look for companies with large marketing budgets and directly pitch them. The second way is through an affiliate website which is kind of like a dating service for affiliates and advertisers. However be warned, many sites take a percentage of all sales made through them. This is why pitching direct is the best way to go for some business owners. The percentages vary from site to site so be sure to read any contracts or agreements before signing. Here are the more popular sites used by bloggers and website owners.
- Social Fabric
- Tap Influence
- Flex Offers
- Link Vehicle
- SITS Girls
- Sponsored Tweets
- CJ Affiliate
- Influence Central (accepts small blogs)
- Weave Made (small blogs)
- IZEA (small blogs)
These are just some of the sites you should investigate if you are considering affiliate marketing. There are more targeted ways for indie authors to approach affiliate marketing and that’s something I’ll address in part 3 of this series. Yes, there’s a part three because as you may have already guessed, this is a complicated subject.
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