I have talked to many people running their own home business and trying to make money through affiliate marketing. Some have made money, while the majority of people have made little or nothing. When they ask me to take a look at their website to see what the issue is, 99.9% of the time it’s the same thing. (At this point if you do not know what affiliate programs are or what monetizing your website means then read this article first.)
The biggest issues that, a lot of people using affiliate programs run into, is that they are trying to sell everything to everybody and they are selling products and services that have no relationship to their actual business.
For example I worked with a business owner who owned a bike sales and repair shop. He had gone online and stumbled across a “guru” basically promising him that all he had to do was to put a bunch of affiliate links on his site and sit back watch the cash roll in.
He basically had set up a small mall on his website selling everything you can think of. He had links and banners on his bike pages that had nothing to do with bikes. He not only made no money from affiliate those programs, but also he hurt his walk in business. People in the local area browsing his site trying to get information on bikes basically were inundated with ads for products that had nothing to do with the information they were looking for.
So having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with placing affiliate links on your website, if they offer products and services that your customers would be interested in. So we come to…
Example #1 Why Affiliate Programs Can Help Monetize Your Business
If you want to monetize your website, in other words give yourself a chance to make some commissions from products and services you recommend, then using affiliate programs can do that for you. A better focus would be to offer products and services that help your customers. The advice I gave that the bike shop owner was this.
First I had him take down all of those affiliate links he had on his site.
Secondly I advised him to give his customers what they were looking for. Information! I told him to write some weekly, or at least monthly, original articles, or have someone write articles for him, that would educate his customers.
Not only are you showing potential customers your expertise in the focus of your business, and care for their desire for information, but this is where you can insert affiliate links that provide your customers with options to solve their problem.
For example you could write an article or reviews on bike accessories that are available. If you don’t carry some of those accessories in your bricks and mortar location you can point them to a vendor online that does, possibly earning you a commission.
At this point I must address a pet peeve of mine. I despise browsing sites where I am reading an article or looking for information and all I see is big intrusive ads for something I have no interest in buying or even looking at. Even the big boys do this. I use a weather network to check local weather for golf conditions. Every time I use that app on my phone all I see are ads for everything under the sun, and I wonder who possibly thinks that is not irritating. If I want to buy a truck I’m certainly not going to go to my weather app to do that.
Example #2 Why Affiliate Programs Can Boost Sales For Your Business
On a sailing tour one evening I happened to strike up a conversation with a women that was visiting the area with her husband. They were in town for a wedding. She remarked that her and her husband owned their own business but in recent years have seen their sales drop off, and they were struggling to make a go of it. She made pottery and her husband was an artist. I asked if I could see their website and products they were offering. They had a beautiful website and were offering what looked like a quality products. They had worked hard and wanted to expand to increase business and they were using a popular “hand made” sales site. They had made sales from that route but not even close to what they were hoping. They had a mountain of inventory they were trying to sell. Even on the beautiful night we had for a sail they both looked a little dejected.
I asked them if I could possibly offer a possibility that they probably didn’t even knew existed. I asked them if they had ever heard of affiliate marketing. She had heard of affiliate programs but felt that placing affiliate links on their website would cheapen it. I agreed. But I asked them, what if you did the reverse. They both looked at me with confusion on their faces.
What I told them was that as a seller using affiliate services, (better known as affiliate advertisers), they could offer their products and services online and have other website owners advertise for them, (better know as affiliate publishers). That sparked their interest.
I then told them about a service, that I have been using for the last five years, Shareasale, a third party affiliate service.
What they do is manage affiliate programs for online companies, and even stores with huge box stores. They have services that design banners among many other services, if you can’t do it yourself, and as well they provide tracking links for their affiliates. These tracking links are used by the millions of affiliates placing them on their websites to earn commissions.
Basically their artisan business could have thousands of links, banners etc. placed on thousands of websites.
The key I told them was to have a quality product or service and to offer a good commission rate for sales, (10% is a good commission). All they had to do is to place a link on their site, normally found on the bottom page navigation, that simply says “affiliates” and people out there looking for quality products and services and good commission paying affiliate programs will find them. As well their program is listed on Shareasale’s website under the category they fit into.
Millions of affiliates go to sites like this to find quality programs to promote. Bedside the fees payed to set up your affiliate program, it’s basically free advertising.
I contacted them about six months after we had met and they had gone ahead with affiliate sales and had increased their sales at that time by 20%. They were excited about the future of their business.
Example #3 Why Affiliate Programs Can Help A Lot Of People
Above I had mentioned that one reason why so many people fail at affiliate marketing was that many want to sell everything to everybody. That doesn’t work unless you do it for the right reason and in the right way. I truly believe that most people can see right through the blatant sales efforts of many website owners, trying to sell them something, anything!
“But what if you could shop online, at one site, from hundreds of retailers, and when a purchase is made a food bank earns a donation, at no extra cost to you, plus you may have helped provide employment to someone!”
I had the idea to start my food bank donation program at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I saw the news reports and predictions of government restrictions, and the effects they were going to have on services that many people rely on to live. Food banks being at the top of the list. Plus many people lost their income. The light bulb came on and I built a very simple but, what I hope to be an effective service that not only raises money for food banks but also provides employment.
This is how it works.
– There is no registration required from you to use this service.
– It uses a very simple log in and password provided to you.
– Every purchase, from over 250 retailers, including some of the web’s biggest retailers, earns a food bank a donation at no extra cost to you. This does not include returns or refunds.
– You get the same deals, sales, clearances as anyone else online.
– Use your online accounts as usual, such as Prime.
– Choose the food bank where the donation goes.
– Suggest a food bank if it is not in the system.
– Provide employment for someone.
Full accounting will be provided, money earned, donations paid, salaries paid etc. We have the donation percentage per commission set to 60% with the other 40% allocated to run the operation, pay employees etc. At the end of the year, we take any extra profit and donate that to food banks, mabey provide some bursaries, etc.
This is an excellent use of affiliate programs to do good and to give back.
Include An Affiliate Disclosure
If you offer products and services on your website you need to post, in clear view, an affiliate disclosure. I include one at the bottom of every page that contains affiliate links. In effect you are stating that you do have affiliate links on your site that you make a small commission from, at no extra cost to the consumer.
Visit the Food Bank Donation site to see what it’s all about and thanks for your time.
So as you can see affiliate programs if properly implemented can be of great benefit to your business. Even if you refer business to another business, just like Miracle On 34th Street, people will love that you were looking out for their best interests. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have and thank you for your time.
Affiliate Disclosure We feature only the Web’s most recommended services. Yes we do earn a small commission but we use that to fund our food bank donation program (here), to pay some expenses of the everyday operation of this site and hopefully to provide some employment . Thank you