When I first started my online business, I followed all the steps I was given. I listed out my strengths and tasks I enjoyed completing, I figured out who I loved working with, and I really zeroed in on how I would deliver amazing results to my audience so both of us would be energized by the transactions. I really believed that was all I needed to know about growing my business. My plan to grow was to get more clients and, in time, start charging premium pricing.
Business friends introduced me to the idea of affiliate marketing. “No way!,” I thought. This was not in any of the marketing info I was reading at the time. I wanted my business to be on the up-and-up, not built on some get-rich-quick scheme. But more and more people in my industry continued to talk about it, and I knew these were influencers I really respected.
Maybe it was time for some myth-busting.
Myth #1: Affiliate Marketing Doesn’t Make Sense for the Type of Business I Have
I didn’t want a business just made up of affiliates. I wanted a business I could call my own and not one dependent on other people. What if those affiliates I decided to align with went out of business? Or what if they changed their philosophies and no longer aligned with the things I promoted? Did I really want to be known as someone who dropped links and spammed my audience all the time? Nope.
I feel very strongly that everything I want in my business is built on relationships. It is important for me to take the time to get to know my audience and to build trust with them.
With the different hats I’ve worn in my business over years from Virtual Assistant to Pinterest Strategist to Certified Launch Manager, I’ve helped my clients nurture their own customers at the start of the marketing funnel and build relationships from the beginning of the search.
It’s crucial to listen to your audience, get to know them, and learn how to connect them with the best solutions. At the end of the day though, we can’t be all things to all people – it would be a sure-fire path to burnout (and who can do everything well anyway?). So, for example, when I was offering Pinterest services, maybe I’d connect with a client and learn they needed website design or social media templates, neither of which I offered, but I can take the time to associate myself with affiliate partners who do.
Myth #2: I Need a Big Audience for Affiliate Marketing
As a new business owner, I really believed I needed a large audience to be successful with affiliate marketing. It made sense that the more people who would read my blogs or see my posts would have the potential of clicking on my links that would ultimately lead to any referrals.
In reality, the numbers aren’t what matters. The most important thing is that you are reaching the right people. And you know this to be true with your own marketing efforts. When you are speaking to the right person with the right offer in an authentic way, you have a better chance of securing a working relationship. Compare this to speaking to a hundred people with a mismatched offer and an insincere way. No sale will likely take place.
So focus on seeking out the right affiliate relationships to align with your audience as you grow. It will have more meaning to you, and to them. And the size (of your list) won’t matter.
Myth #3: I Need to be a Tech-Wiz to Set Up an Affiliate Program
While I am good at a lot of things, when I first started out in business, I was introduced to a lot of tools, apps, and software that I wasn’t familiar with. So I have to admit I was a little concerned that setting myself up as an affiliate for others had me a little leary. Would I be able to keep track of the links? How would I calculate the proper revenue? Was there an easy system for segmenting my list properly? What about the legal issues? How would I handle taxes? It was a little overwhelming.
Remember, if you partner with the right programs, they will be professionals, and all of this information will be specifically handled for you through their operations department and in their contract. Since it’s a partnership and you are helping to promote their business, they should make it easy and stress-free for you to support them. It should be a win-win proposition. If not, listen to your gut.
Myth #4: Affiliate Marketing is Not a Reputable Way to Run a Business
I worried about this point a lot.
I already mentioned the idea of feeling spammy and link-dropping on my audience all the time. But I also worried about the idea of if someone’s program or product is so good, why are they paying other people to promote it for them? I mean, in a way, isn’t that like paying those actors to dress up like doctors on tv and pretend a medication works? Shouldn’t people be sharing just because they want to? Not because they are paid to share?
Affiliate partners don’t seek you out and bribe you to sell for them. It’s usually a voluntary program you enroll with once you have had a stellar experience with a company or program, and you want to share that with others. The company simply thanks you for sharing your compliment with others.
Myth #5: My Business Isn’t Built Around a Popular Affiliate Marketing Niche
I believed I had to be in the business of fashion, health and fitness, or money-making in order to really make an impact.
Again, my inner guidance bells started going off. My business was based on providing value and service. I created my reputation on getting to know my clients’ businesses and how I could best maximize the potential of their businesses for them.
What I didn’t realize was that I could utilize affiliate marketing through products and services I was already using in my business such as ConvertKit for email marketing, Styled Stock Society for branded imagery, and Tailwind which I used to promote my content.
The Best Way to Learn the Truth About Affiliate Marketing
Once I learned I could be authentic to myself and my business while maximizing the potential of affiliate marketing I started researching the best way to learn all the ins and outs,
While it sounds overwhelming, I came to realize affiliate marketing is just a form of passive income from another business as their way of saying thanks for referring their product or service. I explain more about it in my post The #1 Secret The Most Profitable Small Businesses Know That You Don’t.
I’ve realized that the most successful business people have multiple streams of income, specifically passive income.
Of course, there’s a right way to do it, and a wrong way to promote affiliate products. The wrong way probably lead to you believing a lot of the myths above. The right way was listening to my instinct, building relationships, sharing products, and programs I truly loved and believed in.
I’ve created a workbook especially for those who are new to affiliate marketing and want to know how to build a successful affiliate marketing business from home, and it’s called the Affiliate Marketing Roadmap.
This is a step-by-step plan of exactly how to get started with an affiliate marketing business. I’ve followed this system of sourcing and sharing affiliates throughout the last seven years of my business, so I know this method works.
Because I know there’s nothing worse than sending out spammy messages or spending lots of time creating emails and social posts no one will read, this workbook will guide you step by step on how to identify your audience and gain an understanding of what’s important to them and how you might help. In this way, you can ensure that you’re sharing information in the right places using the right language so your content is resonating with people. They’ll be more likely to click through to the products you’re sharing (which means you’ll start earning revenue!).
I’ve also included some resources for finding companies you want to work with as an affiliate partner as well as how to evaluate someone you’re planning to be an affiliate for. Maybe you already have some places in mind, but I’m sharing some of my favorite companies, too!
Finally, the Affiliate Marketing Roadmap includes a section around goal setting. At each stage of your business, you’ll naturally have different goals: awareness around your business, audience growth, revenue goals, or maybe even creating your own affiliate offers! The activities you focus on are different depending on the goals you want to reach. You want to ensure you’re doing the right tasks at the right times, especially since you’ll be growing your business along side your little ones. You don’t want to waste time and energy doing the wrong activities.
Start Your Affiliate Marketing Business Today
Affiliate marketing is safe, easy, inexpensive, and flexible as a business model. This is NOT an MLM or something that requires an expensive set up. Unfortunately, a lot of myths continue around affiliate marketing and many people become discouraged before they even get started.
I want to help take control of the narrative that there are ways you can earn money from home and find a sense of fulfillment in helping others in a way that holds integrity all while being attentive to your family.
Don’t forget to download your Affiliate Marketing Roadmap, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.