Whether you are growing a blog as your business or you are using your blog to grow your business, there are several ways to monetize a blog and create additional income streams. One popular way is to make passive income using affiliate marketing.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to make money while they’re sleeping!?
Like, how much more ‘passive’ could you really get?
Not to mention that using affiliate marketing is an awesome way to further support your audience and help them with their struggles.
When you stay focused on your ideal audience and the best ways you can help them, you can’t go wrong with any of the business decisions that you make.
What is affiliate marketing online?
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is like saying, “I know you’ve been struggling with XYZ and, since I don’t specialize in that area, I wanted to refer you to this person/product/service who can help you!” or, “I know there are a lot of options out there and it’s hard to narrow down the best one. But, this is the one that I use/know/love”
Your audience trusts you. They are looking to you for guidance, support, and advice.
Using affiliate marketing helps to make a difficult decision a little bit easier and provides them with resources outside of your specific niche.
Suddenly, not only are you the go-to expert for all things related to your niche but, you are the go-to expert for all the things related.
Being that source of reliable information, great advice, and legitimate recommendations is invaluable to the growth of your solopreneur business.
So, how does affiliate marketing work?
Let’s say that you’re a virtual assistant who helps bloggers grow their email list by booking them on podcasts. Your audience is obviously interested in email marketing and is probably interested in hearing your thoughts on the best email service provider.
You can approach your favorite email service provider and find out if they have an affiliate program. If they do, you fill out the application to be an affiliate or publisher and submit it. Once you’re approved, you will receive a unique “affiliate link” that is specific to you and your business.
Every time you create content that is related to or mentions email service providers, you tell your audience about which one is your favorite and why. Then, you give them your unique link and, if they sign up for an account with that provider, you make a commission!
This exact same process can be used for any of your favorite services and products that would be helpful to your audience. Sometimes, your favorite product or service has an affiliate program that is managed through an affiliate network.
Affiliate networks are basically the Amazon of affiliate programs. Websites like Share-A-Sale manage the affiliate programs for thousands of brands. For instance, if you wanted to be an affiliate for PicMonkey, you would need to apply to be a publisher through Share-A-Sale.
Once you’re are accepted by Share-A-Sale, you can then apply to the PicMonkey affiliate program.
Obviously, there are specific rules to follow and tools that make the process easier. I learned everything that I know about affiliate marketing from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.
Michelle has a lil’ blog called Making Sense of Cents where she makes six-figures PER MONTH. And, she created a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Why use affiliate marketing?
There are pros and cons to anything in business. But, in my opinion, the pros of making passive income using affiliate marketing far outweigh the cons.
Your main focus is to grow your solopreneur business. You want to increase the number of clients that you have, broaden your audience, and see more sales of your products and services.
Affiliate marketing is just one way that you can diversify your income streams. You definitely don’t need something that will cause you extra hassle!
When you make a recommendation to your audience as an affiliate for a product or service, your “job” stops there. You don’t have to deliver the product, deal with any customer service issues, or help with tech support.
Obviously, you want to be there for your audience and you want to stand by the recommendation that you’ve made. But, supporting your audience after they have made a purchase of an affiliate product or service is simple. And, it is FAR LESS work than if they had purchased a product that you created.
As an affiliate or publisher of others’ products and services – your job in the sale is simply to pass the work along. The owner of the product or service has done the hard work of actually creating it.
Whether it is an e-book, e-course, or other type of service, your job is only to put your audience in contact with the item. You don’t have to do the months and months of work to actually create the item.
Now, keep in mind (and in heart), that you should NEVER recommend a product or service to your audience that you don’t truly believe in.
The loss of your integrity has no price and is worth no amount of affiliate sales.
Be genuine and be true to your audience.
They trust you and you don’t ever want to tamper with that.
The coolest thing about affiliate marketing is, once you have created a blog post with your unique affiliate link in it, that piece of content is out there forever.
It’s possible that you could make a commission from the sale of a product that was linked in a blog post from months or even a year ago.
That’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
You could make money off of a piece of content over and over again that you only had to create once. That’s the passive income piece of it. Your content is out there 24/7 and you could make money from it while you sleep!
Affiliate marketing only works if you have a solid audience of loyal fans who trust you and believe in what you say.
Growing your online reputation can take some time and that can make affiliate marketing a little unappealing to some solopreneurs.
But, remember, once you create that piece of content with the affiliate link in it, you can continuously make money from it.
So, if you’re just starting out and don’t have much of an audience yet, choose just a handful of affiliate programs to stand behind.
Make sure that you know those products or services inside and out and you stand by them 100%.
Add the links into your content whether it’s a hyperlink in a blog post or pasting your unique affiliate link in the notes of a YouTube video.
Your focus is to help your audience as much as possible and, those links will start to pay off as your audience grows. Add the links now and it will be a win-win for everyone.