In case you haven't yet tapped into it, affiliate programs can be a *great* source of additional income for anyone who has a sphere of influence.
How big does that sphere of influence have to be you ask? Well, if they are like-minded and share similar interests, it doesn't have to be very big at all – maybe a couple hundred people. The more important question is – how influential are you to that sphere of influence?
Where to start? Are there products/services/providers you LOVE? Chances are, they have an affiliate program. Go to their website and look. Probably near the bottom of the home page, sometimes near the top. There could be a link that says “Affiliates” or “Referral Partners” or “Referral Partner Program.” <see example illustrations at the bottom of this post> Click that link and find out how to sign up to be an affiliate. If you don't see a link, and you believe that the company is big enough to have a program, send them a message via the contact form on their website.
As you blog/post on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, etc and speak about your daily life and interests, you can insert your affiliate links and when someone clicks your link to find out more, their IP address is generally “hard coded” to your link and whenever they return to the site to make purchases, you get an affiliate commission. Typical affiliate programs pay 20-50% commission on the products bought through your affiliate links! In some cases, that can mean some serious dough!
And, think you don't have time to recommend these products? WRONG! Most quality affiliate programs give you sample posts/tweets to use which you can use to promote their products and just insert your affiliate link. Then you can use a tool like Hoot Suite to schedule posts to go out on your various social networks, or include them in your email updates, or blog posts.
**Things to Note**
- The more of an ‘invitation' that you are to these products and programs, the more effective you will be. Natural communication about them rather than straight promoting
- Keep in mind that when promoting on social media, you should only promote less than 20% of the time that you are online. If you ‘use' your online networks strictly for promotion, your sphere of influence will stop paying attention to you. Use a majority of your posts to provide value and engage your audience.
- Know that in order to get people to click on your affiliate links and take action, you may need to post things several times on a variety of the social sites you participate in. This isn't a ‘post it one time, make a million dollars' gig. Although, anything is possible!
- Ask yourself if the products/services that you would like to recommend from a certain provider will resonate with your tribe
- The more connected you are in various niches, the easier this will become. For instance, being an active member of a hiking group online and then evaluating hiking equipment and sharing that info within the hiking group will be more effective than just posting it to all of your Facebook friends in general.
Enjoy playing with this, it can be a really fun way to make extra income!! There are people out there who make a tremendous living from just affiliate marketing alone!
Here are a few affiliate programs I participate in and recommend:
Rikka Zimmerman, Consciousness Facilitator, World Changer, click here.
REI, Inc. (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), for the best in outdoor equipment, click here
Certus Professional Network, Denver's best Networking Organization, click here.
Social Media Manager School, quality training program to turn you into a social media manager, click here.