Do you know how affiliate links work? There are a lot of affiliate marketing networks (Rakuten, CJ, Shareasale, Impact Radius, et al) that manage big brands’ affiliate programs and some brands manage their own affiliate marketing (Amazon, eBay Partners, D). Affiliate marketing means you sign up with a program and when you publish a product link, and someone clicks on it, you earn a commission. The problem is that we see influencers doing this on social media and not disclosing that it is an ad or that they are an affiliate of X brand.
As a small business owner, you can sign up for these networks and start earning a commission, recommending services or products you use or typically refer to anyway. You’ll have to preface each blog article or webpage with a disclosure, and if you use social, you’ll have to disclose somewhere in your copy.
A basic roadmap of what happens:
Here are a few sites that are affiliate sites:
- Wirecutter – The New York Times got in the game years ago. What I do like about this site is that they explain their review rubric so it’s not just a giant site of Best of lists.
- Dog Food Advisor – Literally a site about dog food.
- SafeWise – Fully dedicated and niched down to home security.
- My Subscription Box Addition – Dedicated to all things subscription boxes!
- Disney Food Blog – Travel planning, Disney products, ebooks; it started as a blog and became an information hub.
You don’t have to create a brand new niche website. If you have a website, you can add an ad graphic to a column. (That’s called a display ad.) You can write a blog article and insert links to products or services that naturally make sense to your article and audience. Don’t forget to disclose that the post contains affiliate links. This goes for your blog post, social posts, and video posts (put it in the description).
How would you use affiliate networks? Do you have a Top 10 List of items you could recommend to your audience? Or perhaps a spotlight on that one favorite grammar checker software? The key to not reading like an ad is to serve your audience with your authenticity.
Let me know if you have questions on how to sign up or where to look for affiliate programs to join!