How to make affiliate marketing a win-win-win proposition

Affiliate Marketing

Realising that traditional marketing can be win-win is a big step

When most of us first get into the heart-based business space, we have a lot of stuff about marketing to unlearn. We often arrive, battle-scarred and weary, convinced that marketing is slimy, pushy and not something we ever want to do.

It takes a while of being around heart-based business coaches with integrity – the Leonie Dawsons, Ryan Eliasons and Mark Silvers of this world – to change that.  But slowly, gradually, the parts of us that have been wounded by dishonest, deceitful and manipulative marketers start to heal.

And we realise that – if we do it right – heart-centred marketing can create a win-win situation that can actually be of service to our ideal clients.

I can remember the moment I figured this one out. It was a heady discovery that bordered on complete paradigm shift for me.

Affiliate marketing can take that win-win one step further

No matter how comfortable we get with “standard” heart-centred marketing, affiliate marketing often feels like it’s a different proposition.  Accept money for “pimping products” to the people you want to build trust with?  How is that different from big-money celebrity endorsements?

The truth is that of all the marketing forms out there, affiliate marketing is one of the easiest to abuse.  But done right, it can actually create even more good in the world than standard marketing.  At least you can see it that way if, like me, you’re basically a utilitarian who believes good can be quantified, collated and compared.

Here’s what I mean… 

In heart-centred “standard” marketing done right, two people benefit:

  • The buyer: they realise that something they really want is available, and discover how and from where to get it.
  • The seller: they make a new sale, gain a new subscriber, or sign up a new client.  Plus, they get the awesome feeling that comes with knowing they’ve been able to help someone else.

In heart-centred affiliate marketing done right, THREE people benefit:

  • The buyer: again, they realise that something they really want is available, and discover how and from where to get it.
  • The seller: they reach a whole new audience of people who’d never have heard of them otherwise, then make a new sale, gain a new subscriber, or sign up a new client.  Again, they get the awesome feeling that comes with knowing they’ve been able to help someone else.  And on top of that, they also get to spread the abundance around and give some money to the affiliate as a tangible thank you.
  • The affiliate: they also get the awesome feeling that comes with knowing they’ve been able to help someone.  Plus they get the “expert status” kudos that comes with having introduced the buyer to an awesome seller and creating a mutually-helpful relationship.  And of course, they get a commission.

So not only does an extra person benefit, but two of the three people get extra benefits out of the interaction.  That’s why I describe it as win-win-win.

What do I mean by “doing affiliate marketing right”?

I’ve qualified the affiliate marketing I’ve talked about above by using the phrase “done right”.  That’s because not only is affiliate marketing easy to abuse, it’s also easy to inadvertently get wrong, especially as a prospective affiliate.

Different folks have different guidelines they stick to in order to make sure that doesn’t happen to them.  Here are the four I try to abide by myself:

  1. Only ever become an affiliate for products you genuinely believe in:  this should go without saying, but sometimes big commissions can be tempting.  My personal rule that I will only be an affiliate in two situations.  Either I’ve tried the product myself and loved it; or I’ve tried something else the seller has created in the past and loved that.  Either way, I have a personal knowledge of the product, the seller, or both.
  1. Only recommend products that will make sense to your audience: I know that my Crystal Clarity readers are heart-based solopreneurs who want help with copywriting and holistically building their businesses.  So I’ll only recommend products that relate to one of those things. There are plenty of products I’ve tried (often spiritual or health-related ones) that I’m not an affiliate for because they’re just not relevant to the majority of my readers.
  1. When you talk about products, make it personal: I do this in emails and blog posts, although I admit I do it less on social media because there’s less room.  I’ll use the pre-written swipe copy the seller offers me as a starting point. But then I’ll do my best to build on it with my own personal experiences, and WHY I think the product is so useful for my audience.
  1. Be transparent about being an affiliate: this is actually legally required in many places, but it’s just good karma regardless.  I try to state in every email or blog post if I stand to benefit from someone buying a product I’ve recommended.  I also have a note at the bottom of my resource policy that social media shoutouts are simply “cool things I’ve found” rather than explicit recommendations.

What if you’re a seller who want to set up an affiliate programme?

There are two components to creating an affiliate programme.

  • The first is the technology.  Personally, I use e-Junkie – it’s clunky as hell, but it does more than almost any other affiliate management software I’ve come across so far. There are many, many other options; but I don’t know enough about them to recommend anything outside of what I use myself.
  • The second is the copy you provide to your affiliates. Offering your affiliates pre-written emails and social media posts makes it as easy as possible for them to promote you to their readers.  As I mentioned above: they don’t need to use what you write word-for-word – but if you provide it, you give them somewhere to start.

Need a hand creating compelling affiliate copy?

If so, I’d love to help!  I’m currently full up for September, and now booking work into October and November.  If you’re interested, click the big red button below

2 in October book
Photo credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham

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