We’ve reached an exciting milestone on The Fire Path: from here on out, we’re going to be talking about strategies that will help you monetize your business – IF you’ve followed along and completed the strategies we’ve talked about in the first 10 posts!
How to monetize through affiliate relationships
No – seriously….
The steps we’re about to cover will not work if you don’t have an audience to talk to, so if you’re feeling like you haven’t fully implemented the steps we’ve already covered, I encourage you to do so before moving on.
How to monetize through becoming an affiliate
Okay, first up we’re going to talk about how to monetize through becoming an affiliate.
Several businesses launch and within days start beating themselves up about what products and services they’re going to create in order to start monetizing.
The thing they don’t stop to realize is that monetizing through your own products and services (unless you launched as a product or service-based business to begin with) shouldn’t be your focus.
I’ve already talked a lot about providing value to your audience above all else, and even long after you’ve created your own products and service, you should still be thinking first and foremost about providing value to your audience.
That said, I realize that we all need to make money, which is why I want to give you a couple of tips about monetizing through affiliate relationships.
Why an affiliate, you ask?
Because being an affiliate can create passive income that will allow you to focus on getting to know your own business better and on building the right products and services for your audience.
Being an affiliate can benefit you in multiple ways
1. You get the opportunity to build strong relationships with those who you create an affiliate relationship with;
2. You start to earn trust and credibility with your audience through offering them products and services you know can help them; and
3. You have the potential to start earning passive income.
Okay, so you might be wondering how you even go about becoming an affiliate in the first place…
Affiliate relationships typically start out like this
Either you’ve tried a product or service, or several people who you trust have tried a product or service, and they’ve raved to you about it. Because you value the product or service AND you believe it can help your audience, you decide to reach out to the creator and ask if they have an affiliate program.
Once you confirm that an affiliate program exists, you sign up to be one of the people to promote that specific product or service to your own audience.
You might email your list about the specific product or service if it’s time sensitive (the product or service is a course or a one-time offer), or you might create a widget or an entire Resources page on your website to promote the products and services on an ongoing basis (if the product or service is always available).
Note: It’s very important that you…
1. Have either tried – or trust others who have tried – the product or service (ideally, you’ve tried it yourself); and
2. Know that the product or service will truly benefit your audience.
If both of these things aren’t true, then you should not become an affiliate partner. The risk is way too high that you’ll either ruin a potentially strong relationship with the creator of the product or service, and/or you’ll lose trust and credibility with your already-existing audience.
Identifying the right types of products and services
Remember way back when we started on The Fire Path we talked about how important knowing your perfect customer (your avatar) and having a niche are?
This is yet another reason why.
If you know your avatar and have a niche, then the possibilities for products and services you can recommend to your audience is endless.
What types of products and services can help your audience on their journey? What are some tools or resources that anyone who is doing what you’re teaching would need to have?
Once you start to promote the product or service, the rest of the process is pretty automated.
Depending on the payout structure, you might receive payment every time someone purchases through your affiliate link, once per month, every quarter, or on another schedule determined by the creator of the product or service.
I’m going to share some of the affiliate relationships that John and I have pursued so you have an idea of the route we’ve taken with affiliates.
Note: the links below are our actual affiliate links, and if you decide to use them, we will receive a commission from the sale.
Given that our avatar is Jimmy, and he’s sick of his day job and would love to take his own entrepreneurial leap, we know that the products and services we recommend to him have to make sense for someone looking to take their entrepreneurial leap.
Fizzle is a community where you’ll find honest online business training from experts, along with massive support from the community around you.
We’ve already talked about joining online communities here on The Fire Path, and for those who are willing to make an investment in themselves, Fizzle is a great option. You’re not only surrounding yourself with like-minded people for support, but you’re also receiving advice and insights from already established entrepreneurs.
We are a Bluehost affiliate and will receive a commission if you use our link.
Everyone who is just starting out needs a website!
We know that Bluehost provides great service, so why not recommend them to new entrepreneurs looking for a great hosting service? Plus, we have a special bonus for anyone who uses our Bluehost link to purchase their domain and hosting: 23 Free WordPress Video Tutorials!
Quick note: You might think about creating bonus trainings or other additions that will “sweeten” the deal for those who purchase through your affiliate link, like the 23 WordPress tutorials we offer. They may even be videos that the company who has created the product or service has created, in which case the only additional work for you is to get the company to agree to let you give them away.
This is a great way to make it a no-brainer for someone to purchase through your link, all the while providing additional value to them.
Amazon is great for several reasons, but why we became an affiliate: Our audience comes to us asking for recommendations on podcasting equipment, video equipment, office and computer equipment all the time. What better place to direct them to than the largest online retailer in the world?
Every time we use our affiliate link to share a product with someone, we receive commission for that sale based on the price of the product.
To check out the Amazon Affiliate program for yourself, just click here.
On the flip side of being the requester of an affiliate relationship, you can also be the one offering an affiliate relationship to help increase sales and awareness of your own products and services.
We’ve created an affiliate program for Podcasters’ Paradise that is a win/win for both our affiliates and us.
We also request affiliate links from the major conferences that we know will benefit our audience (and we know because we’ve been to a lot of conferences!)
If the conference has to do with building, growing, and sustaining an online business; with podcasting; or with social media strategy, then we know to keep our eye on it.
Affiliate wrap up
Just to be clear, affiliate partnerships aren’t something you create or determine on your own. It’s up to the person who created the product or service to offer the affiliate program so that you can sign up for it.
For example, we don’t have an affiliate program for our Elite Mastermind Tribe, Fire Nation Elite; therefore, you wouldn’t be able to reach out to us and become an affiliate partner for that product because we choose to not have an affiliate program for it.
You can typically find out through someone’s website whether or not they have an affiliate program for their products or services. If there is ever a question, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and just ask.
Even if they don’t have a full-blown affiliate program set up through an automated system, they might be willing to set something up with you so that when you refer people their way, you can do some type of value exchange.
Disclaimer: There are several variables that go into participating in, and on the flip side, managing an affiliate program, like disclosures. I’m not a lawyer, so don’t take this as legal advice, but I do recommend that you check out the FTC Disclosure Requirements prior to creating your own affiliate program.
Choosing your affiliate relationships
So, what do you think? Are there products and services you use that you think might benefit your audience, too?
If so, have you checked out the website or reached out to the creator to see if an affiliate program exists?
If you feel you’re ready to become an affiliate, then I invite you to take some time and really think about affiliate relationships that can give you the three benefits listed above.
Ask yourself questions like:
“Have I used this product or service, or do I trust someone else who has used this product or service and who would recommend it?”
“Do I believe in this product or service?”
“Would this be of value to my audience?”
Jot down 8-10 possible products or services that meet this criteria, and then write out how you’re going to approach the creators to ask about an affiliate program.
This doesn’t have to be a fancy note.
Simply saying something like:
“Hi! I absolutely love your XXXX, and I’m wondering if you offer an affiliate program? I’d love to recommend it to my audience on my site: EOFire.com”
YES, I KNOW!! …this is exciting stuff :)
That’s why our next stop along The Fire Path is a little brainstorming session to help you with some ideas for services you can create and offer to your audience.