CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 21, 2014
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Successful Affiliate Marketing for Microbusinesses  

Marketing and advertising tend to be low-budget, yet high priority efforts for many microbusinesses, which are home-based businesses (like blogging, e-book writing, and craft-making) with less than five employees. One of the most affordable and effective promotion strategies they can implement is affiliate marketing.   

Affiliate marketing helps you reach audiences you might have not been able to otherwise, and can lead to more e-mail subscriptions and sales. Instead of paying for advertising like most traditional businesses would, you’d make an agreement with other microbusinesses (or bigger companies, even) about promoting your products and paying them a commission for it. Affiliate marketing can also help you increase your own revenue: by writing reviews for other businesses’ products, you can earn commission yourself. Many successful bloggers, like Pat Flynn, has earned most of their income from doing this.

Gain Exposure by Getting Other to Write About You

The first step in using affiliate marketing to gain more exposure is to reach out to businesses in your niche with an affiliate marketing proposal in hand. Explain to them who you are, what your microbusiness is about, the commission you’re offering them, and why this partnership would be a good fit. It’s important to reach out to those in your existing network first, and if that doesn’t pan out, try networking with more businesses that might be interested in your proposal. To create more incentive, you can take your commission offer to the next level by offering them exclusive deals and bonuses. 

Make Money by Writing Reviews for Others

When writing reviews for other businesses, write only about products you have actually used. If you’re a fashion blogger promoting electronics, for instance, your readers will be suspicious of your intentions soon enough. You don’t want to come off as a sleazy salesman, which will only make your customers trust you less and hurt your reputation.

Speaking of trust, it’s better to recommend products rather than asking anyone to buy them. No one likes to be sold to. The key to writing successful reviews with affiliate links is to give customers more value with them. Show your customers how you’ve used this product and why you think your customers might like it too. People remember stories, so be sure to craft your reviews as such.

If you prefer to use your affiliate links in another way, you can list them on your website either on your sidebar or a separate page that could be named “recommended brands” or something else along those lines.

In addition to giving you more exposure and income, affiliate marketing can help you strengthen your relationship with your customers. To ensure this is the case, follow this principle mentioned above: promote products you actually use and love. Because you’ll be excited to talk about these products, you’ll be able to write more interesting and engaging content with your affiliate links. Besides, making up reasons why a product is worth-sharing – when you don’t like it yourself – is hard work enough as it is. The more genuine you are, the more enthusiastic you’ll be about it – and enthusiasm is infectious.  

 Image courtesy of Creative Commons

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