To Affiliate or Not to Affiliate, that is the question.

There are millions of blogs, and millions of email lists, and so much spam you can almost cut it with a knife… and everyone is vying for the one sale, you know, the one that gives them a little bonus cash in their pocket, if they can convince you to go buy that thing, try a new product, or subscribe to a software.

But is affiliate marketing all that it’s cracked up to be?  Does it ever feel a bit shady to you?

It’s a $Billion industry.  But should you get into it?

It depends.

Why do you want to promote someone else’s product?

Are you wanting to affiliate for another company because you actually like the products you’re selling?  Do you know them inside and out? Would you tell someone that’s not a good fit for the product to go buy it?

These are all questions you should ask yourself.  Would you trust you to tell someone to go invest in it?  If the answer is no… You might want to reconsider. If you’re promoting something just to make a buck (or $100), your credibility decreases with each mention of that product.

Now, on the other hand, if you are say, a Systems Magician, and someone asks you which email autoresponder to use, and you tell them the one that you use and love personally (Convertkit, if you’re wondering), that’s not so shady.  However, because I AM a Systems Magician, and not everyone else is, I don’t always recommend Convertkit.  When I am personally working with someone in my 1:1 programs, I take their tech-comfort-level into account.  This means, sometimes I refer them to software that is NOT actually something that pays me a commission. Because I care more about my clients’ needs and experience than I do about the few dollars I might make off of that affiliate commission.

Do you use this product that you want to promote for commission?

Let’s revisit the example above.  Me referring someone to Convertkit is again, not shady, because it’s something I know and love personally.  If I was promoting Clickfunnels, that would be shady. Why? Because although I do know that software, and I run it for some clients, I don’t love it.  I also think that for many online businesses, it’s a terrible overkill. It’s expensive, and it does things that you can do on your own website until you have enough in sales to justify the cost (it starts at $97/month…!).  While I happen to know that they also have a healthy commission structure, I don’t feel it’s a good fit for most of my clients.  

Another direction to go is send people to a place where they get to choose which deal they want.  For example, AppSumo.  This is a service I regularly check in on.  Why? Because I am a software geek, and I really like to try new software to find out if it’s worth using, or integrating into my clients’ businesses.  The reason I would send people to AppSumo is they have all kids of different software, and people can choose for themselves.  Plus, everything is on a deal, often lifetime access for a software subscription, for less than $50.  I mean, hey, I like a good deal, don’t you? And, I’ve found a couple of really solid programs that I love from that site.  A couple of Black Fridays ago I got a lifetime subscription to  I STILL use this website regularly.  So, click that AppSumo link and make sure you subscribe for their updates even if you don’t see something you want as of today.  You’ll see something in the future.

Now, are you offering YOUR product to affiliates to market for you?

This can be a double-edged sword.  On one hand, hey, it takes some of the pressure off of you and your own marketing, right?  Sure. It’s always great to get new clients based on someone else’s personal referral. But just for a minute, let’s play devil’s advocate.  Did you screen the people you signed on as affiliates? Are they really going to bring you the soulmate clients you’re looking for? Or, are they out there promoting your program, and sending people over to buy your thing, who may or may not be right fits?  Why do you care? Because you want happy clients. You don’t want clients who are going to whine and complain and request refunds. This doesn’t always happen. It’s just one consideration to make when you are thinking about bringing in a team of affiliates to market for you.  Awareness is the key to success in most cases.

How are you feeling about affiliate-izing your content?  Do you already? Do you have success with your efforts? Share with us!

Jessica Hansen