How Affiliate Programs Can Boost SMB Bottom Lines

Small businesses (SMBs) need to break out from the start-up phase as quickly as possible. Normally that happens when you hit a certain revenue level which is challenging if you’ve only got one income stream. To break through that number, consider using affiliate marketing to generate new income without a lot of extra work. The affiliate marketing industry is expected to surpass $ 8 billion by 2022, which makes it an extremely profitable way to generate new revenue for your SMB.

When you become an affiliate marketer, you’re promoting products or services you didn’t create, but which are complementary to your SMB or are in an adjacent market. Think of them as an add-on to your SMB’s main products and services that your customers can use to enhance their experience with yours. For example, if your product helps customers save time, does the affiliate product give them a better way of tracking how much time they save with your product? If it helps them achieve a goal, does the affiliate product help them celebrate that goal?

It’s easy to get started with affiliate marketing since you don’t have to create the product, buy, or distribute them yourself, which leaves you free to concentrate on your core business. Set up your affiliate marketing program right, and it’ll continue to generate income for you for years to come.

Why Use Affiliate Marketing in Your SMB

  1. You’ll save time and effort because you won’t have to invest in creating the products that’ll serve your audience. The products you’ll promote already exist, so you’ll need to find the right ones for your SMB.
  2. You’ve already built a relationship with your audience, saving you even more time in the process. Many digital marketers recommend only promoting affiliate links after you’ve developed a solid, ongoing relationship with your audience since it can seem underhanded otherwise. You’ve already done that.
  3. You’ll become a more trusted resource for your audience because you’re recommending products and services that will help them too.
  4. Many programs pay out quickly and regularly, so you’ll have your earnings deposited in your accounts fast. No more Net 30 or 60 payouts!
  5. It’s a low-risk way for you to expand your business since you’re not the product owner.
  6. There’s no limit to how much you can earn as an affiliate since the sponsoring companies want to earn as much too. Digital products and services typically offer higher margins (more money to you on each sale) because of their low costs for production and fulfillment; physical products tend to offer lower returns, sometimes in the single digits.

Adding Affiliate Marketing to Your SMB

Step 1: Define the Problem the Product Solves

Your recommended affiliate products should be ones that are complementary to your SMB and that your customers will benefit from. To discover that, you need to know what problem it solves. You want to promote products and services that will help your audience along their journey to success. Never start with the product or commission rate first. Choosing this way causes your audience to lose trust in you, which is a bad thing for your SMB.

Ask yourself:

  • Is there an external product or service you could recommend that will take your solution to the next level?
  • Could you teach them how to do something or by adding a level of complexity to the solution that you can’t offer right now?

Step 2: Choose the Affiliate Products or Services That Fit the Solution

To discover affiliate programs and products, look at the ones you use in your SMB that help you solve the same problem or achieve the same goal. Write down a list of the courses, books, software, physical products, and coaching services you’ve used. Look at the products your customers use or might’ve mentioned to you in the past. Research those carefully and see if they match up with the rest of your customers and your SMB’s values.

This is the ideal way to find one because experience sells so much more. People will read dozens of product reviews before buying, so use that to choose your affiliate products.

Step 3: Gather the Proof

How many reviews do you read for everything you buy online? At least a few, right? The same applies to your audience. They’ve already achieved a level of success with your products or services, so explain how you can increase that with the affiliate product. Search for videos and reviews online for the products that aren’t on the vendor’s site. Find the unbiased truth from real consumers of the product.

If you’re recommending a product you’ve used in your SMB, demonstrate that proof to your audience. Write a blog post or record a podcast. No matter how you do it, give your audience the tangible proof that these affiliate products can change their lives for the better.

Step 4: Pitching the Affiliate Product to Your Audience

The final, and most important step, is your pitch for the affiliate product. Determine where you’ll include the affiliate links on your website and the calls-to-action (CTAs) you’ll write to encourage them to click it. You’ll only earn money when they click and then buy.

Include your links in emails, blog posts, landing pages, podcast show notes, webinars, and social media messages. Be honest that it’s an affiliate link and offer to answer any questions people may have about the product, which shows them there’s someone there to help if they need it.

Adding a new revenue stream to your SMB doesn’t have to be complicated. Use affiliate marketing to earn passive income and help your audience at the same time.

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Author: Syed Balkhi

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