Today I’m talking about affiliate marketing – what it is, and what NOT to do.
For those of you unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, here’s a quick overview.
Being an affiliate for another company is like being an ambassador.
It should be…
- A company that you believe in and trust.
- A company in which you have used their products or services.
When you’re an affiliate, you’re promoting that company and, possibly, earning a commission. Commissions range anywhere from 5%-50% usually. Some $2,000 programs offer a 50% commission which means if you shared the link for that company’s program, you would earn $1,000.
Just for sharing a link.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
It is. Except when it’s used improperly (or illegally!).
This is one of my pet peeves (note: most of my pet peeves revolve around integrity in business!).
I recently saw a post in a group in which the woman stated she had a list of ways to get more publicity and just to “dm her and she would send the list for free”.
So, I sent her a message.
What I received was a funny looking link. I decided to click on it, just to see what would happen but I already had a suspicion.
It was an affiliate link for another company’s lead magnet (a freebie that you get when you give them your email address).
Now you might be thinking – well, that’s not a big deal, it was free. The woman probably won’t earn a commission.
Here’s the thing about affiliate links – they can leave “cookies” for a certain amount of time, determined by the company. So let’s say I got the freebie and was put on this person’s list. And then in a few months time, the company offers a paid program (which this company does).
If I signed up, the woman who referred me would have received the commission.
What irritates me is two-fold.
- The woman who gave me the link not only lied when she said she’d send the document for free (she wasn’t the one sending the document – words matter!) PLUS she did not disclose that she was an affiliate. Which is actually against the law in the US, UK and many other countries.
- Had I eventually purchased from this other company, this woman would have earned a sizeable commission of several hundred dollars. Again, without ever disclosing to me that she would receive that. That just feels ICKY to me. I would never do that to someone and I would
expecthope that others wouldn’t either!
This is one of my core values. Not that I’m perfect at it – we’re all perfectly imperfect. But even after I repeatedly tried to explain to the woman how this was not legal and it was also unethical, she still insisted that there was nothing wrong with it.
I wouldn’t have minded if she had earned a commission, IF she had told me about being an affiliate. As that gives me a choice. To either use her link or not. And it shows me that she has integrity to disclose that information.
In case you were wondering, affiliate links usually either have a string of numbers or letters after the main domain OR it will have the referring person’s name. OR it could even be hidden inside an image (which is why full disclosure is so important!).
Here’s a few of mine. With full disclosure, if you click on them, I may receive a commission from the company – it, in no way, affects the cost of the product you purchase.
The email marketing system that I use and recommend is Convertkit. Here’s what their affiliate link looks like:
I also use and recommend Canva to create your own images, social media graphics and workbooks. Their pro version has lots of features that I use regularly.
My entire rolodex of service providers and business software (some affiliates, some not) can be found in my The Simplified Business Blueprint training. And at the top of the rolodex page, I give a full disclosure that some of the links are affiliates and that I may receive a commission from the company.
I use affiliate links because in doing so, I’m able to offer low cost, affordable programs, like The Simplified Business Blueprint, for my customers who buy from my online shop. And it helps me to work towards my mission of supporting solopreneurs with their online marketing.
It’s a win/win for everyone!
Let me know what you think about affiliate marketing? Do you use it? How would you feel if someone didn’t disclose they would earn money from you clicking their link?
And have a beautiful day!