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Biz Advice

Use Affiliate Marketing to Build Passive Income as a Small Business Owner

June 19, 2024

Are you interested in using affiliate marketing to build passive income in your existing business? In this video, I’ll break down how I’ve done this for the past several years. From strictly sharing affiliate links in my content, I have gone from earning an extra $1,000/month as a photographer to now earning an extra $2-$4,000/month as a business educator.

Affiliate Marketing for Business Owners

This video is for you if you are considering adding affiliate marketing to build passive income in your existing business. This means that you do not want to build an entire business on affiliate income, but instead, you want to make extra money by leaning into the things you already use and talk about. Below, I’ll list three pieces of advice for business owners exploring affiliate marketing.

Tip #1

My advice to business owners looking for more income without investing tons of time is to start with what you are already doing or using. Consider programs you already use and how you can explore partnerships with those companies. I approach it this way for a few reasons:

  • This approach will not require much more of your time. If you’re already talking about a company and you do not have to go out of your way to mention it, then it will be easy to get started in sharing their links. 
  • It will also come across as very organic. If there is a company or program that you already receive questions about, then you’re going to see better conversion rates earlier when partnering with them.
  • It’s more like a bonus to your business rather than an obligation. You do not share the link because you NEED to or HAVE to, but instead, you share it because you love it! It makes your life easier, and you want others to experience those benefits, too.

Tip #2

Look for direct partnerships with companies that you love. Your payouts from a company will be better than from programs such as the Amazon influencer program or Like to Know It. Programs like these often pay 1% and maybe up to 10% of a sale. Meaning, if someone makes a $100 purchase, you are lucky to see $10 of it. Alternatively, companies might pay their affiliates directly 50% of the sale or 100% of the first month’s membership, etc.

The most important thing is that the partnership aligns with your niche. BUT, building on that, lean into the partnerships that will make sense AND pay their affiliates well. Admittedly, I make a couple hundred dollars from Amazon. However, I make the rest of the thousands of dollars in affiliate commissions from programs I partner with directly such as Manychat, Flodesk, or Elizabeth McCravy’s website templates. Hundreds of dollars is not nothing, of course, but the rest of that income is for more stable, reliable, and can truly help to provide for my family.

Note for Beginners

I want to note that, depending on your niche and where you are in your business, the Amazon Associates Program might be a great place to start. As a photographer, I used to link my gear and see fairly sizable commissions through those links. If you’re further along, though, and you want to increase that affiliate income by having stable partnerships and sharing the same links repeatedly, keep listening!

Tip #3

My final tip for adding affiliate marketing to build passive income is to lean into what’s working. To be transparent, I am an affiliate marketer for about twenty different companies. There are so many programs that I use and make sense to share with my audience. Something I consider before sharing links is how well the company pays their affiliates. For example, I am one of the top affiliates for a certain company I work with. I send new users to them more than almost anyone else! I earn less than $25 per user.

Marketing Motivation

On the other hand, I also share about how much I love Kajabi. Kajabi pays their affiliates a few hundred dollars per month that the new user continues their membership. So, even though far less people sign up for Kajabi, I see WAY more commission from them than most other companies. Because of that, I am far more motivated to keep talking about Kajabi. All of that to say, if you are seeing an increase in income from a specific company, find more places on your website and in your content to talk about it!

My Strategy

My affiliate experience influences the strategy for MY affiliate program. Now, we pay 50% commission to any affiliate who makes a sale with their unique link. For me, I always share about things I genuinely love. When I’m getting paid well for it, I’m so much happier to keep sharing! There’s nothing wrong with leaning into sharing something you genuinely love MORE because it leads to better results for your business.

Email Marketing

One of the BEST ways to share your affiliate links is through email marketing! I share links in automatic email sequences, live emails and have created entire emails centered around a company that I love and that I’m an affiliate for. To learn more, watch my free email class: How to build a powerful email marketing plan for your business. It’s about one hour long, and you’ll walk away knowing how to make income with the emails you send!

If you have questions, drop a comment or send me a DM on Instagram! I’m an open book. 

See you in next week’s video on Tuesday at 8 AM!

  1. tempemail says:

    Your blog is a breath of fresh air in the often stagnant world of online content. Your thoughtful analysis and insightful commentary never fail to leave a lasting impression. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.

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