How to Monetize Your Large Author Following
A lot of people listen to you and like what you say. You have thousands of Twitter followers and probably even more on Facebook. Publishing and authoring are great noble fields to share information with others about, but why not make a living out of this effort too? Even if you’re not into publishing, this applies to you too.
Many people similar to you, continue to engage their audience with interesting relevant material, saving the chance when their sell-able product arises. Most people however, end up not making a cent out of this large following. What most don’t know, is that you can monetize this following without having your own product, and without sounding like a desperate salesman. And that, my friend, is called affiliate marketing.
A crucial aspect of success in affiliate marketing, is having followers that trust your word in a particular area; someone they turn to as a resource for reviews, recommendations and news relevant to their field. That is the secret recipe. If you have a large following, then you probably already got that. Having a website or a blog isn’t completely necessary. Simply addressing your followers through your social media channels can work just as well, as long as you have an active and engaging audience.
Continue reading to learn, with step-by-step examples, how to make a real living out of your following, while pertaining your noble cause of sharing.
Getting Paid as an Affiliate
Your direct personal networks could easily become a substantial source of income for you. Naturally, you’d want to promote good products and services so as to maintain your credibility, and to not become resented by network members who take your word. So you wouldn’t just endorse anything and relentlessly promote it on your social media accounts and blog or website. You’d actually need to try out what you’re promoting, and provide a clear and honest opinion on the pro’s and con’s of any given product or service.
A lot of popular companies provide what’s known as affiliate programs. These consist of a set of rules, requirements, and instructions that guide you through marketing their product(s) in exchange for commissions upon successful sales referred through you. The question that should matter to you is, how can you be sure you’ll get paid? The following 6 points explain how you can pick affiliate programs that will be rewarding, and how to know which programs to avoid.
1. Sniffing out scams
Well, the beauty of the internet is that it’s virtually limitless, but that is also a curse. The good news is that since so many scams are on the internet, it’s actually rather easy to search (and avoid) them. A good habit to have before signing up to any affiliate program is to go on search engines and type “scam” followed by the name of the particular program you’re considering (e.g. “scam” Affiliate Kingdom) or the actual activity (e.g. “scam” online surveys).
2. Success stories
The second thing to do, when choosing an affiliate program is the opposite of the previous point. Search for stories of credibility and guarantees by other affiliates who have had a successful experience with the company that you’re considering affiliating yourself with (e.g. “how I made a decent income as an Amazon affiliate” but avoid titles like “how to make 6-figures a year from affiliate marketing”).
3. Finding the good guys
Affiliate marketing has been around for some time now, and as such, now has several prominent affiliate tracking software programs established as market leaders. These programs are designed to allow companies to establish and operate a healthy affiliate program. They operate as third-party service providers and follow a series of protocols to ensure the rights of both parties, particularly the affiliates’. It’s important to know which affiliate tracking software a company uses, and research that software to check for its integrity and reputation.
Examples of reputable affiliate tracking software programs:
- We use Post Affiliate Pro, which is considered a market leader, and is one of the oldest affiliate tracking software programs to emerge on the scene (read this support article to know more about becoming a Kotobee affiliate).
- iDevAffiliate is also one of the top affiliate tracking software programs.
- Affiliate WP is designed for WordPress, making it a natural choice for many companies, due to its easy integration.
The list goes on, but these are just examples of what to look for when choosing who to affiliate yourself with.
4. Keep track of your affiliate commissions & payments
It’s important to know where your links are, the traffic coming through them, and the viability of closing certain deals. Come up with a system to easily and systematically review and revisit your posted links from within your affiliate panel.
5. Test & analyze your installations to make sure they work properly
If you think something’s not right, test it by making an anonymous purchase from another device and IP using your affiliate link. Document the whole process and if you don’t receive a notification that you made a sale, contact the company and the affiliate tracking software program immediately.
6. Inquire about the payment scheme
Some affiliate programs have preferred payment processors which may or may not be amenable to your means. Check beforehand if you can actually receive payments from the program. If not, inquire if special arrangements can be made on your behalf.
Other than looking for affiliate programs by searching for them manually on the web, you can search instead for affiliate networks. They are basically directory websites that connect you with a large number of affiliate programs that you can join. They basically make the job easier for you to find relevant products to your field. There are dozens of affiliate networks available worldwide, but here are two of the top (and first) affiliate networks to get you started.
- CJ Affiliate (formerly “Commission Junction”) is considered the Facebook of affiliate networks. You DO need to have your own website or mobile app before you can sign up.
- Clickbank is another favorite for many affiliate marketers, and easy to set up. It has gained popularity mainly with ebooks. Create your account and be ready to start advertising, as soon as your account is successfully reviewed. Navigate to the marketplace and search for the kind of products you know you can promote to your audience. Here is an example of what you’ll see when searching for “publishing software”.
Handpicked Recommendations for Writers and Publishers
Recapping on a previous point, your success relies on picking suitable products for your followers. They will appreciate you for it, and the merchants (product owners) will appreciate you for it too. You are not tricking anyone, but simply match-making. If any of your followers happen to find this product to be something they were looking for, then a purchase is made, and you’re eligible for a commission.
Another potentially rewarding affiliate program for many would be Amazon’s. It’s globally recognized, and allows you to select the categories you intend to advertise for. While the commissions paid are much smaller than most affiliate programs (up to 10%), it makes up for it in terms of recognizability, sell-ability and credibility. You can become an Amazon Associate through here.
Other benefits which make it easy for you to earn commission are things like the range of items available, a variety of payment options (including Amazon products), holiday time sales boom, and the large number of plugins and tools that you can use to effectively and conveniently sell through your website.
An important equivalent to mention would be the iTunes Affiliate Program which allows you to earn 7% on sales of books and apps.
A globally renowned publishing company, Blurb provides printing and self-publishing services for books, magazines and ebooks. Their affiliate program offers you 15% commission for new customers and 5% for returning customers as well as $1 for each book sold through the store, through an impressive 120-day cookie.
You also get an average order size of $90, an exclusive monthly newsletter for affiliates and $10 for referring other affiliates.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to monetize your following without pushing your own products and services. And with virtually no start-up capital, it’s an attractive endeavor for many to undertake beside their core activities.
Do you already happen to have experience being an affiliate in the past? Feel free to share it with us below.