Often, when you shop online you come across an “affiliate” offer.
What does that really mean? Is it bad?

Let’s look at where the word comes from:

af·fil·i·ate
verb
verb: affiliate; 3rd person present: affiliates; past tense: affiliated; past participle: affiliated; gerund or present participle: affiliating
əˈfilēˌāt/
  1. 1.
    officially attach or connect (a subsidiary group or a person) to an organization.
    “the college is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin”
    • officially join or become attached to an organization.
      “the membership of the National Writers Union voted to affiliate with the United Auto Workers”
noun
noun: affiliate; plural noun: affiliates
əˈfilēət/
  1. 1.
    a person or organization officially attached to a larger body.
    “the company established links with British affiliates”
Origin
mid 18th century: from medieval Latin affiliat- ‘adopted as a son,’ from the verb affiliare, from ad-‘toward’ + filius ‘son.’
Source: Google
______
 

In online marketing, this affiliation simply means that the seller is recommending a product or service of someone else and receives a commission on any sales this recommendation generates.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways to monetize your blog. You build a following and recommend products or services to your followers.  This is usually done by a special link you get from the vendor called an “affiliate link”.
 
You can enter into agreements either with the vendor directly or through an affiliate network like Clickbank or Amazon Associates or one of the many others. Sorry, I’m unable to recommend one over the other. As usual, please read all information carefully to decide if one of the solutions would work for you.
 

Is this type of marketing bad?

Short answer: Not necessarily.

As with everything that involves earning money the temptation for some to take advantage of others is great. Some marketers whose main source of income comes from affiliate commissions are pushing very hard to make as much money as possible. As long as you are transparent and honest and don’t misrepresent the product everything is fine.

Unfortunately, affiliate marketing has gotten a bit of a bad reputation due to unscrupulous sales tactics. Some places restrict advertising for affiliate deals. If you want to create a Facebook ad for example, make sure you read the Facebook Advertising Guidelines. I found a really good post about this on Jon Loomer’s site.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Before you advertise your #affiliate link, make sure you read @jonloomer’s post: http://bit.ly/2b8SzAE” quote=”Before you advertise your #affiliate link, make sure you read Jon Loomer’s post!”]

Some ground rules for promoting offers:

  1. Be trustworthy – As always your biggest asset is the trust of your audience. Make sure your customers are always your first priority. Damaging this trust relationship to make a few bucks in the short term is never worth it in the long term.
  2. Be transparent – As mentioned, there is nothing wrong with sharing an affiliate link. Make sure you clearly state that the link is an offer you benefit from financially, though. Transparency is part of a trust relationship. (See my comments below on how I handle this)
  3. Select carefully – Make sure you research the offer and the conditions thoroughly. I will only promote a service I have used myself or thoroughly tested. I will only recommend a book I have read.

I found this article by Lynn Truong quite helpful: Top 10 Commandments of Affiliate Marketing .

How do I handle affiliate offers?

Affiliate offers will never become my main income source but I am planning to use some paid links to products, services, and books that I highly recommend.

  • All offers are researched and tested by myself or someone I trust 100%
  • Affiliate links will be marked by this symbol: [fa class=”fa-money”] and a link to the Terms & Conditions page
  • I will write reviews of these products and possibly add them to my Store – with the proper indication of course

Do you have experiences with affiliate offers?

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Published by Frithjof

Digital media strategist, coach, community manager and CEO of BlueBird Business Consulting. Blogger, podcaster, content creator and teacher with a passion. Favourite quote: “To succeed in the business of the future we have to become the very people we are trying to reach” ~ Brian Solis

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