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Beyond Local: Adding Affiliate Marketing to Your Revenue Mix

Welcome to the "Beyond Local" series where we introduce new ways to scale your brand beyond one geographically bound area.

Most local businesses rely on local residents to support them. This is exactly what we teach local business owners how to do with ease inside of Local Business School, but once you master a local market, why not go beyond the parameters of your specific community?

We're kicking off "Beyond Local" with one of our favorite topics: affiliate marketing. To be transparent, there are affiliate links inside of this and if you purchase from us, we may get a small commission. ☺️ Let's dive in.

First and foremost, what exactly is affiliate marketing?

If you sign up to be an affiliate of a company, you get a custom link made just for you to share with your audience. If someone clicks or buys from you within a specific timeframe, you can make real money from that click or purchase.

Every affiliate program is different, but the gist is that you get compensated for anyone who uses your unique link and takes an action.

Here are 4 ways you can utilize affiliate marketing:

  1. Promoting complimentary products for your service-based local company.
  2. Adding virtual shopping to your brick & mortar with products you love but aren’t carrying at the moment.
  3. Being an influencer or blogger.
  4. Creating your own affiliate program for your own customers.

1. Promoting complimentary products for your service-based local company.

Alright, let’s say you own a service business. Maybe you offer massage, auto repair, or bookkeeping. 

Do you ever have times where you refer your customers to an add-on a complimentary product? Have you considered getting paid for any of those product purchases?

Real world example coming atcha…

If you’re a business coach in a local community, you likely suggest a slew of resources to your customers that you genuinely love! From email marketing providers like FloDesk or QuickBooks bookkeeping services, your customers likely come to you for advice on everything for their business.

By creating a resource directory of your favorite items for customers only (or for the public on your website), you’re bringing in an additional revenue stream that compliments your core offering.

As a course creator, I recommend a handful of really incredible tools to friends & blog readers who are curious about the journey! 

2. Adding virtual shopping to your brick & mortar with products you love but aren’t carrying at the moment.

I know a handful of brick & mortar shop owners who carry very specific brands. The reality is, most local retail shops don’t have the physical space to carry every product from every brand they love. And frankly, that’s a big investment!

Brick & mortar owners could consider doing a weekly roundup of their favorite shop products and any other products they love from the brands they carry.

Here’s a real world example.

Marnē is a local boutique in my community that carries Baggu. But there’s no way she carries every single item Baggu offers.

If her customers absolutely love Baggu, Marnē could be an affiliate for Baggu and do a round up of products she loves, linking to her shop and Baggu’s online shop with her affiliate link.

Instead of completely losing business because Marnē doesn’t have the exact item someone wants, she still gets a slice of $ for anyone who buys using her link. The customer is ultimately satisfied and continues to shop Marnē for items carried & recommendations beyond the shop.

3. Being an influencer or blogger.

Paid partnerships and sponsored content are fantastic ways to monetize that influencer life.

However, you can’t always land a dream partnership depending on what brands are looking for (audience size, engagement, etc.).

So why not be an affiliate for a brand whether they’re paying you as an influencer or not? Interested in becoming an influencer? Test the waters with affiliate marketing.

Even though I don’t consider myself an influencer, I absolutely LOVE sharing products I cannot live without & B-Corp / women-owned brands like Beautycounter, Outdoor Voices, Allbirds, and House of Wise because I LOVE what they stand for and I know my friends/followers could also benefit from the brand/product experience.

If you're dabbling in the world of being a content creator, I highly recommend Julie Solomon's course Pitch it Perfect. It's super focused on how to pitch and land brand deals.

4. Creating your own affiliate program for your own customers.

Maybe you don’t want to become an affiliate but now you’re like… how do I build a program for my own products?

There are incredible companies like Tapfiliate that have built a seamless backend experience for companies to leverage affiliate marketing.

Modern Picnic is a phenomenal example of a DTC brand using this to drive 25% of annual sales.

If you have a group of passionate buyers who could make a percentage of every sale simply because they share & link to your product, I would urge you to consider it.

The future of retail is going to happen through social sharing & selling. Facebook and Instagram (uhhh Meta I mean) are creating more and more avenues for creators to monetize.

Empower your very own customers by giving them the opportunity to share your products with their followers so your brand grows as they add a little (or a lotta) extra $ to their bank account. It could change not only the trajectory of your business but thousands of peoples’ lives along the way. Can you tell I’m a big fan of affiliate marketing? 

What now?

Depending on what suits your fancy, I would say the best course I personally have ever engaged with is Making Sense of Cents Affiliate Marketing Course

You can dive into the world of affiliate marketing and learn from the expert. She generates $100k/month from her blog and most of that is affiliate dollars from her promoting products and companies she loves that her readers benefit from.

If you’re already feeling groovy about it, consult with Google by adding “Nike affiliate program” to see if they have one you can join. Some require specific follower counts or blog readerships (which is archaic IMO), but some you can join just by signing up.

If you’re thinking, “wow I want to leverage affiliate marketers for my own company,” I applaud you! It’s very 2021 of you and like I said, it’s the future of retail. 😁

Check out Tapfiliate or see what the best options are that are compatible with your e-commerce site. There are many, many options available and they will vary in price and features.

Wrap up

Affiliate marketing is a powerful tool to leverage as a business owner. It can add tremendous value to your customers, bring you a new revenue stream as an individual, or it can completely transform your sales as you build an army of raving fans who monetize their love of your company.

➡️ Learn from the affiliate marketing expert with this course 
➡️ Sign up for some programs (consult with Google).
➡️ Learn to pitch with this program.
➡️ Explore affiliate programs for your customers to join.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this can completely change your life if you leverage it using content marketing and building a community of buyers who love you & trust your opinion!

If you’re struggling to build that audience and create any form of content that drives sales for you, my final plug is Local Business School. It’s a self-paced program designed to teach you our 4-Part Local Business Marketing Method. I’ll pop the link here or, if you know a student who’s an affiliate, buy it from them. ;)

Alright future affiliate marketers, I hope this added some knowledge to that beautiful brain of yours. I can’t wait to see how you use this resource!

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