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Is creating and selling your own products on your blogging to-do list?
It’s definitely at the top of mine! That’s because creating your own courses, books, and other products is a fantastic way to monetize your blog and grow your influence.
You’ve already done the hard work of sharing your amazingly helpful free blog content every day. Why not put together an actual course or write a book that goes even deeper to help your readers and pays you real money?
There’s just one thing that I strongly urge you do too before creating and selling your own products… master affiliate marketing FIRST. Affiliate marketing is simply referring other people’s products to your audience. In exchange for your friendly referral, you get a commission.
(Check out our favorite affiliate programs for bloggers!)
I know when I first started blogging, affiliate marketing was scary for me. I was so hesitant to offer other products to my audience because I didn’t want to alienate them or make them feel like they were being sold to. So I waited a LONG time to do it.
Then I found a few companies that I love (as the experts advise) and I simply told my audience about them. And then I made money. Wow! The money certainly didn’t roll in overnight and took tons of trial and error, but it worked!!
As I prepare to finally create my own products to sell, I realized that my affiliate marketing journey prepared me in ways I couldn’t imagine when I started. I remember very early on how I wanted to write my own book and create my own course right out the gate. Dare I say… it would have FLOPPED!
I had a lot of knowledge and skills to write and create the product, but ZERO understanding of how to sell them to my audience. It’s my experience with affiliate sales that is setting me up for extreme success.
Here are the 8 Powerful Reasons to Master Affiliate Marketing Before Creating Your Own Products:
1 – You Learn What Your Own Audience Responds To
When you begin your affiliate marketing journey you’ll start by referring the products and services that you personally love and are using all the time. It’s just like when you discover a new lunch spot and can’t wait to post about it on Instagram or call your friend to tell her how this one product got your one year old to finally sleep through the night and how she’s got to try it too!
There’s just one problem, you never know how your audience will respond to an offer until you offer it. They’ll either love it or you’ll hear the crickets loud and clear. In both cases, you need to be taking notes.
Simply put, offer more and more of what they love and less and less of what they ignore. In addition, you should be paying attention to the types of products they respond well to. Do they buy all your ebook referrals but never go crazy when you refer them amazing courses?
The last thing you want to do is work tirelessly for months creating your own course, only to find out they don’t dig courses for some reason. It doesn’t really matter why, it just matters that it is and that you know it.
2 – You Get All the Sales Jitters Out Now
The biggest hesitancy for most bloggers about affiliate marketing is not feeling comfortable with selling. They just want to write their book and start sharing their great information with the world.
Unfortunately, they don’t realize early on that they are required to SELL that amazing product. Yep! If you’re going to create anything outside of the realm of FREE, you instantly become your own VP of Sales.
The good news is, you can get all the jitters of sales out by practicing with other people’s stuff. The worst thing that can happen is you hear the crickets again or someone emails you to tell you they didn’t appreciate how you referred a great product to them. Ouch.
I need you to shift your perspective for a second… that’s all fantastic information! You need to dig deeper and find out what happened. Was it the product? Probably not. Most likely it was your delivery. Ouch again.
Just keep tweaking until you find what resonates with your readers the most.
3 – It Builds Trust and Conditions Your Audience
So, let’s talk about the person who emailed you to complain that you referred an amazing product. You need to go ahead and remove them from your email list. They’ll never buy from you and frankly, their attitude kinda sucks.
You DO NOT want people on your email list, specifically, who just want to take up space on your list. Remember, you’re paying for them to be there. By sharing your regular stellar content and tips with them on a weekly basis and weaving in affiliate sales opportunities you’re conditioning your list to hear about buying opportunities.
The ones who hate hearing about buying anything will unsubscribe to make room for someone who will. And this is a really good thing. By the time you launch your own products, your list will be conditioned and ready to hear about it.
Another super important point is, you condition your audience to buy from YOU! This is powerful because if someone buys one thing from you, the chances of them buying from you again go WAY UP.
It’s basically the part of our human nature that makes us feel comfortable with someone we’ve already judged as “safe.” This is why the tripwire and one time offers work so well. If you can get someone to buy a $5.00 resource from you, they are more likely to move up your sales ladder. Start with the small and work your way up.
In addition to all that, affiliate marketing also builds trust if you do it the right way and ONLY refer amazing and trust-worthy stuff. If your audience buys from one of your affiliates and loves it, they’ll be back for more. And when it’s time for your own launch, they’ll already trust that it’s as amazing as everything else you’ve shared with them.
4 – You Learn How to do an Effective Sales Email Campaign
There are do’s and don’ts when sending out an email sales launch campaign. There’s really a science to getting it right. And the key ingredient is practice.
You can follow all the advice and blueprints for success you want, but actually doing it yourself is learning. It takes a lot of trial and error and finesse. Your first launch campaign is sure to suck so get that one out the way quickly.
Practicing with someone else’s course and flopping hard is a no-lose situation for you. It’s like walking on a tightrope with a harness and a net! You’re getting great practice but without all the scary risk.
By the time you finish your book, you’ll be able to prime your list, have them eagerly awaiting, and buying like crazy when it’s time to launch. And that’s what you want!
5 – You Can Make Money Even With a Small Blog
Unlike ads on your site that require tons of traffic to make any decent income, affiliate marketing can make you money even if your audience is still small… if you do it right.
The key is to be strategic rather than randomly link dropping or referring products here and there. Start by making a list of affiliate products that you LOVE and genuinely want to refer your readers too because you believe it’ll make their lives better in some way. And those products MUST already fit well within your current blog’s niche. Remember, no randomness allowed.
Then start brainstorming post ideas that could help your readers begin thinking about that product such as how to use it in a unique way, or making them aware of what they are missing out on by not using this product or service.
Let’s say you are a home blogger and want to refer your readers to a natural cleaning products subscription box. Before the affiliate launch or before you begin offering this product to your readers, you can start creating content to build awareness for why we need natural cleaning products, the real-life dangers of using toxic cleaners, and simple ways or hacks to cleaning your home naturally. You’re basically priming them for your offer.
And just to be super clear, when I use this strategy, I don’t necessarily mention the product itself. I just want to attract my readers to that post(s) which is directly tied in some natural way to that product. This could be through an email or a pop-up offer at the end of the post.
Here’s an example image from one of my posts:
If it’s a high-yield affiliate or an evergreen product, I’ll create a helpful content upgrade to get those interested readers on my email list. Then when that product launches or they have a flash sale, I can send an email to only those who showed interest and tell them about the sale.
You can certainly use paid traffic to ramp up this process. But you don’t need amazing traffic numbers to make decent income using this process.
I used this process to prepare for the amazing Ultimate Homemaking Bundle from Ultimate Bundles a few months ago. I created a post about modern homemaking and shined a positive light on how the word “homemaking” can be viewed as old-fashioned.
The post did really well, and I got a lot of sign-ups for the planner I created and was then able to email them about the Homemaking Bundle when it was released a few weeks later. You can check out the post here!
6 – You Build Key Relationships with other Bloggers
This one is by far my favorite benefit of affiliate marketing. That’s because relationships are so vitally important in this business. We need each other!
For example, I purchased McKinzie’s Pin to Profits course which is amazing and I highly recommend! I quickly became an affiliate because I believe my own audience could benefit from her expertise.
Over the course of a few months and many friendly emails, we developed a relationship. And now I’m guest posting here on her amazing blog!
This has happened with many other wonderful bloggers too. If you’re a blogger, you already know one of the pitfalls of blogging is how lonely blogging can be. Without trying to sound too dramatic, building key friendships and partnerships in blogging is life-changing!
7 – Start Making Money Now Without the Pressure and Time of Creating Your Own
Writing a book or creating an online course is A LOT of work and takes A LOT of time and focus. This means it could take months before it’s ready to sell and make you money.
Affiliate marketing is perfect if want to start bringing in an income from your blog now. There’s no waiting… except for all the practicing I mentioned earlier.
Once you’ve got it down, you can start making sales NOW… today… seriously.
8 – Get Used to Rejection and Flops
The final reason to master affiliate marketing is it gives you permission to suck. Because in the beginning, you will. Sorry to sound so harsh, but it’s true.
You need to get used to rejection and mistakes and get the initial shock out of your system. It feels terrible to totally flop on something you worked hard on, but it’s really par for the course.
Affiliate market gives you the place to fail it at with zero risk to you. And honestly, rejection and mistakes are going to happen no matter how long you’ve been doing this. But the reason you need to experience this early on, is it lessens the fear. And removes the tendency to be gun-shy when it’s time to do a new launch.
You don’t want to be passing on great opportunities for both you and your readers because you’re afraid. Simply feeling the sting of rejection makes it less painless and scary the next time. Soon, you’ll begin to expect it and your focus will turn from fear to the hustle of getting the work done.
I hope you’re fired up right now about killing it in affiliate marketing! I also hope you feel less pressure to burn yourself out with your own products and start thinking of affiliates you can start promoting to your audience right now.
McKinzie has some amazing resources right here on this blog and has a FREE resource for amazing affiliates you can join today.
Moms Make Cents – Helpful Posts On Affiliate Marketing:
Brandi Michel is the creator of FamilyFelicity.com and when she’s not spending time with her most favorite people on the planet – her family – you can find her drinking cold coffee and sharing her best tips and advice on creating your best “Felicity” family life on her blog! Felicity means joys of heaven, prosperity, and blissfulness. Sounds awesome, right?
One of her passions is helping moms to create their own online blogs and businesses. If you have a passion but don’t know how to get started or where to find the time, Brandi’s Passion Project Blueprint was created just for you! Click here to get your FREE copy! Plus, get access to her VIP vault full of 100+ printables to help bring out all your amazingness in your life and home! You can also get all her latest posts by following her on Facebook and Pinterest!