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What is an Affiliate program?

An affiliate program is a marketing program where the affiliate member can earn revenue by helping a parent company generate sales. These partner programs are a fantastic way for businesses to market their products without going through the traditional sales patterns. It’s also a fun way for food stylists, food bloggers and food photographers to make money if you know how to leverage that partnership in the right way.

How does it work?

Even if most people understand what an affiliate is, they are often confused about how it all works. Here are a few ways it might work for foodies:

  1. XYZ company has a recipe software app for sale
  2. XYZ Company gives you a special link to the app. This link, when clicked, indicates that the sale should be attributed to you.
  3. You share that link a variety of ways – through social media, by including an image/ad with your special link embedded on your website, writing a blog post that is a review of the new app and including a link to purchase
  4. When someone buys the app using your affiliate link, you earn a commission.

Each parent company will have different rules for their affiliate programs and commissions will vary. Sometimes, commissions are a percentage of the sale. Other times, you will get a flat rate. Some affiliate programs will give you an affiliate commission on just the lead. For example, if someone you refer signs up for a free ebook, technically there is no sale but the parent company may determine that those leads ultimately have a high monetary value so they offer a commission to their partners. The bottom line is that every program is different.

How do you become an affiliate?

Not every business has an affiliate program but if they do, chances are pretty high that if you look in the footer section of their website, you’ll see a link for ‘Affiliates’ or ‘Partner Program’. Clicking on that link will usually take you to a page about their affiliate program and an application. In the application, the parent company generally wants to know what business you are in and what your website address is and how you plan to share their information. They ask this to make sure that their affiliate partners are aligned with their own company values. Once you are approved, you’ll generally receive information on how to sign in to your affiliate center which is where you’ll get all of your promotional goodies but also where you can track leads, sales, and commission payments.

How do you get people to buy from your link?

Getting people to buy isn’t really what you should focus on. Instead, your focus should be on sharing the link. Today, with the popularity of social media, it’s easy to share your link on Facebook or Twitter or one of the other popular platforms. What you share will sometimes be dictated by what is provided to you by the parent company. Many companies will have ready-made images and banners for you and some even go so far as to offer you pre-written emails and social media posts so all you have to do is copy and paste.  Sharing among your own community is an endorsement so make sure you are only promoting things that you believe in. Also, spamming a list is not only against the law but it’s almost always against affiliate program rules so be sure to read up carefully on the terms and conditions you agree to.

There are lots of nuances to making an affiliate partnership really work for you. If you’re new to it, just know that you will not likely make your first million in the first 90 days. Affiliate marketing commissions can be lucrative but very rarely do they account for someone’s entire income.

If you’re new to affiliate marketing and want to give it a try, The Food Styling School has a great program ready for you! You can enroll at https://mh290.infusionsoft.com/app/form/thefoodstylingschoolreferralpartnerprogram

For more on affiliate marketing, be sure to look for my other posts here in The Food Styling School!

Holly J. Kile is the owner of HJK Global Solutions and author of Virtual Team Builder for Coaches: How to Expand Your Coaching Practice by Hiring a Virtual Assistant. Holly is highly sought after for her expertise in working virtually. For more about Holly and HJK Global Solutions, visit www.hjkglobal.biz

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