Do you have a website or newsletter? If you do, you probably talk about books you like or services you love. Did you know that you can often make money by making these recommendations? Many companies have affiliate programs. Affiliate programs give you an opportunity to make a percentage of sales you generate from those organizations.
Some internet marketers make millions off affiliate programs. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I believe that affiliate programs should only be utilized when you really love a product or service. Not just to generate cash. I NEVER recommend a product unless I love it. My reputation is at stake! But I do think that if you are going to recommend something anyway, and you can make a few bucks, then it’s an honest way to bring in some extra money. Here are a few simple steps to help you develop an affiliate plan.
1. Look at what you are recommending. Do you recommend a lot of books on your blogs, Facebook pages or website? If so, you may want to check-out an online bookstore’s affiliate program. Or maybe you like a company’s website design team. Look at your website-are there links up? Maybe some of those companies offer affiliate programs. Review your blog, what do you find yourself recommending regularly? Make a list of companies that you want to focus on.
2. Once you have your list, go to your chosen companies’ websites and see if they offer an affiliate program. You can often find the link at the bottom of the webpage where there are links such as About Us, etc. If they company does offer an affiliate program, sign-up. It should be free. If it’s not, you might want to skip that organization. Be sure to make a list of companies that you become affiliated with.
3. Once you are accepted as an affiliate, explore the affiliate area of the website. Most good affiliate programs have lots of marketing tools, including easy HTML codes you can copy and put on your website, blog, Facebook page, etc.
4. Market your affiliation. When you recommend a book (or a product), be sure to use the affiliate link. You may want to have a link in your sidebar of your website to some of your favorites stores. Just remember, you aren’t an Internet marketer, so don’t overload your website (or blog) with ads. You will lose clients (or readers). Your ultimate focus is to market your massage. Use your affiliations to supplement that income, not replace it.
5. Develop a way to track your affiliations. I use a spreadsheet. I list all the affiliate programs I’m signed-up with and I track my income from them. The companies you work with generally have some sort of tracking tools on their website that allow you to easily see what you are earning. Make sure you are getting paid for your referrals. If a company isn’t paying you when they make a sale from a referral, it tells you that they have questionable business practices and you may need to rethink recommending their services.
Action step: This week, after exploring the various affiliate programs, Iʼd like to you apply for one affiliate program and grab some code of the product you like to recommend and add it to you website or blog.
Here are some ideas to get you started: (1) amazon associates (2) Click Bank
These are just a few tips for adding a new revenue source into your marketing plan through affiliate programs. Did I miss anything? Please share in the comments.
There are very few successful businesses that offer just one service or product. Stores offer more than one product. Restaurants offer more than one food item. Service businesses offer multiple options (think spas, hair salons and even massage practices).
To have a truly vibrant business that grows and increases your income every year, you will need to develop multiple streams of income.
For some of you this may sound unnecessary. Let me outline a few reasons why one way to make money is a set up for long term failure.
If you have only one way to make money, what happens if the reimbursement stream dries up or ceases to exist? We see this happening with health insurance. Yes, more people will be covered, but what at what reimbursement rates? What if these continue to decrease? What happens to your income?
You will eventually reach a ceiling in how much you can earn. Once all of your available appointments are full, you can raise rates for a few years, but eventually your prices will reach a ceiling. Once you hit both ceilings (the number of available appointments and the amount you can charge per hour) you have reached your maximum income forever.
You can only work so many hours. Once you reach the hourly fee maximum you can add more hours to your week, but is that feasible? The whole point of building a business is to leverage your income so you can work a reasonable number of hours and still make good money. Some massage therapists tell me they are seeing 30-35 clients a week to reach their income goals. I know I did this at the beginning of my massage career and I donʼt think you can be effective working this many hours.
The solution? Add additional income streams!
I suggest developing leveraged and passive income streams.
Leveraged income is working one to many. You (one) work with many people at a time. You can do this in groups, workshops, and classes (in your office or online). A great example of this is teaching Couples Massage. I recently interviewed Tiffany and Gary Blackden about teaching couples massage. They have an opportunity to learn from them how to teach couples massage for a very affordable fee.
Passive income streams are those that you create once and then sell again and again. Think books, workbooks, CDs, and DVDs. You create the content one time and then sell it on your website or in your office as often as you like. People can buy your information at any time, day or night, and from any location around the world. And guess what? It doesnʼt even have to be your information. You can sell other peopleʼs “stuff” for a commission through affiliate links — make sure you check out Tiffany and Garyʼs affiliate program to sell the Couples massage video/DVD to your clients. I think that is just the coolest thing ever!
And now, with self publishing options such as CreateSpace.com and Lulu.com, you can write and publish you own book without the hassle of getting a publisher.
But the model can go beyond books to developing CDs, DVDs, ebooks, etc. All of these are now inexpensive to reproduce and can take just a few hours to create.
Depending on your specialty and HUB, the options for leveraged and multiple income streams are endless.
Action step: Take an hour to sketch out one leveraged income stream (where you work with many people at the same time) and one passive income stream (create once and sell again and again). Then each day this week, take one step to make these income streams a reality.
I recently interviewed Tiffany and Gary Blackden for an episode of Massage Unwrapped on Couples Massage about the benefits of couples giving massage to each other. I asked them to stay on the call and answer questions for Massage Therapists about offering Couples Massage classes to their clients and general public and they agreed. Here is that interview…
To order Tiffany and Gary Blackden’s professional package (includes 13-page ebook on how to get started and the instructional download). click here.