Affiliate marketing is a source of income that not many creative professionals utilize to add additional revenue to their business. It is one of my all time favorite ways to make passive income (income that you don't really have to work for). However, there are some important things you must understand before heading into the affiliate marketing space. In this blog post, I want to share some importance pieces of wisdom along with some of the best affiliate marketing programs you can join as a photographer. Let's get into it!
The most important aspect of affiliate marketing
Alright, we are going to start off with a bang instead of end with it. Affiliate marketing is an incredible source of income, however, it can honestly make or break your brand. Here's why...
When you started with affiliate marketing, it can become addicting when you realize how many brands out there have programs. Why wouldn't you do as many as you possibly can and generate tons of income?! The simple answer you need to cement into your brain is that you can ruin brand loyalty, really freaking fast.
By promoting anything and everything, you will quickly start to lose trust with your audience. They will start to believe that you are strictly promoting things for money, and not their best interest. This is the absolute last thing you want as an affiliate marketer.
My advice? Choose programs of products or services that you use consistently on a daily basis, and that you genuinely believe has made your life better. Like with any type of marketing, if you have a genuine love towards a product or service, it will show in everything you do. Your audience will see this and trust that you have their best interest as you share your experiences. The less affiliate programs, the more you can hone in on the ones that you believe in and love.
How to market your affiliate programs
As we've talked about, the less programs you're a part of, the more you can focus on promoting the ones you genuinely love. There are a number of ways to promote these programs, but first you need a solid marketing strategy.
Have you ever followed someone and they just randomly start promoting this product that you've never ever seen them use before? You immediately feel thrown off and like you don't quite trust what they are saying. Now imagine you follow someone and they have shared so many ways on how they love this one product without promoting it. They show how to use it, best ways that they use it in their daily life, and how it's made a huge impact on their business. You immediately feel like you want the product! You're basically waiting for them to give it to you!
This is how we want our marketing to look and feel when it comes to affiliate marketing.
STEP 1: Show the product or service
Before you start heavily promoting the program, you need to share about it. You want your audience to get comfortable that you aren't pulling their leg. You genuinely love this product or service because you share about it so often. Begin sharing and just providing value about the product or service. For example, I've been sharing on my instagram stories how much I love Batch AI and how I'm so blown away with how quick it's made my editing. I plan to continue sharing the inside scoop each week for a few weeks including things like how I use it, or show some fun features it has. I'll do this to gain some traction and excitement before I share a big blog post, send to my email list, then start sharing my affiliate link across all the platforms.
This way, my audience has already seen me using it and can trust that I truly love this product. I'll be truthful and honest about the things I love and don't love, so that this way, they will make their own decision whether it will be helpful for them.
STEP 2: Write a blog post
I've said it once, and I'll continue saying it again and again. Blogging is not dead! It is a way to connect with your audience and show that you have their best interest. It's a way to be helpful, show your personality, and connect with them in a long term relationship type of way!
The blog post you write can be all about your experience with the product or service, and how you use it. To get a good idea of how I do this, head to this blog post here where I've generated over $1,000 in a year by just writing it ONCE. I haven't even done all of the other ways to promote your affiliate marketing yet. This is strictly from just blogging.
STEP 3: Share your blog post
If you want to read about all the ins and outs of sharing a blog post, you will definitely want to read my post about ways to share your blog post. Blogging is also a great way to easily share across multiple marketing channels and reuse content. When reusing content, it saves you time and energy, allowing you to use the same information multiple ways.
Here are some locations you can share your blog post:
- Social media (instagram, facebook, tiktok, etc.)
- Email list
Sometimes it's better to share your blog post instead of just the product and affiliate link. Remember, the purpose of the blog post is to create a connection and trust. If you send them to a blog post and the reader feels a connection with you or the product/service, then there's a better chance of them clicking "buy".
STEP 4: Share through social media
I'm well aware that I just talked about how sharing a blog post over just sharing your affiliate link on social media is better. However, there are certain situations that sharing your links on social media is completely fine too! As long as you've built that connection and trust while showing the product or service that you are promoting, your audience won't look at it as slimy.
Some of the best ways to promote it are through instagram stories or reels. This is the beauty of video is that you can actually show yourself using the product or service in real time. After you've shown it, you can then share the link and something in terms of "if you feel like this could be a fit, use my link to try it for ______ (insert: free/% off/etc).
There are so many ways to use your affiliate codes in a smart way on social media. Tiktok is a perfect example. I was scrolling through and saw an women who organizes her home. I went head first into her videos, being mesmerized by the before and afters. She shared the products she uses to organize in the link in her bio to her amazon affiliates store. You best believe that I went and bought a bunch and started organizing my house.
STEP 5: Share on Pinterest
I will say this again and again, Pinterest is one of the most reliable tools to drive traffic. This includes affiliate links! You can simply share a pin of the product or service, then put your affiliate link as the URL. However, my favorite as I've mentioned, is directing it to a blog post or somewhere to join my email list. Then I'm building my audience, building trust, and have a better chance of them actually purchasing from my affiliate code.
Best Affiliate Programs for Photographers
Alright, before I go into this, I have to make something VERY clear. If you do not use or love any of these programs I'm about to share, do not promote them. It isn't fair for your audience if you're promoting a product or service you wouldn't use yourself. As I've mentioned, only share the things you use yourself, and can 100% say you believe it will benefit others. Below are some programs I'm personally a part of, and believe they are beneficial to my business and life in some way.
If you want to try some of these out before you promote them and become an affiliate, you can go ahead and click on the links I provided ;)!
OH! And one thing to note. Most businesses have affiliate programs through affiliate companies. Those affiliate companies may have multiple businesses that you could be an affiliate for!
Alright, now that that's out of the way, here are some wonderful affiliate marketing programs you can join as a photographer.
- AWIN: AWIN has affiliate programs for brands such as Etsy, and Booking.com.
- Wandering Weddings: If you're an elopement photographer, being a part of Wandering Weddings is a must. It is just $200 per year, but the backlinks and perks itself are worth it. I don't get a ton of inquiries through Wandering Weddings. However, SEO is what drives my business and the more backlinks I have, the better.
- The Legal Paige: Paige is a photographer AND lawyer, so she created a ton of contracts so we don't need to spend thousands on lawyers. Her contracts are insanely in depth and are one of the most important items you need to run a business in order to protect you. If you don't have one yet, go ahead and purchase one to see how amazing they are, then become an affiliate.
- Amazon: Amazon has an affiliate program, but also an "influencer storefront". Here, you can use affiliate links within blogs posts to your clients (things they need for their wedding or elopement day), or have a storefront to send photographers to when they ask what gear you use.
- Flodesk: An email marketing tool that is perfect if you are just starting out with growing your email list. It is incredibly simple to use, and one of the more affordable options (when you use a discount code). You give your friends 50% off when they join, and you receive $19.
- Narrative: Narrative has two main tools: blogging and culling. I use both of them and am obsessed. Your friends can try for free, and you get $15 for each sign up!
- Batch AI: Alright this one is relatively new to me, but I can not handle how incredible this tool is. It's a newer program, so if you try and love it, you can definitely help other photographers lives with editing. It is a plugin for Lightroom that will basically take your anchor images (images you've already edited), then edit the rest of the gallery for you.
- Pic-time: A gallery portal to host your client galleries in. Their affiliate program isn't my FAV, but if you share your code with your friends, you can get a month for free. Which that can really add up! If you haven't tried Pic-Time, you may want to. Use my code S2NENQ at checkout!
- Dubsado/Honeybook: Both of these CRM tools have amazing affiliate programs, and these DEFINITELY make our lives better. I personally use Dubsado, but there is no right or wrong system to use. Dubsado has an affiliate program where your audience gets 20% off, and you receive $35! Honeybook has an affiliate program where you get $100!! That's insane lol.
- Peak design: Peak design is a photography gear company with backpacks, fannys, tripods and more. If you use Peak design products, go ahead and sign up for their affiliate program. Simply google "Peak Design Affiliate Program".
Well there you have it! Affiliate marketing is such a great passive income stream, and one that if you put some real effort into, you can really make some good money with. I hope this helps with your affiliate marketing journey!
A New Hampshire + Vermont based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer team for the adventurous souls. We specialize in New England and destinations worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.
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