Affiliate marketing sounds so easy, doesn’t it?
Do you remember when you first learned about affiliate marketing?
“Whoa …. I can get paid a commission just if someone clicks through my link? That’s so .. EASY! How hard can it be to get a click? Cute cats get a bazillion clicks every day! Sign me up!”
Four months later, you’re staring
into the abyss at your website, praying for traffic, cursing your 0.8% conversion rate, wondering where it all went wrong.
In my own journey to becoming a successful affiliate marketer (full disclosure: not there yet!), I have identified a certain attitude common to beginning affiliate marketers.
I call it being an Affiliate Tinkerbell.
How to Know If You’re an Affiliate Tinkerbell
Here’s a peek into the mind of an Affiliate Tinkerbell:
“Everywhere I go, I’ll sprinkle bits of affiliate link fairy dust, and the sales will start flying! Just think happy thoughts!”
Here are some common characteristics of an Affiliate Tinkerbell:
- May lack personal authority or expertise in their niche.
- Will link to any and every related product within an article.
- Peddles instead of promotes. Often focuses on many small-value products.
- Spends as much time posting affiliate links on social media accounts as writing content.
- Lost a certain bet with the devil in Georgia and sold their soul to
To perjure a phrase from Jeff Foxworthy: “If your blog has an Amazon SiteStripe link on every page … you might be an Affiliate Tinkerbell.”
(You also might be hosting an Amablog, which has a sad, lonely future.)
These Peddling Pixies are commonly created by affiliate marketing gurus. Once somebody learns that Adam Enfroy is making $80k a month via affiliate marketing, everyone wants to jump on that bandwagon.
But unlike a guru, the defining characteristic of an Affiliate Tinkerbell is that they don’t actively promote anything. They might not trust or know the product themselves! They just … drop links.
- “Reading this article on a skincare routine? Oh, here’s a #1 selling makeup remover you might want. And a hairdryer. And a cucumber face scrub. And a high-strength acne remover. And [ad nauseum].”
- “Interested in starting an online business? Oh, by the way, here’s a link to sign up with Bluehost, which everyone uses, so it must be good, right?”
You rarely see a Tinkerbell linking to a high-dollar service or premium product. Recommending one of these sales would require a high level of confidence, and the Tinkerbell just doesn’t have it!
An Affiliate Tinkerbell doesn’t promote a sale; they just broker it. It’s a middleman mentality. “I’ll just leave this link here and if you want it, take it, alright? No pressure.”
The worst they can say is no, right?
Exactly. The worse they can say is No. And, usually, they will.
The truth is that being an Affiliate Tinkerbell is a ton of work for not much reward.
It takes a LOT of time to research affiliate programs, sign up, learn the rules of the game, post links, track links, fix dead links …
Sprinkling random links without a promotional purpose in the hopes that someone will be intrinsically interested isn’t a good way to make a living wage.
I confess: I once was an Affiliate Tinkerbell myself. In fact, I’m actively re-learning how not to be one.
I’m trying to become a Product Ambassador.
How to Become a Product Ambassador Instead
A Product Ambassador is – well, everything an Affiliate Tinkerbell isn’t.
- Where the Tinkerbell passively peddles low-cost accessories, a Product Ambassador actively promotes high-dollar, high-value purchases.
- Where the Tinkerbell is linking to beard oil on Monday and lawn care fertilizer on Friday, a Product Ambassador preaches a consistent message throughout the week.
- Where the Tinkerbell has little hands-on experience or confidence in their product, a Product Ambassador genuinely loves and trusts their product.
- Where the Tinkerbell shuns the limelight out of fear of being “found out,” the Product Ambassador leverages their personal experience to build buyers’ confidence.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my online business building journey is that what works offline works online.
Just imagine what being an IRL Affiliate Tinkerbell would look like.
You’re getting a haircut at a salon. An Affiliate Tinkerbell peeks in the window, sees you in the chair, and hurries in. “Oh hey, saw you were getting a haircut. Here’s a shampoo you might be interested in.”
“Oh, thanks. What’s good about it?”
“Dunno. Oh, and here’s some beard oil.”
“I don’t have a beard.”
“That’s fine. Just there if you want it. Do you want to sign up for my mailing list?”
“Ok. Hey, I see you’re wearing shoes. Here’s some shoe conditioner you might be interested in.”
And so the conversation continues. Obviously, you’d never get a sale!
An Affiliate Tinkerbell believes that mass exposure drives sales.
A Product Ambassador knows that audience trust is the real engine.
How to Stop Being an Affiliate Marketing Tinkerbell
Here’s how this mentality has changed the way I approach affiliate marketing.
- I’ve stopped linking to low-value products. A $20 purchase on Amazon at 4% commission nets you exactly 80 cents. That’s not even milk money. I might occasionally link to a low-value product just as a convenience to help a reader, but they’re no longer a part of my money-making strategy.
- Amazon is my last resort. An Amazon hop link button just looks so spammy, doesn’t it? I’ve consolidated most of my Amazon links onto a central “Recommendation” page rather than dispersing them around my entire website.
- I unashamedly promote products I trust. When I say “unashamedly,” that doesn’t mean “intrusively.” I’m not besieging my Readers with full-spread pop-up ads. I’m just spilling some serious digital ink explaining to Readers exactly why I like what I’m recommending. I’m generating trust, which drives sales.
- I’m putting the Reader first. I ask myself, “What pain point can I help solve?” If a Reader has arrived at a page about insurance, I’m not trying to sell them an air conditioner (even if the A/C has a $95 commission). Recommend the best possible solution, whether you can monetize it or not.
The profitable results of my transition remain to be seen. That’s what FLUB is all about – documenting the journey to success for posterity!
I’ve seen a significant increase in sales over the past 6 weeks, but the time is young!
Where are you in your own journey to success?
(Oh, and by the way, here’s a link to Bluehost if you want to start a blog of your own.)