I’m just going to come out and say it, yes, affiliate marketing is worth it. (Blunt, much?) Here at TONIC, we’ve seen firsthand how the power of affiliate marketing can transform a business and generate massive revenue — I mean, it now accounts for almost 50% of our total sales (!), so who wouldn’t love that right?! 😉
But, let’s unpack this power of affiliate marketing so you can see why we love it so much and how it’s totally possible to grow your affiliate income without the sales-y infomercial “ALWAYS BE CLOSING!” vibes.
If you’ve ever considered getting into affiliate marketing or have wondered “is affiliate marketing worth it?” keep on reading.
Disclosure: We’ve even included some of our own favorite affiliate links inside this post to show you our point of how easy and awesome affiliate marketing can be. And because their products are some of our faves. We may receive commission through purchases made with those links. And now you know…
Affiliate Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
When it comes to purchasing decisions, humans like to buy from people, and hearing someone you trust validate a purchasing decision triggers an emotional response powerful enough to overcome objections.
(Plus, if I say, “OMG, these jeans are the best I’ve ever owned, and they have magic 🍑 butt powers, I get so many compliments when I wear them that they are also now my pajamas — here’s the link!” what brand’s traditional marketing can compete with THAT?!)
What is Affiliate Marketing?
If you’ve been around the education / influencer / entrepreneurship industry for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of the concept of affiliate marketing.
By definition, “affiliate marketing” is just when someone (the affiliate) shares a product or service (often with a link or discount code) and then gets a commission / percentage of the sale if someone else purchases as a result.
It’s mostly passive income—it requires no start-up costs or special equipment—and it’s one of the fastest-growing industries, period.
Just take a look at these numbers:
+ By 2023 the affiliate marketing industry is expected to reach an estimated worth of $12 billion. (That number has tripled since 2015.)
+ 8 in 10 brands run an affiliate marketing program. (So, most of them.)
+ Affiliate marketing is responsible for a mind-blowing 16% of global e-commerce sales.
And we’re telling you that with no headache, doing what you’re likely already doing, you could be getting a major piece of that industry, adding a revenue stream, and generating life-changing passive income.
Affiliate marketing is an easy way to make money.
(Think about it: what would an extra $1,000 a month do for you? Take care of your student loans? Ditch your credit card debt? Click add to cart on those dreamy Moyo stock images? Tell all your friends about how awesome TONIC templates are with [insert your affiliate link!] (Hint, you can earn extra income by showing off your sexy TONIC site by becoming a TONIC affiliate.) Buy that SEO course you’ve been eyeing? (Which by the way if you use the code TONIC you’ll get a 20% discount!) …. See what we did there? THAT’S affiliate marketing!
But before we tell you all about how to add another revenue stream, let’s get a few things straight about if affiliate marketing is worth it:
1. Affiliate marketing isn’t sleazy.
We know you’re likely wondering “is affiliate marketing even worth it?” and “is affiliate marketing legit?” because affiliate marketing gets an oddly bad rap.
(Maybe you’ve even Googled “is affiliate marketing a pyramid scheme?” after binging more too-good-to-be-true TikTok videos than you’d like to admit.)
The world seems to think affiliates are like a bunch of shady infomercial salesmen profiting on predatory marketing tactics, all very “Have I got a DEAL for YOU…”
In reality, done right, affiliate marketing is simply connecting people with products and services you think they might like or benefit from… and then giving them a personalized path to purchase.
It’s sending your friend a link to those jeans you think she’d look great in.
It’s telling people about your favorite dish at that new restaurant.
It’s sharing your way-better-than-expected experience at the eye doctor with the grocery store cashier.
(Well, maybe not that last one… we may just still be figuring out what our boundaries look like when it comes to conversation. But when we’re passionate about something, we just can’t help but TELL THE WORLD, okay?!)
Affiliate marketing is all about using your experience and influence to help interested people get stuff you like.
And why not make money while you’re doing it?
Here’s the thing — if you’re not actively affiliating for brands or products you love, you’re missing out on some serious money hanging out on the table. The truth is… you’re probably already an affiliate for something. You’re just not getting paid for it yet.
2. Affiliate marketing isn’t weird, and people WANT to be told what to do. (We like direction, not trial-and-error!)
As humans, we’re pack animals. We rely on others to provide information that validates our decisions — especially our purchasing decisions. (It’s why we assume the restaurant with the line out the door is probably going to be good.)
When your friend tells you their skin has never been better than with that serum, that’s an example of affiliate marketing. And you know what? It feels natural.
You want that recommendation from your friend, and because she was the one to recommend it to you, you feel more confident in your decision to buy it, because you trust her.
And later, when you love it, too, you’re grateful your friend hooked you up.
(And if she made a little kickback, all the better!)
Let’s normalize responsible affiliate marketing. It’s a win / win / win for affiliates, consumers, and brands.
3. Affiliate marketing can happen anywhere.
You don’t need a giant following to be a successful affiliate marketer. All you have to do to be a fantastic affiliate is use whatever platform you have to tell people about things you authentically like.
If you spend the most time interacting with your followers on Instagram, why not use it for affiliate marketing?
If your blog posts always get great traction when you pin them, affiliate marketing on Pinterest would be a success.
If you have Mark Zuckerburg to thank for your engaged community, start affiliate marketing on Facebook.
4. Affiliate marketing isn’t complicated.
You don’t need a team.
You don’t need a background in sales.
You don’t need any special equipment.
These are the only things you need to make an affiliate income:
- A product or service you actually believe in
- Someone to share it with
- A piece of content about that product
- A place (or few) for that content to live. (Big news on that coming in our post this Friday!)
We’ve seen firsthand the power of affiliate marketing to transform a business and generate massive revenue —like we said earlier, it now accounts for almost 50% of our total sales — and we have friends, clients, and TONIC affiliates making hundreds of thousands / literal millions of dollars in affiliate revenue alone… the kind of people who have this down to a science.
So, we asked a few of those affiliate geniuses if they’d sit down with us and share their BEST tips for making affiliate income, and they said YES.
What do the experts have to say about affiliate marketing?
You can’t spell “affiliate marketing” without A-m-y P-o-r-t-e-r-f-i-e-l-d. She is quite literally the queen of online education, and has grown her ridiculously successful business by teaching business owners, entrepreneurs, and other educators the profitable action steps for building a highly engaged email list, creating and marketing online courses, and using online marketing strategies to help them sell with ease.
(Like we said. Queen.)
When we asked Amy her best tips for affiliate marketing—after we got over how freaking cool it is that Amy freaking Porterfield was willing to help us educate our audience, and after we did our embarrassing happy dance about it—she opened our eyes to the power of affiliate content with this golden nugget:
“Narrow your focus. Rather than spreading yourself thin trying to affiliate for a bunch of products and programs, pick just a handful to go all-in on, then create content for those products like they’re your own!”— Amy Porterfield
It’s the ‘create content like the products are your own’ piece that gets us. This strategy allows you to truly integrate affiliate marketing into what you’re already creating, making it effortless and authentic to your brand.
The next affiliate marketer we asked for advice was Graham Cochrane, aka Kajabi’s #1 affiliate. He quite literally brings in MILLIONS of dollars each year in affiliate revenue alone, solely by making helpful, valuable content on his email list, podcast, courses, and his YouTube channel.
Here’s what he told us:
“Think evergreen. The best affiliate content isn’t a one-off, disappearing Instagram story, but searchable content people can discover and purchase from over and over. Hint: Think about the questions you had when purchasing the product, then answer them on a searchable platform, like a blog, website, or YouTube.”— Graham Cochrane
We absolutely love Graham’s advice about creating the content that people are actively searching for to take advantage of affiliate marketing.
Not only will it get the product you’re promoting on the map, it’ll also get YOU and YOUR brand on the map. SEO is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?!
Quick TONIC tip before moving onto the advice from our next affiliate—who happens to be our top affiliate—about creating more searchable content: answering your community’s questions is THE best way to create content that they’ll both love and be able to easily find.
(Next time you’re brainstorming which questions to answer, we recommend using Pinterest to figure it out. The predicted text that comes up under the search bar—aka the suggested terms that pop up in that box below it—indicate what the platform’s 400 million monthly users are searching for!)
Okay, now we’re ready to reveal the identity of that top affiliate we mentioned: none other than Jenna Kutcher, of course.
If you know Jenna at all, you know that her being our top affiliate is the least shocking fact in the world, because she’s the top affiliate for EVERY affiliate program she’s in.
When we asked her what she attributes her affiliate success to, this is what she told us:
“Go above and beyond. Instead of just using the content a brand provides, I create my own, more personal content (often a landing page on my website) that goes deeper explaining what I love about the product and how I use it. Sometimes I’ll even include a download or freebie to help my people enjoy it even more! It’s not just about pushing sales — it’s about sharing an experience.”— Jenna Kutcher
(We recommend taking her advice very seriously. Maybe even getting it tattooed on your forehead.)
And as if that helpful hint weren’t enough, Jenna has also graciously agreed to contribute to our new (100% free!) resource about how to grow an extra income stream with affiliate marketing by sharing 4 more top-dog-level affiliate marketing tips, and believe us when we say… this info is GOOOOD.
So good, in fact, that we actually can’t wait another second to share part of her expertise with you, so we’ve decided to go rogue and tell you our favorite tip with you here and now:
Create resources that can inform, serve, and live on forever.
Jenna’s co-authored blog posts with us, she’s written her own, she’s got a killer TONIC landing page on her site that goes DEEP talking about what she loves about the product and her favorite sites… She’s had Jen on the podcast, we recorded a webinar together, and she even made this AMAZING youtube video talking about TONIC.
You see the common theme with all of this expert affiliate marketing advice, right?
→ Create searchable content. If your goal is to influence as many people as possible, so you can earn as much money as possible, you’ll want to get your content in front of as many eyes as possible.
→ Create lasting content. Quality content has no shelf life, and your earning potential has no limits.
→ Create relevant content. Consider what your audience actually wants and needs before promoting something, and only recommend the products and resources you feel are actually relevant to your business and your community.
We love this advice from our friend and affiliate Kaitlyn Parker of Copy Uncorked:
“Choose aligned affiliate partnerships and then thread those products through every part of your customer journey. When your affiliate relationships are easily integrated into your brand, you can offer them at multiple customer touchpoints. That familiarity increases sales!”— Kaitlyn Parker
Just like she said, it’s all about aligned partnerships that feel familiar. It makes sense for her to recommend TONIC products to her audience, because they all need design. It’s a completely organic partnership, and Kaitlyn recommending design feels like a natural progression of everything else she’s already talking to them about.
When your community knows that you respect them, and that you’d only recommend something you’re certain they’ll love, affiliate marketing is so easy.
Ready to learn more about how to grow your affiliate income promoting the brands you use, love, and trust?
Curious about the do’s and don’ts of affiliate marketing in the era of AI, Tiktok, and (healthy) internet skepticism?
Check out our Affiliate Marketing Masterclass, where you’ll learn how to steer clear of icky affiliate marketing and automate your way to sales success.
Whether you’re hoping to earn extra income by becoming a TONIC affiliate or promoting another brand you love, we’re so excited to help you learn more about how to become a killer affiliate marketer.
With the help of some of the major affiliate marketing powerhouses—aka the experts who know everything about how to make money with (authentic, aligned) affiliate marketing—we’ve created a fantastic new, free 3-day email / video resource you do NOT want to miss. You can find all the details right here!
(Consider it a mini affiliate marketing course, fo’ free. You’re gonna love it. And so will your biz bank account.)