Can Wealthy Affiliate Work for Existing Small Businesses?
I've referred quite a few people here who are already small business owners. They may have businesses as chiropractors, consultants, or other local business types.
You may be able to relate.
Maybe you have a product, service, or trade that you're paid for, and you've come to Wealthy Affiliate to learn how to add revenue into an existing business or how to market online more effectively.
The problem I see is that commonly, these small business owners get confused because they see so many people who plan to run a blogging business vs. those who plan to use blogging as a way to diversify income or market better.
This may lead them to derail from their original intent or to discontinue the training at all, so I wanted to distinguish these things.
Blogging as a Business
In the traditional landscape, there were companies that made their money from offering direct mail services for other companies, they advertised companies on billboards, they mentioned a brand during their television segment, or they published an ad in their magazine. These marketing agencies that offered the advertising services were paid for advertising.
Duh, right? Hahahaha.
Now, the marketing and advertising landscape has changed since the internet has grown.
Direct mail, TV, billboards, and all of the other traditional marketing options still exist, but now, people are seeing that internet marketing is a great alternative (and a better alternative for some). Added to that, some companies have decided to blog as a business and offer commission-based advertising (affiliate marketers) or ad space on their high-trafficked websites (sponsorships or ad revenue).
If a business wants the blog to be the main driving force for their revenue, the content marketing, and promotion has to be sufficient that it makes financial sense. Even when you're blogging as a business, you still need to think like a small business owner, and monetize by partnering with good affiliate partners, possibly even creating products and services, and selling ad space.
Blogging as a Part of the Marketing Plan
On the other hand, if you have a product, service, or trade prior to learning about blogging, it's likely your time is largely segmented by delivering on your customer's expectations. You may spend 50% of your time on attending events, building relationships, and prospecting for your business, and another 50% on delivering the clients' expectations.
For example, let's say you're a family lawyer who runs your own firm. You may attend local events like adoption events, family retreats, and family-oriented recreation centers to network. As a result of your networking, you identify people who have relationship issues and who may need legal help, and you give them a business card.
The results of your normal prospecting efforts build you word of mouth over time, and you've also built somewhat of an audience, but you hear that internet marketing could be a great way to leverage your time, so you decide to give it a try.
Considering that you spend 20+ hours per week to write client contracts, coordinate court hearings, and represent people in court, you don't have the time to write one blog post per day, or three blog posts per week, so how do you keep up with Wealthy Affiliate?
Ways to Build your Online Business while Sustaining Existing Business
You have to think about blogging as an alternative to your local networking UNLESS you want to completely switch your business model (to blogging as the service), or start a new business (like a niche site).
You can use the knowledge you learn here at Wealthy Affiliate to partner with relevant companies. For example, if you're a lawyer, you can make affiliate relationships with companies that might be relevant to your audience, and possibly complimentary to your service.
For example, maybe you do family law, but you don't do intellectual property law. When you have people come and ask you for intellectual property services, wouldn't it be nice to get paid for the referral?
With affiliate marketing you can. You can either inform a service provider about affiliate marketing and see if they'd be interested in creating a funnel (getting affiliate software or joining a network, setting up payment processing 100% online, and creating an onboarding process) that would work for affiliate referrals, or you can find an affiliate program that's' already in place and would already work.
You can also brainstorm about products you often recommend your clients to buy or use. For example, maybe as a lawyer, you might recommend a client to record their phone calls (for court or legal purposes) or you recommend they upload their text messages and supporting documents to a GSuite drive. Why not join affiliate programs for that?
If you join affiliate programs that are relevant to the audience you already have, then you can generate a new stream of income that's almost solely based on what you were doing already. The niche site option isn't the only way to make money with affiliate marketing.
Good Partnership Examples
Affiliate marketing is really like a business partnership because you'll be participating on the promotion of the merchant over a prolonged period of time. It's a good idea to look at notable partnerships to get ideas about who and what might be good partnerships for your niche.
You can look in magazines, watch TV shows, and see who promotes other similar brands. For example:
- The Voice and Xfinity - The voice is a reality television show where 1000's of people compete to be the champion and get major record deals. America votes for who they think is best, and if you watch closely, you'll see them pitch their "merchants" and partner Xfinity.
- The Voice and Microsoft Teams - This year the Voice had to record the show virtually rather than in studio. They used a software so the musicians, coaches, and audience could still film the show, but they did it from afar using Microsoft teams. You hear them in the show say "We want to give a special thanks to our friends at Microsoft for making this possible". You also hear them recommend downloading apps and when they do, they give out a link like "thevoice.com/microsoft" or some similar variation. This can be done with the pretty links plugin.
- Kobe Bryant and Nike - When reading about the late Kobe Bryant and his net worth, you'll see that he made a "killin" from brand deals and sponsorships. It's not public, how many of the contracts were affiliate deals versus outright sponsorship deals, but either way, I'd presume he had a good share of both. One such deal was with Nike. As an athlete, it would make sense to partner with a good shoe company because the shoes are what many people think makes the game, and they'll buy them because he's a pro athlete. Brand deals made him millions every year.
- Kim Kardashian and Makeup and Fashion brands - Similar to Kobe, Kim Kardashian makes millions from brand deals. Again, we don't know how the contracts are written and which ones are affiliate deals versus sponsorships, but the cool thing we know is she's doing very similar things to what we're taught here at WA. She's advertising for brands in her niche and making money doing that. She's went off topic, but in a recent speaking engagement, she said she'd be staying much more "on niche" going forward because going outside of the fashion and beauty space isn't as profitable for her.
- Trump and Rich Dad Poor Dad - Prior to his presidency, Trump's brand was all about being a business man, and he and Robert Kiyosaki related with many of their finance principles. They made a great partnership and even published books together. The philosophies they each had were something they'd likely talk about even if they weren't partners, so why not join forces?
- Dave Ramsey, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Zander Insurance - Dave Ramsey is a finance guru who's been talking about how to become debt free and stabilize a life for almost 30 years! He's not known for having lots of partners or for selling lots of products, but the ones he sells are very strategic. He's partnered with companies like Zander Insurance and Christian Healthcare Ministries (more introverted companies), and the partnership has worked amazingly. Like, the Voice, you can see the sales of Dave Ramsey's promotions tracked by giving out a special URL slug like "Daveramsey.com/zander" and you'll hear him say, "this episode is sponsored by...". Again, we don't know how the contract is written and if it's a per commission deal or an upfront payment, but many people (maybe most) who grow large audiences would prefer a commission as a part of the deal because that's the winning long-term strategy, and that's what we get as affiliate marketers.
- SaaS Company Partnerships - I've noticed many SaaS companies refer customers to other SaaS companies, but I haven't noticed whether they are formally in the affiliate program or not. For example, I see hosting companies who refer their customers to email marketing services. I've seen learning management software companies (like Teachable) refer customers to specific educators. The list goes on and on here.
Advice for Existing Businesses
As an existing business, you can keep your niche what it was when you came here. You can blog about topics that are relevant to what your business already offers. Use the blog as a portfolio or a way to demonstrate your expertise. You can also use it for objection handling in your sales process or ongoing service process.
You don't have to deviate from your primary business to make the training you're taught at WA work. The examples I shared here are intended to demonstrate how affiliate marketing can work for existing businesses.
As an existing business, you already have an audience, so it's easiest to sell to someone who already buys from you. If you start a niche site or go into a different vertical, you'll have to start over with building an audience and reputation building which is why it takes time for businesses to get off of the ground.
If you're a Business Startup
Most people that join WA are startup entrepreneurs from what I've seen. They come here looking for ways to make an extra $100/mo, $500/mo, or more. They want:
- Financial freedom
- To get out of a job
- To retire
- To be more independent of a current income stream
- To have more creativity and fulfillment in their work
- and location freedom
They know what outcomes they want, but they don't know how to get there. They may not have a clear business concept at all, so they're looking for the idea and the method to fulfill the idea in a course: a business-in-a-box per se.
The Online Entrepreneur Certification is perfect for a business startup. They don't have to start with a big budget, no patents, no office space or storefronts, no large inventory costs, and really low overhead.
The OEC can help Existing Businesses too
Although the Online Entrepreneur Certification (OEC) is most used for startup entrepreneurs with the "niche site" concept, it is perfectly applicable to existing businesses too. Your niche would be the audience you currently serve, and your content topics would be helpful to those who currently request your products and services. Joining WA can compliment what you were already doing.
How Existing Small Business Owners Can Implement This
- Keep your small business niche
- Write a list of products you already promote or ones you should promote but don't
- See if you can find an affiliate program that's relevant for what you currently do
My Questions for You
- Have you seen good celebrity partnerships that might be good examples for us here at WA? Which ones?
- Have you used the knowledge at WA to help your existing business? Can you share your experience?
- Have you used affiliate marketing in an existing service-based or product-based business?
- Do you know examples of affiliate marketing being added to an existing service-based or product-based business?