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TOC #123: How Much Influence Do You Have, Huh?
(May 2, 2023) Why Affiliate Marketing Works & How To Create Affiliate Content That People Actually Trust
*pushes weird lumpy headband onto scalp* Get ready with me to write my weekly newsletter! 🤪
Ugh. I wish.
I don't know if you know this about me, but I've been watching influencers on YouTube since before they were even called influencers.
Excuse me, sorry: content creators is the politically correct term for them now.
Whatever you wanna call 'em, I love them.
They fold their laundry? I wanna watch.
They went to the grocery store? I wanna see what they bought.
They're organizing their bookshelf? I wanna know what they're reading.
They're starting a new workout routine? I wanna follow along.
Tell. Me. Everything.
If you're a complete stranger talking to a camera about your life, I want to know what you have to say, and I'm jealous that people are listening.
Now, could *I* be a vlogger? Yes.
Would I be good at it? Without a doubt. You know how much I love to talk.
…would I actually be able to keep up with it on a regular basis, editing videos while also raising a whole ass toddler and running a whole ass business and trying to exist as a functioning member of society?
No way in HELL.
(Remember the YouTube channel I told you I was starting? Yeah, I'm still doing that, by the way—soon! Ha, ha… yeah! No, really. I swear I am. I even met with the editor I'm planning on hiring and everything, hand to God. But, like… you see how well this journey is going for me.)
The reason why I'm jealous of the content creators is probably not what you'd think, though.
I don't care about their money, or their lifestyle, or their weird, super specific type of fame. I don't need brand deals, or invites to events I'd never be able to get a babysitter for, or ‘free’ shit I'm gonna get taxed on later.
All I want is a reason to tell my people about the shit I love to use.
Overconsumption = bad. Right? We know this. Lots of tragedy. Yes. Agree.
But you're LYING to my face (screen?) right now if you're telling me there aren't some products that make you thankful for Capitalism, okay?
Rare beauty highlighter? Slay.
Hatch alarm clock? Slay.
Leather pants from Anthropologie? SLAY.
I want to tell everyone and their mother how much I love these things, because I know THEY'D love them, TOO.
…but what if I didn't HAVE to be a ~creator~ to influence my community to try out the things I love so much? 👀
Why Affiliate Marketing Works & How To Create Affiliate Content That People Actually Trust
Alright, so… I don't know if this is allowed or not? Buuuut I'm gonna do it anyway.
You know how I write copy and content for my friends at TONIC Site Shop, right? You've heard me mention this a million times, yeah?
Well, this is another one of those times.
But this time… I'm stealing from them. 😳
Like I said, I have no idea if I'm *allowed* to do this or not, but I kinda feel like Jen won't care?
See, here's the thing:
A few months back, they assigned me a series of blog posts to write, and I was (obviously) giddy. Half because their brand voice is one of my favorite ones to write in, and half because every single person on their team is so fucking SMART.
Especially when it comes to marketing strategy. So, like… why reinvent the wheel?
I wanted to share with you WHY affiliate marketing works so well, and I *perfectly* explained it—with the help of Jen's genius, duh—in their blog post about the topic, so I'm just gonna go ahead and put part of that right here for ya, k?
(Here's the post I'm stealing from, for reference. I've also linked it in the Bookmarked section below for you, too.)
Affiliate marketing works so well because…
#1 - Despite popular opinion, it's actually *not* sleazy.
Direct quote from the blog: “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."
[My personal contribution: it's convincing every boy you've ever matched with on Hinge to start a business and buy a TONIC template. But more on that… later.]
#2 - People WANT to be told what to do.
Direct quotes from the blog: “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."
#3 - Affiliate marketing can work for you no matter which platform you prefer.
Direct quote from the blog: "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 you have Mark Zuckerburg to thank for your engaged community, start affiliate marketing on Facebook."
⭐️ (Hold onto that last tip for a sec—I'm coming back to it in a big way.) ⭐️
Now that you know WHY affiliate marketing works so well, let's talk about HOW to create affiliate content that sells.
Do you have any guesses about what I'm going to say?
Come on, you know me. You should've KNOWN I was gonna say STORYTELLING.
Your girl loves a story. But I'm not the only one!
In addition to most viewers preferring to learn via storytelling—and it being a drastically more effective method in terms of retention and conversion than anything else—even Google themselves say that storytelling is the best way to reach your desired audience.
Now, this could be a fluke, or me accidentally being really good at SEO, or it could completely prove my point, but…
Almost all of my blog posts that rank either #1 or position 0 (aka the featured snippet at the top of Google before she shows ya all the links) are blog posts that have STORIES.
In other words: they were blog posts that were written for HUMANS first, because my main goal was to SERVE my audience and share information about a topic I was passionate about.
Prime example? This blog post I wrote about TONIC last July.
It is consistently one of my most-viewed webpages, and it consistently brings me both new business AND affiliate income every single month.
Want to know why? Because it's so story-based.
- Sure, it outlines the best parts about buying TONIC templates.
- And yeah, I'm giving a convincing argument about why the 4-figure price tag is worth it.
- And of course I shared my 15% off discount code. ("BTLCOPY" if ya want it!)
But the REAL kicker?
I'm openly, honestly, candidly sharing my real-life experience with their brand. I'm giving my readers my unfiltered opinion—candidly sharing my thoughts about whether or not they should purchase from TONIC—and the social proof is effective as hell.
The affiliate marketing bottom line = people want to hear from PEOPLE.
You will always trust your best friend more than a brand.
Hell, you'll even trust a stranger more than a brand.
& it's not because brands aren't trustworthy—it's simply that we prefer CONNECTIONS. (And we want the TEA.)
Is TONIC convincing and engaging when they talk about why you should buy a template from them? Yes!
I literally write some of that content myself—I know it rocks. But would I rather hear about it from a customer of theirs? 100% YES, I would.
Because even if I don't know that person from Adam, I'm much more inclined to trust someone who is sharing their review of a product they've tried and loved just because they tried it and loved it.
And, yeah, maybe they're making some $$$ from recommending it, but you can see straight through affiliate content that isn't authentic.
It's not hard to tell a phony “hopefully I make a quick buck from talking about this for a sec!” affiliate content from honest “OMG I'm ridiculously obsessed with this because of Real Reason X, Y, and Z!” content.
🥵 I could go OFFFF about this for days, but I know you can only digest so much in my lil old TOC. So…
Let me tell ya, I've got TONS to share—which is why I am pumped to share with you that my fave people at (you saw this one coming) TONIC Site Shop asked me to host an Affiliate Marketing Masterclass with them tomorrow to share my story of how I became one of their top partners after just a few months in their affiliate program! (There *will* be a replay if you can't make it live!)
Remember how I told you we'd come back to Tip #3 from above?
I'm going into some serious detail about leveraging ANY platform to earn affiliate income in the TONIC Affiliate Marketing Masterclass tomorrow…
Even your Hinge profile. 👀🎣
Want to learn my strategies for making more affiliate $$$?
Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 3rd) at 1pm EST, TONIC's co-founder Jen + I will be chatting about:
How I got started with affiliate marketing
The weirdest (yet most on-brand?) way I promote my affiliate links
Easy ways to create affiliate content that people actually trust
& so much more!
I'm also ridiculously honored and drastically humbled to share that you'll also be hearing from two literal famous affiliate icons, Graham Cochrane and Amy Porterfield, about their killer affiliate marketing strategies.
(Like… my name is on the same sales page as Amy Porterfield. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.)
BUT, despite how cool that fame is… the #1 thing we want you to learn at this Affiliate Marketing Masterclass is that you actually DON'T *have* to be famous. Or have a following of millions. Or be an influencer.
Anyone can be a great affiliate marketer if they know how to create good affiliate content for their audience.
No matter how big or small their audience is.
Y'all see how many Instagram followers I have! I'm nowhere even CLOSE to the level of Internet fame of some of TONIC's other affiliates.
Yet I'm still consistently one of their top affiliate partners every single month, because I've mastered the art of how to authentically, organically, seamlessly share my affiliate links with my community.
& that's exactly what I'm teaching you alongside Jen tomorrow. Will I see you there?!
I hope you'll come. You scrolled all the way down to the bottom of this newsletter, so that probably means you're at least a liiiittle bit interested in affiliate marketing, right?
Either way, since you're a good lil reader, and you're still here, I'll tell you what I've spent my TONIC affiliate $$$ on so far this year:
January: my car payment, my electrical bill, my water bill, and 3 new books
February: my outfit for the opening weekend of the Taylor Swift Eras tour and my suitcase for the trip to Phoenix
March: all of my groceries
April: Apple AirPod Max headphones and the invitations, bouncy house, & cotton candy machine for Woo's birthday party
*The above includes both the commission I earned from influencing customer sales, as well as the affiliate perks I unlocked with the number of sales I influenced.
Remember: Jen & I are teachin' you all about it tomorrow. 😏 & there will be a replay if you can't make it live!
Love u mean it! Say it back! Or hit “reply” and tell me what you wanna learn about in upcoming newsletters! Or don't! Whatever! I still love u!
Chat so soon!
If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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