Outdoor Entrepreneur Needs to Learn the Affiliate Game
The Outdoor Entrepreneur needs to learn the monetization path especially if all things start going in the right direction. I mean a content creator in the outdoor industry it likely is going to have a popular Instagram account, website, blog, or PodCast that all of sudden just starts growing. Hopefully in viral fashion. Like the http://Outdoors International WebSite , http://GetMtnOps website or http://GrittyBomen/Podcast . You are a skilfull search artist if you have found my blog as it hasn’t quite taken off yet.
Without prior knowledge, or some start up help, many can get stuck just not knowing how to monetize it. I have and still do to this day. I can say that the question I end up answering at length more than any is how do I make money on my site? I do not contend this is not a desirable place for the outdoor entrepreneur to find herself in. Oh to the contrary. But we all need help achieving business goals. The Affiliate and sponsorship game can be more daunting than the “Arizona Bonus Points” draw system. I asked Corey Jacobsen Master Elk Hunter, Outdoor Entrepreneur, and Founder of Elk 101 what The Outdoor Entrepreneur can do until they are ready to monetize? “Christopher just continue to post great content and make sure the products you believe in are out there where people can see them. The founders of those companies will notice I assure you. Then when it is time to have a conversation about business they will know you have been promoting them.” This was great advise by the way.
Help Achieving Business Goals: The Affiliate Game
If you find yourself in the aforementioned situation or steadfastly heading that way. Sponsorship and/or affiliate marketing might be just what the doctor ordered. Look. I know there is the fear a person can have of cheapening the look of your content. That’s perfectly OK. Actually it’s normal. We all did/do. You may be just starting out and you may feel like a fraud. I think we all felt less than deserving of pay at some time along the way. Many of us thought, “I don’t think I deserve to monetize”. The bottom line is you have to find a way to change your mindset. I think someone like Russ Meyer fits the bill well. He is dedicated and hard working. He has adds value to people all day long. However he would do it forever for free, if he could. Bottom line. Great content takes time. Believe me. It will eat you up.
If your one of those thinking, “hey I’m sitting here in my Yoda jammies working from home and marching around the woods taking pictures and writing about my exploits, who’s going to click what I recommend or share?” Don’t worry, I am sure that is what Cody Barker of Gotfishing.net was thinking year ago too! But he is taking off right now as a content creator in the industry these days.
Remember. If you are putting out good content, curating relevant information, and delivering it consistently, you deserve it. Get over it and start paying the bills – before you don’t have a medium to deliver content from anymore. If you let it get to that point, you’re no good to anyone. Every startup entrepreneur, and I mean everyone, I talk with about what they want and need before we talk about their business. Invariably at some point (and usually early) they bring up getting more traffic. It is clearly the foundation of every business that sells something. So if you have a following out there. Even a small one. There is a great chance you can help some of those more established companies get that traffic for which they are looking to sell their goods. For a price of course that comes back to you. Until that time I think the Affiliate game is a great place to start.
Start up outdoor entrepreneurs – Low Risk Entry
There is a very low risk to entry for affiliate marketing. If no one clicks on your affiliate link, no one knows you have one. NO RISK. What’s even more remarkable to me, it works both for content creators and those in the outdoor start up that might just have a banging Instagram site. Maybe you’re looking to market products from other outdoor entrepreneurs online? The ease and flexibility of the affiliate game still applies. With all of that in mind, let’s kick things off with an introduction to the world of affiliate marketing. Then we’ll cover the several great WordPress affiliate marketing plugins you can easily use!
Outdoors Entrepreneurs Explained and those with Affiliate sites
Affiliate marketing is, at its core, is a very simple business. It goes like this. If you’re a content creator, affiliates pay a set price or a percentage of each sale you help them make. This naturally gives you, the content creator, an incentive to get their product out there in front of as many eyes as possible.
There are masters of this like Ben Greenfield, and to the contra those who cheapen their sites with too bold of a messaging approach. The bad sites look like a graffiti’d freight car.
Moreover, if you’re an affiliate, your main concern is to find the perfect channels through which to market the products. Manufactures have carefully chosen a unique audience. Therefore your job as the content creator is to find out how to reach members of that unique audience with your content. Both parties have one ultimate goal: make as many sales as possible and prosper together in a symbiotic relationship. Are two way human to human value exchange.
Most affiliates work through a network, which in return for providing a platform through which they can operate, takes a small percentage of their earnings. You’re already familiar with some of the biggest names in affiliate marketing even if you’re not aware of it (Amazon and eBay ring a bell?). Other power lifters in the sector include Rakuten, Linkshare, CJ by Conversant, Avangate, and ClickBank (Wohoo Boise).
Does affiliate marketing sound like the kind of opportunity you’d like test out for yourself? Good! Then let’s take a look at some of the best WordPress plugins available out there to get you started.
This is followed by a guide that will help you narrow down your choices.
The Best WordPress Affiliate Marketing Plugins is the Affiliate Plugin will work best for You. It’s kind of like when I tell people what their macros should be on #Keto. It’s the macros that best suit you. You have to tinker.
If you believe your content is even the least bit marketable. Get your shit out there and do the market research. Do the unthinkable and prepare a marketing plan. Conceivably a competitive analysis. Develop the financial figures that will tell you (and a prospective sponsor) this traffic you generate will be profitable. And show them why. Once you complete this outline, you’ll either learn that the great market opportunity you envisioned doesn’t exist, or that there really is a good market fit. Hopefully the later. A significant business opportunity then dig in hip deep. Most critically you’ll have the data to back it up.
If that’s the case, it’s relatively easy to begin making presentations to sponsors yourself. Further, they’ll respect the work you’ve put in to discover how they can profitably market and sell their wares.
The Outdoor Entrepreneur and The Sponsorship
The next step would be to sign a sponsorship deal. (If you need a hand getting stared let me know in the comments ill send you some documents to use as a guideline). Or listen to the Upcoming GrittyBowman Podcast with Russ Meyer and I where we touch on this sensitive topic.
Like Marc Warnke of www.GotHunts.com once told me. ” If you want to put a big mature bull on the ground, go out and harvest a bunch of little critters before you go out for the main event. You just got to put your time in.” Hey it is exactly the same in Fly Fishing. And boh are metaphors for business.
Time to begin stckin’ jack rabbits…then you can put in for the big hunt.
Which plugin you’ll want to pick will depend mostly on which area of affiliate marketing you’re interested in. If you intend to make your fortune by adding third-party affiliate links to your content, Thirsty Affiliates, Easy Affiliate Links, or Pretty Links will suit your needs just fine.
Thirsty Affiliates contains by far the most amount of features among these three when you take into consideration its premium add-ons. However, if you don’t want to mess around with a lot of options you might never really need, Easy Affiliate Links or Pretty Links are going to be the most straight forward.
If you’re the kind of entrepreneur who’s looking to kill it with your own affiliate program, your choice could be the Affiliates Manager, Affiliates, and WordPress Affiliate & Referral Plugin. When it comes down to the sheer number of integrated e-commerce solutions, Affiliates Manager takes the cake with ease. On top of being an overall solid platform, this makes it a good choice for those looking for an option that will integrate well with other plugins. Try not to run a whole bunch of individual programs that don’t integrate this will drive you crazy later when you get busier.
WordPress Affiliate, however, doesn’t fall far behind in this category either. It’s got its own API (If you are unfamiliar with APIs stay away), which enables you to integrate it with third-party solutions if you’ve got that kind of coding game. On top of that, it’s got solid reporting features.
Finally, WordPress Affiliate & Referral Plugin comes with its own app, which lets you monitor your affiliate program’s performance from anywhere.
When it comes to the Amazon affiliate program there are two plugins, which should make life easier for you. Those two are Amazon eStore Affiliates Plugin and Amazon Link. The first is a premium plugin, which includes unique features such as its product description spinner tool and the ability to look at in-depth statistics for unique products. It’s really is overall great and versatile choice for Amazon affiliate power-users. But remember if you don’t sell anything in your first 3 months your account will be deemed inactive.
If you want a simpler solution without any complicated features, Amazon Link will take care of all your needs when it comes to including Amazon affiliate links: cloaking, tracking, and product searches.
Affiliate marketing is by no means the home rune answer. Its a series of streams of income that help you cover fixed costs. Help you lessen the burden so you can remain strategic and creative.
That being said, it’s right up there with ads as far as online monetization methods go and should be seriously considered as a possibility if you plan on using content creation as a means to your financial end.
Kicking things off is pretty easy too. All you have to do is either sign up with an affiliate network, upload your product, or choose from amongst those available whichever you think would be of high interest and value your user base.
Once you’ve installed your affiliate plugin, you can then use its tools to include your affiliate links or handle your own program directly from WordPress. Then dig in, create consistent awesome content, and watch that first dollar roll in.
If you are looking for more comprehensive material on how to start a muse I always recommend The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss as my reference manual to sales and marketing.
Last thing, have fun and #Keeponhammering.