I am a huge fan of affiliate partnerships. But I enter into these types of agreements carefully, and always with my readers’ and clients’ best interest at heart. I use affiliate links in my blog posts and other content, whenever I see a product or service that is reliable, value-driven and a good fit.
But there are those times when, even though I am an affiliate, I don’t share the link.
An Example From the Past
For many years, I taught in live workshop settings. Often someone would ask me a question that led to me to recommend a premium theme, plugin or service. It wasn’t always helpful to them if I asked, “Can you wait? I’ll send you a link for that when I get back to the office.” Or, “Can you go to my page…?”
Sure, this works when someone asks me a question via email, but not so much at a live workshop.
I’ve used affiliate links for my free sponsored workshops, where attendees get complimentary access to a follow-up online course. And for some of my custom workshops for businesses and nonprofits, I would send a post-workshop email with resources and links as well.
But, in both cases, sometimes attendees would get excited about a particular product I had mentioned and make a note of it. If they are anxious to snag it, they will google it when they return to their office—before they even dive into my follow-up course or list of affiliate-linked resources.
And they would purchase it on the spot.
It Still Happens
The days of my workshops are gone, but it still happens. And at a time when affiliate income is playing an increasingly important role in our budget.
I am at a meetup or conference, talking about something and I will recommend a particular product or service that I trust—and just happen to be an affiliate of. I never know if they go off and buy it or remember it down the road, when they visit my site.
It’s an in-the-moment thing.
The bottom line: it just doesn’t always work. But there is a caveat.
In videos and podcasts, I may mention a service and give a specific URL. But they don’t always take action then, and might do it later on when they remember, Oh yeah, Bob mentioned that service before. Maybe I should check them out.
So for those of you who are diving into affiliate marketing, don’t push it. By that I mean if you can be just helpful in the moment, well, don’t worry about not having that link to share. It will come back around to you.
And for those partners out there who are paying any attention to their affiliate stats, remember, there are some of us who don’t always worry about getting that credit. We would really like it, but it’s just not always convenient for that other person.
Don’t worry. If you build up trust with your readers, colleagues and clients, it will eventually pay off. I still get people sending me DM on Twitter, messaging me on Facebook or even emailing me and asking if I have a link they could use for XYZ plugin or service.
Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile.
An audio version of this post: