|700 downloads over two days... yeah, I was doing the math...|
All You Need is an Affiliate Account
I talked about this back in If You're An Author, You Really Need An Affiliate Marketing Account, but I'll summarize it for all the folks who are just joining us. When you have an affiliate marketing account for a website like Amazon, it lets you create special links that tag traffic that comes through your shares. Then when people make a purchase, you get a portion of that sale because you're the one who drove that individual to the website. In short, if you sold something, the website you have your account with gives you a finder's fee for helping close the sale.
|How does that help if they downloaded something for free?|
What makes affiliate marketing so "sneaky" is that once you've tagged someone, it doesn't matter what they buy once they get on the site. So I could put out a link to buy my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife, for example, and anyone who goes through that link to Amazon gets tagged with my information. But say they don't buy a copy of my book... instead, they decide to finally get that sweet pair of Doc Marten's boots they've been looking at. As long as they're earmarked as coming through one of my links, I still get the credit for that purchase.
No matter how big or how small the item someone buys is, as long as they got to the site through one of your links, you're the one who gets the credit for it. The difficult part is, of course, getting someone to click-through and start shopping.
That's where the free stuff comes in.
As an example of what I'm talking about, I recently wrote a review on my gaming blog titled Consent in Gaming (If You Haven't Downloaded This Book Yet, You Really Should). The post was a review of the recently released gaming supplement titled Consent in Gaming, which was free to download off of Drive Thru RPG. Even though the supplement itself was free, the link was still tagged with my affiliate ID. So if any of the thousands of people who read my review clicked-through to take a look at the supplement, or maybe to download a copy for themselves, I had myself locked in as the person who got them to walk in the door (so to speak). All they had to do was buy something else while they were on the site, and I'd get credit for that purchase.
10 Percent of The Time, It Works Every Time
The advantage of this strategy is that people love free stuff, and the bigger your giveaway gets, the more chances you have to nab some runoff earnings... even if you're giving away free stuff. Of course, the flip side of this is that there are going to be a lot of people who just show up for the free book, download it, then go about their day.
The thing to remember here is that if you just gave away a book the old-fashioned way, there was no chance you could turn a profit off that transaction unless someone read it, liked it, and came back for more. This way there's at least a chance that if you caught someone in the middle of a shopping spree that you could get yourself a new fan in addition to earning some credit for the gaming PC, video card, and motorized wheelchair they were also buying on that particular day.
And, as a closing note, I should state that affiliate earnings come from the website, not from the customers. You're not raising the price and skimming off of the customer; this is a finder's fee being paid to you by the business for increasing their sales. Just in case that wasn't crystal clear.
Like, Follow, and Stay Tuned!
That's all for this week's Business of Writing! If you'd like to see more of my work, take a look at my Vocal archive, or at My Amazon Author Page where you can find books like my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife!