Affiliate Marketing for Musicians
A New Revenue Stream For Musicians.
Affiliate Marketing for Musicians
A New Revenue Stream For Musicians.
Affiliate Marketing for Musicians
This article looks at how Affiliate marketing can be of help to Musicians. Its split into the following sections:
- What is Affiliate Marketing?
- How does Affiliate Marketing work?
- How to find services or music to promote?
- How Should You Use Affiliate Links?
- Things to remember before you become an affiliate
- What is an affiliate network?
- Using Affiliate programs to sell your music
- Some Affiliate Network recommendations
- Case Study for a New Marketing Methods for Independent Musicians
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
There are four key players involved in this:
- The merchant or retailer or brand or in this case musician or music band
- The network that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and handles the payments
- The publisher or ‘the affiliate’
- The customer
An affiliate program gives you a link to a product or music you want to showcase. You put that link on your blog or website. If someone follows that link and buys the product, you get a percentage of that sale. Sounds like a simple way of making money?
For example, someone offers a music album, you post that link on your Social media sites, someone follows the link from your web page and ends up buying it , you get a Percentage of the sale proceeds.
How does Affiliate Marketing work?
So now you know the concept, how does this really work?
- To start with you need to have a blog or website.
- You identify music or services which you are confident your followers and fans will like. So you will first partner with the company that sells this.
- You start marketing the music or band by telling others about this. Thus you become an affiliate or an affiliate marketer.
- Lets take an example- let’s say on your blog or website, you alert your readers to this music video that you just heard, either by writing a post about it or placing a button or banner ad somewhere on your site. The link that you use is your affiliate link which contains your special and unique ID.
- A reader clicks on the affiliate link and goes to the music band’s site and buys the video.
- Through the link which has your unique Id, the company knows you referred them and you get rewarded with a commission.
How to find services or music to promote?
When you’re looking for things to promote, be creative and wise. Every music or band service you use and love might very well be affiliate-worthy. Use some of these checks and balances to find out whether its worth getting into an affiliate program with:
- Think of a product or service you like and think is sellable and go to their website. Look for a link which says says something like “Affiliates,” “Affiliate Program,” “Referral Program” or something similar. Follow the links to sign up.
- Think of a product or service or music band you like and google it. Once you find it, check for Affiliate programs running and sign up.
- Take note of the affiliate products other bloggers in your niche are associated with. Look at their sites and read their posts. If you find something you like and relate to, and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the methods described above.
- One of the best and most efficient ways to find things to promote is to join an affiliate network and browse through their available campaigns. In fact, many companies offer their affiliate program via an affiliate network. The advantage of this is that it will give you access to many more products all in one go. There is a section which looks at Affiliate Network.
Make sure you affiliate with products or services that you can somehow link to your key services and offerings. Filling your site with disconnected products will confuse the follower and also completely dilute your own Service offerings.
So where do you start from?
First, before you sign up for an affiliate program, you need to have an active blog or
website. Some brands will look at your website before they approve you as an affiliate, so make sure you have a genuine website which is active and does not have any objectionable content.
Then, choose an affiliate program to join. Do your research to see what best suits your needs. Amazon is one company which offers Affiliate program and it works well as it not only sells music but a lot of other music related stuff too.
Be aware that different programs offer different percentages for sales which from range from 4 to 7 percent and go as high as 20 to 50 percent also. The company will check your credentials approve you and provide you the Affiliate link and you are ready to start earning money.
How Should You Use Affiliate Links?
The key word here is conservatively. Ideally its recommended that you have either a separate blog or separate section of your band’s website to showcase your gear. And a separate section for talking about your affiliate programs.
Having affiliate links and pictures all over your site and highlighting it, will draw attention away from you and your band and that’s the last thing you want to happen. Simple text links to the product will suffice with a one liner description.
For example you put up a full review of your music on your site, and you put up a link pointing to a great headset piece right beside it which you are affiliated with. Serves both the purposes as you sold your music and also recommended what headset you as a musician feel is good.
You’re going to want a simplified URL to direct people to. Affiliate links are large and intimidating filled with codes and numbers. Simply having a “/gear” page on your site makes it easy for people to see and remember.
Once your review is posted, embed it in a blogpost on your site.You can then have a
text description underneath the post that contains a few affiliate links. Or have an image for the affiliate link if the publisher gives you one.
Then create a menu drop down on your site so people can easily see “Gear” and can
check it out.
Keep it simple and modest
As your music becomes more popular, people will want to see what you will use to get your sound. As your band grows, both fans and friends will get curious about what you use on stage and on your recordings. Affiliate links are a great way for you to get money for something you’d recommend anyways on your website.
But resist the temptation to make a quick buck. Do not start recommending products that are not good or once that you are not convinced about. If you start recommended substandard stuff, you completely lose your credibility. Not only will you NOT sell anything, you will drive away your fans.
You might also be tempted to constantly blast out your affiliate links and gear
reviews to make more money. That’s another easy way to get people to
ignore you and not trust you.
Keep it simple and low-key. Remind people every once in a while about the gear
section on your site.
The only exception to this is if you have a separate blog that is specific to
reviewing gear. Then, that’s what people expect from you. But don’t constantly
try to sell people on your gear from your band’s page. Keep it infrequent, and
people will gradually come to it over time. If you want more frequency, have a
separate blog or website.
So to reiterate the rules –
- Sell products which are linked to your core business
- Do not draw attention away from your offerings
- The affiliate program selling should be subtle and simple not loud and over bearing on your website
Things to remember before you become an affiliate
- Choose only products or services you can recommend without reservation. Seek out the best. Products/services you’ve used yourself are a great bet as you can speak about them with confidence and from experience.
- Choose products or services that are relevant to your niche. Don’t get irrelevant products on your site or you stand to lose your credibility.
- If you start out by getting bad products on your site, and are branded as a spammer then its very difficult to regain your reputation. So start out with high standards and you’ll be fine. Promoting bad stuff does not pay in the long run for your business.
- Look around for the best affiliate deal. Some affiliate networks are better than others so go for the best one.
- Experiment, experiment, experiment! Experiment with different networks, ad sizes, text links vs. images, placement on your page, etc. Sometimes there are vast differences in revenue when small changes are made.
- Make sure you read very carefully the Terms of Service for the programs in which you are participating to avoid any issues later.
Don’t Expect to Get Rich Overnight
There are two ways to make money:
- Sell your own stuff
- Sell others stuff through your site and make money
The second is what we looked at as Affiliate Marketing. But remember affiliate programs are not a scheme to get rich fast. Just like your band, it can take years to build a following large enough to make any serious income. Trust needs to be built with people that follow your band and your website.
Yes there are chances that you could get lucky once in a while. Maybe someone will come along and buy a complete music system or a guitar stack and drums based on your recommendation; you will get a good percentage on the sale. But do not expect this to be an everyday affair.
And more importantly, do not get so excited by making money through affiliate program that you forget your own product and marketing it. Because remember the products you sell for other’s will carry more weight when they trust you, your offerings and then your word will be significant for them and they will go by your recommendation.
Different kinds of Affiliate Program Payment Arrangements
There are three basic types of affiliate program payment arrangements that you can have:
Pay-per-sale: In this arrangement, the merchant site pays an affiliate when the affiliate sends them a customer who purchases something. The payment could either be a percentage of the sale amount of it could be a fixed amount per sale.
Pay-per-click: In these programs, the merchant site pays the affiliate based on the number of visitors who click on the link to come to the merchant’s site. Even if the visitor doesn’t buy anything, as long as they click on the merchant’s site through the affiliate link, they get paid for it.
Pay-per-lead: Companies with these programs pay their affiliates based on the number of visitors they refer who sign up as leads. The visitor fills out some requested information at the merchant site, which the merchant site may use as a sales lead or sell to another company as a sales lead.
What is an affiliate network?
An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between the publishers or affiliates and merchant affiliate programs. It allows website publishers to easily find and participate in affiliate programs which are suitable for their website, and on the other hand allows allows websites offering affiliate programs to reach a larger audience by promoting their affiliate programs to all of the publishers participating in the affiliate network.
Affiliate networks enable merchants to offer publishers a share of any revenue that is generated by the merchant from visitors to the publisher’s site. So the financial aspect is also taken c are of by the Affiliate Network.
How does an Affiliate Network work?
- The affiliate network is like a middleman. They provide a place where advertisers are matched up with publishers.
- Advertisers strike a deal with the publisher with the intent of selling more of their product which the publisher will help them with.
- The publisher enters into an agreement to list the merchant’s campaign or offer on their website.
- All this is done through an affiliate network where the product will be listed among the available “Campaigns,” “Offers,” or “Marketplace”. The publisher goes through the product list and decides what is a good product for them to promote and write about, and thus they opt to take part in that campaign. Sometimes the publisher needs to apply to be part of the specific campaign for that product, sometimes it is not required; it depends on the affiliate network and advertiser.
- Once the publisher is cleared to promote the product and they understand the terms for that campaign, there is a list of available buttons, banners, text links and images for that product. They choose the one that they like the most and copy the code provided for it. This code has the publishing site’s unique ID in it.
- The readers see the banner, button or link, click on it, are taken to the Product website, they buy it and the publisher get paid by the affiliate network site.
- The payment will be done based on the agreement terms , the payment could be for buying the product or just clicking or generating a lead.
Affiliate networks are nice for advertisers or merchants because then the advertisers don’t have to run the affiliate program themselves. Affiliate networks work well for publishers also because it’s sort of like a one-stop shopping and they don’t have to hunt for individual programs.
Using Affiliate programs to sell your music
Musicians are creative people. To be successful, though, they need to learn how to apply that creativity to the business side of their music. And it is important to strike the right balance between the two.
It is as important to create good music as it is to package and market it well and yes all this is time consuming. Blogs, forums, and podcasts can be a wealth of information and inspiration for those not inclined to understanding royalties, copyright law, or marketing strategies. So use these to gather more information about how to promote your music.
Since this ebook focuses on Affiliate marketing, its important for you to understand that while you can be an affiliate marketer for others, how do you leverage others to sell your music.
Companies such as iTunes and Amazon are big businesses, and their business is to sell products including music too. As large companies, they have the ability to reach out to large audiences. These large audiences might not know who you are, might not know your products are available, might not trust your small website, and might not care to visit dozens of independent musicians’ various websites to buy music. But they trust iTunes and Amazon and making your product available on the larger sites like theirs could remove some of those hurdles. In fact, these large companies function in this fashion only.
While it is your business to sell your music and you can and will do so using your website but you only have access to a limited audience. The large audiences of the big businesses make it awfully tempting to sell your music on their sites instead. To tempt you further, the big businesses might offer an affiliate marketing program.
So it is worthwhile to explore this area for selling and offer an affiliate program to the big names. This can considerably push up your sales and though you would have to shell out a percentage of the sales with them, but increasing your sales makes it worthwhile to do so.
When to sell your music from other sites?
Instead of selling the music directly on your own website, you can link from your site to your music for sale on the large companies’ sites. When your fans click the link and buy the product on the large companies’ websites, the companies track that incoming link and give you a percentage of the sale on top of the income you’re already making from it being your music. The more people you refer to them for sales, the more money you make on your music.
While it sounds like a great concept, a closer look suggests otherwise. The traffic you’re sending to the large company was already on your site or profile; they could have bought from you directly. By selling through a third party, you won’t make as much off of each sale as if you sold the music yourself. If you’re able to sell your music yourself and already have the fans on your site where your profit margin is higher, wouldn’t you want to capitalize on that opportunity? We’re not saying you should ignore the third party options altogether, but we are saying you should not send your fans there.
If, for some strange reason, you aren’t able to sell music on your site and you absolutely have to use a third party store, affiliate marketing can help boost your income.
Apart from the income boost, more people buying your music also means it improves your popularity and hypes up your ratings. So affiliate marketing helps in improving your credibility as a musician also.
Some Affiliate Network recommendations
Since there are a lot of affiliate networks available and most are easy to join , its easy to get associated with the wrong network which does more harm in the long run. Different affiliate networks provide different products so you’ll want to hunt around to find the one that are the best fit for you. Different networks also offer different commissions, so its important to get hooked to one that offers the best deal.
Here are some affiliate networks along with a sampling of the types of products, services or campaigns they offer which you can check for your purposes:
This is a large network offering such things like Genesis Theme for WordPress and Tiny Prints
2. Logical Media
This is a network which works with advertisers like Coupons.com and Home Depot .
3. Escalate Network
This one is another network similar to Logical Media offering many of the same things like Vista Print (free business card, address labels, etc.).
4. Panthera Network
The advertisers here include books and music like Entertainment Books.
Who hasn’t heard of Amazon or has not visited it because the fact is that you can get almost anything there. Of course, they have much more than books like a Kindle –, Macs, Pirate’s Booty and textbooks .They have all kinds of music stuff and so is the best place to find products that will suit all genre.
7. Some more affiliate networks:
Where to get more information from?
Making money as a musician is tough; but with the right tools and knowledge of how to use them to your advantage, there are a lot of things you can do to make a little bit of extra money. It may start out as pennies, but with the right decisions will grow into substantial money.
Case Study for a New Marketing Methods for Independent Musicians
This gives you an example of how you can Built a Personal Brand for Yourself and a Revenue Stream Using your Own Content and Today’s Free Online Tools
A lot of today’s social interaction involves building a personal ‘brand’ for yourself. This goes beyond just having an advertisement for yourself with a catchy by line or wearing your brands T shirt. Today’s branding also depends on how well you have made a name for yourself in the social network. People spend a great deal of their time marketing themselves to the world and judging their success therein by the number of ‘likes’ their Facebook posts get and the number of Twitter followers they have. If you’re an independent musician or other content creator, these tools can effectively drive traffic toward your sponsors and other revenue streams, which can ultimately lead to a successful self-employment scheme where you actually make money by just being you.
As a musician your music can be your most potent tool in marketing your own brand through social media. This might seem counter to the notion that indie-musicians should put their energy toward marketing their music itself first and foremost, and this probably was true in the days where there was no social media and internet branding. But now you can get more marketing mileage out of your music as a tool for shaping your public image in the bigger picture. By viewing it this way you can switch gears and create content of other kinds to build your brand such as through blogging, writing articles and even in your day-to-day interactions with people. The final brand that emerges out I when all of these efforts are put together is a powerful tool which helps you towards the ultimate goal of self-marketing and music sales.
This is where joining affiliate networks and branding products for others by having an affiliate marketing banner in the header and footer of your website is another way of making money and building a brand. Affiliate marketing represents de facto sponsorship for your brand and a new destination for traffic to your website, whereby you can make some additional money on top of music sales.
An indie musician who is computer savvy enough to set up a Facebook profile has all the knowledge they need to internalize the administration of their own music career, marketing and all. The higher your level of engagement with your fans and readers, the higher the cash return. Diversifying your content – avoiding the labeling of yourself as purely a musician – lets you approach the branding and marketing of yourself in a whole new way, miles ahead of people who merely stick with one thing or another.
Affiliate marketing is a great way for musicians to make extra money and building a brand by associating yourself with big affiliate networks. Just make sure you keep the rules in mind:
- Associate with products which are related to your work and music
- Add brands to your name which will add more credibility to you
- Go selective with products, do not go all out to add a lot of products
- Endorse which you believe in
And finally remember not to draw away attention from your core work and business