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How To Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money in 2023

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How To Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money in 2023

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

To start affiliate marketing without money, people often think you must become a blogger with a dedicated website — draining money and resources. Although it is helpful to have a blog when you can reinvest in your business and scale upward, it’s not essential. Affiliate marketing with no money means affiliate marketing with free traffic.

TikTok is a potential free traffic source that relatively few marketers, about 14%, currently utilize. Luckily, TikTok doesn’t appear to throttle the organic reach of content creators.

Tiktok doesn’t use follower count as a ranking signal, so you don’t need a million followers to make money as an affiliate. You just need to reach the right people. Here’s how to start affiliate marketing on TikTok.

Related: 3 Tips to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

Choose a niche affiliate program

To succeed in affiliate marketing on TikTok, focus on what people spend their disposable income on and stick to it. Once you provide hacks around these areas, you can influence people to purchase them using your link.

An example of this is the Shein Haul. Some categories you could consider include clothing, makeup, electronic gadgets, food, lifestyle and fashion. As a Tiktoker, you can simply start by showing off some items you got on Shein. Add links to the items, as people want to order any clothing they like during your try-on.

Hack your TikTok channel growth with emerging trends

At the core of TikTok genetic makeup are “trends.” The app is built around trends. To grow your TikTok reach and start affiliate marketing with no money on the platform, you have to begin to understand trends. Creatively tap into TikTok trends by:

  • Using trending music and sounds; remember to use these sounds while they are still new, so your content gets the impressions while it’s still hot.
  • Joining challenges, dances and mashups. Always bring in something new and unique to challenges. If possible, make a better and improved version so others can draw inspiration from yours.
  • Take content clues from already viral videos and look out for patterns. What sounds, hashtags and captions did they use? What was captivating in the first few seconds, and how did people react in the comments?
  • Initiate trends with your content and make it irresistible; mash-up popular sounds and switch up a current challenge. When you create videos with exciting sounds that are easy to replicate, it’s bound to go viral, as FOMO would want others to replicate

When your content finally goes viral, capitalize on the content that goes viral to build momentum in pushing traffic to your affiliate offer. How can you do this? Engage with every comment on your profile, welcome new followers and ask them what they want to see. This will skyrocket engagement with the viral video and increase its reach. Replicate this process in other videos.

Implement the product into your videos organically

People will scroll away if you sound like a robotic sales ad. To do affiliate marketing on TikTok, infuse your products organically by doing a storytime while using the product, adding it to your daily routine, sharing the product as a reply to a comment asking about it or doing a product review. Try to be as objective as possible.

Essentially, your priority should be to provide valuable information to your audience in an entertaining manner. Then strategically weave the affiliate product into the fun videos.

Related: I Ran the First Version of TikTok. Here’s What I Learned About Spotting Viral Trends.

Promote like crazy

Once you get the views, it’s time to promote your affiliate links and maximize your engagements. You can do this by:

1. Linking affiliate products

Add your affiliate links in easily discoverable areas by:

  • Using a popular hashtag if there are other similar affiliate products
  • Including your affiliate link in your bio or through a bridge page
  • Adding an affiliate URL in your content description
  • Offer a coupon or your unique discount code in the comments

2. Build your other social platform audience

Redirect your generated traffic to build engagements and followers on your other platforms. Do this by customizing your profiles and adding a Youtube or Instagram link. Also, let your viewers know they can watch the full clip on Youtube (if you have one).

Final thoughts

Starting affiliate marketing with no money means building an audience with a free traffic source — in this case, TikTok. Though TikTok does not restrict organic reach, unlike most social platforms, it still requires a great deal of consistency. Remain consistent in creating entertaining yet valuable content. When you finally start making money doing affiliate marketing on TikTok, invest in TikTok paid ads to scale even faster.

Related: 5 Essential Strategies for Boosting Your Brand’s Popularity on TikTok


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Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson’s voice? 5 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs in The AI Era

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Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson's voice? 5 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs in The AI Era

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson’s voice? OpenAI has since paused the “Sky” voice feature, but Johansson argues that this is no coincidence. In response, Johansson delivers a masterclass for entrepreneurs on navigating the AI era successfully.

In today’s discussion, we delve into what this controversy means for business owners, highlighting five critical AI strategies they must deploy. We also explore essential methods to protect your intellectual property and leverage AI for a competitive edge—insights vital for keeping your venture ahead in the AI revolution to remain your competitive advantage.

Take the AI skills quiz here (available for a limited time) and equip yourself with practical knowledge by grabbing a copy of my new book, ‘The Wolf is at the Door – How to Survive and Thrive in an AI-Driven World.’

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Why Are New Business Applications at All-Time High?

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Why Are New Business Applications at All-Time High?

More people are starting businesses now than ever before — and the reason could be that the opportunity cost, or what they have to give up in exchange for entrepreneurship, is lower than ever.

Data that the U.S. Census Bureau released earlier this month shows that the total number of applications to start businesses hit a record 5.5 million last year.

That’s half a million more applications than what was filed in 2022.

Related: Here’s What Millions of Small Businesses Have in Common, According to a New Survey

Census Bureau data from the first four months of this year show that the startup boom is still going strong, too — from January through April, the number of new business applications totaled over 1.7 million.

Why are more people filing to start new businesses?

Columbia Business School professor Angela Lee told Entrepreneur that the reason could be the “unprecedented number of layoffs from big tech companies in the last several years, resulting in a large pool of talent freed up to pursue entrepreneurship.”

Columbia Business School professor Angela Lee (left) and Co-Founder of Plum Alley Investments Andrea Turner Moffitt (right). Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Lee, the director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, also noted that “entrepreneurship has historically been counter-cyclical because the opportunity cost to start a company goes down during a recession.”

Related: Want to Start a Billion-Dollar Business? Look to These Two Industries, Which Have the Most Unicorn Growth

Big tech companies have been laying off employees in record numbers in recent years.

Tech layoffs last year affected 263,180 employees globally according to tracker Layoffs.fyi.

Amazon laid off the most people (27,410) last year, but Meta (21,000), Google (12,115) and Microsoft (11,158) also contributed to record numbers.

The unemployment rate has remained stable, in the 3.7% to 3.9% range in the U.S. over the past nine months, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report.

Related: ‘The Employment Situation’ Report for April Shows Employers Are Taking Hiring Down a Notch, Employee Wage Growth Slowing

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How CEO Visibility Shapes Your Company’s Reputation

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How CEO Visibility Shapes Your Company's Reputation

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hyperconnectivity and social media have forever changed the reach and impact of company leadership. These days, chief executives are expected to be the face of their companies, not only in the boardroom, across annual reports or at shareholder meetings, but across the entire and endless digital expanse.

The supercharged visibility of CEOs and other C-suite executives online plays a pivotal, if not essential, role in shaping brand perception and, by extension, brand perception and reputation. This transformation not only forced corporate PR teams to shift focus toward heavily digital branding strategies; it’s also prompted many leaders to rethink their entire approach to image management and public engagement.

Related: How to Skyrocket Your Business to the Top With Thought Leadership and Visibility

The digital persona: More than just a role

The internet (particularly social platforms) has democratized information in incredible ways, giving consumers unprecedented access to the people behind the brands their favorite brands. This shift has made your CEO’s digital persona an integral part of your company’s image.

When your CEO actively engages with audiences online, whether that’s through social media, blogging, webinars or workplace videos, they essentially humanize your brand, lending a powerful human element that can lead to stronger connections with both current and potential customers. A proactive and carefully managed online presence can boost such intangibles as trust and transparency. When your CEO is visible and interacting in ways that align with company values, they can help create a sense of openness that builds trust and connection with your business.

Such a presence can also elevate your thought leadership efforts. By sharing industry insights and forecasts, your CEO (and other executive leaders) can establish themselves and your brand as experts in your space, strengthening a critical perception that nudges customers closer to the finish line.

Impact of CEO visibility on brand perception

How your CEO crafts their image and engages with folks online can have a meaningful, sometimes even lasting, impact on your brand’s relevance and relatability. For example, a CEO who makes themselves approachable and (perhaps most importantly) relatable on social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and even TikTok can deliver real-time dividends for brand loyalty, driving trust and consumer interactions in the right direction.

In contrast, as a leader of an organization, a CEO who often seems aloof, distant or disconnected — especially from the values they preach or relevant societal issues and events — can inadvertently drain their company’s reputation, creating an association that can be hard to pull away from.

Successful CEO visibility efforts

Consider Tim Cook of Apple or Satya Nadella of Microsoft. Through both brand PR and adept personal efforts, both leaders have crafted online personas that align closely with the innovative and forward-thinking ethos of their companies. Cook and Nadella are not only effective, often persuasive advocates for their products, but also for broader issues like border societal concerns like privacy, security and corporate responsibility, often mirroring sentiment among their customer base.

Related: In a Downturn, It’s Not Enough to Have Good Financials — Brand Visibility Is the New Currency.

Potential risks of higher visibility

Of course, while there are clear benefits to having a highly visible CEO, there are also risks, including:

  • Inconsistency. Any discrepancy between your CEO’s online persona and your company’s actions can lead to public relations issues. Consistency and brand-leadership alignment are key.
  • Overexposure. Too much visibility can backfire over time, especially if it shifts focus away from your company and onto your CEO’s personal views or actions. Again, coordination and careful management of each strategy is essential.

Harnessing social media for CEO influence

Social media can be a double-edged sword. While it does offer a host of valuable platforms for leaders to engage audiences, it also poses considerable risks, especially if not managed carefully.

Here’s how savvy CEOs use social media to their advantage:

Regular updates: Skilled leaders understand how to leverage social channels to keep followers informed about company news and industry trends.

Engagement: While often challenging, CEOs who respond to comments and participate in discussions (measuredly, of course) help build a community around the brand.

Crisis management: Executives who address issues head-on can turn potential negatives into positive press. This also helps demonstrate leadership and accountability, essential to building positive sentiment and trust among consumers.

The SEO advantage of CEO visibility

While sometimes overlooked, CEO visibility can have a sizable impact on your brand’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. For instance, regularly updated blog posts and articles from your CEO can provide an incredible opportunity to drive organic traffic to your website, in turn improving its search engine ranking. Additionally, positive mentions of the CEO in the media can help generate positive headlines in Google, boosting your company’s larger online footprint.

Elements like consistent content creation — high-quality, optimized content — and link-building (leveraging and promoting CEO-authored articles and posts) can heighten your CEO’s online visibility and, by extension, elevate your brand across critical search results pages.

Related: This CEO Shares 4 Highly Effective Ways to Promote and Scale Your Small to Medium-Sized Business

Stepping into the spotlight with integrity

Visibility is powerful, but it must be handled with integrity to really benefit your company’s reputation. Your CEO’s online actions and communications should be thoughtful, authentic and aligned with the company’s values. Whether it’s participating in online discussions, writing insightful articles or engaging with followers on social, every activity contributes to the tapestry of the company’s online presence.

A CEO’s digital visibility is a formidable tool that can profoundly shape your company’s reputation. By embracing the spotlight with sincerity and strategy, your CEO not only bolsters your company’s image but also sets a benchmark for future leaders.

In this rapidly evolving digital landscape, those at the helm who can navigate with visibility and integrity are the ones who will steer their companies to new heights of success and influence.

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