Tagged business

Influencer Marketing Meets Affiliate Marketing – My Alt Summit Presentation

Today I’m at Alt Summit! In addition to hearing Martha Stewart and all of the other awesome presenters, I’m looking forward to my talk which is A Second Look at Affiliate Marketing.

Now, while it might not SOUND like the most exciting topic on the Alt Summit schedule I promise it’s worth your time to check it out, especially if:

  • You’ve tried an affiliate program before and had less-than-awesome results
  • You feel like affiliate marketing is spammy (when done incorrectly it sure can be)
  • You’re interested in exploring new revenue streams for your blog

Influencer Marketing Meets Affiliate Marketing

Here’s what’s happening – the affiliate programs of old were clunky to use, difficult to earn meaningful revenue from and exploited by scammy coupon and deal sites. However they were great for providing data and analytics that was useful for both publishers and advertisers. More recently sponsored content became popular where companies paid bloggers and publishers to create content on their behalf. The style varies – sometimes it’s all about the product, other times the product is a scant mention at the end of the post. This works well for some campaigns, but in general it’s more limited in scope (campaigns are negotiated individually rather than the self-serve nature of affiliate programs) and it’s harder to track the result.

The new generation influencer affiliate marketing programs combine the best parts of each of these strategies to create something that works for advertisers, publishers and readers. Here are the hallmarks:

  • Selective – The best networks are open only to approved members whose are creating original, high-quality content.
  • Vertically-focused – Influencer-driven affiliate marketing networks are created around a specific area of interest. This allows them to build tools and resources that designed especially for the publishers in that group. The one-size-fits-all approach of giant affiliate networks (CJ, ShareASale) no longer… fits.
  • Publisher-friendly  – The affiliate experience is built around the publisher, not the advertiser. Affiliate marketing programs need to offer tools, resources and other opportunities that help publishers maximize their efforts and earnings.
  • Technology-driven – While plain HTML links are still a mainstay, modern affiliate programs offer much more including embeddable and customizable blog widgets, cross-platform integration with social media networks and even their own apps.
  • Data-hungry – In addition to baseline metrics like clicks and purchases, publishers want to be able to track impressions, break down results by channel and more. The new generation of affiliate networks provide the analytics dashboards that publishers need to succeed.
  • Network-effects – By combining influencer and affiliate marketing approaches top networks are able to use the data for both individual publishers and the industry at large to offer their members paid content campaigns and other opportunities in addition to the mostly self-serve nature of affiliate revenue.

Affiliate Marketing Basics

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s the handout from my Alt session!

Thoughts/questions/comments? I’d love to hear them.

What People Are Saying About Whimseybox Influencer


We’re been having a lot of fun at Whimseybox lately building our Influencer referral program for DIY+craft bloggers. I’ve talked about it quite a bit here and for me it’s kind of personal because what we’re building now is exactly the kind of tools and program that I’ve wanted to exist since I started this blog. As with any projects, creative or business or otherwise, sometimes the progress feels slow and other times the wind is at your back and things start happening quickly. Right now the wind is at our back…

Here’s what bloggers have been telling us…

“This is a GREAT idea- thank you for the invitation. I’ve had major frustrations with the affiliate link programs because they weren’t really applicable for my “sewing specific” blog. I’ve been wondering/waiting for when someone would come out with the something for us crafty people!”

“Thank you so much, I am excited to work with you! Whimseybox looks like a great program and I can’t wait to get started.”

“Wow, great idea! I just signed up and am looking forward to working with you.”

“I’ve registered and read up on the website. I’m totally impressed at the idea of it all, it’s genius! I really appreciated the user friendliness of the site. Thanks for reaching out to me, I’m excited for the next step!”

“I actually just recently heard from another blogger about this program and it sounds SO cool!!  I am absolutely interested in joining as an influencer!”

“I love the Whimseybox Influencer concept. I’m excited to start using it!”

“Um, this is AMAZING and I am completely flattered you asked! This is such a good idea, I know my readers are always asking where I get my supplies and a lot of times I honestly can’t remember. It is so nice to just direct them to you guys and I am happy to do so :)”

“I checked out the video at the link you sent and this seems like a great idea! I used to try to link materials lists with Amazon Affiliate links, but truthfully it was somewhat annoying and I just let it drop off. Whimseybox Influencer seems like it will be an easier process and possibly more rewarding (and I’m a fan of the Whimseybox site and projects, so I’d be stoked to partner with you).”

“Ok I was SO ready to be like, sorry, can’t do one more thing, but I thought, at least watch the video! HAHA SOLD!”

“Thanks so much for reaching out! I just watched the video and these seems like a fantastic program. I love that it’s geared toward DIY+craft blogs! I’m signing up right now (woohoo!)”

If you’re a DIY/craft blogger or you know someone who might be interested check out whimseybox.com/influencer. We’d love to have you join us!


Image above by EBLTZ on Society6.

DIY Biz: The Fine Art of Negotiation

(Turkey, 2009. “How much are these earring and I am supposed to negotiate? Maybe I’ll ask the woman in black what she thinks. Oh never mind, I don’t need them anyway.”)

If you came for tips, I’ll have to direct you to one of these books or something. But if you’re here for entertainment, read on…

A recent email conversation:

Me: I’m interested in your product. What is the price for X quantity?

Them: See our prices (here). For that quantity we will discount them 30%.

Me: Thanks for the information. I have quote for similar products at a 40% discount, but I do like your designs. Can you match this price?

Them: We can offer you a 25% discount on our prices! See them (here).

Me: ……?

Me: Thanks for your response. However I think we have a misunderstanding. You offered me a 30% discount initially and I asked if you could do a 40% discount.Then you offered me a 25%. I think we are getting farther apart.

Them: Ok, 30% discount. Thank you!

Me: …..?

Recently my husband and I were talking about the art of negotiation. He said he used to think of it as almost predetermined – you start in one place, I start in another and eventually we’ll end up somewhere in the middle. But recently we’ve learned through experience more and more that there’s so much more to it. Neither of us have mastered it (and he negotiates basically full-time!) but we’re getting wiser. It really is an art.

I’m reluctant to give anything that could be construed as advice (see example above) but I have learned to be less emotional, more persistent and to look at the big picture rather than focusing on one number or term. I can’t say it’s my favorite thing to do right now, but I do love learning new things so I appreciate the challenge.

Have you read this infamous Ask Culture vs. Guess Culture post? I’m totally Guess Culture (Minnesota Nice and all) which is probably not so great for negotiating. Though perhaps my delicate feelers are an advantage? I don’t know, but last summer I took the Hogan Assessment for a project and found out that my Interpersonal Sensitivity is super high (Reflects tact and perceptiveness. High scorers seem friendly, warm, and popular. Low scorers seem independent, frank, and direct.) which totally jives. In my world tact > direct, for better or worse.

Now, who wants to go to the flea market and practice this weekend? Any tips? Smile

PS – Just remembered another tidbit from that Turkey trip. We bought two beach towels that trip for something ridiculous like $30 (total, but still…) because we really needed them. The next day we used them and the dye bled all over our clothes.