This is the big dream of so many yoga teachers...we want companies to love us so much that they give us their products to use or even better, to wear. THIS, is when we’ve made it, amiright?
While I think affiliate marketing is an incredible tool for many companies, I want to talk to you a little bit about the reality of this. Is it awesome? Yes. Do I hope companies send me yoga pants to try out one day. Ab-so-freaking-lutely!
But, I have had many yoga teachers talk to me about this and set their sites on this alone. And let me tell you what happens. They work so dang hard on growing their Instagram followers that they aren’t true to themselves and end up with an audience that really isn’t where their passion is. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say Mary is focused on prenatal yoga and she loves it. This is where her passion is and that is the big dream for her - to have her classes filled with pregnant women that she can help during that time in their lives. And the way she thinks this will happen is through affiliate marketing and so she sets her eyes on the 10,000 follower mark. She works tirelessly on connecting with new followers by engaging with all kinds of brands and locations and she has done a great job. Her following is growing and she is so happy. She hits the 10,000 mark and like clockwork, the companies start reaching out to her. She is thrilled! But then, after the companies start asking about who her followers are, she realizes that (1) she has been growing her following outside her local area but she is only teaching classes locally and (2) her following is mainly males or young females.
What this means in affiliate marketing world:
She has the followers to support affiliate marketing but based on her followers, she is likely not going to gain company support for her dream student - the pregnant woman. Instead she is going to have companies that want to reach a male or young female audience. While this is not a bad thing, it’s not the best scenario for Mary as she will continue to gain more followers but it will be helping other companies, not her own dream.
The truth: You don’t need a big audience, you need an engaged one.
Yes, companies will seek you out if you have a large audience. And yes, it’s easier to get affiliate marketing deals if you have a big audience (meaning over 10,000 followers). However, the truth actually is that you don’t need a big audience to get an affiliate deal, you need an engaged one. If your followers are engaging with your content on a regular basis, meaning that they like and more importantly, comment on your posts and stories, you are in good shape! Engagement matters more to the Instagram algorithm than numbers do. This is GREAT news for the small but mighty accounts!! Plus, it’s much easier to focus on engaging with your dream student on a small scale than it is to try and attract a whole bunch of new people every day. You just can’t please everyone.
Affiliate marketing is not a cure-all marketing strategy.
We are all guilty of wanting a magic strategy to get more of an audience in whatever form we desire. Whether it be more Instagram followers or more butts on mats in classes, we all want something to happen quickly. It’s our nature in today’s “microwave” society. But unfortunately, affiliate marketing isn’t a one-stop-shop for marketing so setting your sight only on this isn’t a great idea. Think of it as another tool in your marketing tool belt, just like you do with any other pose in a sequence. The more you know about how poses can work together to achieve a specific goal, the better your class will be and the more educated you are as a teacher. Same with marketing, you need to know affiliate marketing can work with other tools. And it definitely can!
What to do when affiliate marketing comes your way?
C-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e good times, come on! Celebrate! That’s right girl, when you have played the slow and steady game of growing your followers and engaging with them so that companies want to work with you, you celebrate! You tell a friend who will be excited with you and you do the dang thing. Whether it’s a dance party or a cocktail, you do it! Then, you evaluate if the company who is reaching out to you is right for your audience. Remember, you worked hard to get every one of those followers or email addresses, so you need to protect them like you would your BFF’s. Ask yourself: ‘would I brag about this to my friends, even if the company didn’t ask me to?’ and then decide if it’s a right fit for you. If you haven’t tried the product yet, ask them to send one to you and let you try it before committing. And on that note - if the company reaches out to you and asks you to endorse anything of theirs and they don’t offer it for free, please know that this is a sales tactic and you should turn it down. You can definitely use their discount code if you want but just know it’s a sales tactic and they don’t actually care about your audience.
Then, if you have tried the product and truly like it, then it’s easy to share the product with your audience because it’s genuine. No awkward sales at all. It’s simply sharing information with your friends just like you would recommend a restaurant.
Real-life Example: HidrateSpark
This topic is top-of-mind for me at the moment not only because I talk with yoga teachers about this often but because I was reached out to recently by a company. And at the time of this recording, when this happened I have just over 500 followers on Instagram. Super tiny audience! But what this company did was looked for small, targeted, niche audiences that are engaged and I happened to be one of them. It’s a new company and I hadn’t ever heard of them before so I was, admittedly, a little skeptical. But since they talked about my audience (aka: they had done their homework on me and my audience), they offered to give me the product for free to test it, and they had great customer service, I decided to give it a try. Enter the HidrateSpark Smart Water Bottle...
And let me tell you girl, I’m impressed! The product is a smart water bottle and it’s a freakin’ genius I tell you. So cool! The water bottle actually measures how much you drink and it syncs with your phone so you can always know where you are in regards to water you’re drinking. PLUS, and this is the super cool part, it tells you when you need to drink more water. And not just by pushing a notification to your phone (although it does do that if you turn it on) but by blinking! Holy moly the thing lights up. It’s a visual reminder that you need to drink water. It’s amazing!
I was sold after just one day of use and now I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and I’m hooked. It’s a GREAT quality product, you can put it in the dishwasher so it’s easy to clean and it looks awesome. I have the white option but they said the minute they get the pink one in order I can get that one too! Yay!
I will admit that it’s not a cheap water bottle but to you who was like me and thought “that’s kind of a lot for a water bottle”, I will ask you this question:
Would you pay $1 a week to ensure the fact that you still hydrated all year? What about for your husband? Or your kids?
When I looked at it like that and thought about how much I actually use my water bottle (every day of the year), it was a much easier price to handle.
**Update: the affiliate program for HidrateSpark has ended. Unfortunately I don't have a coupon code for you any longer but I still highly recommend this bottle and use it every day! You can even get them at Target now! **
Go get hydrated, friend!