Affiliate Marketing for Artists: 9 Tips, Process and 40+ Programs

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9 tips Affiliate marketing for Artists, 3 Affiliate Networks, and 40+ Artist Affiliate Programs to Joins

As an artist and entrepreneur, the longevity of your art business success rests upon your ability to consistently generate revenue month after month. 

This is why relying upon just one revenue stream (like selling art) or one class can sometimes be quite dangerous (2020 is proof of that). Just like multiple legs create stability for a chair, so too do multiple revenue streams create stability for your art business and desired lifestyle.

And one of the most effective and easiest ways to create additional income streams online is through the use of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is something you should be using right now to leverage both your time, income and opportunities. 

In this article, I'm going to cover:

  • What is affiliate marketing?
  • 9 Tips to boost your affiliate marketing with Authentic ways Artists can use affiliate marketing to gain income.
  • Process of Becoming an Affiliate Tips and Tricks
  • 3 Affiliate Marketing Networks to Join (for FREE), which will give you access to 1000s of potential affiliates
    • And 40+ Affiliate Marketing Programs ideal for artists

What Is Affiliate Marketing

Many businesses are first introduced to affiliate marketing because they want to create passive income. By simply promoting products or services to their lists, these marketers get a commission for any sale which gets produced. It’s that straightforward.

And if it’s an ongoing monthly service, these marketers will get paid every single month!

Sounds good, right?

Affiliate Marketing Tips For Artists

#1: Be Authentic

Being authentic is what sets apart many of the business owners who experience the greatest success with affiliate marketing. Your subscribers and customers want to know your honest opinion. They want to know the tools and services you’re using to build your business.

So share what you truly like, dislike, and what’s currently working for you. By focusing on being authentic, your affiliate marketing becomes more like you telling a friend to go see a movie. When it becomes more about serving your audience than it is about getting a commission, your affiliate efforts will instantly take off. 

Ways to be authentic:  

  • Showcase your favorite way of framing your pieces and why. 
  • Talk about your favorite structure to paint on, to print on etc.
  • Talk about what products you use to safely ship your pieces. 
  • Talk about the equipment you use for digital art (favorite digital pen, favorite computer accessories - etc).  

These are all things that other artists and your patrons will read about.

#2: Create Valuable Content

One great way to get started or amplify your affiliate marketing is by creating valuable content!

By creating walkthroughs, guides, YouTube tutorials, or other content helping people better understand how YOU use in your creation process, you’ll more effectively generate new opt-ins, build trust, and ultimately create affiliate sales.

The strategy here is to focus on showing your people an in-depth process of how you’re currently using the specific product or service. The old phrase “show me don’t tell me” is one that should be put to use in the content you create.

Ways to be authentic:  

  • Do a video demonstration of how smooth colored pencils work that you purchased from Blick Art Materials.  Or a new blending stump or a gorgeous color that just pops on your watercolor paper!  
  • Show the various apertures on your camera and the results that happened when you played with them.  This is not only neat for budding artists but also cool for your patrons to see how much experience and care you put into your work!

#3: Don’t Stop!

Remember, just like products, services, and software are constantly changing, so too can the affiliate content you create! You want to consistently update and evaluate if the product you’re promoting is still a good fit for your audience AND You! 

Remember the #1 Rule - be authentic. If you don't use the product anymore, then you don't have to talk about it!  

Ways to be authentic: 

  • When you buy new art supplies, do a little show and tell.  Show us what you got and tell us what you plan to do with the tools of creation!  TRUST me, all of us artists geek out on new art supplies.  
  • Follow up the show and tell with what you actually made from the tools!  

#4: Promote The Product As If It’s Your Own

By following this one tip you’ll instantly create engaging content because guess what - you probably actually DO own and USE the product/service!  

The easiest way to promote the product is to talk to your patrons/audience like they are in the room and you are excited to share - remember #1 rule - be authentic!  

By giving this extra effort, enthusiasm, and level of detail to your affiliate marketing, you’ll be more likely to have your tribe connect with it.  Affiliate marketing is about promoting a product you truly love to people who could actually benefit from it. 

#5: Choose One Channel And Master It 

Like everything, the more times you do one thing, the better you get at it! Remember my article about "SMART Art Goals": I love the soccer analogy: it is far more effective to kick a single ball 6 times than it is to kick 6 different balls down towards the goal. 

Do not attempt to promote too many products at once or use too many channels to carry your message. While this still can generate sales, you'll actually work harder for less of a reward.

It might seem counterintuitive, but by “doing less” you’ll actually generate more interest, subscribers, and sales. Then add in new avenues and watch as everything continues to take off.

Ways to be authentic: 

  • Think of 3 ways you can showcase the product.  For example: 
    • Ask a question: Have do you like to frame your artwork: DYI or frame shop?  
    • Post an image with a caption: check out the before and after framing job!  A frame really just sets off my artwork!!!
    • Video: Describe why you use this type of frame and what you've found to be the best way to frame it. 

#6: Build With The Long Term In Mind

As you’re creating your promotional content and campaigns, you want to build with the long term in mind. You want to approach your affiliate marketing material as evergreen content, meaning that it can continue to work (unchanged) month after month - like an evergreen tree.

Ways to be authentic: 

  • Create a blog post or video showcasing your art supplies
  • Create a blog post or video showcasing how you frame your art
  • Create a blog post or video showcasing you putting up your tent and walls at an art show.
  • The possibilities are endless!!!  Think about what you wanted to know and BEFORE you bought the product.

Build with the long term in mind and continually optimize your marketing so that not only does your monthly affiliate income remain steady, but actually grows!

#7: Disclose Affiliation

The FTC requires that you disclose your affiliates.  Anytime you’re promoting an affiliate product or service you want to always disclose the fact that you’ll be receiving some type of commission from that transaction. While this is actually a great way to build trust and hide nothing from your prospects, it’s also required by law!

You can use Google to find different snippets of affiliate disclosure copy which you can use in your own efforts. 

Ways to be authentic: 

When I write about affiliate products that I use, I generally include a statement like: 

  • Please note: this post contains affiliate links with X,Y,Z, which means if you click on the link and purchase a product then I receive a commission fee.  This is my compensation for providing you valuable information and I thank you!
  • I'll also add right next to the link the words "(affiliate link)"

The point is, be transparent, compliant with FTC rules and trustworthy. 

#8: Share Your Transformation Story

Stories are one of the most effective and persuasive ways to share your message and a product or service. And when it comes to affiliate marketing there’s no better way to communicate to your prospects how this specific product or service transformed your art and art business than by using a story.

In fact, it’s the entire reason I created the #positivepainter affiliate program. The Positive Painters Online Artist Community wants to provide our artists an opportunity to share their own Positive Painter success stories. Not only does it create a deeper bond between the artists, but it also allows those who are not yet members to get a sense of what’s possible on our platform.

So in your own affiliate efforts be sure to always include stories about how whatever it is you’re promoting impacted your art and your art business. Go deeper than just features and benefits. Reveal what life was like before you started using it, and what it looks like now.

By sharing these kinds of stories you’ll better connect and convert more of them to trusted customers.

Ways to be authentic: 

  • Tell your story of how, what and why you use the product or service.  

#9: Create A Mini-Course On The Product!

If you are an artist who wants to teach, then a wonderful strategy to apply is to create a walkthrough video, a mini-course that provides the ins and outs of the product you’re promoting and use. And oftentimes, “the more you tell the more you sell”.

Ways to be authentic: 

  • For art instruction, include a link to all the products that you use and recommend for the workshop, each one with an affiliate link.  

#9: Clear Call To Actions

This is our last tip for a reason. In all of your affiliate promotions, everything should lead to a crystal clear call to action. This is the purpose of all the work you’ve done up until this point. So make sure the call to action is clear, repeated, and easy to see.

All of your affiliate marketing should contain some sort of clearly defined call to action. 

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to generate additional income online. Many times it’s completely passive as well! 

 

Process of Becoming an Affiliate

Now, before you go hog-wild on becoming an affiliate to every company out there, take it from me, go slow!  It is better to do it right to ensure you have a good working relationship with your affiliate. 

Affiliate process tips:  

  1. Apply: Each company requires you to apply.  It's like anything else, you may get rejected or you may not.  But you never know unless you try. 
  2. VERY IMPORTANT: Actually read their terms and conditions!  Some companies want you to exclusively market their company, so be sure to read the Terms and Conditions. 
  3. VERY IMPORTANT:  Keep a spreadsheet of what you've applied to, when you applied to them, and the status of the application, the commission rate, the payout schedule, if they have exclusivity clauses, and when you last said something about the company/products. 
  4. VERY IMPORTANT: Learn how the affiliate works.  Each affiliate has different products and processes to get a link to share. Some have widgets, some have links and affiliate networks have a lot more tools you can use.  
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: Take your time and treat the relationship well, you are an affiliate because you love the product/service.  If it feels like a check box or another 'to do' list item, I guarantee you will not do a good job and you will become disgruntled for not earning income with them. 

Affiliate Networks and Artist Affiliate Programs

I work with three affiliate networks.  According to Wikipedia

"An affiliate network acts as an intermediary between publishers (affiliates) and merchant affiliate programs. It allows website publishers to more easily find and participate in affiliate programs which are suitable for their website (and thus generate income from those programs), and allows websites offering affiliate programs (typically online merchants) to reach a larger audience by promoting their affiliate programs to all of the publishers participating in the affiliate network."

These are companies are CJ Affiliate, ShareASale (acquired by Awin) and Awin.  Here is some information on these three companies and their fabulousness!  

CJ Affiliate is "the largest and most established affiliate marketing network designed to help you achieve intelligent, scalable, and sustainable growth. " 

Within CJ Affiliate's network, I have found a large number of companies you can become an affiliate for.  The following companies are within CJ's network and are all visual art related: 

  • Blick Art Supplies
  • Utrecht
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Michaels 
  • Saatchi Art
  • Society6
  • MisterArt
  • Fabric.com
  • Epson
  • CanvasWorld
  • CanvasPeople
  • Paper Source
  • Vistaprint
  • AND thousands more in all different sectors including photography, prints, music, video and more

Awin.com acquired ShareASale and, like CJ Affiliate, is also an affiliate network.  Within this system, there are a large number of companies you can become an affiliate for, such as: 

  • Etsy
  • Fivver.com
  • artfinder.com
  • AND thousands more in all different sectors

ShareASale.com was acquired by Awin, however, as of this writing in June of 2021, their networks are still separate websites.  I've found the following as part of ShareASale that are very beneficial for us fellow artists: 

  • Tailwind
  • CreativeLive
  • Fine Art America
  • ImageKind
  • Arteza Art Supplies
  • Blick Art Materials
  • Craftsy.com
  • LeisureArts.com 
  • Cricut
  • PicMonkey
  • Fire Mountain Gems
  • CreateForLess
  • C&T Publishing
  • Knit Picks
  • Chameleon Pens
  • Jesse James Beads
  • KnitCrate 
  • Consumer Crafts 
  • Tiny Prints
  • Minted 
  • and thousands more!!!  

In addition to affiliate networks, you can go to individual companies to become affiliates.  The following, in no particular order, is a list of companies that I'm aware of that have affiliate programs: 

If you don't see one that you use in the list, no worries!  Consider what tools you use for your art, art business that your patrons and fellow artists might want to know about, and go straight to the company!  I find it helpful to search for terms like 'Company Name' Affiliate Program or 'Company Name' Brand Ambassador.  Then apply.  

Conclusion

If you get anything from this article I hope you remember the following: 

  1. Go slow and keep track of your affiliate relationships
  2. Create Evergreen, authentic content about the products and services you use. 
  3.  BE AUTHENTIC! - I can't stress this enough...!
  4. Follow FTC Guidelines about disclosing Affiliate Associations
    And last but not least :) 
  5. JOIN THE POSITIVE PAINTERS AFFILIATE PROGRAM AND EARN 30% COMMISSION.   Click here to learn more!

 

NEVER STARVE.  YOU CAN THRIVE!

Join the Online Artist Community that balances Art Education, Art Business and Artist Community!

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