Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Resume Writers

I get a lot of questions from resume writers about how to avoid the "Time for Dollars" Trap -- that is, how to unlink your income from billable hours. Affiliate marketing is one way to start this journey.

You may be doing affiliate marketing without even knowing it. For example, if you write a resume and refer your client to Bob Bronstein at Profile Research to research employers and distribute the resume and cover letter, you’re engaging in affiliate marketing. If your client mentions that you referred them to Bob, he will send you a check for a percentage of the order. That’s affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a revenue sharing opportunity between two companies. Business one (the “advertiser”) pays business two, the “publisher” (that’s you) for sending new customers to them. They may pay you for “traffic” — which is visits to your site; they may pay you for “leads” — which are qualified customer names who may end up purchasing their products or services; or they may only pay for sales, or when a purchase is actually made.

You can choose to be an affiliate for an individual company (on their website, look at the very bottom of the page and you might find a link for “Affiliates”) or join an affiliate network. Affiliate networks connect advertisers with publishers. Companies that offer their affiliate programs through networks often are making a significant commitment to their affiliate program, because they’re paying anywhere from $500 to $6000 or more to be a part of that affiliate network. Advertisers that also have a dedicated individual to serve as their affiliate relationship manager are also more committed to the success of their affiliate program — which means more support for you.

You can also work with individual providers. Profile Research is an example of this. Bob tracks the business you refer to him without the use of an affiliate network, and without a formal affiliate program. If you are a resume writer, you might also set up this type of relationship with a career coach, if you don’t offer career coaching yourself. The client mentions they were referred by you, and the career coach might pay you a flat fee or percentage of the client’s order. The same might be true if you are a career coach who refers to a resume writer. (If you're interested in pursuing this type of informal relationship, I suggest the "Developing Strategic Alliances and Partnerships with Recruiters" Special Report, which also covers developing referral relationships with other third parties, including career coaches.)

There is also a third type of affiliate program. I mentioned the terms “advertiser” and “publisher” to describe the companies. The placement of ads on your online content is also a type of affiliate marketing. The most common of these relationships is with Google’s AdSense program. Any business can purchase ads through Google’s AdWords program. If your website or blog matches the demographics of the customer the advertiser is looking to reach, his or her ads will appear on your content, and you’ll get paid for people who look at the ad … and you’ll get paid more when they click on the ad.

P.S. One of my most popular blog posts was an interview I conducted with Steve Shellist with ResumeSpider.com on affiliate marketing for resume writers. Check it out here.


  1. I am starting a website and I need a little advice on which Affiliate Network to go with. I need mainly banner advertisements that will have a decent payout for 1000 impressions. Also, I need to be able to categorize my ads because I will need ads that are geared towards music and entertainment. Also, I need video advertisements to run before videos on my site. Any help in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

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