How Local Business Owners Can Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

For most small business owners, the biggest problem they face is how to get new customers.  Traditional lead acquisition strategies like direct mail, radio spots, print ads and the like can be quite expensive – way outside the budget of many small local businesses.

So the challenge for the business owner on a budget is, “How can we get lots of new customers without spending a fortune on advertising?”

Affiliate Marketing is a great answer to that question. To do it, all you need is a clear idea of who your best customer is – and then another business owner in your area who sells a totally different product to that same customer.  Then the two of you arrange to share your customers with each other.

I experienced a great example of Affiliate Marketing recently when I attended a small promotional event put on by Yosef Caisson of Kiehl’s Neiman-Marcus and Andrea Madeo of Kiva.

Affiliate Marketing in action

I’ve been a customer of Yosef’s for a long time – I love the Kiehl’s skin care products and Yosef’s product knowledge and customer service keeps me coming back to him every time.  So when he invited me to come down to the Kiehl’s store to receive a mini-massage and mini-facial as part of a special promotion, I was happy to do it.

And now I have a new resource for getting massages, Andrea.  She did a great job in the mini-massage she gave me, plus when she handed me her business card I saw that there was also a 10% discount coupon for my first visit.

In this short 4-minute audio interview, Andrea and Yosef explain how easy it was to put together this promotional event, and how it’s working for both of them in their business.

Putting Affiliate Marketing into Overdrive

If you’re going to try putting on a small cross-promotional event like this, you want to be sure it’s profitable for you, right?  Here are a few suggestions for how to ensure success at your first Affiliate Marketing promotion:

Track Your Leads.  The most important thing to do, when it comes to determining whether any marketing effort is a success or not is to measure your results.

  • Collect contact information from everybody who attends your promotional event.  In Yosef and Andrea’s case, their event was by-appointment to existing customers only – so all they had to do was jot down the names of who attended.
  • If you’re hoping to attract walk-by traffic, you’ll want to have a reason for people to give you their contact info.  Sometime it’s enough to simply say, “Hi, we’d love to give you our free gift today.  Just jot down your name and email here.”  But if somebody says, “Are you gonna send me stuff afterwards?” you need to be prepared to tell them what you’re going to send them, and why it’s a benefit to them to receive it.
  • Be sure to ask future customers how they heard about you.  In Yosef and Andrea’s case, almost everyone who attended the event was a customer of Yosef’s.  So if they call Andrea a few weeks or a few months from now, she needs to know they came from this event!  A great habit to get into is to always ask every new customer, “So how did you hear about us?” And since a lot of people won’t remember, be prepared to say, “Was it by any chance that mini-massage event I did at Kiehl’s?”

Close sales during the event  The thing that most business owners have the hardest time with is actually asking people to buy something.  But you’ve got to remember – prospective customers WANT to buy from you!  All you need to do is make it easy.

I would love for both Yosef and Andrea to have been a little bit more aggressive with making sales during this event.  Andrea should have had her appointment book out, asking me to book my first massage right away.  Yosef should have had a little display set up featuring his most popular product – ideally, at a discount.

This is such a meaty topic, I’m going to write about it in a future blog post – knowing your numbers so that you know how much you can afford to give away or discount at the beginning in order to get a new customer.

But until that blog post is written, here are two others you might enjoy:

Savvy Marketing From an Unlikely Source: An Alderman Using Affiliate Marketing

Does Your Booth Speak to Your Ideal Customer’s Personality Type?

And as always, if you’d like to get my help setting up or improving a marketing campaign for your business, email my personal assistant.  Her email is


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