Affiliate Marketing 101

In the sewing world, we see this all over the place. But, unless you’re pretty involved in blogging, testing or promoting/influencing – there’s a good chance you don’t really know what it all means or how it works. Well, since House of Curves is going to be using some affiliate links on this website we figured it’s a good idea to give you the run down.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Basically, affiliate marketing is a mutually beneficial system. The pattern designer or fabric shop provides a blogger/promoter with a specific tracking link. This allows them to see when someone has clicked on it and to “assign” any purchases made. The blogger/promoter will use that link in their posts, when recommending a product, etc. Any purchases made through someone using their link will earn the blogger/promoter a commission.

In the sewing world, many companies don’t spend a ton of money on advertising. It’s not like you’re going to come across many print ads or ads on Google. Some of them may have email newsletters and most have Groups on Facebook. Most marketing is kind of reserved to those Facebook Groups/Pages, Instagram and then other bloggers websites or promoters social accounts. Posting to their own social sites is “free” for them in the sense that they’re not paying to post. Obviously it takes time, and time is money. A great way for you to think of affiliate marketing is that bloggers/promoters are being paid for advertising.

How Much Are You Making?

How much an affiliate makes depends on the program that was set up by the the store. They’re all percentage based, but that may range from 10% to 30%, with most being in the lower end . This means that for most of your pattern purchases, an affiliate is making around $1. On a $25 fabric purchase, they may make up to $3.75. Let’s say you spend $150 on custom fabric because a sewist made something you fell in love with. They might make up to $45 if you used their link.

When an affiliate logs into their account, they can’t see who or what has been purchased. They usually will be able to see how many referrals or clicks they’ve gotten or how many orders were made. They could see what the orders’ total and how much their payment is. Most won’t show you which link it was from, making it hard to know what generated more interest. Sometimes, an old blog post may generate a sale because someone searched for a pattern review and stumbled across your blog.

What Are The Rules?

There are FTC guidelines on the use of affiliate links; what you can and can’t do and how you have to disclose. They change sometimes, so it’s best to make sure you’re up to date if you’re using them. In general: you are endorsing a product and have to be honest and not misleading. You cannot make claims that the marketer couldn’t legally make. You have to let your readers know that you are affiliated and have some sort of relationship with the company. This is why you’ll see people posting #aff, #affiliate or such with their link. This goes for anywhere you may post, not just a blog but in Facebook groups or Instagram, etc.

In the simplest, using a sewists’ affiliate link doesn’t cost you anything. You will be spending the same amount as you would buying the product anyway. Using their link can provide a small amount of money to the sewist, which can help offset the costs they put out in advertising. It can show that their work is appreciated. It can help them continue to make things that inspire you. In House of Curves’ case it can help offset website hosting costs. For the company, it’s an advertising & marketing cost – that can be deducted from their taxes as a business expense.

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1 Comment

  1. Very good post. I am experiencing some of these issues as well..

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