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Best practices for promoting your affiliate links

Affiliate marketing isn’t just passive income. As in, you can’t sign up for an affiliate account and watch the money roll in from your private yacht (if only). The reality is that there’s some work involved to build audience and trust.

The Fathom Analytics affiliate program is open to everyone (customer or not) and pays out 25% recurring commissions.

That means, for every customer you refer to us, you’ll get a quarter of what they pay us monthly (as long as they’re a customer).

If you’re not already an affiliate, you can join now (it takes less than 5 minutes to sign up).

When you pair a generous commission with our 90% conversion rate from free trial to paid account and our ridiculously low 2% churn rate, you start to see why so many people take advantage of our affiliate program.

What is affiliate marketing?

If you aren’t sure what affiliate marketing is or how it works, let’s start with a quick explainer:

Unlike starting a business or selling your own products, taking advantage of an affiliate program requires no investment or overhead. All you need to do is talk about a product (like Fathom) that you love and enjoy using.

Affiliate marketing is the process where you earn a commission for promoting someone else’s products or services. The commission is tied to a unique URL the affiliate uses, so any time a person signs up for a product or service using that unique URL, the affiliate receives payment.

Here’s the step-by-step process of affiliate marketing:

Here’s how affiliate marketing works for your Fathom Analytics affiliate account:

  1. You sign-up for an affiliate account, which takes a few minutes.
  2. We then provide you with a unique URL, like https://usefathom.com/ref/IL6ET3.
  3. You share that unique URL, and people click it.
  4. We track how many clicks your URL gets (in a privacy-focused way, of course) and if those clicks turn into paid account sign-ups.
  5. We then attribute the new customer subscription to you.
  6. You get paid! And then you get paid every month that customer is a customer of Fathom.

It’s what’s known as a “win-win.” Actually... it’s a “win-win-win” in this case.

Why three wins? Well, you (the affiliate) win because you get 25% of payments from anyone you bring to us forever. It’s a win for the customer you bring us because they get GDPR-compliant, no cookie notice required, and simple to use website analytics software. And finally, we (Fathom Analytics) win because we get customers, which means fewer people using Google Analytics and Big Tech spyware on their website.

How not to affiliate market

Affiliate marketing isn’t just passive income. As in, you can’t sign up for an affiliate account and watch the money roll in from your private yacht (if only).

The reality is that there’s some work involved to build audience and trust.

To get clicks on your affiliate URL, you need traffic, subscribers or people who consume your content online. And then, they need to trust you and take you for your work and that what you’re promoting is worth a click and worth signing up for an account.

So affiliate marketing won’t work very well if:

  1. You have no connection to what you’re promoting (i.e. you’re a farmer who vlogs about organic agriculture but one time promotes a link to a privacy-first analytics company without any context).
  2. You’ve not got an audience (i.e. anyone to click on your link).
  3. The people who consume your content don’t trust that you’re promoting worth paying for (i.e. you just stick your affiliate link in a newsletter with zero explanation, story or reasons why).

If those three things are why affiliate marketing doesn’t typically work, let’s look at how you can successfully do affiliate marketing to generate that win-win-win.

Best practice #1: Tell stories or write a product review on your blog

Blogging is one of the best ways to generate revenue from your affiliate URL. That’s because blogs tend to be the most consumed part of a website. After all, they’re often added/updated and shared on social media. Think about it, you're reading a blog post right now! 😳

Writing a blog post with a carefully placed affiliate link (or two) can generate decent traffic to your Fathom Analytics unique URL, but only if the blog post includes one of the following three key things:

  1. Tell your Fathom Analytics story. Why did you choose Fathom? What key features were you looking for that Fathom had? What had you heard from others about our software? Get personal, and really get into why you’re using Fathom and why you think others should use Fathom too.
  2. Review Fathom Analytics. Another great way to provide context is to write a product review of Fathom. You can talk about what Fathom is, why you like using it, what features you use the most, and even what you hope to see in the future of the product.
  3. Write a tutorial for Fathom Analytics. If you use Fathom with a specific piece of software (like a programming language or framework, or even a content management system), you can write up exactly how to add our embed script to that software you’re connecting it to. That way, if folks online search for “How to use Fathom Analytics with [Next.JS/Gatsby/Discus]” because they are thinking about using our product but don’t know how to set it up, they may click over to your blog and read the tutorial (generating traffic for your site).

Here are just a few examples of folks who’ve written blog posts about Fathom Analytics:

Best practice #2: Have a dedicated page or global link in your footer

Another great way to use your own site to generate income from your affiliate URL is to create either a dedicated page for the products you use and/or add a link to the footer of your website, proudly promoting that you don’t use Big Tech to spy on your visitors.

Resource pages are pretty popular, especially among developers. These showcase the tools, software and products a person uses to make their website work well for them. Kent Dodds has a great example of a resources page: kentcdodds.com/uses. Another example is Femke’s “My Stack” page: femke.design/stack.

Another way to promote your affiliate link is a dedicated link in the footer on all pages on your site. That can be as simple as saying something like “Fathom Analytics” or signalling that you protect privacy, like “Privacy-respecting analytics by Fathom” or “Just simple privacy-focused analytics".

Best practice #3: Share occasionally on social media

We aren’t a pushy company, so there’s no need to be pushy promoting your affiliate link on social (i.e. ten times a day). It’s ineffective, doesn’t build an audience or any trust, and doesn’t serve anyone (not even you).

Instead, think about what you like seeing on social: compelling stories, breaking news from your industry, cat videos (obviously), and the occasional discount for something useful.

Graphics can also help with social media promotion, which is why all affiliates get access to custom-designed sharing graphics (from the settings page when you’re logged into your affiliate account).

Affiliate graphics Like this one ⬆

Social media promotion isn’t just about sharing links (that tends not to get clicks). Like writing blog posts, social media posts that get the most engagement have a compelling story and a reason why you’re suggesting what you’re suggesting.

Finally, it’s ok to mention that if someone clicks your link, they’ll get a $10 credit on their first invoice. Fathom Analytics doesn’t even have discounts, coupon codes, or run sales… ever. So $10 credit to each new customer you refer is the best deal around.

Here are just a few examples of Tweets that use our affiliate program:

Best practice #4: Mention on your podcast

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need sponsors to make money from your podcast. You can use your podcast to generate income by promoting your affiliate URLs (like your URL from Fathom’s affiliate program).

Like the above examples, you can’t just read your affiliate URL (or link it in the show notes) without giving a reason or context. You’ve got to also mention why you think Fathom is a great Google Analytics alternative, why you may be using our software, and what the benefits are (it’s not illegal, it’s simple to learn and use, etc.).

Here are a few podcasters who’ve mentioned Fathom (and we didn’t sponsor their show):

Best practice #5: Write something in your newsletter (bonus: use social proof)

Newsletters are one of the best places to reach people where they’re paying attention: their inbox. There are social media algorithms to fight with, and people typically pay attention to what they’ve signed up for (since they actively gave their consent to be on your list).

So an email list is excellent for promoting affiliate links. The key to getting clicks from your emails is to make your emails interesting and engaging. What stories can you tell, what drama can you introduce, and what do your subscribers actually want to know/hear about?

With a newsletter, you can use best practice #1, so write a product review, tutorial, or story about why you choose Fathom. You can also do like #2 and have a dedicated footer in your email quickly mentioning your affiliate URL and why you think your subscribers should click it.

With your newsletter, you can also include social proof (i.e. why other people trust our software). Our website has quite a few logos of companies and testimonials from website owners who are happy customers of Fathom Analytics.

Social proof is powerful because it shows others that there’s a reason a product is trusted. Think about the following two sentences:

“Try Fathom Analytics; here’s my affiliate link!”

Versus:

“IBM, Github, Buffer and thousands of other companies trust Fathom for their privacy-first website analytics.”

The latter feels and sounds much more compelling and therefore get more clicks.

Best practice #6: Product review or tutorial in a video

There’s a reason why Youtube is so popular (even if it's owned by Google). People love consuming video content (some folks enjoy it more than reading). That’s why if you can create video content, you can benefit from promoting your affiliate URL on that platform.

Youtube is typically the best choice for publishing videos because that’s where most people consume video content. Sure, they’re owned by Google (Big Tech), but even we use Youtube for videos because that’s where people search for Fathom video content. You can also post videos on Instagram and TikTok.

Here are a few examples of people who’ve posted videos about our software:

Best practice #7: Tried and true word of mouth

The most tried and true way to promote your affiliate URL is to tell people about Fathom. Coworkers, friends, clients, etc. If they’re talking about website analytics or ask what website analytics you use, you can tell them. On Zoom, email, social media, or even (gasp) in-person.

Sure, word of mouth can be slow because it’s telling one single person at a time, instead of lots of folks all at once, but it’s also much more powerful.

This is why we’ve also built pages for specific groups of people you may want to talk about Fathom Analytics with:

You can use the ideas and text on those pages to make how you mention Fathom and your affiliate URL more specific and contextual to who you’re talking to or emailing.

What not to do in affiliate marketing

Obviously, the main thing here is common sense. Don’t do to anyone what you’d be annoyed or upset at if someone did the same to you.

  • Don’t break the law around affiliate marketing (like not disclosing affiliate relationships and not marketing to kids).
  • Don’t violate our affiliate terms (like buying domains or paid search terms that include “Fathom” or “Fathom Analytics”).
  • Don’t pretend to be Fathom Analytics.
  • Don’t spam people, be smart about how you mention your affiliate URL.
  • Don’t cold email people (and then follow up 42 times) with your affiliate URL.
  • Be ethical and privacy-focused. You’re promoting a product that puts privacy at the top of our values as a company.

Affiliate marketing and using your affiliate URL should feel natural, not forced.

Some reasons that thousands of businesses choose Fathom Analytics over everyone else

Now that we’ve covered what an affiliate program is and how best to use it, let’s get into the specifics of why our customers enjoy using Fathom Analytics and how our top affiliates promote the features and benefits of Fathom.

  • No annoying cookie notices! Fathom doesn’t use cookies, nor do we track invasive data.
  • Collect 100% of your visitor data. Our custom domain feature can bypass ad-blockers to give you all your visitor data (not just half, like Google Analytics).
  • We aren’t illegal in the EU. Google Analytics is, and in some countries, you can face actual jail time for using it.
  • No need to worry about GDPR (or other privacy law) compliance! Fathom has a legal team that’s invested hundreds of hours in ensuring we follow all the privacy law rules.
  • We invented the way to process EU visitor data in the EU, on EU servers, owned by EU companies (by intelligently routing visitors) with our “EU Isolation” feature.
  • No need for training! Our analytics are simple, well-documented, and easy to use. Dashboards are a single page of well-laid-out data for your website.
  • We have thousands of customers and track hundreds of millions of page views per month. We may be a small, bootstrapped company, but we’re doing big things.
  • We can handle Bieber-level viral content. Our backend infrastructure is enterprise-grade and unrivalled in our industry.
  • We’ve been featured in Fast Company as a great alternative to Google Analytics.
  • It takes less than a few minutes to sign-up for a free trial of Fathom and then a few more minutes to add our single-line script to most sites.
  • We're used by companies like IBM, Github, Bootstrap, Buffer and thousands more companies.

So get out there and start adding affiliate links like Fathoms to your overall marketing and brand strategy. It’s a great way to increase your income without supporting or building a product. And when used smartly, our affiliate program can be a true win-win-win.

You might also enjoy reading:

Paul Jarvis is a writer/designer and the co-founder of Fathom Analytics. He’s also the author of Company of One and the co-host of the Above Board podcast.

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