The first time I found myself pregnant, barefoot and waddling around the kitchen, making breakfast for a small crowd, I laughed. Not because someone said something funny, but because it was so fucking cliché. This stereotypical scenario represented the polar opposite of everything I had worked for up until that point. At the time, work-life-balance, as a three word axiom existed, but wasn’t mainstream, at least not in my circle. Women either had careers away from home or they gave up their careers to raise their kids. It appeared to be either/or.
Now let’s fast forward almost 13 years, and wow have things changed. There are now more than 9.4 million women owned businesses in the United States. Women are making it happen and they’re succeeding in raising their children and nurturing their business at the same time. I believe technology has played a significant role by enabling more women to become entrepreneurs.
Just because you work from home between your kids nap schedule or while they’re at school, doesn’t make you any less of an entrepreneur than someone with a brick and mortar business. #momboss
Affiliate Marketing for Women Entrepreneurs – Missy Ward
I feel fortunate to have met many badass women entrepreneurs. I recently interviewed Missy Ward, talk about a badass. Missy is the cofounder of Affiliate Summit, the premier affiliate marketing conference. Missy is also co-founder of FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm and AffStat.com. In addition to AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com, which raises money for breast cancer research, treatment, awareness and community programs.
Momsvilleusa: I’ve attended several Affiliate Summits and it always feels like there are more men than women. This year I got a different vibe. Would you say the number of women in attendance at Affiliate Summit is trending up?
Missy: “I remember attending industry events back in 2000, and the percentage of women in the audience was in the low single digits. Interestingly enough, some those women who were with me back then are still in the business as CEO’s of their own companies. Since starting Affiliate Summit back in 2003, I’ve had the pleasure of watching the ratio of women to men steadily increase over the year. Now, 1 in 3 Affiliate Summit attendees are women, and that same ratio applies to our speaker faculty.”
Momsvilleusa: Why do you believe this number has increased over the years?
Missy: “I once read a statistic from a report commissioned by AmEx that women-owned businesses have increased nearly 70% since 1997. I believe that the ratio of women in attendance at Affiliate Summit has grown as more women choose the path of entrepreneurship. In addition to that, the affiliate marketing landscape, in addition to all of the technology, has changed dramatically.
Years ago, it was much harder to create websites and market them. Now with platforms such as WordPress and the ability to reach so many at negligible costs through Social Media, the barrier to entry into affiliate marketing overall has been dramatically reduced.
Lastly, as more women entered blogging and discovered the power of smart, thorough and well-placed product reviews as a way of bringing more eyes to their blog, they also found that affiliate marketing was a natural fit for a way of monetizing that content and as such, allowed s for more marketers into the fold.”
Sponsored Posts vs Affiliate Marketing
Momsvilleusa: There are so many women bloggers, many may rely on sponsored posts vs affiliate marketing. Do you think there is a misconception or misunderstanding that’s preventing them from crossing over?
Missy: “It kills me every time I meet a blogger that pours their heart and soul into a product review for a small sponsored post fee, a sample of that product or service or maybe for a chance at a better opportunity with that company down the road. These companies and PR agencies are totally taking advantage of them and receiving brilliant native advertising, on content they don’t need to create themselves, for pennies on the dollar.
Many have told me that they’ve “tried affiliate marketing.” When I ask them to be more specific, it usually turns out that they’ve done simple things like placing banners on their sidebar or within posts. Well, that’s like the barest bare minimums that you can do when it comes to affiliate marketing and usually ineffective.
But, then I tell them that affiliate marketing links placed correctly within product or service reviews can provide them the opportunity for a continual revenue stream with little, if any restriction on the copy at all. They’re able to control the content, the context, and the choice to support the products they love and use vs. being told what to write about.
I follow-up by telling them just to try one more thing to show them that I’m right. I have them go into Google Analytics and find a product review that still gets a lot of traffic organically, join the affiliate program of whatever that product is and integrate the affiliate links of that product into the post. The content is already done, so there is really no need for them to spend a lot of time on this test. As soon as they see the sales happen, I’ve turned them 😉 I think I just need to get more people to take that leap rather than be happy with the few bucks they make taking sponsored posts.
To be clear, I’m not saying to give up sponsored posts altogether; I’m just saying that affiliate marketing provides another revenue opportunity, that you don’t have to wait to have bang on your door.”
Momsvilleusa: You are a women in a male dominated space, how do you feel about that? Do your male counterparts treat you differently or did they treat you differently in the past?
Missy: “I’ve been in marketing since 1988 and affiliate marketing since 1999. While the numbers of women were less back then, I never really felt that I was at a disadvantage in any of the roles that I’ve had.
In fact, I never realized that my genitalia made a difference one way or the other. I probably wouldn’t have gone into this business if I thought it would be difficult for me as a woman. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t recognize the salary inequalities when working within larger companies, but once I did, I opened my mouth to my boss, highlighted my accomplishments and told them they need to fix it. If they didn’t I moved on.
I never thought about “feeling empowered” because I was a woman, I felt that way because I was a great employee who was increasing the bottom line of a company significantly, and deserved to be compensated for it.”
Missy Ward’s Tip for Succeeding at Affiliate Marketing
Momsvilleusa: What are your tips to give women who want to get into affiliate marketing and succeed?
Missy: “I offer the same advice to everyone; Stop thinking about it and just do it. The barrier to entry is minimal. Pick a niche that you love talking about because it makes it easier to keep coming up with new content.
Don’t do it if you don’t have stick-to-itiveness. Don’t even bother. Affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick-scheme. You’re not going to earn a boat load of cash quickly, and anyone who tells you that should be shot. (I hate those “gurus” that sell ridiculously overpriced programs that promise the dream of working on your laptop on the beach and making millions in a short time.) Affiliate marketing is just like any other business – it takes time and effort for success.”
Wrapping It Up
If you’re interested in learning more about Affiliate Marketing, there are a plethora of books, some better than others. Here are some of my favorites.
Make Money With Your WordPress Blog: Learn How To Monetize Your Blog Using Affiliate Marketing By Missy Ward
Extra Money Answer: How to Create, Promote, and Monetize an Affiliate Site By Shawn Collins
Blogging Tips: Confessions of a Six Figure Blogger By Zac Johnson
Tickets are on sale now for the next Affiliate Summit, Click here for more information on it plus other regional events.
One More Thing
Want to hear from another #momboss? Check out my interview with Tricia Meyer of Sunshine Rewards. We talk about women in affiliate marketing, legal issues every blogger should know about and her tips for bloggers that want to get started in affiliate marketing.