I have these lyrics playing on repeat in my head right now as I write this post to you…
“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Do you know the famous tune? I’ll give you a few hints.
It’s by an English rock band…
It was released on their 1967 album titled, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”…
Yup, you guessed it—“With a Little Help from My Friends” by none other than The Beatles.
Sometimes, we all just need a little support to get by. But, that doesn’t just apply to life in general. It also applies to launching a new product or service into the world.
The process can be downright daunting (and exhausting), especially if you’re not quite sure how and where you’ll lure in your ideal customers. So, whether or not you’re just starting out in your industry or looking for an extra boost for your next release, you might just need a little help from your “friends.”
And, in this case, I’m talking about affiliates.
Does the term scare you off at first glance? I get it. I was once in your shoes. But, I’m here to put your worries at bay, and give you the insight you need on how to use affiliate support as a springboard for your sales.
You ready? I won’t keep you waiting any longer!
First, how does affiliate marketing work?
Simply put, it’s about a relationship between three parties—advertiser (you), publishers (your affiliates), and your consumers.
You attract those publishers to work with you—people who want to earn a commission on the sales they generate from selling your product or service to their people. As soon as they express interest and you open up the “table,” so to speak, for them to sit with you on this launch, those publishers then get a special, unique link to share with their audience—in emails, blog posts, social media posts, and so much more!
Most importantly, this link contains a tracking code. And, as soon as it’s clicked and someone purchases, the affiliate who owns that link will earn a percentage of the sale.
That said, you may be wondering…
Wait, they earn a commission? So, how do I benefit?
I hear you loud and clear. The thought of someone else earning money on your sales might make you a little anxious. But, think of it this way: they’re essentially helping you expand your reach, and promote and sell your product or service to their audience. An audience you might not have otherwise had access to without them.
So, is it clear now as to why they should earn a commission? I think so. But, the benefits you reap don’t stop at greater reach and sales. You’ll also improve your site’s SEO in the process (hello, SO much traffic is about to come in from various sources!). Not to mention, the number of quality leads you receive, your business’s influence, and even the sale of any of your other products or services that might not be associated with this specific affiliate program you’re running.
I’m sold! Where do I even begin to successfully get my affiliate program off the ground?
1. Don’t go any further unless you have a seriously awesome product or service.
It’s easy to think your product or service is the cat’s meow. But, if we’re being completely honest with one another, you are, after all, the creator. You’re not going to think anything less than that.
Therefore, before all else, I highly recommend you take a step back and look at your offering from an outsider’s perspective. Would someone else consider it to be a top-notch product or service? And, want to quickly get behind it and be an advocate for selling it?
If so, you’re probably good to go. But, you also need to ensure you’ve tested it out and resolved any kinks in the processes and performance. The last thing you want to happen is for someone to purchase through an affiliate link, only to be disappointed because it doesn’t work as promised. Thus, they return it or ask for a refund later on, and you’re left scrambling because you have to also keep in mind the commission the affiliate earned.
No, I’m not saying all of this to scare you off. I am, however, saying this because you need to be confident in your product or service—that others will think it’s just as amazing as you do and they’ll grab hold of all of the benefits you (and your affiliates) promised in marketing it.
2. Determine how much of a sales cut you can afford.
I know you may not be a serious mathematician and, again, the thought of handing over precious, hard-earned cash to others can be slightly intimidating. But, this step cannot be glossed over. It’s critical you work out the details on the percentage of sales you’re not only comfortable parting with, but also the percentage that will attract a good number of affiliates.
Is it 5%? 10%? 15%, even? The higher the commission rate, the more affiliate traffic you can look forward to getting your hands on because people will want to work hard to earn their share.
If you’re looking for some extra guidance, check out CoSpot.com’s post, which dishes out the ultimate breakdown of average affiliate commission rates.
3. Land on an affiliate program (or plugin!) that’s right for you.
To set up and run your affiliate program successfully, it’s going to require a bit of technology. I know, you might not be looking forward to adding yet another tool to your marketing arsenal. But, I’m about to share several third-party affiliate program options that will no doubt make your life easier!
Wait, why a third-party affiliate program, you ask? Syed Balkhi explains it best in his blog post here.
Now, back to sharing my favorite options:
- JVZoo—have a digital product to sell? JVZoo has a “gigantic” digital product library, which is made up of more than 200 niches and categories. Best of all? There are no monthly fees or upfront costs to open up your offer to affiliates.
- ClickBank—with this e-commerce platform, you’ll have to dish out some money to get your product approved and get affiliate support. But, the opportunities are endless as ClickBank’s network is made up of more than 500,000 digital marketing experts who can help you reach customers all around the world.
- ShareASale—this affiliate marketing network will cost you a pretty penny to be a part of. I’m talking $650 to get started and recurring fees. But, I want you to be fully aware of your options. With ShareASale, you’ll have access to real-time tracking, affiliate segmentation, affiliate program diagnostics, and so much more.
All that said, take some time to really dig in and do your research to identify the best platform for your business—one that will not only work right away, but will also continue to be a viable affiliate program in the future.
4. Get to creating resources for your soon-to-be affiliates.
By now, you can probably tell that getting affiliate support is going to take some work on your end. Yes, you need to cover the basics and figure out your commission rate and which affiliate program to use. But, you also need to thoughtfully create
compelling resources your soon-to-be affiliates will need to support their promotion efforts.
After all, you want to make their job as easy as possible, right? The easier it is for them to market your product or service to their audience, the easier it will be for you to get the conversions you’re hoping for (and more!).
So, what kinds of resources am I talking about? Think graphics for banner ads, display ads, and even social media post images. Luckily, Canva.com makes it easy (and free!) for you non-designers out there.
Additionally, you need to craft some sales copy they can use to quickly and efficiently put together emails, sales pages, and even scripts to use if they want to do a webinar or FB Live on your product or service.
If you dread the thought of having to craft sales copy from scratch, click here to explore our various scripts that can help save you some serious time and energy. No matter how you decide to create all of these materials, however, I highly recommend you have them ready to go at least three weeks before your scheduled launch (OurWorkatHomeLife.com agrees!).
Now, if you want to take things to another level, you can host all of these resources on an Affiliate Resources page within your website. As soon as you find the affiliates you want to work with (which I’m about to share how to do soon), you can provide them with a link to the page—positioning it as something that’ll help them get a head start on promoting your product or service.
5. Hit the ground running to find your perfect matches.
Before I discuss this step any further, I want to reiterate the fact that this is about finding your perfect affiliate matches. Yes, anyone—even your uncle Bob—can help out with promoting your product or service.
But, if they don’t have a steady flow of traffic coming into their site or an audience who truly needs your product or service, then all your efforts to get things up and running fly out the window.
Therefore, make it a goal to hit the ground running to scout out and recruit your dream affiliates at least two to four months before your scheduled launch. Otherwise, you’ll be scrambling to get the support you want (and need)!
So, how do you find “the ones?”
- Work with your chosen affiliate program—talk about easy. The three I listed above (JVZoo, ClickBank, and ShareASale) give you access to a large pool of affiliates from the get-go!
- Craft an invitation page and email sequence to share with Internet marketers and bloggers—we’ve got a few awesome scripts that’ll help you get the job done. Our JV Sales Letter Invite script will craft all the information your affiliates need to know with one click of a button. You can pop this link into a one-off email to those in your niche industry and even industry search forums. And, if you already have an existing affiliate email list to work with, you’ll want to check out our JV Invite Email Sequence. It pairs nicely with the sales letter invite, and is designed to get people to your affiliate page and boost their excitement levels regarding your upcoming product or service launch.
6. Take care of your affiliates from start to finish.
Of course, getting affiliates on board is only half the battle. As soon as they agree to partner with you (and you take some time to vet them properly!), you must take care of them—from start to finish.
What do I mean by that? Check out the steps below to nurture your affiliate relationships:
- Send them a welcome email. Let them know you’re happy they’re working with you to build excitement and grow sales for your upcoming launch! This is also the perfect place to drop the link again to your Affiliate Resources page.
- Offer up a training day. One month before your scheduled launch, designate a day to walk them through the marketing resources you provided. This can be done either via a webinar or a Facebook Live (think of creating a Facebook group specifically for your affiliates!). Some people are visual learners, and it’ll help them to see a walkthrough of how to best use what you’ve given them.
- Open up the doors a little early for them. Three weeks before your scheduled launch, open up early access to them so they can check out your product or service. Remember, you want them to be your biggest advocates! And, to do that, they must have a solid understanding of your offer and ultimately love it.
- Maintain an open line of communication. Communicate with them on a regular basis—yes, even after the launch—to give them tips and advice as to how to make the most out of the promotion.
- Make yourself available and accessible. If you tackle all the steps shared here today, you’re going to limit the number of questions you’d otherwise get from your affiliates. But, they’re still bound to come up—no matter how thorough you are. So, make yourself available and accessible to promptly answer any of their urgent questions. You can even designate and share “office hours” with them so they know when the best time to reach you is!
Long story short, here are the four key takeaways of running an affiliate program:
Phew, did we share a lot here today, or what? Affiliate support can be the answer to your launch prayers. But, it doesn’t come without hard work and potentially sticky encounters. Let’s recap the four key takeaways of running a successful affiliate program, so you can get to work ASAP in prep for your next big product or service release!
- Have an awesome product or service to begin with.
- Find the best technology.
- Find quality affiliates (& take care of them!).
- And, be crystal clear on your marketing resources.
Well, there you have it. As I shared today, affiliate marketing can be a no-brainer to help you get new customers and grow your revenue—if, and only if, you take the time to set up your program correctly. Walk through each of these steps and give it a try! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Do you feel you’ll have a difficult time making your offer seem super irresistible? Hey, we all run into those products or services from time to time! So, I’m giving you a free copy of an incredibly helpful checklist you can use to create appealing sales copy—“The Copywriting Checklist That Will Make Your Offer Irresistible.”
To get it in your inbox right away, just enter your email address in the box on the right side of the screen, and it’s yours!
Have you set up an affiliate program before? Or, do you have questions on today’s topic? Drop me a note in the comments section below because I’d love to hear from you or be of any help!