If you’ve got your own products (and if you’re in a niche that lends itself towards digital products it’s a really good idea to have at least one product of your own) then it’s worth adding in an affiliate program.
Affiliates are the internet’s version of commission only salesmen: with most programs, they only get paid when they introduce a sale.
Which means that they only “cost” you money when you’ve earned money.
Depending on the sector you’re in, affiliates can be seemingly everywhere you turn – internet marketing is that kind of sector – or they can be more hidden.
But they’ll be there.
Most affiliates don’t really do anything other than dream. So you check their details (if the program allows you to do that), click the approval link if your gut tells you they’re probably OK and then wait for the silence to happen.
That’s normal – think about all the things you’ve bought as the next great idea that are still languising on your hard drive or bookshelf or in the garage.
And it happens even more often with affiliate marketing because it’s so easy to sign up. With programs like Warrior Plus, it’s close to one-click simplicity. With programs like Clickbank it’s just a matter of getting the affiliate link from inside the marketplace – that means affiliates can promote your product without even having to apply to you for approval, their membership of Clickbank automatically qualifies them to promote your product.
If you decide to get your affiliates via Amazon – by creating a digital or print book or even your own physical product – then everything is handled by Amazon’s program and, again, you won’t know who your affiliates are.
If you’re promoting via services such as Warrior Plus, you’ll have a list of user names and can (sometimes) track people down to send them messages. Lots of people use the same user name across a variety of platforms so a search often finds them.
That’s all well and good, but how do you find affiliates in the first place?
Listing in marketplaces like Clickbank and Warrior Plus can sometimes lead to affiliates finding you.
But it’s chicken and egg.
Affiliates want to spend their time promoting proven products, so you need sales.
And without any existing affiliates, that means generating your own sales. Either through your list (if you’ve got one) or by promoting on sites like Facebook and Pinterest. That can work but people on sites like Facebook aren’t always in buyer mode, although in some markets they can be quite close to it.
So the first thing you need to do in order to attract affiliates is to start getting your own sales for your product.
Warrior Plus shows sales ranges, so does JVZoo. Clickbank shows various figures – they’re slightly different because most of the figures they present are reasonably recent calculations, so your stats go down if you don’t generate any sales for a while. Much like your sales rank on Amazon drops if no sales are made.
But you’ll find that when you start to generate sales – either on your own or with the help of affiliates – other affiliates “come out of the woodwork” and apply. I see this all the time with some of the lists I’m on – the list owners only starts promoting once a product has reached a certain amount of sales. It’s a bit like watching catch-up TV: I get the main flurry of promotions on the launch day followed by these more-cautious affiliates a few days later.
If the platform you’re using allows it, it’s worth adding the option of letting affiliates join your notification list so that you can send them details when you launch your next product. I do that with Warrior Plus – it’s a simple setting.
Clickbank vendors do it by offering extra things for affiliates in return for joining their list.
One thing to remember is to keep your affiliate notification list separate – I unsubscribed from one marketer recently because he was regularly sending his regular promotions to his affiliate list. Not a good move on his part.
Over time, you’ll find that things get a bit easier because you start to create a loyal group of both buyers and regular affiliates.
Another option is outreach. Which is a buzz word that means “contact people”.
Join a few lists in your niche if you’re not already on them.
Click the links.
And see whether they’re promoting their own products or affiliate products.
Any list that regularly promotes affiliate products is fair game for an email.
At a minimum, offer a review copy – if they care about their list, they will want to see what they’re promoting.
Some list owners will also ask for email swipes – it’s worth writing these if asked although personally I don’t like providing them by default as if subscribers are on multiple lists, they can end up getting lots of near-identical emails about a product and I don’t think that helps anyone.
One other way that’s often overlooked (I’m guilty as charged with this suggestion) is to get people who have bought the product to sign up as affiliates.
You may need to phrase it slightly differently – something along the lines of earn money introducing this product to your friends – but it can extend your affiliate team and if your buyers are happy with your product they’ll be able to write convincing copy and generate sales.
The main “trick” is persistence.
Initially, you’re unlikely to get an army of affiliates.
But, over time, you’ll build up a group of regulars who will promote most – or all – of your products.
And if you’re really lucky, a handful of those will add your products to their follow up sequence and you’ll get a steady stream of sales. But – in my experience – those affiliates seem to be the exception, not the rule.