Market research. Validation. Sales pages. Pricing. Content creation. Beta testers. Bonuses.
Launching a digital product is hard enough as it is without adding affiliates into the mix. Why should you bother? Why add another item to your to-do list and subject yourself to even more emails in your inbox?
Word of mouth is a powerful thing, folks, and working with affiliates and influencers is essentially strategic word of mouth.
I've seen the power of affiliate marketing work for me, my clients, and my community and I want you to be able to achieve the same successes. For example, when I launched my (now retired) Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Database, I had affiliates to thank for 53% of the sales! After having an affiliate team for over a year, I now make the same amount from product sales as I do from client services - and I haven't had to launch anything in over 6 months.
In this blog post, you're going to learn:
- 🍎 an overview of affiliate marketing (a.k.a. what the heck I'm on about)
- ⚡️ the 5 key benefits of working with affiliates + influencers in your niche
- 💭 the mindset that holds people back from affiliate marketing
- 🤔 how to ensure your digital product/course is actually ready for affiliate marketing
Phew! Just click on each subject if you want to skip ahead but don't miss out on my FREE checklist to help you take the first steps on your affiliate journey!
If you're new to the world of online business, you might not know what affiliate marketing is. And that's fine! You're in the right place, pal.
Essentially, affiliate marketing means providing others (your affiliates) with a trackable link that leads straight to your offerings (an affiliate link). If someone purchases a product through an affiliate's link, they'll receive a percentage of the sale amount.
For example, I was an affiliate for Melyssa Griffin's e-course, Pinfinite Growth. I shared that link in blog posts (like this post about online courses), social media posts (like this tweet), and in my email sequences.
If someone purchased the course through my affiliate link, I'd receive 50% commission of the sale - which is around $198. Not bad, eh?
You can make affiliate marketing for your digital products - whether it means gathering an affiliate team for each time you launch or having an affiliate program running all year round.
If you're interested in the other side of the table, take a look at my guide to getting started AS an affiliate here.
Affiliates sound great, right? But, like I said, you've already got a to-do list as long as the line of coffee cups you need to get through the day (i.e. it's a super long list).
Why add affiliate marketing to that list? What's in it for you?
increased brand awareness
Does your target audience know your brand exists? If you want to get your digital product out of the shadows, then affiliate marketing is a great option for you.
By working with a select group of affiliates, you can get yourself and your product in front of the RIGHT audience in a strategic and organic way.
Affiliates create content to earn commissions, that content gets shared to their community and social media accounts, and, suddenly, you have an influx of potential customers learning about your offerings from someone they know, like, and trust.
reach a new audience
If you are launching a new product or taking your brand down a new path, you might want to get exposure to an audience you haven't reached out to before. On the other hand, you might have a strong marketing strategy in place for your business but you know there are more likeminded people you want to reach. This is where your influencers step in!
You can work with an influencer to reach a whole new audience of people who have never heard of your brand or business before. Who better to introduce them to your biz than someone they respect and admire?
Top tip: Remember that the influencer knows their audience inside and out so let them take the lead when it comes down to creative ideas and how to position your brand.
increases warm leads to your site
Do you know the difference of cold, warm, and hot leads to your site? I may have this completely wrong but this is how I define the three:
❄️ Cold leads are made up of people who have never heard of you before - they probably found you by searching on Google, clicking on a Pin, or being served a Facebook ad.
☀️ Warm leads are made up of people who aren't familiar with you but have come from a trusted source that have 'warmed' them up to you.
🔥 Hot leads are made up of people who know, like, and trust you - these are your peeps!
By focusing on affiliate marketing, you'll be gaining lots of warm traffic to your site as opposed to reeling in cold traffic with FB ads and SEO.
Warm traffic is more likely to trust you because they already have a positive preconceived opinion of you. The affiliate they trust, trusts you - so you must be okay, right?
increased seo performance
We've all heard about doing guest blog posts to add backlinks and improve our SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Well, the same rules apply with affiliate marketing + influencer marketing!
Asking an affiliate with a high domain authority to link to your website will really help your SEO ranking! Now, I'm not super techy so I've found another great explanation of how this works from Onalytica:
So, basically, influential affiliate have a positive effect on your SEO, which will mean that you get more referrals from Google, which (hopefully) means MORE SALES! 🎉
make meaningful connections
Last, but certainly not least, starting an affiliate program for your business will mean that you have the opportunity to reach out and make meaningful connections with influencers in your niche.
I say "meaningful connections" because it's not just about giving them an affiliate link and running the other direction. Instead, you're going to want to create an affiliate program that values its affiliates as individuals. This means taking the time to get to know them, helping them make the most of being an affiliate, and generally just being a kind and helpful affiliate program manager!
The more attention you give your affiliates, the more likely they'll be to share your link and recommend your products.
There's one thing that seems to hold a lot of business owners back from starting their own affiliate program, and that's the commission percentage. You might not want to start working with affiliates because it means you'll have to give away a percentage of your sale.
I've worked with clients in the past who've had this mindset and struggle to see past it and you might have the same issue. You don't want to give away a fair commission because that means less money for you, right?
Well, think of it this way: if it weren't for that affiliate, you wouldn't have made that sale in the first place!
One of the main reasons affiliate marketing works so well is that it increases your visibility and helps you reach new audiences - audiences who may never have heard of you otherwise.
If your affiliates are helping you reach those new people and make those new sales, they deserve a nice chunk of change as a 'thank you'!
Now, commission rates really depend on the type of product, and we'll get onto this in more detail in a moment, but it's really important to know this: generally speaking, the higher the commission, the more effort affiliates will make to promote your product.
Don't leave yourself empty handed but don't expect affiliates to go head over heels for 10% commission on a high-ticket item. What's in it for them?
Affiliate marketing is an amazing resource for growing your product sales and getting your brand out there but is your business actually ready for it?
I don't mean creating promotional graphics for your affiliates to share. I mean making sure an affiliate program will be a good fit for your digital product. If it's not, then it will be hard to get affiliates on board and it will be even harder for affiliates to sell to their audience.
Here are some things to consider:
- Pricing. Unless you're a well known name or brand in your niche, affiliates may find it hard to promote a high-ticket item - especially if it's your first product or online course. Making the price accessible is essential to increase sales from affiliates! If you don't want to lower the price, think about getting a payment plan in place.
- Sales Page. Do you have a good sales page up and running? Your affiliates can only do so much of the selling. If they send a ton of traffic your way and your sales page isn't doing the selling - then you're going to have missed out on a huge amount of sales.
- Testimonials. Do you have testimonials/reviews of the product on your sales and checkout pages? This will definitely increase conversion rates so get those in place before you work with affiliates.
- Timing. Affiliates have their own things going on and, in some cases, their own businesses to run. If you're looking to get affiliates on board for a launch, make sure you A) give them enough time to prepare - reaching out 60 days beforehand is best - and B) carefully choose your time of year (i.e. if you're launching just before or after Christmas, you're unlikely to see a lot of affiliate involvement).
Once you feel like your product is truly ready for promoting, you'll be ready to start preparing your affiliate program and reaching out to influencers!