How to Recruit Affiliates for your Virtual Summit

This is a guest post from Mark Sieverkropp, our senior affiliate manager and resident summit expert. He has run summits such as the Peak Work Performance Summit, The Work By Design Summit and the World Record-Breaking summit, The Authority Super Summit in addition to dozens of product launches.

Recently Matt and I had a conversation with a friend of ours who was wanting to recruit affiliates for her upcoming virtual summit.  As we gave her some suggestions, I realized that, while many recruiting techniques are the same, regardless of whether you’re running a summit or a product launch, there are a few key differences.  So Matt asked me to share some of those tips with you.

how to recruit affiliates for your virtual summit

When we first began running virtual summits, we basically took our playbook for affiliate product launches and applied it to summits.

And it worked pretty well.

But over the past few years, we have learned that while there are many techniques and tactics that will work well for both product launches and summits, there are a few key adjustments that led to greater success with virtual summits.

Today I want to talk about a specific aspect of running a virtual summit — how to recruit affiliates for your summit.

Like I said above, many of the ways of recruiting affiliates for other types of launches will work well, but in this post, we will discuss 3 ways to recruit affiliates that are specific to summits.

#1 People You Know

Ok, so admittedly, this one isn’t exactly specific to affiliates, BUT it is still the absolute best way to get your first affiliates.

Your personal network of contacts are most likely to be supportive of what you are doing and be willing to promote your summit.

As you are thinking of who you know, pay special attention to people you know who are interested in the topic of your summit and those who have promoted summits in the past.

By focusing on these people first, you will gain some early momentum — and momentum is key when recruiting affiliates.

Think about it… is a summit that has 50 or 100 people promoting it — including big names you recognize more appealing to you as an affiliate? Or the summit with only 5 or 10 affiliates that you’ve never heard of?

The principle of social proof applies to affiliate recruiting…so get this early momentum by approaching the people you know first.

#2 Other Summits

People who promote summits, promote summits.

I know that sounds basic, and it is…but what do you know about people that have promoted other summits?

You know they promote summits.

That means there is a chance that they could be willing to promote YOUR summit.

Find other virtual summits that have occurred recently and do a google search for them — you will find posts and articles from affiliates promoting those summits.

Reach out to these people, tell them that you saw that they promoted that summit and ask if they would like more information on the summit you are hosting.

Most summit registration pages (Like the one below for Marc Guberti’s Content Marketing Success Summit) list all of the speakers for the summit.  Often you can reach out to some of these speakers and invite them to speak at your summit (if it’s a fit, of course) and get them to promote it as well.

Not all speakers will do this, but some will.

Content Marketing Success Summit affiliate program

Interested in being an affiliate for Marc’s Content Marketing Success Summit? Click Here to sign up for his affiliate program.

This leads us into the third way to find affiliates for your virtual summit.

#3 Ask Your Speakers

This may seem like a no-brainer…but people don’t always do it.

Ask your current speakers if they will share the summit with their audience.

If it is a BIG name person, they may not be able/willing to do it, but you SHOULD be able to get your mid-level speakers to share (You DO have mid level speakers, right? — if not, read #6 here).

Set them up with an affiliate link, create unique graphics and swipe copy for them to promote their interview and turn them loose!

Along these same lines, if you’re interested in getting a few more speakers (and, in turn, a few more affiliates), here’s a few places to look:

  • Authors with a new book coming out (or recently released)
  • Authors and entrepreneurs with a new product or course coming out
  • Thought leaders with a new podcast or blog they are promoting
  • Anyone else who is looking to get publicity for something they are doing

Now, of course, you want to make sure that each of your speakers are a good fit for your summit…but assuming they are, people who fall into one of the above categories are LOOKING for ways to get their message or product in front of new people, so they will be more willing to accept an invitation to speak.

I’m not saying you have to let them pitch their product or service…but they CAN offer a free resource that allows them to get in front of your audience…and you can get them to promote your summit.

I believe that’s what Stephen R. Covey would’ve called a “win-win agreement!”

Want more ways to find affiliates for your summit? Check out this FREE resource: Your First 100 Affiliates: 15 Places to Find Top Affiliate Partners

Working with Your Summit Affiliates

Once you’ve got your affiliates on board, then the real fun (or work) begins.

Recently we shared our best practices for virtual summits with students in our 7-Figure Affiliate Launch program.  But the training is so valuable, we decided to share it. Click Here to watch the entire 1-hour training for free.

Training for online summit

Free Affiliate Training from Matt McWilliams