The holidays can be a great time to find new affiliates and attract them to your program. Affiliates are often looking for new opportunities and the increased prospect of more sales and more commissions is an irresistible combination. Today, I’ll share exactly how to use the holiday season to recruit new affiliates to your affiliate program.
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How to Use the Holidays to Recruit More Affiliates
The holidays can be a great time to find new affiliates and attract them to your program. Affiliates are looking for new opportunities, and the increased prospect of more sales and more commissions is an irresistible combination. So today I’m going to share exactly how to use the holiday season to recruit new affiliates to your program.
So, of course, the holiday season, right? This is the last episode in this series that we’ve done.
I believe this is a five or six episode series that we’ve done on how to get your holiday, your affiliate program ready for the holidays and how to max out your sales this holidays. And one of the things we haven’t talked about is recruiting affiliates. This is the time, right.
This is the time of joy and all the festivities. But for affiliate marketing, it’s a time of unparalleled opportunity. You’ve got, just coming up here in a week and a half or so, Black Friday, you got Cyber Monday, you’ve got the shipping deadlines for Christmas, you’ve got Christmas shopping, the Hanukkah season, all the festivities that are around the corner.
And so consumers are in a buying mindset. They’re in a gift giving mindset. They’re in a shopping spree mindset.
And so this is a unique time of year. We don’t get this in March, we don’t get this in June, we don’t get this in August. There are very few other opportunities where you have consumers like this.
Now, if you’re in a very niche thing, obviously, if you’re in the health and fitness niche, then all about the new year. But now is the time to get ready for that. Of course, if you’re in the back to school niche, and that’s May, this is back to school time.
It’s weird. I’m going to tell you, get off my lawn. When we, when I was in school, we didn’t go till after Labor Day.
But you get the idea. Like there are things that are cyclical and seasonal, but this is a unique time of year not only to boost your sales, but also to expand your affiliate base. And so today I want to talk about some of the intricacies of taking that holiday spirit and that built in benefits of the holidays to recruit affiliates to your affiliate program.
So we’re going to talk about how to identify potential affiliates, how to make the perfect outreach, how to get them to say yes and how to get them started on promoting your products or services. Now, two episodes ago in this series I did an episode called how to make this your best holiday season ever with your affiliate program. And I said it, and I quote, the first way to make this holiday season your best holiday season ever with your affiliate program.
I’m quoting here, is focus on existing affiliates. Wouldn’t those four words kind of rule out this entire episode? I went on to say, and I’m quoting here for about, I don’t know, maybe 100 words or so, it can be tempting to try to round up tons of new affiliates in the lead up to Christmas.
Visibility is so important during this time, and in theory, an increased quantity of affiliates will translate to some increase in sales. Now continuing here with the quote from that episode. Yet the holidays are a busy time of year for everyone and communicating with brand new affiliates effectively can be difficult during this period.
While it’s wise to identify some great new affiliates that reach into a certain niche, don’t spend too much time and energy trying to improve reach into new areas that are already covered. The holidays are already busy enough without spending precious time on identifying potential affiliates. The last thing I said there is this allows you to really focus on standing out in the clutter and capturing the attention of your current affiliates.
I stand by that. If you have an existing affiliate program, especially one that’s doing some sales, you do need to focus on your existing affiliates. And this episode might be completely irrelevant if you are running a 100 million dollar affiliate program like I did with Shutterfly and Adidas and some other companies.
I could not try to recruit new affiliates this time of year. We had enough just coming in. I could not spend any time recruiting.
But if you’re running a beginner affiliate program, that’s not relevant. You need to use this time and you’re not too busy with your current affiliates. So utilize this time.
And there are a lot of built in advantages to this time of year. There’s a heightened awareness. Affiliates are more aware of potential opportunities.
They’re more open to potential opportunities because they know as well as anyone that people are in a shopping mood, a gift buying mood, et cetera, et cetera. The other thing you have is affiliates who are looking to hit their year end goals. If they had a goal to do, say, $2 million in revenue and they’re at 1.
5 with six, seven weeks left in the year, they’re looking for ways to hit that goal. They’re more than three quarters of the way through the year, and they’re only three quarters of the way toward their goal.
So they’re looking to hit their year end goals, which means they’re more receptive to your reach outs, just the increased traffic again, people are shopping more, the holiday theming again. It’s something about the psychology of once you start kind of getting some of that music in your head, when you get Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer in your head, got it in your head now didn’t I? Once you’re thinking about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, you’re more open to these things.
So just that awareness, the year end thing, the season itself, the increased traffic, the fact that they’re thinking about gift buying and going well, how can I tie that in with my audience? All these things play a role. So it starts with how do we find and attract new affiliates during the holidays?
That’s our starting point. How do we find them? Before you can start recruiting affiliates, you’ve got to identify the right candidates.
They’ve got to align with your brand. They’ve got to align with your target audience. And the cool thing about is this holiday season in most niches, not all.
It brings a unique set of potential affiliates that are different from maybe the ones that you would find any other time of year. So let’s talk about how to find those. The first people to look for are holiday content creators.
Look for bloggers. Bloggers, podcasters, social media influencers who create holiday themed content. They already have an audience, probably a pretty engaged audience this time of year who are looking for gift ideas and promotions and something that’s in that kind of festive content realm.
Right. So specifically, these holiday content creators, does your niche match up with some of those? And if so, those are places to look, people who are, again, creating holiday themed content.
The second unique group would be kind of these niche specialists. What are some niches that gain more traction during the holidays, and who are those affiliates? So, for instance, if you sell electronics, you’re going to be looking for tech focused affiliates because tech sales go up in the latter half of Q four.
Why? Because of Christmas and Hanukkah and the other holidays. If you offer handmade gifts, look for craft and DIY bloggers because that’s a thing that people buy more of around the holidays. The other thing to look for is reviewers. Product reviews. I talked about this before.
Product reviews are essential during the holiday season when consumers are researching the best gifts to buy. And if you have affiliates who can provide in depth reviews, they can be powerful partners. So find affiliates who review products and services.
Very simple way to do that. Look up name of your competitors or similar products. So if I’m in, I’ll use an example from the guitar instruction niche.
We would look up people who reviewed our competition, other guitar instruction courses, but then I would also look at people who reviewed guitars, people who reviewed guitar acceSsories, capos. If you don’t know what a capo is, it’s the thing that goes over one of the frets that makes the pitch go higher. All you guitar nuts out there, like, that’s not exactly what it.
Yeah, it’s basically what it does. And it allows people like me who can’t play a bar chord without a capo to play a bar chord, which is awesome. That’s a capo or a strap for the guitar or amps and all these things.
Guitars and guitar accessories, people who review those. But also what about people who review other types of instruction? Maybe they review multiple other musical instrument instructions, but they don’t have a guitar instruction review.
Get them to do a review. I’m talking specifically about finding new affiliates who do product reviews. But with your current affiliates getting a little off topic here, it’s important that you teach them how to do product reviews as well.
And if you want to get a guide on doing that, we put together a brand new guide. It’s been newly updated for 2023. We literally just updated this, I don’t know, like five or six weeks ago.
And so it is updated with all the latest in SEO. It’s totally free. And if you go to mattmcwilliams.com/affiliateReview, you can actually download the guide that will teach your affiliates how to write product reviews. I mean, this is one of the easiest ways to get affiliates promoting and increase your brand visibility is just to have them write product reviews.
I mean, imagine like right now if I Googled your company, what would I find? Is it just a bunch of complaints? Is it a bunch of random articles about you?
Or is it a bunch of people raving about you and your products? I mean, just imagine having ten or 20 or possibly hundreds of posts on Google all saying great things about you and your products. That’s freaking awesome, right?
The problem is most of your loyal customers, most of your affiliates, don’t know how to write a product review that actually ranks high on Google and that converts. It might rank high, but it converts poorly. It might be really good at selling your product, but it doesn’t rank high.
So that’s why we actually update this guide every year. It’s called how to write a product review post that ranks and converts. Got all the latest in SEO tips, all the best practices.
Again, we updated just a few weeks ago. You can get a Free copy and you can share it with your affiliates. Okay, I am giving you permission to download the guide and give it to your affiliates so they can write your own product review post.
Feel free to use it and write your own as well. You could totally steal the stuff in there and write your own product review. So I’m giving you permission to do that.
So if you don’t have product review affiliates, this is a great way to get started with that. I mean, this guide has helped literally thousands of affiliates write high ranking, high converting product reviews. So time to get your affiliates doing the same.
Just go to mattmcwilliams.com/affiliatereview. I’ll put the link in the show notes. Go click on it. Go grab. It’s totally free and you can grab that guide. All right, so that’s reviewers, right? Again, we got a little bit off topic there, but I want to make sure I shared that with you because we just updated that.
The other thing is identify affiliates who target last minute shoppers. These are the type of buyers I’m raising my hand here not only for Christmas but literally every holiday where I do my shopping, about four to seven days out. I’m not like the last minute last minute.
I am not going shopping on Christmas Eve. I am not that bad. I’m not even going shopping on like December 22 or third.
I’m getting on Amazon or wherever. I’m doing my research about six, five, six days out, not quite a week out. And that’s the same.
It’s everything. My wife’s birthday, kids birthdays, anniversary, all that. Actually, this year I actually have had stuff.
It’s in my office. I’ve had anniversary gifts since the summer. And our anniversary is in late November.
It’s coming up here in eight days, actually, after this airs. And, yeah, I mean, I’m way ahead. Normally, that’s not me, though.
Normally I’m kind of like a somewhat last minute shopper. But here’s the thing. The Me and then after me is right.
The people who are like five days before, down to the day before. They’re racing against time and so they rely on affiliate recommendations for quick, accurate decision making. Right?
I mean, they are literally, they’ve got 20 minutes and so they take those recommendations highly. So look for affiliates who target last minute shoppers next, deal hunters, the holiday season and discounts and deals. They go hand in hand, right?
They are synonymous with each other. So find affiliates who focus on deal hunting, find coupon sites, deal sites, loyalty sites that can work. And we’ve done entire episodes about that.
Now where do we find them? What’s the best way to find them? If you go we just updated, speaking of just updated, we literally just this week updated our free report.
It’s called your 1st 100 affiliates. I’ve talked about it on probably 200 episodes, so you probably heard me talk about it before. mattmcwilliams.com/First100 links in the show notes mattmcwilliams.com/First100 we just updated my report, your 1st 100 affiliates that walks you through not only how to find them, where to look, but also talks about how to reach out to them. And that’s probably the most important part. We’ve identified potential affiliates.
It’s time to reach out to them. So this time of year is the time of year where you can lean into the holidays. You can have a little bit of that festive spirit, right?
So you can start with holiday greetings, talk about the fact you’re excited about the season and you’re interested in collaborating with them over this holiday time. Basically, you take my number one affiliate recruiting email, which you can get at mattmcwilliams.com/bestEmail. Again, we’ll link to that in the show notes.
Take that template and tweak it to fit the holidays. You’re going to take the template which that template is universal. It works 24/7-365.
But if you tweak it to fit the holidays, it works a little bit better for the next few weeks. It won’t work in March very well, of course, but it works right now. The other thing you can do is really highlight the holiday season’s potential earnings if you take that template.
Normally I don’t talk about commissions and earnings in that initial reach out. I’m just trying to gauge interest. But this is a time of year because affiliates are aware of the spike in online shopping and the earnings potential that you can remind them of that.
And that can be a motivator to reach out. Say yes, I talk about in that report your 1st 100 affiliates and I talk about in the number one email template. I talk about this often.
I’m not trying to get a yes response normally. I’m not trying to get somebody to say yes. I want to sign up right now. I’m trying to get them to say tell me more. But we only have a few weeks to get them to say yes. So we have to compress that.
We don’t have time to follow up six times. We’ve got one or two reach outs, maybe three, and we need them to say yes pretty quickly. So I need to do things I normally wouldn’t do.
And what this means is I’m probably not going to hear back from as many people. I’m probably going to hear no from more people, but I’m also going to hear yes from more people quickly and that’s the objective. So highlight the earnings potential for this time of year Share success stories if you’ve had some previously successful holiday seasons, talk about it.
Show them real data. Share Testimonials and stories from other affiliates who have thrived during the holidays. If your sales go up 67%, say 67%, not more than 50%. If your conversions go up 14. 8%, say 14. 8% not over 10%. Share those stories and be as specific as possible.
And one more thing in these holiday reachouts that I don’t normally do, you will not find this in the templates. Whether you get my number one affiliate recruiting email template or in your 1st 100 affiliates, or if you’ve bought our full suite of affiliate recruiting Swipe files, which by the way are going to be available on Black Friday this year. So if you’re not on the list, make sure you text me 260-217-4619 and I will add you to the list to make sure we tell you about the Black Friday offer.
You’re not going to see this in any of those templates though, because again, my templates are meant to work. I personally have done really well with elf gifts, meaning animated gifts from the movie elf and things like that. Using those, I’m so excited.
GIF it gets a laugh kind of teaches them like, okay, this is not just a purely business transaction. This guy’s got a sense of humor and loosens them up a little bit. And so that’s what I found and it only really works this time of year.
I’ve tried other things other times of year and it’s actually lowered the response, but this time of year, it’s been a little bit of a plus. Now, if you’re sending out thousands of recruiting emails, could it impact your deliverability? Absolutely, it could.
That’s something to be aware of. But if you have the ability to test that, I would test it and make sure that it’s not going to cause an issue there. All right, so that’s how we reach out now we’ve found them.
We’ve reached out now we need to convince them to actually sign up. And there’s a few things that, again, are unique to the holiday season that we need to do. Very important this time of year.
You got to sweeten the deal. Hopefully you already have a competitive commission. We’ve talked about that in previous episodes.
But consider something to sweeten the deal a little bit. Whether it be some holiday specific bonuses, like their sales in the month of December or their sales of specific products, and you’re offering specific bonuses or tiered commissions where they can earn more for selling specific products or during specific periods of time. You might look at especially like the shipping deadline with shutterfly typically around December 21.
That was the last day in the lower 48 states, which is where 80% of our business was probably more like 90%. But it was the last day to guarantee shipping by Christmas Eve. So you had to order, I think it was by even like 05:00 p.
m. Pacific time on December 21. Depending upon how the days felt, it might be as early as December 20 or as late as the 22nd, I believe.
And you could guarantee shipping with the expedited shipping in the lower 48 states. That was an important time. We wanted to really incentivize that day because we were willing to pay more for that because, number one, we’re getting the expedited shipping extra revenue from that.
And number two, we knew that people who were buying then were more likely to spend more money, frankly. They were more likely to order extra of something, splurge a little bit, not be as cognizant about the cost of things. They might spend $120 when, if they had had the right coupon code and the right combo of deals and the right this or that, they might have.
Instead of spending 120, they would have spent 95. And so we’re willing to pay an extra 5% or 10% on that day to incentivize a certain volume of sales. We, we know those sales are more valuable.
So that’s just one example of how you could incentivize a specific activity. Are there other things that you want to incentivize and offer, again, tiered commissions or holiday specific bonuses to entice them? Maybe it’s a product you’re looking to clear out in the next couple of months.
So you say we’re going to offer up. It’s a retail product. Normally Retail Products commissions are, say, five to 25%, but you’re going to offer a 40% commission and you’re willing to lose money just to get it of your warehouse.
That’s the type of thing you want to do this time of year. Make sure your consumer facing promotions are festive, like types of holiday promotions. Maybe some exclusive affiliate deals or discounts or affiliate bundles can work really well.
Make sure that your contests are holiday themed. Don’t just do like a double commission week. Well, you could do holiday themed for double commission week, but figure out a way to tie that into Rudolph or Santa or candy canes or something.
Get creative with it. One time we did an elf week, it was seven days and everything stood for something different. And E was enhanced commission.
So it was like Monday and Tuesday we had an enhanced commission on certain products. L was. We lowered the price on certain items only for affiliates to promote.
And the F, I forget what the F was, but the F was something cool, too, and I don’t remember what it was, but we did an elf. This whole episode is basically about the movie Elf because it’s the best Christmas movie ever, of course. And so we did a theme around that, around the movie Elf.
You could do something similar or you could do a Santa promo and use acronyms and things like that or find some way to tie it into the just, it works. I mean, it’s not counterintuitive, but it’s kind of illogical that it would work better, but it does. The other thing, we’ve talked about this before, highlight your support.
So we talked about in past episodes, you need to be more on call and you need to be there for your affiliates and you need to really super serve them this time of year and you’re going to work more. Highlight that. Highlight the fact that you’re going to be available.
Highlight your marketing materials. Highlight that you’re willing to jump on a strategy call with them. Highlight your graphics and if you have data feeds or whatever it is that you’ve got to really give them the resources they need.
Highlight that. Highlight that you’re an exceptional program and you’re going to provide for them and help them. And that’s important.
The last thing in this section is just payments. You need to assure them that they’re going to get paid. And perhaps if you can, if you’re on a network, you can’t do this, but perhaps pay early for Christmas.
I’ll give you an example here. We normally pay on the first business day of the month after the return period ends for sales. So let me explain.
We have a 30 day return policy on most of our stuff. If you buy in the last day of November, then the 30 day return period ends on December 30. We pay on the first day of the next month.
So it’s consistent time. We pay on the first business day, basically 30 days after the end of a month. That’s what we do for most of our clients.
That is pretty industry standard with probably 95% of companies. That is an industry standard. But could you pay early for Christmas? You know that your return rate is 4%. Ours is like 2. 8%.
That’s our return rate. So could we just say either we’re going to eat a little bit of the cost, which would be totally fine, or could we pay 80% by December 20? So that’s something that you can do.
And we’ve done that with affiliate programs in the past where we’ll say we know what the return rate is and if we have a questionable affiliate, then we monitor things. But we’ll pay Novembers. We’ll pay like 80% of November’s by December 10.
And then from December 1 through December, there’s usually a cut off around the 15th to 18th, we’ll cut it off and we’ll pay 80% of the commissions earned to that point. You go, well, that’s an accounting nightmarE. Yeah, it was not easy to manage.
It took an extra hour and a Half, 2 Hours of my life. But it also excited our affiliates to the point that it was worth it for me. Some of those AFFILIATE PROGraMS, I mean, I’ll use A Mid SiZed AFFilIaTE PRogram, for example, Not A Shutterfly Or Adidas, Where we’re doing LIteRAlly ThReE $4 million A Day.
I’ll use a mid sized program, legacy learning, systems learning, master guitar. THat time of Year, we would do $40,000 A Day, $30 To $50,000 A Day from about Black FrIDay Through December 15, 16th, 17th in there. So we’ll just Call It $30,000.
If I can get a 5% increase in sales because I’m paying early, that’s $1,500 extra a day for a month. That is $45,000 In AddiTional rEvenue. And this is probably on the low end, $45,000 in additional revenue for me to have to work an extra 2 hours.
I can’t think of Anything ELSe I could Do With 2 Hours of My Time. THat Would Bring In $45,000. THat Is $22,500 per hour.
I was Not Earning OUr AFFilIaTE PROGraM $22,000 per hour. Like, we didn’t even DO $10,000 Some Days in our off season. In the doldrums of spring and summer, we barely break $10,000 most days.
So for us, again, doing $30 to $45,000 in a day and I can earn an extra day and a half to two days, sometimes income for spending a couple of hours paying early, it was worth the accounting nightmare. So we made it happen. Thankfully, we had a really Good CFO and I just handed him SpreadSheets And he figured all the Crap Out.
And so Then ThEy would get THeiR Other 20% From November on the Normal Pay SChedulE MINuS ReTuRns In January. And Then In December WE would take Their say, December 19 through end of month Payments. We would take those and those would be Paid In February Along with the other 20% from the first 18 Days of the month or whatever.
Again, we usually picked a cut off that made sense for our schedules, but I gave them that early Christmas present and some of it was only a few thousand dollars. Might be the difference between buying Christmas gifts and not. And that was a pretty cool thing.
All right, once we’ve got them on board, we need to do a lot of the norm stuff that we do. All right? We’ve got to make sure that we have a strategy for them.
So we need to make sure we are clear on our promotional calendar. We’ve talked about that before, so I’m not going to go into depth on that. We want to be able to give them a promo calendar if they sign up on November 20.
We want to make sure they know every day between November 21 and whenever the end of your holiday season is in the guitar learning niche. It was actually through about mid January because of New Year’s resolutions. That was the end of our peak season.
So I wanted them to know what was happening every single day of that stretch. I wanted to make sure they had everything they needed for blog posts, social media, email, give them suggestions and training and do all those things like every day I was available to help them and that was super important. Again, regular communication, these are the basics, right?
But you need to be staying in touch with these new affiliates every single day, giving them updates and tips and motivation. Encourage them to reach out with questions and concerns. Try to get on a call with them if you can.
And then obviously with these new affiliates, we do want to monitor them a little bit closer. Sometimes you get a bad player. It’s very rare, but it’s possible.
So looking for that, looking for areas where they can improve monitoring is not just about looking for bad players trying to cheat the system or anything. It’s about making sure that they get what they need. And if you see like they’re converting low here but high here, how can we help them on that low conversion and things like that on the bad player side, just going back to the commissions, one thing was I do want to touch on.
So if we did have an instance where, let’s say, in the case of our company, we’re at a 2. 8% return rate, very low, and let’s say we choose to pay 80% as a safe number, okay, if anybody’s higher than about a 7% return rate, there is something wrong and ODs are, you’re not going to have a bunch of returns all at the end for some weird reason from actual people.
If that ever happened, that would be a red flag. We’d figure that out. But if somebody does have a slightly higher than average return rate and you want to withhold a little bit more of the money and just tell them why, like, hey, your return rate is a little bit high, we’re only going to pay you 60% or we’re not going to pay early.
You have the right to do that. So I just want to make sure you know that you can do that and it’s not a big issue. And then, like we said earlier, incentives, bonuses, contests, rewards, all the basic stuff there, but keep them holiday themed.
So that is how you recruit affiliates during the holidays. The big thing here is just to lean into the fact that it is the holidays and use that to your advantage. So as we wrap up here, I would love to hear from you what was your biggest takeaway and how you’re going to apply what you learned today to recruiting affiliates here over the next few weeks, text me anytime.
Let me know what your biggest takeaway was or if you’ve got any questions about this or anything else, you can reach out to me and text me at 260-217-4619 I also mentioned earlier, if you want to make sure to know about our Black Friday bundle, which by the way is going to totally kick b***, we have just doing the quick math, it’s over like $2,000 of stuff for pennies on the dollar.
I mean under $100 and we’re going to have affiliate recruiting Swipe files and we’ve got like seven or 810 hours of training. So much stuff in there that I don’t even remember at all.
I’m just going to tell you, it’s amazing. If you text me 260-217-4619 I will put you on the list to make sure you get that.
And then lastly, make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the upcoming episodes. The next one is all about how to create compelling affiliate offers.
So we’re getting out of the holidays, which it’s going to apply to the holidays. We’re going to talk about how to create compelling affiliate offers. Can’t wait to share that with you.
So make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss it. I’ll see you then.
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