Last week I shared 7 surprising benefits of affiliate marketing. I’m sharing 7 more in this episode. These are the benefits you probably haven’t thought of before. They go beyond the obvious benefits (i.e. you make money) and into some of the benefits most people don’t talk about. In today’s episode, I share how you can use affiliate marketing to learn how to sell and gain confidence in your selling abilities…without the risk of creating your own products. I also show you how to use it to do market research on your audience and train them to buy. And I reveal how to use affiliate marketing to create lasting friendships and partnerships that can explode your business long-term! Plus a WHOLE lot more!
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Surprising Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Part 2
So last week I shared the first seven of 21 surprising benefits to affiliate marketing. Just to recap real quick. The first one is that you can start monetizing immediately. Secondly, there’s no barrier to entry. Third, it’s easy to scale. Fourth, no fulfillment required. Fifth, there’s no hidden costs. Six, no risk. Seven was no customer service. Today I’m going to share the next seven of 21 surprising benefits of affiliate marketing. Again, these are the benefits that aren’t just obvious, right? You make money, you serve your audience, things like that.
These are the not-so-obvious benefits and so today I’m going to share numbers 8 through 14, starting with number eight. Actually, before I do that real quick, if you are looking for affiliate programs to promote, you hear this episode, you go mad, like these are, these are cool benefits. I need to get started. You haven’t started yet. Or you have started or you’re just looking for some good stuff, to promote out there, go to Mattmcwilliams.com/whatsup. You’ve got all of our recommended affiliate programs and upcoming affiliate launches that you will want to be a part of. So check that out Mattmcwilliams.com/whatsup.
- Affiliate Marketing Teaches You How to Sell
All right. So surprising number 8, affiliate marketing teaches you how to sell, teaches you how to sell. If you’ve listened to me long enough, you’ve heard my story. I talk about my first $588 that I made for my platform. It was 2014. I had promoted Michael Hyatt’s five days to your best year ever course. And my goal was to sell two courses.
I had a list of, I don’t know. I feel like at the time it was about 800, maybe a thousand people. There weren’t a ton of people, but I wanted to make two sales. And the reason for that is it’s not one, I didn’t just make one sale, one person’s going to buy. Despite this ridiculously unambitious goal, I give it my best effort. As far as I knew at the time I blogged about it, I shared it on social media. I think I podcasted about it. I sent a couple of emails in, in the end. I sold eight courses four times my goal.
Of course, I was ecstatic. I mean, this was like, oh my gosh, I did so many things! But I learned a ton along the way, even though it went great. I also learned a lot of lessons. Like I learned what worked and what didn’t work with my audience.
I learned how to sell with confidence. I learned how to segment my list better. because there were some people that I should have, the thing where I talk about often where you need to give an opt-out for these affiliate promos, you need to say to your audience, Hey, I’m going to talk a lot about this course over the next few weeks. If you don’t want to hear anything about it, click here and it pops them out. Well, I learned in that promotion to do that.
That first promotion was definitely a success. It was definitely a success making $588. When my goal was to make $150. That was a success, but I made a ton of work mistakes. And so in my next promotion, I fixed a few of those. And I think my next affiliate promotion made a couple of thousand dollars.
And the next one, I think I made like four or 5,000. The next one, if you include commissions and prizes, because this time I won the affiliate competition, I made over $10,000. So one year later, the same launch as Michael’s launch, I made $580.
I made just over or just under $14,000, 13,000 something dollars, 13,000 from $588. The next year I made 19,991. I still remember because I was all so close to my goal of 20,000. I mean, if one person who bought the regular version had upgraded to VIP, I would have made $20,000. If I’d sold one more, I would have 20.
If they had something that costs $20 and I got my commission, I would have made $20,000 all from that seed of 588 bucks. And as a result of that first promotion, I made more than $240,000 over the next three years. This is before I even had a product of my own. I was making a little bit over $80,000 a year on average, just from affiliate marketing. And I learned how to sell my own products and services better.
Affiliate marketing allowed me to practice selling, to test things, to try things, to screw up, to make mistakes without depending on my own product sales. And here’s the cool thing I got paid to practice. Affiliate marketing allows you to practice selling online without,
depending on your own products and you get paid to practice. That’s really cool. So just think about when I launched my first product a few later, after three years of promoting affiliate offers it was a good launch. We burst, I don’t remember what our goal was. You know, I had a tiny list and my goal was to sell like 20 of our courses.
And we sold like 41. Why? Because I knew how to do it. I knew how to map out a plan. I knew how to map out a calendar. I knew how to, I knew generally speaking, what subject lines worked and wind email and kind of the psychology of it. It taught me how to sell. And like I said, I got paid to practice things.
- It Proves You Can Sell
The surprising benefit of number 9 is it proves you can sell. Not only does affiliate marketing teach you how to sell. It proves you can. This is psychology. It builds your own confidence and shows you, this is important. Shows you that your audience is willing to buy, oh my audience, doesn’t like, they’re not, they’re not buyers, a lot of people get into online business and they have this attitude that their audience is somehow quote-unquote, special that their audience just doesn’t buy things online.
I hear so many excuses. Why they’ll never sell anything online. And then like me, they do one affiliate promotion to make 588 bucks. Or sometimes they do one affiliate promotion to make a thousand dollars. Sometimes they’ll do one affiliate promotion, making $5,000. Michelle Carolina, we did an AIM insider profile. So an Affiliate Insider Monthly is our monthly membership site. And if you’re interested in going, by the way, go grab a free trial that is not a free trial. It’s a $1 trial.
I don’t like free trials just as a side note. The reason why we don’t do free trials. When it’s free people don’t pay attention when they pay anything, they pay attention. That’s the thing. Even if you pay a dollar, which is what this trial is, you could pay $1. And if you join right now, as of the airing of this episode, you will get access to four months worth of content.
May June, July, and August, including this interview with Michele Caruana to get access to four months of content for a dollar. Okay. So go to Mattmcwilliams.com/aimtrial AIM for Affiliate Insider Monthly, grab your $1 trial and in this episode, her very first affiliate promotion ever on a tiny list, a very obscure niche did over $20,000 in commissions. Amazing, right? And so nine times out of 10 people are surprised at how much they can make promoting affiliate offers. They’re even more surprised at how easy it is that their audience is actually responsive and suddenly they see those commissions.
This is what happened to me, right? I made that first $588. They see those commissions, it lights a fire in them. They have confidence in their own abilities. They’re like, I can sell, I can do this. I know how to write sales copy. I also have proof that my audience will buy and so they become selling machines.
So number 8, teaches you how to sell but number 9 is it proves you can sell.
- You Learn What Works for Your Audience
Surprising benefit number 10 is that you learn what works for your audience. Affiliate marketing is a great way to learn what offers work with your list. So this over time will help you decide what products, what courses, whatever to release on your own.
So let’s say you got a list of stay-at-home moms, for example. All you know about them is like the demographics, you know that. So they’re, stay-at-home moms like average household income is $80,000. They have two to four kids and two-thirds of are homeschool,
That’s it. That’s all you have to go on. And the reality is that it would be difficult starting off to get much more granular than that. So what do you sell them? Well, you might sell them homeschool products, but 40% of your audience or one-third of your audience doesn’t care about that. Now that’s still worth the shot.
Like I would still do that. If two-thirds of my audience are into something, I’d still try, but that can’t be all there is. So a great way to find out what your audience is interested in. And what they’re interested in buying is to promote various affiliate offers to them. So maybe their families would like to learn goal-setting.
You know, as we talked about, right? Maybe the moms would like to start a blog. So of course blogging would be good. It might be a terrible fit though. I don’t know. Maybe they want to learn how to have more peace in their family. So for some parenting courses, if you promote 10 offers over the course of the year, five of them might sell very well to your audience. And five might bomb. And this tells you something about your audience.
It tells you what they’re interested in and you learn about your audience. You learn what works for your audience. Ask yourself these questions.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What price points did they buy at?
- What times of year did they buy?
- What topics were they most interested in?
- Did they buy from male or female product creators?
- What kind of payment plans were they most interested in?
- Did they like webinars or video series? Ebooks or live AMAs?
- How many emails did you send them? What worked?
You promote something that’s a very similar product, one’s a hundred dollars and one’s a thousand dollars and they’re similar in that. The thousand dollars one is considerably more detailed, but nobody buys it, but you sell four people buy it, but yourself five or 50 of the hundred dollar thing that tells you something.
What times of the year do they buy? My audience, speaking about the homeschool market. I know when people buy stuff like that, they tend to buy it right after the school year. So June, if you’re in the fitness market, it’s going to be December, January. What times of year are they buying? What topics were they most interested in? What subtopics, what are those things that they’re buying from specific topics. If you’re in the productivity niche, you might have time management, leadership, and then health and fitness.
Those are all directly related to productivity, but your audience doesn’t buy anything in the health and fitness space. They just, they won’t buy. Even though, you know, it’s important and you could try to convince them they’re not buying. So what topics are they most interested in? Do they buy for male or female product creators? Maybe it’s the same niche, same product, but they don’t buy from the men.
What kind of payment plans were they most interested in? You can look at those things and go, man, you have promoted for let’s just make it simple. I promoted two different affiliate offers with the exact same full price plan of a thousand dollars. It’s a course, it’s a thousand dollars, but one offered six payments of 197. The other offered four payments of 297.
Now, if you add that up, they end up basically equaling 1200 bucks. I mean, one is, I think the four of 297 would be like $6 more or something, but it’s negligible. Right? But for some reason, you sold 30% more of the six times, 197. What does that tell you? It tells you that if you come out with a product and you have a payment plan,you probably need an extended payment plan. Maybe you should go. If you create a thousand on a product, maybe she goes six times, 197 versus four times, 297.
Now there’s other factors. And if that’s all you have to go on, I wouldn’t make that decision, but it certainly tells you something over time. Do they buy on webinars or video series or eBooks or live AMS – Ask Me Anything. Do they buy from email? You learn these things. How many emails did you send them? What worked, which ones were open, which ones didn’t, didn’t get clicked on which ones did.
You can clean so much information from these promotions that benefit you in the long run. Make sure that you’re tagging your subscribers based on what they opt into and what they buy.
You can use this later. Not only can you use this in future affiliate promotions, but you find that you can promote certain offers only to a segment of your list, which we’ve talked about before. And that allows you to get really, really fine-tune with your offers.
So the surprising benefit number 10, is that you learn what works for your audience.
- Affiliate Marketing Trains Your Audience to Buy
Number 11 is affiliate marketing that trains your audience to buy. I’ve said this so many times about affiliate marketing. The thing I love about affiliate marketing is that affiliate marketing bridges the gap between having nothing to sell and selling nothing at all.
When you first start out, you don’t have anything to sell. So your two options are we talked about this a couple of episodes ago, you can create something or you can give away content forever. And if you missed that episode, it’s called the Lie About Monetizing. Go back and listen to it. The problem is neither. One of those options is good. You don’t want to give away content forever. That’s not a business, that’s a hobby and you don’t want to create something because it’s probably going to fail.
And so affiliate marketing serves to train your audience to expect occasional relevant offers. We’ve talked about this before as well. Like we’ve conditioned them to click. Now you condition them to buy. Remember it’s all about expectations and you’re the one who sets the expectations. You’re the one who gets to set the expectations. So set the expectations early that they should expect you to make offers from time to time.
If they don’t like that, they’ll just choose to leave your tribe. They’ll leave your audience. So unsubscribed. That’s a good thing. That’s fine. Instead of just a bunch of freeloading, dead weight on your list, like you’ll have prospective buyers. Those will keep your business going so you can reach more people. That’s the whole point there.
So it trained it conditions your audience to expect offers to buy. So when you come out with your own product later, they’re not going, “oh, I can’t believe you’re trying to get me to spend money.” No, they’ve already been conditioned to expect that. So you’re good.
- Affiliate Marketing Funds Your Business
All right. Surprising benefit. Number 12, funds your business. Now, this is different, it just makes you money. it funds your business. As much as I love affiliate marketing, I do not believe it should make up 100% of your business. Over the past couple of years, we made over half a million dollars in affiliate commissions, plus a bunch of cool prizes. So the total monetary benefit to the company to me is probably 550 to $600,000.
I am a big believer in multiple revenue streams. That’s why those commissions only made up less than about 25% of our total revenue. As much as I believe you should have multiple revenue streams. I definitely do not believe that affiliate marketing should make up more than 75% long-term, probably not more than 50% long-term.
Affiliate marketing should be one of those streams though. One of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing, when you’re starting out, is that it can fund your bigger business dreams. If you were barely scraping by. You were making no money from your platform, but you’re spending money on hosting in a virtual assistant, in the podcast, hosting and equipment, and you got money going into this thing and this thing and you’re buying courses, right? And then you want to create a course and it costs $5,000 per to produce. Where are you going to get the money? We’ll fill it. Marketing is a great source.
When I produced my first course it cost us about a little bit under 5,000. It was pretty low. Actually. I think it cost us like 3000. It was pretty low-budget. We had the money. I mean, if I wanted to, I could have just promoted something real quick as an affiliate made about $3,000 and paid for the course and so affiliate marketing is a great source of that money to fund your business.
When I first started doing affiliate marketing, those measly affiliate commissions, those paid for my hosting, my virtual assistant, podcast hosting and I even had a few bucks left over for some premium tools that I needed. Like getting Canva pro and stuff like that without having to dip into our reserves.
Not only was that a financial win, but it was an early psychological win. It was an early psychological win for me, knowing that my business was paying for itself. So affiliate marketing supports your business and it serves your audience because you’re actually making money. You continue to grow, create more content, add new products and services, or create your very first, which allows you to serve more people.
So you can provide more value, help more people increase your impact to the world, right? You can’t do these things. If you’re bleeding cash or barely scraping by, it’s hard to have a blog without a server. It’s hard to record a podcast without a good microphone. It’s hard to make an impact without at least a little income to keep you going and affiliate marketing does that.
- A lot of Affiliate Income is Passive Income
Surprising benefit number 13 is that a lot of affiliate income is passive income. I love passive income. Like right now, while I’m recording this I probably made money because someone somewhere probably, I’ve been recording for about 19th minute or so. Well, I had a couple of errors. So I’ve been recording for 21 minutes and 18 seconds, I am almost positive that I’ve made something. I’m not actively promoting anything. It might be a 52 cent commission from Amazon or a thousand-dollar commission from a course. It’s probably from my resources page. Whatever it is, it’s completely passive. I’m not actively promoting anything right now.
We haven’t sent an email out, promoting anything in affiliate offers in well over two weeks. And so a good chunk of our affiliate income each year is passive, completely passive. The work was done once and that work might’ve been done six months ago. It might’ve been done two years ago.
Might’ve been done five years ago. We continue to make money on it today, continue to make money on it today. So it could be things in our automation. We have emails in our automation sequence that make us money. Like it could be a resources page or review posts and they continue to make money long after the work is done.
I mean, it’s so powerful. This passive income now, to be clear, if you want to learn how to create a resources page or write a review post, definitely check out the ultimate guide to creating a Resources Page at mattmcwilliams.com/resourcespages. Go grab my free report. It’s all about how to write or how to create a resources page.
You can make tons of money just completely passively. You want to learn how to write a review post that actually ranks that’s the king, you gotta rank the post. You can’t write a review post and then people Google the product and it doesn’t show up that doesn’t work. Okay.
So, but it also has to convert because you can’t just show up on the rankings and then people read it and they’re like, this is garbage, this is a terrible post. Why would I read this? So it has to do both. Do you want to learn how to do that? Just go to mattmcwilliams.com/reviewposts. And you can download that guide. We’ll put all of these links. So the Affiliate Insider Monthly trial, the resources page guide, the review post guide. We’ll put all of that in the show notes, by the way. So you don’t have to remember those URLs.
So yeah, I mean this passive income, right? Your own products over time, you can sell them passively, but again, you have overhead to deal with. So we’ve talked about this in the last episode.
It’s not really passive. You sell a course. Yeah it might be passive in the sense of, they sign up, they log in, they access the course, but you still gotta be there to support them, customer service. You don’t get to keep all the money because some of it goes, you might be paying an affiliate commission or maybe, you’re paying credit card processing and things like that. That’s the downside, but every single month we get these deposits, these PayPal deposits. Sometimes it’s $32. Sometimes it’s 5,000 plus for work that we did at least six months ago, that’s the power of passive income. So as much passive income as you can create, create it because it is super powerful.
- You Can Connect with Other Affiliates
And then surprising benefit number 14 is you can connect with other affiliates. This is probably one of the biggest benefits because it allows you to develop relationships that could completely transform your business. Most affiliate programs, especially launches, have leaderboards, they have private Facebook groups, they have ways that you can connect with these other affiliates. Some of my best business relationships. In fact, I’m thinking through, Jonathan Milligan comes to mind, Dan Miller, John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Jeff Goins, Ray Edwards. I mean, the list goes on and on.
Some of these best business relationships I have and some of these people become dear friends, their result of promoting the same product and then using that as a connection. I mentioned Jonathan Milligan. I remember this was six or seven years ago. Jonathan Milligan from Blogging Your Passion just released an amazing book called Your Message Matters and he and I connected because we were both promoting that Michael Hyatt that second year, Michael Hyatt’s five days to your best year ever. The one where, the year before, I’d only made $588. But this year I was in the top 10, I think I was in like the seventh or eighth place.
And he was in ninth place. He was one spot behind. He recognized my name, but he never met me. So he used that as an opportunity to reach out. He was like, Hey, we’re both on the leaderboard. I think we should know each other. I’m like, I don’t really know any of these people in the top 10. I’m kind of intimidated. I want to know you. We ended up talking for like an hour and a half.
That hour and a half we both were at the end we’re like “we have to go.” We have been talking forever. That turned into a friendship, turned into us, being in a mastermind together, turned into a business connection for me that has made us tens of thousands of dollars.
And also I have a friend, a really good friend who gets me. He’s like, you know, we do kind of the same thing, you know, and, and it’s just, it’s been so powerful. So over the past, you know, I don’t know, four or five years, like I have initiated in and cultivated dozens of relationships just from affiliate leaderboards.
That’s, it’s powerful. So make sure to use affiliate promotions as an opportunity to connect with other people who are promoting the same thing, those relationships can be mutually beneficial and very profitable long-term, very profitable. And so use these affiliate promotions as an opportunity to connect with other affiliates. I’m telling you that might be the biggest benefit. These could potentially become JV partners.
You know, Jonathan and I have both promoted each other. They could easily become mastermind buddies. They could become advisors. They could become clients. You know, they could become people that refer clients to you, man. I’m thinking back like that’s where all my business comes from. So much of all my business, so much of my business comes from.
So to recap, surprising benefit number 8, affiliate marketing teaches you how to sell and number 9, it proves you can sell. It gives you that confidence. So it gives you the knowledge, the tactics, and it gives you the confidence in the mindset. Number 10, you learn what works for your audience. You learn what products, what price points, what topics, what kind of payment plans, all those things that you can apply, how they buy. Number 11, it trains them to buy, train your audience to buy. Number 12, funds your business. 13, a lot of the affiliate income is passive income, and 14, you connect with other awesome affiliates again. So if you’re looking for some awesome affiliate programs to promote, programs that will fund your business, programs
that will help you learn how to sell, improve you can sell, programs that will give you that confidence, programs that will train your audience to buy, programs that might create passive income, programs that will give you opportunities to meet some amazing affiliates. Just go to Mattmcwilliams.com/whatsup and check out our recommended affiliate programs and affiliate launches that are coming up and then come back for the next episode.
If you’re not subscribed yet, make sure you hit subscribe. So you do not miss the next episode. I’ve got seven more surprising benefits of affiliate marketing. We’re going to pick up right where we left off talking about how to turn affiliates into partners like long-term partners. And we’re going to talk about how to even turn your competitors into partners among other things in the next episode.
So come back for that, make sure you subscribe and I’ll see you then. Thank you so much for listening today. Remember to check out all of our deep dives into affiliate marketing at theaffiliateguy.TV and if you have a question, ask it at asktheaffiliateguy.com who knows maybe you will even be featured on an upcoming episode.
And lastly, if you haven’t yet, make sure to leave a rating and review wherever you’re listening to this episode, see you soon.