How do you build an affiliate program that lasts? The old model is not working, so what is? Today, I’ll share the first of three pillars to keeping your affiliates engaged and motivated…and promoting for the long term!

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Links Mentioned in this Episode

Your First 100 Affiliates

Your Affiliate Launch Coach

George W. Bush Announces Affiliate Prizes

John Morgan’s site

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Previous Episodes of The Affiliate Guy

The New Model for Affiliate Programs

The Future of Affiliate Marketing & The Advantage of Being Small

Surprising Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Part 3

Surprising Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Part 2

Surprising Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Pt. 1

The 3 C’s of Successful Affiliate Programs Part 1

In the last episode, I talked about this new model for affiliate programs. The old model of only having big affiliates and just a few affiliates make up most of your sales. That’s not working. We want to have an army Of affiliates who are bringing in sales.

I talked about it because that doesn’t work, things have to be a little bit different. Over the next few episodes, I’m going to share exactly what to do. I’m going to share what we call the three C’s of successful affiliate programs.

Today I’m going to share the first C and in the next episode, I’ll share the second C, and then you figured it out in the third episode. Sure enough, I’m going to share that third C there. This is all about creating affiliates who are engaged and motivated, they’re taking action, they become those loyal affiliates that we talked about.

I said in the last episode as they promote you over and over and over again, not just like one time and then flake out or every couple of years they promote you. They’re going to promote pretty much anytime you ask them, that’s what we want. We want to engage and motivate affiliates who do irrational things. They go the extra mile. As I said a few episodes ago the affiliate sent 10 emails on cart close day, because I did it once. She said, ‘Well, I thought that meant that I was supposed to do it.’ This blew my mind. So if you get these three things right, they will take action, and not only will you inspire the small affiliates to do better, but you’ll actually get more out of your top affiliates as well. This is all about building that army of affiliates that we talked about.

It starts with the first C, which is CONTESTS. I want to share with you how to run an affiliate contest.

That gets more than just the top affiliates involved. I’m gonna share some of the keys. Before I do just a quick reminder, make sure you download my free report. Your First 100 Affiliates. You can do that at Mattmcwilliams.com/first100. Go grab that. It walks you through the part about how to find the affiliate so that you can build that diversified army of the small, medium, and some large affiliates. This isn’t about the small affiliates.

Secondly, if you have an affiliate program and you want to take mine to the next level. I hear what you’re saying, Matt, I’m in with this new model, I need help doing this, I can’t do it myself, I need some coaching. Go check out youraffiliatelaunchcoach.com, fill out the application, set up a call with my team and I will see if you’re a good fit, I’ll tell you if you’re not, I really will. Like, I will say, listen, this is not a good fit for you yet. You need a few months.

So how do you run an affiliate contest? Again, that gets more than just the top affiliates involved. Well, there are three keys.

1) Offer a Minimum Prize 

This is a guaranteed prize that anybody with a little bit of extra effort can achieve. One of our favorites is if you make three sales, you get access to a course. If you’re promoting a $2,000 course, you make three sales, you get access. It costs you nothing. Maybe a few of the people who would have gotten three sales would have bought it anyway but it costs you nothing and it’s incredibly motivating.

When we looked at these numbers when we put this in place a few years ago for one of our clients, the previous year, they had like four sales or four affiliates who had between three and five sales. The following year, they had over 200 that had between three and five. Some of the people the year before who had like one or two, they hit that three, they got four, they got five and they’ve specifically said they were motivated by that threshold. 

Robby Miles who’s on our team now was a part of that affiliate promotion and he said, ‘I knew I couldn’t get 10 or 15 sales the first year I wanted to get access to the course. I busted it to get the three sales.’ because of him. The few hundred bucks in affiliate commission were nice. It was like a $200 product, but he also got access to a $200 course.

Now he had bought the course of the year before. So for him to upgrade was only like $97 to the new version may be less than that, but he got access to it and he was just really excited about that. If you’re a smaller affiliate, doesn’t that sound motivating? like I got three sales and I get access to this. So offer some sort of a minimum price.  It doesn’t even have to be access if you don’t have a course, it could be to a launch recap. You’re going to do a recap of your launch. If you’re in the internet marketing world, that’s pretty powerful.

It could be I remember specifically we did a mastermind and anybody that got five sales got invited to this mastermind. And so small affiliates like, ‘oh my gosh, I get to be in on this mastermind with this big internet marketer guy.’ Get creative. What’s something that you could offer, could be access to a membership. ‘Hey, if you make 3 or 5 sales, you get six months of membership into our program or you get six months of our membership.

This costs you practically nothing compared to some people like, ‘Oh, it costs me $2,000.’ No, it didn’t. Most of those people probably weren’t gonna pay $2,000 and that’s the reality. So that’s number one, offer a minimum prize, a guaranteed prize that’s really easy to achieve, but will require those smaller affiliates to push a little bit. Maybe they were only gonna make one or two sales, but you’ll get 200 affiliates who get an extra one and a half sales. That’s 300 sales at $2,000 a pop right there is over a half-million dollars in extra revenue.

2) Offer random drawings

What do I mean by random drawing? A random drawing is where you do something online. I’m going to pull up some examples here. One example that we did was everyone who does just 25 registrations for the webinar is entered to win $2,000. You send 25 registrations, you’re entered to win. That’s it. Everybody who does just two sales this weekend are entered to win. Everybody who does eight sales this weekend is entered to win. We did one for Michael Hyatt years ago.

Basically, for every email you sent on cart-close day, you were entered to win. In fact, what we did was that every email you sent was an entry. If you sent seven emails, you got seven entries and you had a better chance of winning.

Again, I mentioned Robby Miles, but I remember specifically Robby telling me the story about that. He said, ‘Well, I know I can’t win any of these other contests, but this is one that I control.’ This is what he calls a process goal. The outcome goal is well I finished 25th on the leaderboard, or I made five sales, or I got 50 opt-ins, I can’t control that. I can control how many emails I send. So what I did was I created a specific email address. I think it was F to F (Free to Focus).

That was the launch we were running off. Michael’s it was like FtoF@Mattmcwilliams.com. So put that on your email list and make sure you include it on all of our emails about this, then we just automatically have those go to a folder. We had something like 784 emails in there. The next day, I went into random.org, typed in 784, clicked on generate a random number, and pulled up 407 or whatever. I just went to the 407th email. It took me like three minutes to run this contest.

So think about some ways you can run contests, where there’s an element of randomness to it. Anyone can win with a little bit of effort, 25 opt-ins, 25 registrations for a webinar. Even when I only had a hundred people on my list, I could get 15 or 18 from my list to register for a webinar.

Then I just had to text a few friends and say, “Hey, are you interested in this?” Maybe that gives me four or five, posted on Facebook, and get another three or six or whatever and I’m over 25. We’ve had people, I think Jr. Reed. He had literally no list at all in the first launch that we ran for five days to Your Best Year Ever a few years ago. Zero lists, still did like 25 sales and finished in the top 40 all from just texting and Facebook and instant messaging people. That was it. It’s a very powerful way to get people interested in the contest.

3) Deep Leaderboards. 

We often see the top 10, right? That’s great. Top 10, go top 50. I’ve heard so many times that this really got people going like “I was in 39th place, but seeing my name, seeing my picture on the leaderboard was huge.” Does it take a little bit of extra effort? Of course, it does, but is it worth it? Of course, it is. Because the other thing is people see themselves a lot of times.

We’ll do a picture leaderboard for the top 30, and then we’ll go as far down as is practically possible, they’ll see themselves in 63rd and they’re like, I just want to get the top 50. When you’re normally in 63rd, what’s the difference between 63rd and 41st, nothing. The difference between 63rd and 49th is 14 spots. But when you don’t even know, because you’re not even on the leaderboard, you are not fighting for.

The farther down you go, the more you get people engaged, the more motivated they are to do something. And you’re like, ‘Oh, one person moved up, five spots because they made an extra couple of sales.’ That’s not really that big of a deal, but what if 30 people move up because they made an extra three sales on average, again, 90 sales times if it is a $2,000 product, it’s $180,000 in revenue. If it’s not a $2,000 product, it’s a $100 product.

Well then maybe they made 20 sales, maybe you got 50 people to move up. Like there’s a lot of ways to skin a cat. So it’s like one idea, extra half million, another idea, extra 200,000, another idea, a hundred thousand. You almost have a million bucks just from these three things that can move the needle. Let me ask you, do you like to see your name on a leaderboard? Of course, you do. So go deep with your leaderboard and above all else with your affiliate program, make sure that your affiliate contest and really your whole affiliate program overall, make sure it’s fun.

I found, one of the secrets to affiliate program success I mean, you got great conversions, you got great copywriting, you got to know the right people, you got the right affiliates, all that stuff. Now it’s the F word FUN.

I mean, affiliate programs should be fun. They should be fun for you. They should be fun for your affiliates. I’ll never forget this conversation I had that really solidified that for me. I always made them fun and I knew that it was kind of moving the needle, but I didn’t really know that much, but this was probably about four or five years ago.

I had a conversation with a friend Carl Young, he was the operations manager for one of our clients at the time. And he said, “I want this launch to be so fun for our affiliates, that they’ll tell everyone about it and beg to promote it again.” And I was like, wow, that’ll REALLY have an impact like there’s a direct correlation between fun and results. In fact, in that particular launch, we kind of approached that line of going overboard with the fun, but the more fun that we introduced, the better the results. In that particular launch, we actually almost doubled our high-end goal for opt-ins during the launch, we more than doubled the opt-ins from the previous launch, the less fun one. Now there are more factors than just fun, but that played a role.

When I say, make your affiliate program fun, I’m basing it on not just anecdotal evidence, but I’m basing it on the hard data. The more fun we made it, the more active the affiliates were, the more likely they were to promote in the future.

How do you make your affiliate program FUN?. I’m going to share three ways here based on the acronym F U N right.

  • F – Focus on results: What I mean by that is don’t just do fun for fun sake you have to make things fun and have a clear result in mind. Fun for fun’s sake might make you giggle or does it deliver a result? If you post an animated GIF of a leprechaun riding a unicorn, like that might be funny but does it move the needle. So the key here is to tie everything into the CTA, the call to action for your affiliate. What is the action that you want them to take? Do you want them to mail about the webinars? Okay. Then make sure that the fun is tied to that. Do you want them to start doing Facebook ads? Make sure the funniest title to that, maybe you want them to double their sales, try to double their shells in the next 24 hours. Whatever the desired action is, make it clear and tie the fun into that.

  • U – Uniqueness: Be yourself. Being yourself lets you be boring and not fun then be somebody else. I bought a shirt for Robby on our team. I think it was for his birthday. I don’t know if it was for his birthday or if I just randomly found it and wanted to mail it to them just to fund it. It was something like “Always be yourself unless you can be John Galt then be John Galt.” I was like, “that’s a great shirt.” If you don’t know who John Galt is, don’t worry, Google it. You’ll figure it out. Who is John Galt? Some of you got that.

Most of us have at least some semblance of humor. Right? So use it. If you have a dry sense of humor then be dry, if you’re sarcastic, be sarcastic, if you’re kind of goofy, be goofy, if none of the above are true and no one has ever laughed at you in the past three years, then hire somebody to be funny. I kind of consider myself to be moderately funny. I think I have a decent sense of humor, but I know when to bring in a professional.

I had an opportunity with Jeff Goins launch a few years ago, I was like, how can we announce these affiliate prizes and announce them in a fun way? So I hired a George W. Bush impersonator. I’m going to play the audio from that here. But my friend, John Morgan, he’s amazing. John is just amazing and he really is. He’s the best George W. Bush impersonator out there, just a genuinely amazing guy. So we hired him to announce the affiliate sales prizes. I’m going to link to the video. You need to see John and his actions. He is hysterical. I’ll link to that video on YouTube here:

That video was hugely popular. Not only did it make people laugh, but it focused on results. It got people thinking about the prizes in a way that if I had just sent an email out or just done a video of myself, it wouldn’t have had the same impact. I still hear about this video today. So a big shout out again to John Morgan. Thank you for doing that. If you ever need a George W. Bush impersonator, check him out. We’ll link to that in the show notes as well.

  • N – Nuttiness: Sometimes you have to get a little crazy. You have to get a little goofy, you have to get a little nutty whether it’s in the way you announce your prizes or the language you use in your emails, don’t be afraid to be nutty.

In case you needed it, I hereby permit you to be a goofball with your affiliates. Keep in mind you need to be focused on results, but nuttiness stands out, nuttiness gets attention, nuttiness kind of breaks through the clutter. Your affiliates are just like you. They are busy. They aren’t lazy. They’re busy. They have full inboxes. They have slack channels blown up. I’ve got 38 unread messages in slack right now. Those things are competing for my attention. If you want to break through to your affiliates, getting a little crazy might just be the way.

So make your program fun, make it fun for them and they will remember it, make it fun and they will do better than expected, make it fun, and then they’ll tell others. So what have you done to make your affiliate program fun? What have you seen others do? What have you seen others do that makes it fun for people? Again, above all, make it fun. That’s the first C in these three C’s of successful affiliate programs.

This is how you build an affiliate program that lasts in the next episode. I will share the second C that piggybacks on the first one on these contests and making it fun. I needed a C for making it fun, I guess, but that’s how you do it. You have these contests, these keep people engaged. So that’s the first C. I’ll share the next two C’s.

Make sure that you subscribe. So you don’t miss those. You definitely do not want to miss the next two episodes. Because you can have all the contests in the world and you can have a fun affiliate program but if you don’t follow these next two, you’re not going to get results. You’re not going to run an affiliate program based on this new model ‘What’s working now?’

So again, quick reminder, go grab my report Your First 100 affiliates, check out our coaching program. If you think it might be right for you and check out a video of John Morgan (It’s W here). Go check that out and then check out John’s site as well. If you just want to laugh, you just want to see him in action.

It’s pretty funny. It’s amazing. So go check those out, make sure you subscribe. So you don’t miss these upcoming episodes, and I will see you in the next one with the second C of successful affiliate programs. 

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. Lastly, if you haven’t yet make sure to leave a rating and review wherever you’re listening to this episode. See you soon.


Text me anytime at (260) 217-4619.

Or…check out some of my free reports to help you get on the right track:

Find Your First 100 Affiliates

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Affiliate Program Terms & Conditions Template

email for recruiting affiliates

Get My #1 Affiliate Recruiting Email

top mistakes to avoid with your affiliate program

Avoid The Top 20 Affiliate Program Mistakes

email templates for activating affiliates

Turn Inactive Affiliates into Your Best Affiliates

Affiliate email template for affiliate managers

Get My Template for Writing Affiliate Emails

Sales secrets of successful affiliate marketers

Affiliate Marketing Sales Secrets

Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing with a resources page

Learn How to Create a Resources Page

guide on how to write a product review with affiliate marketing

Learn How to Write a Product Review

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