Most affiliate managers get this wrong. As an affiliate, it’s annoying at best and makes me want to quit promoting at worst. It’s the second C of the 3 C’s of successful affiliate programs.

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Previous Episodes of The Affiliate Guy

The 3 C’s of Successful Affiliate Programs Part 1

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

The 3 C’s of Successful Affiliate Programs Part 2

In the last episode, I talked about the first C of successful affiliate programs, which is CONTESTS.

It ended up going a little bit deeper. I talked about not only the three types of contests Or the three keys to contests that you need to have, but I talked about how to make your affiliate program fun.

If you miss that episode, make sure you go back and listen to it because you’re going to get a ton of valuable information about how to make your affiliate program fun and run contests that actually result in more sales. That’s the key.

If you remember in that fun acronym, the F stood for Focus On Results. You need to make sure that your contests and your fun stuff actually lead to more sales.

But the key throughout all of this, and it’s our second C in the three C’s of successful affiliate programs is to COMMUNICATE with your affiliates.

I mean, all of them, not just your big ones. I cannot stress the importance of having a communication plan with your affiliates.  We created a template that you can download. We’ll put the link in the show notes. It’s Mattmcwilliams.com/affplan.

If you go there, you can download the template that we created. It’s a free PDF, a template that we give our affiliates to get them to mail more, promote more, and generate more sales.

It’s one thing to get your affiliates to promote your program and an entirely different thing to get them to mail 5, 10, 15, 20 times and go all out.

This template will help you to do that. We’ve been using it for years, we’ve refined it over the years and you definitely want to grab this template because I’m going to tell you right now, I can make the difference in communicating mediocre Lily.

I don’t know if that’s a word, but in a mediocre way, or communicating in a way that’s actually going to get results. So what do you communicate? If you go check out this template I’m just looking at one of the ones that we put together for a client here.

It says on here, on 1/27, we’re going to send the login and swipe for Monday, on 1/28 that’s via email. So it’s got the channel, it’s got the email, subject line, what’s the medium? What time are we sending it? Who’s it from? things like that.

Because it might not be just for me, we might send one from the client’s name, we might send one from you. It might be from my assistant or something. So who’s it from what day of the week? What’s the date then? 

So we sent the login and swipe on that day, the next day we sent an email, announcing the contest prizes, the following day, we’re going to post on Facebook and we’re going to announce a training webinar. Then we’re going to ask if they need anything going into next week, we’re going to remind them about the swipe copy and teach them how to use the swipe copy.

Then we’re going to keep going through this whole thing. We have a whole breakdown of everything we’re going to do to communicate with our affiliates day by day, starting months and months out. 

Now, of course, the question is, what do you communicate? What do you actually communicate with your affiliates? The list is virtually endless. I’m going to just walk you through probably, I don’t know, a dozen or so of things today that you can communicate.

1) Behind the Scenes Access:

Give them a look at what’s going on. If you’re running a launch, give them a look at what’s going on as you prepare for the launch. If you’re shooting the videos for your pre-launch content, let them in on them. Give them exclusive access to what’s happening. It makes them feel a part of it. 

I know one of my favorite videos to do for our affiliates is like when I’m on the set, recording the videos for the course or maybe for the pre-launch content and I’ll be on the set and I’ll grab my selfie stick and I’ll just be like, 

Hey, guys, 

I’m on set. I just wanted you to get a look at what we’re doing here and I just want to say, thank you so much for your support.

We’re about two months from launch. I can’t wait. We’re really going to over-deliver for your audience. I can’t wait to serve them, blah, blah, blah.” Or I’ll give them the number. 

I remember when I was recording and I screwed up. Where I had to say it was ‘slimy, salesy or sleazy.’

“How do you promote affiliate products where it’s not slimy, salesy, or sleazy?” I’m doing this, I’m standing with my wife doing the teleprompter and recording and I’m like, “how do you do affiliate marketing words, not slime, slimy.”

That’s not it – take two. “How do you do affiliate marketing without being slamming your sites?” I mean, it took me seven takes. She’s cracking up and then another one and I just started laughing.

I think it took possibly even like 10 or 12 takes for me to get through slimy, salesy, or sleazy and when I did, I was so excited at the end that I had to stop. I was like, “Yeah, I got through that. Okay. We can cut to the next thing.”

We had to use some B roll or something for that, but that was funny. I gave them access to that. I shared that video with them because it was funny, it was super funny.

2) Lots & Lots of Videos:

Don’t just send your affiliates email updates. Do not just stick to texts, please. Give them videos, record a video, just share it. We recorded a video and said, “Hey, we’re super excited about this affiliate promotion and we’re really glad that you’re on board.”

In fact, I’m going to share the audio here from one of the videos. I think he’s about four or five minutes long. I’m going to share the audio from one of the videos that we did for our launch a year ago. Again, just to get them excited about the launch. 

Hey guys, real quick. I just wanted to give you guys quick updates. I know, as I said this morning, over 13,000 total opt-ins. This is awesome and had a lot of sales coming in. So that was fun. And gosh, what else we got going on?

Yeah. So I wanted to share with you guys the PDF that’s coming out tomorrow. It’s called Affiliate Marketing Sales Secrets. How to sell without being salesy, scammy, or sleazy. 

You guys should have seen me. I told Mark that I want to get the outtakes at some point and share them with you guys. Because the part where I say that took like nine takes. So I finally got it right.

Make sure you download the free PDF. It’s called How to sell without being Slammed Sammy (laughing). We talk about the limiting beliefs about why conventional wisdom is wrong.

As I say here, ‘the biggest limiting belief that holds people back from success with affiliate marketing is the belief that affiliate marketing is salesy, sleazy or scammy.’ Hey, got it right. We talk about the five secrets of sales masters, and a lot of this comes from the great Zig Ziglar.

I quote him throughout the PDF and talking about secret number one, that to sell effectively, you’ve got to have passion and belief or you won’t sell anything at all. 

Make sure you go download that PDF, check it out. It’s in the partner center grab your swipe and mail tomorrow because this one’s going to be one of the best ones yet.

Mark: Can I just say Matt that one of the things that worked really well for us in swipe is when we have a PDF guide that we’re promoting is I’ll go through before I write the swipe and I’ll just like, look at headings, but I pick something out and I say, oh, and I really love on page 27, what they say or on page four,

what they say about, and when you do that, it’s one of those things where people are like, oh, I need to go read that. I need to go figure out what that is and so that’s a really cool thing to do. So definitely, I mean, we’ve provided for you there in the partner center,

make sure you download that, make sure you flip through it at least, and look through it. But Matt, you kind of hinted, you alluded to this, you can use all these things to do a lot better in this promotion too. It’s kind of meta, but you can take everything that’s in this and say, okay, how can I apply that for the next,

What are we at now? Seven days left?

Matt: Eight, if you include today.

Mark: Yep. So you can use these things to increase your sales. So I mean, there’s a double reason to go in and read it. But definitely super excited about this one that historically, I say, it’s been what a week. Historically the guides have done really well.

We’ve been blown away by how well the first two did. I do not doubt that this last one’s going to do the same thing.

Matt: Because it’s, as you go along, it’s harder, it’s no doubt harder because you have less of a pool to draw on because some people who’ve already opted in, engaged people very often.

But I believe in this PDF because we’re approaching this more from the angle of, it’s not about the money, it’s not about you’ve heard of affiliate marketing. You’ve thought about it, it’s about you believing those myths. I’ve never personally been a part of an affiliate promo where I was making money on day three. So it’s kind of fun.

It’s kind of fun for you guys, hopefully, and we’re seeing some sales rolling in and the webinars are converting and I think you guys were making an average of like 30 bucks and change or referral. So keep it up, mail to the PDF tomorrow, the video on Friday, don’t forget about the webinars that you want to mail to on Saturday.

Then we’re going to do the heads-up email on Sunday, then it’s going to be three days of absolute insanity. And I promise I will be there by then. I will be 99% caffeinated.

So that gives you some ideas, right? That’s during the launch really to keep them motivated, but you can do those weeks or months in advance. Give them just a quick video update.

3) Hammer Home The Dates: 

You cannot mention the dates enough. If there’s a promo for a launch coming up, hammer home the date. Everything you do, every email has a reminder of the dates.

When I do that behind-the-scenes video and “Hey, just remember guys, the promotion kicks off May 30th”. I’m constantly reminding them about the dates.

4) Create a Commitment Plan: 

Well, we don’t call them promo plans anymore. We call them commitment plans. These are plans that you really want to spell things out for your affiliates.

You want to tell them when they should mail when they should share, create a detailed plan for them and guess what? They will follow it. But this is something we discovered over the past couple of years, we don’t call them promo plans anymore. We call them commitment plans.

Again, if you want to get a template of a promo plan and you can get this from an affiliate perspective, just go to Mattmcwilliams.com/promoplan. You can download the promo plan from an affiliate perspective but it’s the same one that we use if you’re an affiliate manager that you’re going to give your affiliates, exact plan. It’s just geared towards the affiliates, but it’s really, we call them a commitment plan.

The reason for that is a couple of years ago, we found we were running a promotion and I don’t know why, but I started calling it a commitment plan and people started using them more.

They started actually implementing what we put in the plan more. Psychologically it kind of makes sense, right? It’s a commitment that they’ve made.

If they say they’re gonna mail on Saturday the eighth and they mail on Saturday the eighth. If they say they’re going to post or do a Facebook live on Monday the 10th they do a Facebook live on Monday, the 10th. It’s kind of cool.

So create these commitment plans again, you can download it like it has a spot to put your logo and who it’s for and the dates and all this stuff and it’s like color-coded and you can change the colors and stuff. These commitment plans are super cool.

5) Announce Contests and Prizes: 

Nothing gets people more excited than finding out what the heck the prizes are. I touched on this when I talked about contests and prizes in that episode, but like you want to announce the contest and prizes. In fact, I’m going to do a little bit more of a deep dive here into contests and prizes that I didn’t get to in the last episode. 

Before we move on I want to talk to you again about what to communicate. But I was thinking about this after the last episode, I didn’t dive super deep into some of the stuff that I could have with regards to prizes.

Number one, there are two types of prizes: Fixed prizes and Incremental prizes. 

The fixed prize is someone is winning it, no matter what, and this is risky when you’re starting. I don’t recommend fixed prizes.

I don’t recommend top 10 prizes, top five prizes, top 20 prizes, whatever because you might be paying the first prize of $20,000 and somebody who makes eight sales unless you’ve got a $10,000 product that sucks.

Incremental prizes are basically, it means the more sales they make, the more prizes they win. As we talked about last time you do three sales, you get this, you do 10 sales, you get this, do 25, you get this.

I recommend when you’re running like a first contest that it be something it’d be like three or five for that low level, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, and so on. Depending upon the prize.

If it’s a $7 product, you may want to make the first prize 10, so like 10,50, 250 or something like that. We’re talking about anything over a hundred bucks, that’s kind of a good breakdown. Then you make those prizes about 7% of the value of the product can go as high as 10%.

So you want to do fixed and incremental but start with just the incremental.

What works best in terms of prizes? Well, here are some of the most effective things, number one experiences, right? Prizes should be aspirational. I like to offer prizes to get people to think a little bit outside of their norms, like the Kentucky Derby or final four tickets, things like that. These are things that kind of tie into.

The next one, things that people wouldn’t buy for themselves, but they would let you buy them for them. I remember years ago, the second type of prize or what we call ‘buy it for me items‘, Ray Edwards said “I’m really shooting for third place. I’ve always wanted a drone, but I know I’ll never buy it for myself. I will. However, let you buy it for me. “

That’s what we want. We all want to own nice things. It’s nice when someone else buys them for us. He ended up really becoming like a drone. I don’t know, a drone junkie or something. I don’t know what you say there.

Gadgets work really well. The latest tech gadgets are always great prizes.

Masterminds & retreats. We often do these where, it’s like if you make the top 20, you’re going to get this big affiliate mastermind. We might do like top 10 and we take them to a luxury resort.

These have always been some of my favorite prizes because I get to go hang out with cool people and take my wife to an amazing place and we have not to pay anything for it. That’s fun.

Just the more prizes, the better, right? So you might have overall opt-ins overall sales, you got sprint prizes, jump prizes, webinar prizes, workshop prizes, pre-launch contest prizes, weekend prizes. We call these if-then prizes. If you do this, then you get this. We talked a little bit about that in the last episode. Goofy prizes, you name it, just the more prizes, the better. So that’s a little bit more on prizes.

So to recap, we talked about behind-the-scenes access, things that we communicate. Behind the scenes, access videos, hammered home, those important dates, the commitment plans, announcing contests and prizes, teach them.

Send emails, post tips in the Facebook group to help them along the way, teach them about your product and details that they may not know about.

Teach them sales techniques, show them what’s working with your ads because maybe they can apply them to their ads. Teach them, teach them, teach them, run training for them.

This is something my favorite parts of our coaching program Your Affiliate Launch Coach is like when you sign up to get coaching from us. We don’t just say, “Hey, go teach your affiliates.” We actually teach them for you. And they get to position me as the expert. And I come in and I do this training and I teach them and I do these strategy calls with them and show them how to close sales and the results are amazing.

So teach them what’s working, show them the strategies they need to be able to make more sales, to get more opt-ins whatever it may be.

Like I said, hosted training, not just, just for your small affiliates, these aren’t just for the small affiliates. Some of our largest affiliates we have, they attend our trainings.

The thing is, you need to make it an event because if you make it an event, then it’s a big thing. We send mail to them, inviting them to these. We make sure that it’s “two o’clock Eastern Wednesday” you want to show up, right?

So let me show you how we do this. I am going to play a clip here. We just did one of these a few months ago for one of our clients and our Your Affiliate Launch Coach program.

I’m just going to play some of the highlights. We put together a little, it’s like nine, nine and a half minutes. This is the training that we did for Jason and Cecilia Hilkey of Happily Family.

So like I mentioned, we, with our clients, actually do two pieces of training for their affiliates as a part of the program where we come on for like an hour, hour and a half, we train their affiliates to start with about like the calendar. We walked them through the calendar, some promotional strategies, things like that.

Then we do another training where we teach them how to close sales as affiliates. I’ll share more about that in the next episode. Actually, I’m going to share a clip of training that we did for a client. So you can get a little taste of what that’s actually like.

So we’re going to teach them, we’re going to host training with them, we want to send them a cheat sheet, we always put together like a one or two-page PDF that’s just got all the important stuff. It’s got the dates right in front of them and got a couple of tips that they need to make sure that they implement.

It’s got important links, all of these things, and just something they can keep right in front of them and have open during the promotion, quick little cheat sheets so send those.

Share testimonials. This is super important. When you get a particularly awesome testimonial, sharing it in the partner group shared in the Facebook group is a great way to make them feel like what they’re doing is having an impact.

Make sure that you do this. If there’s a testimonial that comes in, this is one of the most powerful things. When you get a testimonial, don’t look up and see who referred them and then send it to them. Like if Joe sends an affiliate lead and that lead buys, and then that person says, “Oh my gosh, this was amazing.”

Then make sure that you share that with affiliates, share that with Joe. We got some testimonials a while back when we shared them with our affiliates, they were just blown away, absolutely blown away.

This is super important. So share those testimonials, just share updates with them,

whatever updates you think you need to share with them, you don’t have to be super picky. Leaderboards contest updates, where you stand on a personal level, you’re at 63 sales and you’re on pace for 90.

You can do something like, if you know, they’re on pace for 90, “Hey, if you hit a hundred sales, you’ll get a thousand dollars bonus.” That makes mathematical sense if it’s a $50 product, it probably doesn’t. But you get the idea, you can do things like that, give them updates, keep them updated more as usually better.

You’re looking for ETS, what we call ETS is Excuses To Mail. And if you have an excuse to mail, then mail, make sure you have mentioned this before.

Make sure you start a Facebook group and update often post a countdown to the launch every week, leading up until about 10 days before then go daily. You want to do multiple updates per day during a big promotion, make it fun. Like we talked about before.

On the first day of the launch, we did a thing, it was like post your launch face. Post your launch face. So we all took selfies. They’re 50 people posting these selfies. And remember your entire purpose is to keep your stuff front and center. And top of mind, if you remember the principles of commitment and consistency.

Commitment and consistency are committed, and then they’re going to be consistent with that commitment. So one of the things you can do, another thing you can communicate, I don’t know what number is there, like 12 or whatever, ask them for their picture for the leaderboard.

If you’re going to post a picture on the leaderboard, ask them for a picture. If I asked you for your picture, wouldn’t you be a little bit more excited about the prospect of being on the leaderboard? When you go a little bit more out of your way to make sure that you end up on that leaderboard. That’s important.

Ask if they need anything. Something like that is so simple that it can have a huge impact. I recommend it if your launch starts on a Monday.

I typically don’t recommend starting on Monday, start on Tuesdays, but let’s just say it’s Tuesday. Then on Friday, send an email. “Hey, we’re heading into the weekend. I just wanted to check. Do you need anything for next week?”

It’s like a two-sentence email that generates a lot of responses. As a matter of fact, “I do. Nope. I’m good, set up, locked, loaded, and ready, Matt.” Okay, cool. Either way, either response is great.

So ask if they need anything, ask for referrals.

This is the number one way to get new affiliates that ask them for referrals. Send out an email months before the launch and just say, “Hey, do you know anybody? Who’d be a good fit for this launch or this promotion?”

If you’re having an evergreen program, “Hey, do you know anybody? Who’d be a good fit for this program? Introduce us. And we’ll hook you up with a second-tier commission.” There you go. Super easy, right?

Send physical mail. You’ll stop relying on email and Facebook, send them something in the mail. We used to do this with one of our clients. We put together a newsletter. It basically had stuff that we could send in an email, but we sent it in physical mail, cost us a dollar and you know what? They read it.

I have on my desk over here, I have these two Lego action figures that look like me. They were handcrafted Lego, one with the glasses and one without. I got it from Pete Vargas years ago.

Send a specific mailing to them with some testimonials that can work, send them something in the mail.

I think I gave you 15 things. This is only a starter list of what to communicate and how to communicate. So it begs the question of course, How often should you email your affiliates? How often should you post to Facebook? How often should you mail them? The answer is very simple. A lot.

I mentioned earlier, the biggest mistake that affiliate managers make is not communicating enough. In our average 17-day launch sequence, we have 46 emails during and a typical launch, you’ll get about 75 emails from us over the course of seven months or so.

We’ll post probably a hundred Facebook updates. I mean, that’s a lot of stuff. But this is what gets those small affiliates engaged and helps you create this awesome army of promotional partners, which is what you want.

That lie we talked about, most of your sales will come from only a few affiliates that only happen if you’re not following the second C. It doesn’t have to be super time-consuming you can do this in about an hour, a day, most weeks, maybe during your launch, it’ll take you a little bit more.

The key is to communicate, communicate, communicate. That is our second C. The first one to have great contests we’ll make our affiliate program fun. Second, we want to communicate in the next episode, I will share the last C.

I’ll give you a little hint. I touched on it just a little bit today, but not in detail. And I’m going to share some of the details in the next episode. So that last C is super important. You don’t want to miss it.

So make sure you subscribe so that you don’t miss that episode. I’ve got some cool stuff in the next episode for you. Make sure you check out the promo plan, commitment plan, and communication plan link as well, the link that we put in the show notes. Make sure you check out all of that. I’ll see you on the next episode for our last C and the three C’s 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:

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2 thoughts on “The 3 C’s of Successful Affiliate Programs Part 2

  1. I always enjoy listening to Matt. I rarely am in the place of action to he is talking about, so it doesn’t cause me to impliment them. I do feel encouraged and inspired. I think the thing that inspires me the most is his generousity. Thank you.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Thank you Kate! Why do you say you aren’t in a place to implement though?

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