When you promote something that you have personal experience with, you have a massive, unbeatable advantage. Your unique story. It’s something that only YOU have. Today, I’m sharing the importance of getting personal in your affiliate promotions (and what to do if you don’t have personal experience with a product).

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Previous Episodes of The Affiliate Guy

Launch Lessons: The Affiliate Army Strikes Again

The Evolution of Affiliate Marketing – The Past, Present, And Future

My Dream Client: Interview with Dean Graziosi

How to Become an Affiliate Manager

The Power of the Dream 100 with Dana Derricks

How to Use Pinterest for Affiliate Marketing

The Importance of Getting Personal in Your Affiliate Promotions –

When you promote something that you have personal experience with, you have a massive, unbeatable advantage. Your unique story. Something that only you have.

Today I’m sharing the importance of getting personal in your affiliate promotions and what to do if you don’t have personal experience with a product.

If you have personal experience with the product that you’re promoting, you have a secret weapon.

This is something that only you have. Truly, you’re the only one that has this your experience with whatever you’re promoting.

When we’re running an affiliate promo, we keep a separate list of everyone who’s actually used the product, who’s been through the course, who’s a member of the membership, who’s bought whatever it is.

And it will communicate with them this message that having a personal experience for them gives them a huge, massive, unbeatable advantage.

I’ll say to them, like, you have a unique story about your experience with the product and the thing is, your story doesn’t have to be one of, like, massive success, massive authority, right?

People think that, Well, “I don’t really have a huge success story, man.” It’s easy for somebody who bought that course and used it and then did a $5 million launch. They can promote it. It’s easy for the guy who bought it and lost £200.

I thought when I first launched my blog, this is ten years ago, the only way to attract readers was to show my authority, like, to demonstrate that I had all the answers, to prove myself worthy of respect and I was wrong.

The truth is that people were actually more drawn to my stories of struggle, the true stories of how I messed up, dug myself in the holes, and ultimately climbed out of it.

In other words, they followed me because of a specific story arc. Not the one where I come in and say, here’s how amazing I am and I’m successful and you should follow me.

It was the one where I said, here’s my story. Here’s how I screwed up. Probably some funny stuff about Dumb, stuff that I did. Here’s what I learned from it. Here’s what you can learn from it.

Here are your next steps, time after time. Those posts were not only the most popular, but they were the most enjoyable to write for me.

Sometimes the most painful, but they were the most enjoyable and the thing is, even though I knew this, I kept most of my story private.

That inner critic, right, said, your story is kind of boring.Your story is not a Hollywood script. It’s not exciting, it’s not inspiring.

So I struggled for years with that inner critic, that inner critic that was saying my story was boring, but others tell me that’s not the case.

When I open up to those who are closest to me, they all say, wow. I moved 13 times by the age of 14.

My dad left us for another woman when I was two. My single mom worked three jobs to keep us on the right side of the tracks.

But I could see the tracks from my bedroom window. I hardly knew my mom growing up.

I definitely didn’t know my dad. And as a result, I dealt with decades of feeling unsettled and angry.

I struggled to allow others to get close to me and when I told that story, people were drawn to me.

That’s not a story I like sharing. That’s not about me being successful in business.

I build successful companies from the ground up, and then I watched them crash and burn.

I’ve been fired four times out of five jobs, including twice by the same company and once by my own father. But I’ve also found success in redemption in my current business.

Years ago, about eight, nine years ago, we tripled our income in the course of three years. And I got to tell that story.

But for years, I kept most of my story inside of me and I’m going to tell you right now, doing so was painful. Try to keep your story inside of you.

I’m getting a little bit off the affiliate track here, but don’t keep your story inside of you.

There’s a quote from Maya Angelou that I love. She says that:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”

That story arc that I mentioned, Les Brown talked about, I didn’t want to die with my story inside of me.

Stories have the power to inspire in a way that a bullet point list just can’t. Stories give us common ground.

Stories ignite passions inside of us that make life beautiful, and they lead the sales.

Stories teach. Stories engage. Stories last. People remember stories.

Ready to turn your passions into a profitable business? Check out my new book here!

Turn Your Passions into Profits Book Matt McWilliams

They don’t remember facts. They don’t remember details. They don’t remember how many lessons there are, any of that stuff.

So I want to encourage you to share your story with your audience.

This is in general and in affiliate promos in general, share more of your story to help build connection, build a brand, to build authenticity.

In affiliate promos, use them for the same reasons.

To build connection, to build brand, to build authenticity, but also to share the path to transformation.

Don’t just focus on the swipe copy. Don’t focus on just the facts. This is a hugely important message. Do not copy the swipe copy without editing it.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see affiliates making. They just copy and paste the swipe copy. They don’t even read it.

And then they click send to their email list. Really? That’s how little respect you have for your email list?

Like, for the people an email list, by the way, is not an email list. These are people.

Every single one of those people is an individual. So take the time.

Like I know it’s easy. You might even get some decent results. But please do not do it.

I’ve shared these before, but there are three reasons, right?

Number one, swipe Copy has never written specifically for your audience.

And all of these I have a whole blog post. I’ll put a link in the show notes about how to use swipe copy for affiliate managers.

I’ve got a post for you about how to write swipe copy. But number one, it’s not written specifically for your audience.

When we write swipe copy for our affiliates, we’re writing it in general.

It’s for tens of different avatars. It’s never written in your voice.

And people subscribe to multiple lists, so it’s likely they’re going to end up having the same email as everyone else. That’s three reasons why it is a terrible idea.

So use swipe copy as a guide. Use it to get your facts straight.Use it for inspiration, but do not copy and paste it to your list. Okay?

We give out swipe copy for a reason, just to be clear. It is to help you, help you overcome writer’s block, give you some inspiration for your own writing.

Make sure you get the important information correct in the email. So use it, but it’s too generic. Your story is what sells.

Nothing is worse than boring copy that doesn’t relate to you. Okay?

So when you’re writing your own copy, make sure you personalize it.

Don’t make it generic. Don’t make it lame.

I see so many affiliates. They focus way too much on the product creator.

This thing is by Tony Robbins. I love Tony Robbins.

They’re clients, and I’ve talked a lot about them recently.

But what would you do? This isn’t about Tony Robbins. This is about the person reading it. Tony be the first person to tell you this.

He would rather you talk less about him and talk more about them or the product itself. Like, nobody wants a shovel, they want a hole.

So focus on the reader and use your own personal story to tie back to the reader.

That’s the thing. Your story is a placeholder for theirs.

They should see themselves and hear themselves in your story.

One of the approaches that I did years ago, I shared examples of teachers that I had in school, both good and bad.

I remember one of those emails. I’m going to pull this up here one of those emails.

I don’t have the subject line, but I think it was something like, my favorite teacher. My favorite teacher in high school.

Think for a moment about your favorite teacher, one that inspired you.

You can probably remember their name and what they look like, right?

For me, it was Mrs. Trippy, my 11th grade history teacher, just like me.

I bet you can also remember something that they taught you something that stands out after all these years.

I’m also guessing that the way they taught it to you wasn’t like any other teacher.

Think for a moment about why you remember this again. This is me reading this email here.

Is it because of a hands on project where you actually had to create something?

Was it the way this teacher was able to tell a story and make the information come to life?

That’s what it was for me with Mrs. Trippy. She put the story in history.

History literally came alive in her class. You felt like you were in the story.

She’s the reason why. To this day, I absolutely love biographies.

Do you think anyone else had a story about Mrs. Trippy or Mr. Calvert is another one I talked about?

He was my civics teacher who was a complete embarrassment to the entire profession of teachers.

He would sit in front of the class and put staples in his arm and then you read the chapter.

Yeah, great. Super helpful there, man.

He’s the guy that makes teachers unions look so bad, because how that man still had a job is beyond and my understanding.

So nobody else has those two stories for me to tell that story, by the way, to this day.

Just as a side note, it’s the reason why I mean, I don’t go a week without listening to a biography or some sort of book about history.

I’m literally reading a book about the Romanian revolution right now. Like, actually reading it.

I’m listening to a book about the history of class in the United States, specifically in, like, appalachia.

And then I’m listening to another book about shackleton’s trip to the Antarctic and that’s just, like, right now.

That’s three books just right now. Over the past year, I’ve probably listened to read 75 books about history.

I’m obsessed with it all because of Trippy. I was never obsessed with it before that. Never even really liked it before her.

But that story guaranteed that even though I started off with the same swipe copy as every other affiliate, my emails would be unique.

So start with a story. Make your emails, your promotions personal.

How does this product, how does this free training, how does this workshop, this webinar, tie into your own experiences?

How can you personalize it for your readers and then write specifically to your avatar?

This is another important thing. When you try to communicate with everyone, you communicate with no one.

Again, going back to swipe copy. Swipe copy is not for your avatar. It’s meant for the masses. But your emails are meant for your avatar.

This is why my avatar’s name is Pete, and I start off every email that I write, every piece of content I write, “Hey, Pete.”
“What’s up, Pete?” Because Pete is my avatar.

Now, I leave that out, but it’s a trigger for me.

He’s my audience, not thousands of people. Not my list, not my tribe, not my audience. He is it, he is it? So write to your avatar, not the masses.

If it helps, start off each email with their name, and imagine you’re writing to just him or her.

And then affiliate managers. Don’t expect them to copy and paste.

Don’t expect them just to copy and paste. Don’t encourage them to all right, this is a big no.

We always tell affiliates, like I just talked about, don’t copy and paste the swipe copy.

It’s unoriginal, it’s ineffective, and often backfires.

Now, imagine a world where everyone’s just sending the exact same email. That’s so lame.

So make sure you encourage your affiliates to only use the swipe copy as a guide.

Feel free to share this episode with them. Use it as a guide. Use it for inspiration.

But they need to make their emails personal and specific for their audience.

So I mentioned earlier, if you want some more tips, how to use Swipe Copy as an affiliate, how to write Swipe copy for your affiliates, there’s going to be a couple of links in the show notes on that.

So don’t focus on the swipe copy. Focus on your experience, focus on your transformation. Focus on what it did for you.

Seven, eight years ago, before he became a client, I took a course from Michael Hayat called Five Days to Your Best Year Ever. Literally changed my life.

It showed me how to set goals and how to get clear on what I wanted.

Over the next year, I almost tripled my income. I think it was almost tripled my income.

I paid the exact same amount in taxes almost to the dollar that I had made the year before and it continued from there.

So I told my tribe about it and in my second promotion, when I actually had that story, because the first year that I promoted, I didn’t have that story and I didn’t know what I was doing.

So I had a tiny promo, but I went all out. I wrote from personal experience.

I told my story. I made $13,847 in commissions with a list of under 2000 people.

I went toe to toe. This is a $147 products, 13,000 and change. You can do the math.

I’m doing 85 to 90 sales. Went toe to toe with some of the biggest names in internet marketing.

I beat Jeff Goins and I was up there with I think I’m finishing in fifth place.

I was up there with give me a second. I was right behind Ray Edwards.

I was up there with Jeff Walker, Don Miller, some of the others.

The following year I did the same thing. I barely had a list of 2500. I made almost $20,000, $19,991.

I still remember, one more sale because I had a personal story. That’s the power of a personal story.

So tell your story. Be open, be bold, be you, and good things are going to come.

No matter what your list size, no matter what you’re following or previous experience, good things will come.

So what do you do if you don’t have personal experience with the product?

The first question is, can you even promote something if you haven’t personally used it?

I get that question all the time. I hear a lot of successful affiliates. I only promote products I personally use.

I totally understand that. I just talked about that. Like you should share your personal experience if you haven’t.

But I believe that you can and in many cases you should promote products that you haven’t used yourself.

I only promote products that I use personally. That’s a way to add credibility to what they’re promoting. And we just talked about this, right?

They’ve used it, they’ve experienced it, they recommend it firsthand, as we’ve been talking about, hugely powerful.

But you can promote stuff that you haven’t promoted number one, because it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. What’s best for you might not be best for them.

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Secondly, what you use to get where you are might be different from what they need right now.

I mean, think about it. If I said, well, the thing that I used to get my first thousand subscribers was what was it that I was on?

I don’t remember the name of the company. It’s a company that doesn’t even exist anymore.

Shoot, I don’t remember. That’s not a valid way.

I can’t recommend that to people because it doesn’t even exist.

The other thing is thirdly, I’m at a different level than my audiences. You’re at a different level than where your audience is.

So I use certain tools that I don’t recommend yet, and there are things that I do recommend that I don’t use because we’re at a different level.

The other thing is, like my second business.

Well, I could say, you know what you should do to go out and build an affiliate program?

Go out and hire a programmer and custom build an affiliate program.

You know why I did that in 2005? Because there were no out of the box solutions.

I don’t recommend you do what I did. I built a custom one.

That’s not a good idea today because there are other solutions that are better.

I don’t recommend starting with infusion soft. If you’re just starting out building an affiliate program, I don’t recommend Infusions Soft.

I recommend some other stuff that I don’t use, and I’ll walk through that right.

But I know that it’s a quality product. Think about, like, you’re in the market for a new car.

We’re looking actually at vehicles, right? We’re looking for a new SUV.

And the thing is, I can honestly say the new Lexus RX is phenomenal.

I’ve never personally owned a Lexus RX yet, but I’ve owned a Lexus.

I know they’re great vehicles. It was a sedan.

I know they make great SUVs because Lexus has a reputation for building great vehicles.

I have a few friends who’ve owned Lexus RX. Edmunds rates it really high. The new one gets almost five out of five stars.

So all of that means if you’re looking at purchasing a Lexus RX, I would feel confident in telling you that they are great SUVs.

The same goes for promoting products as an affiliate.

You can recommend things that you haven’t even used based on some things that we’ll talk about here.

So I’m going to share five criteria for when it’s okay to promote a product that you haven’t used and how to actually use that not the same as a personal experience, but how to use that.

First of all, you like and trust the creator.

If there’s a creator of the product and you can speak to his or her knowledge, skills, and integrity, even if you haven’t used their specific product, you can recommend it.

There are people that I Recommend. I recommend you go buy their products. Even though I’ve never been through them. I’ve never been through their course.

Now I might today, now that we have the team to do it. I might have a team member go through their course.

That course might be on how to start a blog. I don’t need to know how to start a blog.

I’m not going to buy their course and go through it. Why would I do that?

I’m not going to spend 15 hours of my life doing it.

But if it would benefit you, and I know the person and I know their reputation and what they teach, then I can recommend that.

The other thing is if you’ve used a product another product by the same company? I don’t know.

We’ll just make up the name Joe. You never used Joe specific product, but used one of his other products.

You can honestly assume the quality and the value will be consistent from one product to the next.

I remember years ago when I was just talking with some people that are applying to be in our agency. They’re applying to be affiliate managers.

I was talking about how, like, one of the reasons why I was willing to work with Kevin Harrington, the original shark with Shark Tank, right?

He had no existing sales of his product. It was a brand new course.

Normally, we require people to have more revenue and have been around for a while.

They’ve done a couple of launches, have been around for a year or so, evergreen before we work with them.

I’m like, the guy invented the infomercial. He’s worth half a billion dollars.

It was a brand new course, so no one had used the product.

But hundreds of affiliates were willing to promote the launch because they had seen other products from Kevin and from Zig Ziggler, who the course material is based on. They had great experiences with them.

So if you’ve used something else, you can safely promote this thing Or if you know someone who’s used the product.

This is exactly what you’re doing when you tell someone that your friend went to the new restaurant downtown instead. It was amazing.

That’s a second hand testimonial. That is a valid testimonial, especially when you know and trust the person making the recommendation.

So if you know someone, they’ve actually used the product, you haven’t personally used it, their endorsement is enough to give you the confidence to promote it, and you can use their success story in the marketing of that product.

So you don’t have your own personal story, but you’ve got their success story.

My friend lost 84 pounds doing this. Can you honestly promote something like that?

If your friend, who had been obese for 20 years and struggled with this, you’ve been fit your whole life.

Why would you buy a weight loss product? But your friend lost 84 pounds, changed his life.

He ran a half marathon. He’s got more energy than he’s ever had.

His kids are so excited. He’s going to live longer.

That’s a pretty cool story, right? It’s not yours, but it’s his and you can honestly promote using that.

The fourth thing that you can look for is if you can read product reviews.

When I go to Amazon, I read the product reviews. I can honestly recommend the camera.

I could recommend the camera that I bought before I got it. I just left a five star rating and review for this camera that I just bought.

We had a big flood here, and my old camera was destroyed, so I had to buy a new one.

My old camera doesn’t exist anymore. They don’t make it.

So I had to go find a new one. Of course, I looked at the ratings when I saw that it had 1679 reviews, almost 2000 reviews, and it was five stars was the average.

It was like two one star reviews and like, seven two star reviews and personally, I always look at the three star reviews because those are the most to me, they’re the most helpful.

When I’m trying to buy something, there’s only like eleven of those even.

And then like 27, it was basically five stars. Like 4.98 stars. Okay. I could feel genuinely okay with promoting that now.

Of course, I’m going to get it in two days and I’ll try it out. It’s an amazing camera.

It’s 4K and does all kinds of cool stuff so you can do the same thing as an affiliate.

When I’m considering taking on a new client for our agency, I often ask for the name and contact information of three random customers, and I just want to talk to them about their experience with the product.

I’m just looking for some, like did it work for you? Yeah, it worked for me. It worked for me. Great. Now I know.

And then the fifth thing criteria, I guess you could say, is if you can get a sneak peek at the product, you can get review access, get access to part of it.

It’s not always possible to get full review access, but if you can get access to a module or if you sample lessons or something like that, it gives you a good idea of the quality as well as a feel for the style and the personality of the creator.

If you can get that, then you can feel confident in promoting something.

If I go through the first third of a course and it’s solid, I feel confident in recommending the entire course.

The thing is, you only need like three out of the five of these.

You don’t have to know the person and know someone else and has used other products and read the reviews and get a sneak peek.

If you can get a sneak peek, maybe you’ve used another product and you heard from somebody else who loves it. That’s enough, that’s enough.

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review post guide

You got four out of five, or true, it’s definitely a good fit. Three out of five. It’s a little bit of a judgment call, but again, go back to that Lexus RX example. Right?

I know people who own one. I owned the previous product. Let’s actually go through this real quick.

I don’t know the creator of Lexus, so that’s out. I don’t know the Lexus family. Okay, we had another Lexus, so I’ve used other products and it was amazing.

I know someone who has this exact SUV, and it’s amazing. They love it.

I can go to Consumer Reports and Edmunds and other sites and read the product reviews. They’re amazing.

And I can test drive the vehicle. So then I can honestly recommend it, even if I don’t buy one.

Maybe we decide we don’t want to spend that much money or whatever. Right?

We didn’t like it doesn’t come in my color. But hey, if you’re looking for white or gray, then you’ll love it.

I don’t know, a weird example, but I think it comes in a lot of colors. I mean, that’s four out of five. Easy peasy, right?

So if you’re in this position where you don’t have a personal experience, if you got a personal experience, use it. We talked about that.

If you’re in a position where you don’t have personal experience, or even if you do, and you just want to make sure, I’ve got a checklist you can use to evaluate any potential affiliate promotions, whether you use them or not.

So go download that. It’s at mattmcwilliams.com/scorecard.

It’s actually just not a checklist, but a scorecard. All right, so there are ten questions.

You add up your score at the end. If you score over a certain amount, it’s a definite go.

If you’re under a certain amount, it’s a no-go. If you’re in the middle, you got to think about it a little bit.

So go grab that. I’ll put that link in the show notes mattmcwilliams.com/scorecard

If you have questions about this or anything else, text me anytime at 260-217-4619.

Make sure you hit subscribe. Also, leave us a rating review. I would super appreciate that.

Hit subscribe, because in the next episode, I’m talking all about affiliate fraud.

So for you affiliate managers out there, how to spot affiliate fraud and what to do about it, that’s coming up in the next episode.


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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