What do the GREAT affiliate programs provide for their affiliates? If you are going to run a consistently growing, thriving affiliate program, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure your partners have everything they need to succeed. And I mean EVERYTHING. But what are the most important things you need to provide for them? That’s what this episode is all about.
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What GREAT Affiliate Programs Provide for Their Affiliates
What do great affiliate programs provide for their affiliates? If you’re going to run a consistently growing thriving affiliate program, it is your responsibility to make sure your partners have everything they need and I mean everything, but what are the most important things you need to provide for them? Well, that’s what today’s episode is all about.
One of the things that I’ve noticed over the past 16 almost 17 years now running affiliate programs is that the great affiliate programs provide five things for their affiliates. These are pretty consistent. They’re across the affiliate programs that we’ve run, that we’ve seen friends of ours run people that we respect great affiliate managers just companies that have good affiliate managers and the like that we’ve seen these five things and I’m going to share today and it took a little bit of work. Those of you who know me know, I love acronyms makes it super easy to remember, and we’re going to use the acronym GREAT.
I will be the first to admit that one of the letters and I’m going to see maybe if you can guess what it is, hit me up on social media and let me know which letter you think it is. Took a little finagling. I had to use Thesaurus.com and kind of be like, okay how do I get this to work? And that’s usually what happens. Usually when I do one of these acronyms, a little behind the scenes here, and it’s like, there are five letters, four of them are super easy for me are really really easy. And then there’s one where it’s like, oh, I gotta dig around and I end up maybe with a kind of a weird a letter it doesn’t a commonly used one, things like that.
I think of one of the acronyms that I used a while back and I can’t remember the actual acronym, but the ‘A’ and it’s not the case today. The ‘A’ ended up being the word Alacrity. Well, alacrity is not a super common word. It’s actually a word my dad used all the time but I got there because I was digging around on Thesaurus.com and I found the word. It’s not exact, but it works. So we got the acronym, ‘GREAT’ here, and it starts with the G of course which is ‘General Direction’.
Affiliates need general direction. The first thing your affiliate needs is guidance from you, they need a target to aim at, they need to know what to do exactly. Here’s the breakdown of the promotion. They need to know when to do it, they need to know the calendar, they need to know how to do it and also they need to know why to do it. What’s the ‘why’ behind it.
Now we’ll talk about this a little bit more in the ‘T’, but like, they need to know some of the backstories give them some behind the scenes. Like here’s why the launch breaks down this way. Here’s why we do the webinar on this day because we found, it converts better and things like that. It works better for our audience. So they need to know what to do when to do it, how to do it, and why to do it, and here’s the thing don’t underestimate your own experience and don’t overestimate their expertise.
Especially when the underestimating part is there, teach them, share as much as possible about what works in your niche, share lessons you’ve learned from promoting launches or affiliate programs, share success, stories, share experiments, you’ve run, share your experience, promoting certain affiliate offers and then don’t overestimate their experience, particularly when it comes to your product or your launch or your program, just because they’re experts doesn’t mean that they can’t be taught.
So don’t assume they know everything that they need to know. Don’t assume they know what to do. Don’t assume they know when to do it, how to do it or why to do it, share that stuff with them. Now, as far as things that you can share of your own experience, share takeaways, maybe you promoted something a couple of months ago and you tried something or you saw somebody else do something.
One of our former clients, Jeff Goins did a great one this part five years ago, recorded a quick video, and just basically shared a lesson that he learned promoting the product launch formula. All he did was say, I accidentally did this and it worked really well and I thought, I’d share this with you.
You could share a quick video, just sharing a single lesson include when you do affiliate training. This is something That we do with our clients and we highly recommend that you do, or you host a quick 30, 40-minute training. If you want an example of our training if you just go to mattmcwilliams.com/affiliatetraining and I’ll put that link in the show notes, you can get a sample of it, and actually, we’ll give and give you the slides. We’ll give you the slides. You could literally take these slides, tweak them a little bit and do your own training. Like I’m giving you permission to do that. So don’t reinvent the wheel and then have a lot of Q and A at the end. Just answer questions, record a quick video with like a just super quick lesson, or post lessons to your affiliate Facebook group and things like that. So the big thing is just give them direction, give them guidance. Again, tell them what to do when to do it, how to do it, and why to do it. So that’s the G.
The R is the Right Graphics. They need the right graphics. Now, yes, email is king. More people are doing emails that only have text in them because they tend to have better deliverability rates. Email is king and, and text messages are coming up as well, but graphics are still important. You need graphics for their blog posts. You need graphics for their emails, If they use graphics in their emails. you need graphics for banner ads, We’ll talk about that in a moment. they still are relevant. You need Facebook images and tweetable quotes and things for Pinterest and Instagram.
Now, if you want a video of how we provide these to our affiliates, to make it really stinking easy for them. I’m going to have a link to a YouTube video. It’s like a two-minute video they watch you through how to do that. But you also want to have headshots, product graphics, like a spread of your course if you have a course or whatever physical product show it being used, if it’s a course, show it on a computer screen, show the person exercising, using the weights, whatever it is. Screenshots, If there are videos, things like that. And you want to have a dedicated page in your affiliate portal. Okay.
Now, if you want to keep it really low-tech and super simple you can use the Google drive thing. That’s fine. But if you’re looking to build your own affiliate portal, that’s something we can help with. I mean, we’ve built dozens of really high-quality affiliate portals. If you’ve promoted any of our clients, you’ve seen them, you what they look like. So if you’re interested in that, just text me at 260-217-4619 and I can give you more information on those portals.
I mentioned banner ads, you may be thinking like banner ads, really? what it is like 2006? No, banner ads still work. They still work in affiliate marketing, and we want to provide good quality banner ads. Now, I wouldn’t expect more than about 3 to 5% of your total sales to come from banner ads.
But it’s 3% to 5%. If you have even a small launch, a $100,000 launch, or let’s say you’re doing $10,000 a month. You like to add an extra $300, $400, $500, that’s kind of cool. You look up at the end of the year that’s, $5000-6,000 bucks, That’s not bad. If you’re a bigger company, it could be $500,000 – $600,000. So you need to have different sizes of banners. You need to have a blog sidebar, the traditional size, there’s 300X250. You want to have a leaderboard, which is typically 728X90. You want to have a Twitter ad, a Twitter size, and a Facebook size. Those sizes are changing. Pinterest, Instagram, whatever social media networks, LinkedIn, that your people are and you want to have those graphics for them.
So we’re going to give them general guidance. We want to provide them with the right graphics and the ‘E’ we want to provide them with ‘Examples’ of promo plans. One of the most common questions I get when I’m running an affiliate promotion is what are the best days to email and who do I send it to? And so we created these sample mailing plans. We actually call them our ABC. I get my love acronyms, apparently, even though that’s not really an acronym, but our ABC mailing plans. So the ‘A’ is ‘All-In-Aggressive.’
So this is the plan for people who are in it to win it, or they’re they want to maximize their commissions. This is typically like 15 to 20 emails. I’ll walk you through what that might look like in a moment. The balanced plan actually, let me skip to the ‘C’, the conservative plan. This is like, they just want to dip their toe in the water, they’re not a hundred percent committed to a full promotion yet and I’ll share about that in a moment. That’s usually like 5-8 emails. Then the ‘balance’ plan is the Goldilocks plan it’s not too hot, It’s not too cold, It’s just right. This is between the ‘all-in’ and the ‘conservative’.
Usually, this is about 10 to 13 emails. Now, how I come up with those. So I’m gonna give you an example, the all-in plan for one of Michael Hyatt’s promotions that we ran, he had 6 emails to their entire list. That’s it? Even though this is an ‘all-in’ plan, there were only 6 to the entire list, three to unopens and seven to engage contacts. So what that looked like was three emails about the e-book starting on November 21st. You sent the ebook to the entire list a couple of days later to unopens, a few days later to unopens again. Now they had the Thanksgiving holiday in there. So we had to account for that. So there’s like a little bit of a gap.
Then a couple of days later, they sent the assessment to their entire list then to unopens. And then a couple of days later, the webinar promo, they did a handful of webinar emails, and they went to their entire list. And then again, to their entire list for that one, they sent the cart open to their entire list, but they sent the early bird deadline where there’s an only where there’s actually a deadline after like the second day to get a discount.
They only sent the early bird deadline to their engaged contacts. These are people who had clicked on previous emails or opted in. Then we did, they had another webinar around. So we did a couple of emails to that. And then the cart closed the last five emails, pretty much all went to just engage contacts. Typically we recommend a cart open, and if it may be like a mid cart and in a closed cart email to your entire list, or at least to like the segment that you want to mail to because there might be people who didn’t opt in for the ebook or the assessment or the webinar, but they will buy the product. And so at least one, or at least two emails to your entire list for that. So what we do is we come up with that, that was 16 emails. That was the all-in plan.
Then what I did was I just backed in to, okay, what’s the conservative plan what does that look like? so we definitely want to send the ebook to our entire list. So I’m like, I go back and I go, okay, 16. So conservative is probably going to be, we’ll say seven emails,
and we’re probably going to cut the entire list in half. So we’ll go three emails, maybe four, we’ll go four emails to the entire list. And we’ll go like two to unopens and maybe one to engaged contacts or something like that. Maybe three to your entire list and make it really simple for them. Just three emails to your entire list.
That’s it, two to unopens and two to engage contacts. And so like the ebook to your entire list, ebook to unopened. And then we’d do like assessment to entire list assessment to one opens. And then we go webinar to entire list webinar to unopened, and then a cart announcement to the engaged contacts, people who clicked on any of those emails, for example.
Now then what I do is I talk them into adding one more email about cart close maybe the day, the morning of the deadline. Then I just kind of split the difference with that balance list. But it’s super easy. I have a video on how we put them together, put that in the show notes as well.
So super easy to put those together. Now, the thing affiliates need in this here in this Eve for example, promotion plan, they need a promo checklist like this is by far the simplest way to get more out of your affiliate partners. A simple checklist really works really, really works.
I mean, affiliates are people and they are people who own their own business and they are crazy, freaking busy. Here’s the thing we have to remember about affiliates. They’re not lazy. They’re just busy. Your launch, your affiliate promotion, your product is not their number one priority. In fact, it probably falls somewhere between get the oil change and update their Netflix preferences.
It is not their number one priority. It’s not the, it’s not even probably their top three any given day. So we give them a checklist. Like we created an affiliate promo checklist and it absolutely works. All right. It absolutely works. This checklist is proven to get tons more out of your affiliates. So very simply it lets them know exactly what dates they should be mailing.
It tells them when and where to post on social media, encourages them to mention the launch in their podcast, their live videos. I mean, the reality is like people like things to be simple and a lot of people operate better using a checklist. I know I do. And what it does is it puts the whole launch right in front of them. It encourages them to do more for each piece of content than just send a single email. Like I said, earlier, email is king probably always will be, but you can get some great results from social media and podcasts, especially if you’re sharing like the free pre-launch content.
So by keeping everything in front of your affiliates, we’ve also noticed this a significant drop in what we call mid-launch dropouts or mid promo dropouts. These are people who come into the gates swinging they’ll send like 200 opt-ins on day one and day three. They’ll send another 150 and then they just disappear, disappear. So this is a big problem. Well, we noticed that dramatically drops when we have affiliates using this checklist.
We’ve noticed with our clients about 10 to 20% increase in sales, since we started using this checklist, that’s huge. Now you might be asking if you need to create a new plan, each time you run a promo, the answer is no, you do not. We use the exact same format, exact same format. So I’m going to put a link in the show notes. You can just grab the template. All right. It’s just an editable word doc, you can upload it to Google drive if you wanted to even copy and paste it into Google drive, but it’s super easy to use. And, and we update it periodically the original version had like, had like a Periscope and Google plus on it. Oh, no, when’s the last time anybody used Periscope, maybe it’s still around. I have no idea or Google plus doesn’t exist. And so we took those off we’ve, I think we put tick-tock on there. If people are big on Tik TOK, for example. So grab that template. It’s super, super easy to use.
All right. So general direction, the right graphics. And you need to give them that E the example of promo plans. Well, the A is you got to give them amazing swipe, copy, affiliates need Amazing Swipe Copy. So I’d copy is super important. So making it great, making an amazing should be a priority. And that means either taken a lot of time to write it or preferably hiring an expert to do so. All right, you do not want to provide mediocre or bad swipe copy. It’s just kind of turns them off. You want to make it great. And if you do, they’ll go all-in for your promotion.
So there are five mistakes I see with a swipe copy. All right. I shared these gosh. I shared these many, many years ago, and I still see the same mistakes today. I’m not sure if I shared them on the podcast though. So I think I shared them like a blog post, but the five mistakes I typically see are number one, writing it yourself. Now just said, you gotta take a lot of time to write it.
Yep. If this is the only option I w I’ll talk about, like, I strongly recommend hiring somebody else to write it. It doesn’t even have to be a professional copywriter because as the product owner, you are too close to the product to write a great swipe copy. Well, you have to remember is swipe copy is a guide for your affiliates to use.
So it’s got, it should be written from that perspective of an outsider, Not you put your blood, sweat, and tears into the product, so you see things differently. So that’s mistake number one is writing it yourself. Now I will excuse you if you really genuinely just right now, don’t have the money to hire somebody. I totally understand, but you need to make sure you are putting yourself in the affiliate’s shoes and writing it from their perspective.
Second, you don’t put images. Some people do use images in their emails very effectively. I don’t use them that often. When I do though, my click rates skyrocket should probably be a lesson for me actually. But if you don’t include images or suggested images, then they might not know necessarily what to use.
Third mistake is you only write one version. All right? The problem with this is it assumes that every affiliate has the exact same audience. Your product probably reaches different demographics, different avatars, people who are in different places in their life. They have different struggles. They have different needs. They have different desires. And so you need different versions.
Fourth, you write only long or short emails. Now, just like the one I just talked about the different versions. Like it assumes that every affiliate wants the same kind of copy. Some want the long-form. Others prefer shortened to the points. You need to give that to them.
Fifth, you expect them to copy and paste it. In fact, you even encourage it. You tell them just copy and paste this. No, no, no, no, no. Okay. We always tell our affiliates not to copy and paste the swipe copy. It is an original, it is ineffective and a lot of times, it backfires. So do not do that. So what do you do in said, number one, as I said, hire somebody to write, number two, include images. The four types of things that work particularly well for us are, if we’re sending to a video, a video screen capture, alright, a video screen capture. You take a video screen capture, put a little play button over that. If you’re doing this yourself, it’s so easy.
You take a screenshot, you upload it to Canva. You put a triangle it doesn’t have to be something. It just looks like a play button. I prefer goofy ones. So I pardon this, but I always prefer a screenshot. If I’m doing a video screen capture, I want a video screen capture that looks like I just smelled a fart or something like that. Like I want the goofiest thing possible. If you’re, if you’re running a sale, give them a graphic representing the sale stat screenshots. if you mentioned statistics, then use a screenshot like, oh, look, here’s my increase in traffic to my website. And you see the spike. That’s kind of cool countdown, timers or images if you have a countdown timer, give your affiliates the code. If you don’t then go get it. I’ll put links in the show notes.
There’s a couple of different services we recommend. Then when you have affiliate programs, don’t even have an affiliate link form, but just create a countdown timer and, and give that to your affiliates. Third. You want to write different versions of your swipe copy for different audiences. When I was working with Jeff Goins to mention earlier, the first thing I worked with him on was his book launch for the art of work.
As we were talking, we kind of identified these four core audiences that we had entrepreneurs faith-based stay-at-home parents, and what we call dreamers. And so we created specific swipe copy for each of those four audiences and the affiliates loved it. And the cool thing was if you looked at that list and said, well, I don’t have dreamers. Faith-based people are stay-at-home parents.
You probably weren’t a good fit to promote the book made that really easy. But if you looked at it and said, yep, I’m faith-based boom. You could grab the faith-based copy up. I’ve got stay-at-home moms. Great. I’ve got stay-at-home dads. Awesome. I’ve got dreamers. I’ve got entrepreneurs. Boom, you’ve got it.
Fourth. You want to write different links of the copy. Now you don’t have to do this for every single thing. Like your cart close final. Email’s probably going to be pretty short. You don’t need to write a long version for that, but for your introduction, like the very first email you want to have maybe a few different versions of the pre-launch content the first piece you want to have a different open cart email, probably a day before the cart close email, I recommend a long FAQ version and a short reminder one. And then for the morning of cart close day, you probably want to have a couple of different versions. Now, other ones you might have a long and a short version too, but definitely for those four things.
Lastly, make it clear that swipe copy is a guide. Only they are using it as a guide. They’re using it for inspiration. So tell them to make their emails personal and specific for their audience. Show them I’ll put a link to a post that I did about how to use swipe copy, and make sure that you send them to that post. that’s kind of self-serving but do it right. It’s just sending them to that post to how do you swipe copy? And then lastly, don’t forget about the social swipe. We found this is, this is often an overlooked piece of content in launches. We found that between 12 and 18% of all optins come from social media. So it’s a big deal.
So you need to include versions, you may be listening to this five years from now, and there are like seven new social media networks. But for us at the bare minimum, we do one for Twitter. And then we do one that worked for like Facebook and Instagram for if we’re in B2B, we’ll do one that works for LinkedIn as well and then like I said, images that are sized for that. All right. So we want to give them some guidance. We want to give them general guidance, general direction. We want to give them the right graphics. We want to give them examples of promo plans and we want to give them amazing swipe copy.
Then lastly, we want to give them a team atmosphere, a team atmosphere, affiliates need to feel like they are part of the process. Know people support the things that they feel like they’re a part of, right? This is true in every aspect of life. If you have a job, you support the initiatives, you played a role in planning. If there’s a charity, you support the cause that you had a say in, in choosing, if you’re forced to support a charity, it’s like, whatever it’s just money. Who cares. That’s why it’s important to make your affiliates feel like they are part of the process because they are.
So we want to create a team atmosphere that means keeping them updated often. If you’re running a launch, don’t show up out of anywhere a week before the launch, and expect your partners to be excited. You need to include them along the way for weeks or even months ahead of your launch. So give them behind the scenes access. I’ve shared this before, but just shoot a quick video.
If you’re on set share testimonials with them, posted in the partner group, and just make them feel like what they’re doing is having an impact. I remember about three of us gets about three years ago during our launch. We were going through the comments on, so part of our launch, we had a quick start guide and the comments that people were leaving and I was like, mark, you got to go post those in the, in the face, in the affiliate Facebook group. And he went in and posted. He said, guys, you were seriously changing lives. You’re seriously changing lives. And he posted some screenshots of some of the comments that people left.
One of them was like, well, I’ve wanted to do affiliate selling for 20 years. And I’m just now going to do it. You were so kind. So dear, I think your program actually might work. You’re not too much of a hype guy for me. I’ve been in business for 40 years, but some of the online guys are just too much hype for me.
I don’t need hype to sell. I just need to know how expertise is delivered kindly in a straightforward manner. And there was like all these comments and so he S mark then said, okay, here’s what I want you to do. Go opt into the guide or the video. the same comments, basically read some of the comments yourself.
Seriously. They will pump you up, add your own response, answering Matt’s question. Seriously. Imagine your people seeing your comment in there about how, why you were excited about affiliate marketing, hashtag huge for share a screenshot of your comment on social or in an email as social proof of what you’re telling your audience. And so he said, I’ll bet it helps you.
Can’t tell me that at least one more person does an opt-in from seeing your comment. And so the point there is like, share those testimonials, start a Facebook group. You have to have a Facebook group for your affiliates because then you can update them more frequently without causing clogging up. Their inbox also helps them to connect with each other, ask for their help, ask for their opinion on things like logos or messaging.
People love to feel a part of a decision like this, and it dramatically increases the buy-in and involvement. And then explain your thinking. If you make a decision, any decision that affects them, let them know you’re thinking, don’t just announce the change, explain the change. Hey guys, we decided to not do the webinar on Sunday. We’re moving it to Monday. Just wanted to let you know that’s a terrible missing. No, Hey guys, we decided to cancel the webinar on Sunday because of events that are happening in the world. And we feel like moving it to sun Monday, just moving it back a day.
We’ll give people some space to process things over the weekend. You wanted to let you know, so that’s the big update or something like that. Or we decided to add a third webinar because we found that gosh, we actually ended up with 27% of our 27% of our people in this, that registered for this workshop is on the west coast, are on west coast time Pacific time. So we wanted to give them an option to attend that wasn’t the middle of their day or something like that explain your thinking, make them feel a part of the process.
So again, give them a general direction, general guidance, give them the right graphics, give them examples of successful promos and what they need to do. Make show them how they need to do stuff when they need to do it, why they need to do it, and then give them amazing swipe copy, and then create a team atmosphere, make them feel a part of the process.
As you can tell, you’ve got tangible resources like swipe, copy, graphics, checklists. These are important, but the most important resources of all, or a feeling of inclusion and general direction, and that guiding your affiliate partners. When you provide your affiliates with these five things, these five must-haves, there’s no doubt that you’ll run a successful program.
So come back for the next episode, because I’ve got a juicy one. I’m going to show you how to build your affiliate army. I showed you today what you need to give them well, how do you get them? How do you build this affiliate army? I got a great question from Kate<inaudible> who asked, how do you find small and medium-sized affiliates and build an army of affiliates.
I’m going to answer that in the next episode. So make sure you subscribe. So you don’t miss it, hit that subscribe button, tell your friends if you know somebody running an affiliate program, they know like, what do I do? What do I give my affiliates, share this episode with them so they know, and make sure you subscribe. I’ll see in the next episode where you’re gonna learn how to build your affiliate army.