How to Win at Affiliate Launching
How to Win at Affiliate Launching
Why I Love Affiliate Promotions
Free money! Just kidding. But to me, affiliate launches feel like free money. Standard commission is 50%, and there are almost unlimited opportunities for products to promote. You’ve probably got at least three programs in your back pocket that have affiliate opportunities.
But do you know what I love even more about affiliate launches? You get excellent launch practice without building your own product. Usually, your affiliate partner is doing most of the selling for you, so your promo can piggyback on their efforts.
Even if you don’t make much money at first, you’re getting your feet wet in the world of launching online courses—and that is gold for your business.
What else is cool about affiliate launching?
Naps! You can go full-out with these promotions, then take a big nap afterwards because you don’t have to actually deliver a giant course—just the bonuses you promised—which you will deliver with great integrity, natch.
You can get noticed! If you really go for it and do well in a big affiliate launch, you’ll be noticed by others on the leaderboard—or even the course creator herself. And that opens doors and makes people start taking you more seriously.
On the Digital Course Academy launch with Amy Porterfield, I was (totally unexpectedly) high up on the leaderboard. So I started pitching other people on the leaderboard, saying, “Hey, isn't this amazing?” And, “Now you know who I am and what I do. Let's get on your podcast and talk about it.” (Yes, I am that bold.)
And of course, there are bragging rights. There's a lot of cachet that comes with being a B-School promoter, for example. It gives you street cred.
What should you promote?
1. A COURSE YOU’VE TAKEN THAT HAS BROUGHT YOU SUCCESS
What are the programs that have been the most impactful for you? If they accept affiliates, that's definitely the place to start. If you had success with the course, you're going to have great stories, and great stories drive a launch.
2. A COURSE THAT’S A GOOD FIT FOR YOUR AUDIENCE
For me, that’s Digital Course Academy. Amy Porterfield’s program is a great fit because a lot of my clients are launching. Actually, I prefer that they take her program before they come and work with me. So, of course I'm going to promote Digital Course Academy. It's going to result in better clients for me.
3. SOMETHING YOUR AUDIENCE NEEDS THAT YOU DON’T OFFER
This is why the Copy Cure is such an awesome fit for me to promote. I’m known for copy, but I have no desire to do a training about copywriting. Therefore, I promote the Copy Cure. (Sadly, they don’t do affiliates anymore.)
Pro tip: Be clear about the money!
If you're going to partner up with some of your business buds who have programs that are a good match, just make sure you're really clear about the money. Ask them, “If I send traffic to this page, how will you be tracking it?” It doesn't mean they need a fancy system or anything, but they do need to have a way of tracking their affiliate links.
For example, they can duplicate their landing page for each affiliate. Then, customers who sign up through “your” specific landing page get tagged with your name, and after the cart closes, your partner can tally up your commission. Theoretically, if your partner is offering payment plans things can get messy fast. Do your due diligence so you don’t get burned.
How to run your launch like a pro
Here’s how to set up your affiliate promotions for maximum success.
FIRST: WHAT BONUSES WILL YOU OFFER?
What will compel people to sign up through your unique link? What will make you stand out from other affiliates?
If you’ve got the time, offering 1:1 consultations can be an excellent way to set yourself apart from your competitors, who might be offering content-only bonuses. Or you can offer a Facebook group, where you offer advice and encouragement to the people who sign up through you.
If you are going to offer content, remember that people are sometimes overwhelmed with content already, so think of something that will help them get better results, like checklists, or step-by-step plans for something that is related to the course.
NEXT: GET ORGANIZED
The next step is to organize your Google Drive. To start, create a new folder for your promotion.
Then create a series of folders for every aspect of your launch — pre-launch content, FB ads, emails, webinars, etc. Inside your emails folder you might have email sequences for:
- Invitations to your affiliate partner’s webinar
- Your own webinar invites if you’re doing a custom webinar
- Webinar show-up sequences
- Promo emails
Then you’ll want a separate folder for landing pages, and if you have a sales page, it should have its own folder too. Ditto for Facebook ads.
I always thank my past self when I'm promoting the same program again and I can find the files easily.
Pro tip: In the old days, any time I created a doc, I would make a folder for it. And then, the folder inside it might say “emails.” And inside that folder might be “promo emails.” I could click through them and find them that way, but do you know what’s easier? Setting up your folders so that you can find anything you need by using the search bar.
For example, if I type “promo emails” into the search bar, I'm going to get a million different docs from different promotions.
So instead, as much as possible, I name folders this way: First, what it is (emails, for example), followed by the name of the campaign, and then the date. That way I can always find what I’m looking for by using the search bar.
Here’s a screen capture of my Gdrive:
I learned this from my friend Sage Polaris, and I'm never going back!
ALL HANDS ON DECK! ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM AND TELL THEM THE PLAN
Make sure that your team knows exactly what's happening. Anyone whose help you’re going to need? Get them on board as soon as possible.
You want your team to know what's coming up so that they can be prepared and make sure they’ve blocked out the time in their calendars.
This also creates deadlines for you: For example, if you want your designer to create a sales page for you, you’re going to ask her, “I need it live by this date. When do you need the input from me?”
Planning ahead brings a sense of peace to your launch. If you think you’re not a planner, give it a try—you might become a convert!
Think about where you can get support. You could do the whole launch by yourself—that's totally fine. I've done it alone as well, but I've definitely found that the more I rely on my team, the more money I make. The more you can take those little tasks off your plate that aren’t your strong suit, the more energy you can focus on things that actually result in sales—like reaching out to potential buyers, making videos, and getting on calls.
Support at home can really help, too. I'm fortunate that my partner is a stay at home dad, so childcare is taken care of. If you can hire someone to help clean your house, that’s great too. Wherever you need it, wherever you can afford it, get some extra hands on deck.
SET UP YOUR LAUNCH CALENDAR
Here’s another thing I’m never giving up: For every launch, I set up a calendar in a Google Doc. You can use a spreadsheet or whatever you like.
If you want to see what this looks like, the promo calendar I use is part of my free Launch Toolkit, which you can download here:
This calendar shows all the elements of the upcoming launch. I start by putting in the cart open and the cart close dates. Then I add the pre-launch events. For example, with Impacting Millions, it's a video series, and I know I'm going to send an email every day that Selena Soo puts out a video. Then I plug in the webinar dates.
Once I have the key events in the calendar, I plan the dates for all the emails.
Stress prevention tip: I don’t write any emails until I’ve finished creating the launch calendar. Once I know exactly what needs to be written, I'm not staring at a blinking cursor, thinking, “Okay. How many promo emails do I need? What goes here?”
I just love having the whole promo available at a glance, and being able to share it with my team so that we’re all working from the same document.
If I email my ads manager Vanessa and say, “Hey, can you put this ‘cart closing soon' ad up?” I don't have to explain to her about dates. She can just go to the doc and say, “Okay. The cart's closing on Friday, so I'm going to get that running on Thursday.”
SET UP A BONUS PAGE ON YOUR WEBSITE
This is optional, but if you can swing it, a dedicated bonus page on your website will give you an edge.
If there’s a lot of competition, having your own bonus page is 100% necessary. This is one of the reasons my 2019 Digital Course Academy promotion did so well. I was one of the few affiliates who invested in a full-on bonus page.
My Copy Cure promo did so well without a sales page that I could only think to myself, “Imagine if I had also done a bonus page, and laid out in a nice visual way all the things that people will get from me.” Sigh. I could have tracked who visited the page, as well.
If the lack of a sales page is going to stop you from doing a promotion, just consider it a nice to have—unless it's B-School you're promoting—then go all out! That’s some serious competition!
You don't have to do everything I mention here. Pick a few things that sound good to you. For my first promotion, all I did was boost my Facebook Live videos. I didn't do ads or my own webinar. I’ve been able to add more bells and whistles as I’ve built up my experience and grown my team. So remember—you don’t need to do everything to have a successful affiliate launch!
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A LIST?
You can do an affiliate promotion without a list! Let's say you’re promoting Impacting Millions. Instead of doing a big email-based promotion with a sales page, you simply call your existing clients and say, “Hey Jane. I think Impacting Millions would be really great for you. I'm an affiliate, so if you purchase through me, you’ll get these bonuses from me. Why don't you take a look?”
Rachel Luna calls this “little black book marketing” and it’s very effective.
It’s a great way to sell. I don't think not having a list is a reason to not promote. As long as you're connected. These days, how many Facebook friends do you have? 18,000? A lot. As long as you are genuine and authentic in your promotion, you can do it this way.
BUILD INTEREST FROM YEAR TO YEAR—AND BUILD UP YOUR ASSETS TOO
We rarely buy things the first time we see them. People look at programs year after year. If you’ve got people who saw your promo and didn’t buy, don’t worry—they might buy next year. So it's worth it to show up every year.
As for the promo emails from year to year, I recycle as many as I can. That being said, I want them to feel fresh. So I often give them a facelift. I change about 20% of the promotion and give the messaging an overhaul so that it feels new and different.
If it doesn't feel fresh, nobody’s going to pay attention.
It makes sense to promote a program year after year. You get better at it every time, and you have all these assets you've created that can be reused. It gets easier each time.
BOMBBOMB VIDEOS FOR THE WIN!
When you're on a launch, people are so happy to see you in person and hear you say their name.
For example, on a video I'll say, “Hey, Jen. It was so awesome that you signed up for the webinar. Thanks for coming and thanks for asking such an important question. I didn't have time to give you my full take on it, but here it is. And if you want to talk to me more about Impacting Millions, just ask a question and I'll make you another video.”
Personalized videos really go a long way. To me, this is the ultimate small list strategy.
BombBomb is so clean. It works straight from inside Gmail. So, if I have a whole bunch of people emailing me with questions, I can make BombBomb videos for them right inside Gmail. It takes two minutes. It's just an awesome tool. Read the blog post!
With my Digital Course Academy promo, almost everyone that I made a video for ended up purchasing. I made videos for the most engaged people, people who came to my webinar, for example. The final cart close phase is a great time to send a personalized video to anyone who appears to be highly engaged and might just need to hear from you directly to clear up one or two objections.
RUN FACEBOOK/INSTAGRAM ADS (IF YOU HAVE THE BANDWIDTH!)
For most affiliate promotions, you're not allowed to run cold traffic to your promotion. It's retargeting only.
In general, your Facebook ads should mirror what's happening on the launch. So, if you saw my B-School ads, you saw an invite for a webinar near the beginning of the launch, and near the end you probably saw an ad saying “B-School is closing” (and so many more in-between!). This is not a must, though.
For my first and second B-School launches, I did a Facebook Live every single day of the whole promotion, and I boosted them. No ads.
By the third time, B-School 2019, my ads strategy was the most dialed-in it has ever been. I had ads for Marie's webinar. I had ads for the webinar that I did for my audience. I had “cart closing soon” ads. I had ads to the pre-launch content. I had about 16 different ads, and those even had variants between the copy and the graphics.
That said, I didn’t feel like it was a big driver of sales.
During my promotion of Digital Course Academy, I had a smaller budget for ads, and I had so many people telling me, “Oh my God, Tarzan. I'm seeing your ads everywhere.” Fewer people were running them, so the market was more open.
If you have experience, go for it. If not, skip it. This is a great “add later when you’re more comfortable launching” strategy.
So whose programs will you be promoting this year?
If you haven’t already dipped your toes into the launch world with an affiliate promo, be bold!
What programs would you promote if you could? Is there a program you’ve taken and had success with? Maybe you’ve got a “competitor” who’s doing really well, and you could just sell her program instead of making your own (kinda like I did with my friend Laura Belgray’s program, The Copy Cure). Remember . . . 50% commission!
I want to know where you’re at with launching. Tell me in the comments!
And if you want MORE resources to help you with your affiliate promotion (or any promotion, really!) grab my launch toolkit.
I’m a launch strategist, copywriter and educator on all things money—earning it, growing it, and helping others get more of it.
Color-coded copy has become one of my core teachings when it comes to writing great emails. I’ve taught this method on podcasts, at live events, and in small rooms at private masterminds.
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