Are you missing out on an opportunity to skyrocket your revenue? By launching an affiliate program for your digital products, you increase your brand awareness, generate more leads AND increase your sales.
Maybe you are reluctant to launch an affiliate program of your own because you are afraid you’ll make mistakes, don’t think you have the time, or are just not quite sure how to do it right. Don’t worry — I’ve got you covered. Not only am I going to show you the right way to launch an affiliate program. I’m going to show you how to have success with it, too!
Affiliate programs look easy once they’re in place, but getting one started can be a bit daunting. Let’s chat about the three behind-the-scenes things you need to do to get your affiliate program up and running in no time.
First, let’s define your affiliate program structure. This is going to give you the framework for what your affiliate program is ultimately going to look like once it’s implemented.
Don’t let the phrase “define your structure” fool you; you don’t need a business degree or top-of-the-line software to make this happen. This is your time to play around in the sandbox and see what the day-to-day could be like as an affiliate in your program.
For example, do you want to pay commission for leads or just sales? Personally, I always recommend that you pay commission for sales. Leads are great, of course, but sales are a closed deal, while leads don’t always translate into a sale (that’s why we have conversion rates, and they’re never 100%).
Next, you will want to decide how you are going to pay that commission out to your affiliates. Will your payouts be a flat fee or percentage? New affiliate programs tend to gravitate towards offering a fixed fee.
While some affiliates may prefer a fixed amount to guarantee some level of payment, commissions based on percentages tend to be more of a win-win, in my experience. Whatever amount is paid to the affiliate is going to matter more than fixed vs commission. I’d rather earn 10% on a $10,000 coaching program than a fixed $100 referral fee. However, if your products are a really low price, you might want to consider flat fees.
Then, of course, there’s the timing aspect. How long after an initial introduction will your affiliates be credited with the referral? In most programs, referrals are only good for 60-90 says, but as you’re getting started, try longer referral periods to entice more affiliates to join. When I first started the affiliate program for The Contract Shop®, we started with 6 months referral periods. We have since scaled that back to 60 days, especially most people bought within the first 7 days anyway!
Wondering what you need to get started? I talk about first steps to setting up your own affiliate program here.
Now, it’s time to decide to develop your affiliate marketing strategy — a.k.a. how you are going to market that to your affiliates.
Does that seem backward at first? Affiliates usually market for you, but first, you have to sell them on the program! You need to tell them why your program is a great fit for them in the first place.
Think about all of the hesitations YOU would have when joining a program, and use those to your advantage! You can preemptively overcome any objections or concerns that your potential affiliates would have upfront, such as the payout schedules, time commitments, or available content. This reflects wonderfully on you and your program: your affiliates take your attentiveness as a sign that you are offering a trustworthy program and an awesome product that will sell.
This is where having a well-thought-out program structure comes in handy! You can even tweak your structure a bit to match your strategy. For example, you can adjust your payout periods (paying a year out is WAY less enticing than 30 days).
And of course, we can’t talk about marketing without talking about your materials. Define some clear goals for your affiliate program before you develop any of the content. Do you want your program to attract heavyweight champions in your industry, or are you aiming for a more organic and homegrown approach?
Your goals will shape your promotional materials. Get creative with your product images and your landing page copy. No matter what your goals, however, you’ll want to keep your theme consistent and on-brand.
Also show them that you’ve got awesome swipe copy and graphics for them to use — so they don’t have to do anything more than copy, paste, and hit publish.
You built the bones of your affiliate program with your structure, and you fleshed it out with your strategy. That’s a great-looking affiliate program you have there!
Now, all you need are the affiliates.
You don’t just want to throw a wide net and see what you catch when it comes to affiliates. You get to be a bit picky here; a small number of high-quality affiliates are far better than scores of mediocre ones.
This topic deserves a blog all on its own, and wouldn’t you know it: that’s exactly what I’m going to do!
Launching your affiliate program can be a big step for your business, but it’s a step that you don’t want to miss out on. If you have any questions about launching your program, I’d be more than happy to talk with you about it in the comments over on YouTube.
If you’ve already got a killer affiliate program and you’re wondering about other strategies to scale your digital product shop, I highly recommend that you check out my Simple Sustained Shop Sales program. You’ll learn 8 strategies (including an in-depth approach to affiliate marketing) that have helped me scale my own digital product shop to 7+ figures.
These are strategies that all the courses and coaches I invested in didn’t show me — I had to learn them the good old fashioned way. And now I want to share them with you. Check out Simple Sustained Shop Sales™ and let’s start growing your shop.