In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you how to make more sales by bringing onboard affiliates.
Bringing onboard affiliates is where you pay commission to people who sell your products and services on your behalf. It’s something I get asked about a lot, so I wanted to make sure we go through it thoroughly with an episode today.
Let’s dive in!
First and foremost, I do want to acknowledge that having affiliates do your sales for you (thus, outsourcing a bunch of your sales activities) is very sexy.
I understand why so many people would be excited at the prospect of bringing on people who could sell their products and services on their behalf.
I am more than happy to pay really beautiful affiliate commissions to people who make sales on my behalf…
However, there are a few things you need to know before you bring on affiliates and embark upon a structured affiliate program. I also want to recognise that it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem that you think it solves.
If you feel quite uncomfortable with sales, or your marketing isn’t really working right at the moment, then adding affiliates to the way that you market and sell in your business isn’t likely to fix that problem.
That is because before you bring on affiliates, you need to have a few things in place:
1. Client attraction and conversion process
You need to have worked out what the most appropriate and effective client attraction and conversion process is that you’re going to use to sell your course.
If you bring on affiliates and you run a launch with your affiliates, or you give them some marketing content to go out and share that has NOT been proven and doesn’t convert when YOU do it, then the chances of it working when others use it is slim to nil.
One of the fastest ways to burn your affiliates is for them to engage in being a really prolific sharer of your work, being hyper-engaged as an affiliate and participating in a big launch of yours, and then they make zero money from it.
It is so common for it to happen for people.
That isn’t going to motivate those affiliates to go out and share again.
That means that there are some sales and marketing things you need to sort out first in order for you to be ready to bring on those affiliates and have them do that selling for you.
If you can’t sell it, it’s going to be really difficult for others to sell it for you.
You need to make sure that you are confident with selling this product or service at scale.
If you’re bringing on a bunch of affiliates and they are bringing in a bunch more leads,
If 99% of people who end up buying from you need to have a conversation with you first, or your automated processes to make sales aren’t working but you supplement that with a lot of one-to-one time, then it may mean that you don’t have the time available to deal with all of that added customer service that might come from dealing with those leads that your affiliates bring in.
For most people, if I said to you that you’re going to need to put three or four hours into sales conversations with the leads that come in, that would actually be worth it for you because three to four hours of conversations with people that are converting really highly and paying you really well is fine. But it is something to consider if you’re only selling one-to-one and you’re not yet able to sell at scale. Working with affiliates is going to be tricky, because you’re not going to be energetically open to having all of this extra workload to make those sales.
It’s just a little something to think about.
3. Knowing your conversion rate
Having confidence that if people send you 100 leads through a particular freebie, then they’re likely to get three to four sales out of that.
Something that I love being able to tell my affiliates is that in launch, my conversion rate is somewhere between 4-7% depending on what lead magnets we use. Outside of a launch in my automated funnels, they are generally converting at 1.5-3%. My affiliates can be confident that if they keep getting people signing up for my freebies, eventually, that’s going to result in a sale.
If a sale does come through, then they start to feel more confident in sharing it, and then they’re more likely to share more of those freebies.
Being able to communicate with your affiliates and let them know what your conversion rate is, gives them that sense of confidence that they can just go and share the freebies, and then your sales funnels/system will do the job of converting for them.
4. Customer service person
If you’re going to be bringing on affiliates, I would recommend that one of the things that you need in place to be ready for them is a customer service person or someone who can be your affiliate concierge/manager.
Managing affiliates is more work than managing customers.
You need to be proactive with your affiliates, and you need to be responsive to your affiliates. If they’re in the middle of drafting up an email that they want to send to their mailing list that day, and they realise they’re missing something or a link is not working, they need a very quick response from you.
It’s important that you have the capacity to support those affiliates.
Let’s be honest, most people do things at the last minute, and most people don’t necessarily plan things out in advance.
If they’re in the mood to share something of yours, or they’re doing a Facebook post and want to share their affiliate link, they’re going to need that support to be pretty readily available.
If it’s always relying on you – you don’t have a team who can assist with that – then it can feel like your affiliates are a lot of work for very little return on investment.
I’ve worked with people before who have been spending 5-10 hours a week looking after their affiliates, and their affiliates account for less than 1% of their sales.
If they just put that time that they spent managing affiliates into their own marketing and sales strategies, they would make so much more money in their business.
They are the key things that I think you need in place before bringing on affiliates:
1. Having a proven client attraction and conversion process
2. Confidence to sell at scale
3. Confidence in your conversion rates
4. The capacity for those affiliates to be supported – having a team member who could act as your affiliate concierge
The last thing I want to say when it comes to bringing on affiliates and creating a structured affiliate program is not to assume that people will send you more leads if they are getting paid for it.
I’ve shared this story in a previous podcast episode, where when I started the first round of my affiliate program back in 2015, I had people shouting from the rooftops about my work, Facebook group, freebies, webinars, etc.
Whenever I was running a new freebie or webinar, I would have people share it without me even asking.
I decided that all these people were sending so many leads my way that I really should be rewarding them. I started an affiliate program and was giving out a 30% commission of any sales made through affiliates…
And the referrals completely dried up. People stopped sharing.
I feel like one of the biggest reasons that people stopped sharing was because it triggered their money blocks and their hesitations.
Before, they were just sharing it because they loved it and they wanted to shout about it. Now, they were going to share it, but they were going to use their affiliate link, so then they would have to put a disclosure on it that it was an affiliate link. They then started questioning whether they were just sharing it with their audience to get their money, or whether it was because they really loved it.
It brought up all of this uncertainty for people.
When I was following up with my affiliates a few months in and asking them how many times they’d shared their link and why I wasn’t seeing a lot of leads come through, I got a bunch of emails from people saying they just didn’t feel comfortable anymore and they weren’t sure why.
We had to talk that through.
A lot of people think that if they give people more money, they’ll share their affiliate links more. But in fact, the opposite is true.
If people are not being paid to refer and you don’t have an affiliate program, often you’ll get way more referrals.
Be mindful of what an affiliate program can and cannot do, and be mindful that you’re going to need to support people and make it very easy for them to move through some of those money blocks and those hesitancies in referring people through to you and using those affiliate links.
Now how do we maximise the return on investment from affiliates and make more sales with an affiliate program?
1. Have an affiliate concierge
Have someone who:
- Can support your affiliates
- Is thinking about your affiliates
- Is an advocate for your affiliates
- Can be a bit more proactive and think about what your affiliates will need during launch, or what they’ll need each month
Having someone other than you who is thinking about your affiliates and looking after your affiliates is one of the most powerful ways to maximise your return on investment from those affiliates.
I have an affiliate concierge in my business, and there are often times where I’ve set up an entire launch and haven’t even thought about my affiliates until my affiliate concierge says that we need to set up what we’re going to do for the affiliates.
It’s not because I don’t appreciate them (of course I do!) but when I’m stepping into a launch, I’m thinking about what I need to do in that launch.
My number one tip is definitely having someone who is your affiliate concierge.
You can actually hire affiliate concierges whose core focus as a virtual assistant is looking after affiliates and maximising your affiliate sales.
It’s definitely something you can hire in. It doesn’t need to be a full-time position at all, it can definitely be attached to an existing VA position. But you can also just hire someone who’s a specialist, they’re working two or three hours a week in your business, and they specifically look after your affiliates. There are definitely people out there who do that, and I think that’s an amazing service that’s available.
2. You need to provide the copy and the images
It is so much easier for an affiliate to share a promo post of something if they’re starting with some copy that you’ve already given them. It is so much easier for an affiliate to share something if you give them a bank of images and they don’t need to create anything.
We also have images on demand.
Our affiliates are able to request specific custom images at any time from our affiliate concierge. If they need a banner for a newsletter, or if they need a social post that has my photo and their photo, then my affiliate concierge will create those images for them, so that we make it as easy as possible.
In our affiliates group, I also regularly remind people we can create copy for anything.
If you’re planning out your promos of Tash Corbin freebies or Tash Corbin launches, let me know what type of copy or imagery you’re looking for, we will create something for you.
My affiliate concierge does that.
It’s just a little way of making sure that people have what they need to be able to share easily.
We are dealing enough with those money blocks and that resistance without then also having my affiliates sitting there not knowing how to explain something or not knowing what to write about a particular thing that they’re sharing.
That is number two – give them the copy and images that they need.
3. Be proactive
When it comes to maximising return on investment from affiliates, you need to give them lots of love, lots of onboarding, lots of communications, and you need to proactively drive that affiliate relationship.
It is very easy for affiliates to forget that they have the opportunity to make money through your products and services. It’s a really good thing to keep it front of mind.
I am consistently reminding my affiliates that if they want to make some money in the lead up to their next launch but that don’t want to be promoting any of their other products or services, then they can chuck in a couple of affiliate promos. I’ll also remind them that if they can get 100 people signed up for my freebie that’s converting at 2.5% then they’ll likely make two or three sales.
That could be the cash flow and cash injection that they need to hold them over until their next launch.
Make sure that you’re consistently front of mind for people and reminding them. Be proactive. Remind them of the fact that they’re an affiliate.
4. Advanced notice
I share this as an affiliate for some products myself.
I am planning out my launch schedule, my year and my promos about six months in advance.
If you send me an email that you’re doing a launch next week, the odds of me being able to participate as an affiliate fully is very limited.
I’m a good affiliate. When I decide to really commit to being an affiliate and participating in a launch as an affiliate, I often win the affiliate competition. I often am the highest referring person in that affiliate process.
Yet, a number of people I’m an affiliate for continue to tell me three to four weeks (or less!) in advance that there’s a new launch coming out and expecting me to be able to jump in with both feet and be fully engaged in the affiliate process.
If I can’t fully engage in the affiliate process, generally I don’t engage at all.
You need to be even more planned in advance and giving people advance notice, helping them schedule up their posts and having the links ready when you have affiliates involved in your business.
Get those launches planned up and prepared well in advance, get all the copy pre-written and created in advance so that you are maximising the chance that your affiliates can fit it into their promo schedules, can engage in that launch process and therefore can maximise their sales and maximise your return on investment.
As a result of this podcast episode, you might be thinking that you want to become a Tash Corbin affiliate, either because:
a. You want to share some of my freebies and maybe make some affiliate sales, or
b. You simply want to see the process through which we onboard you as an affiliate, and some of the ways that we support our affiliates.
I’m totally okay with you participating in a half in/half out kind of way.
If you’d like to find out more about my affiliate program and help me spread the word about the Tash Corbin way of doing things and some of my courses and programs, then head on over to tashcorbin.com/affiliate.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the Heart-Centered Business Podcast.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.