Tom takes you through the world of Affiliate Selling, giving details of the different types and how to take advantage of this to boost your business and create new ones.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 052
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Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[01:39] Tom's introduction to Affiliate Selling [03:22] You become an affiliate for someone else [08:25] How to find affiliate products [10:24] Promoting affiliate products [15:16] How much you can get paid for affiliate products [17:44] Super affiliates [19:19] Private label [20:11] Amazon [20:31] Sponsor message [21:12] How other people sell your products [23:49] How to have an effective affiliate program [25:08] Some things to think about [27:14] Extra tips to help you sell more
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
KickStart Cart – http://www.kickstartcart.com/
Copywriting901 – https://copywriting901.com/
Tom's website – https://antion.com/
Great Internet Marketing Training – https://www.GreatInternetMarketingTraining.com
Tom's Affiliate Program – https://www.mcssl.com/SYS/netcart/affiliates/AffiliateSignUpForm.aspx?MerchantID=16070
ClickBank – https://www.clickbank.com/
JVZoo – https://www.jvzoo.com/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Shopping Carts – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/10-shopping-carts/
Copywriting – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/13-copywriting/
Quality Products – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/19-get-information-product-ideas-fast-quality-products/
Joint Ventures – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/31-joint-ventures-get-other-people-to-put-you-on-the-map/
Jim Edwards – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/51-health-and-financial-problems-didnt-stop-him-tom-interviews-jim-edwards/
Denise Wakeman – https://screwthecommute.com/episodes/53-she-loves-to-climb-mountains-tom-interviews-denise-wakeman/
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Episode 052 In this episode I’m going to show you the two major ways to make a ton of money by affiliate selling.
Episode 051 Jim Edwards is guy that’s been online just about as long as me. He’s had major setbacks, health problems and overcame it all by selling online. Go back and check out his episode.
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There are two main types of affiliate selling and I’m going to clearly separate the two. The first is if you become an affiliate, sometimes called an associate for someone else’s product or service. I.e. somebody else has a product or service. You promote the product or service or refer it to others. If one of the people you refer it to buys the product or service because of your referral, the product owner gives you a commission. I’m already getting tired saying both product and service so if you hear me say “product”, I mean product or service.
Are we straight on this? You simply refer someone else’s product and get a commission. Many people start their online selling efforts this way because they don’t have to invest in software or create a product themselves.
The other main type of affiliate selling is where you have a product and someone else becomes your affiliate. They promote your product and if someone buys your product because of their referral, you pay them a commission.
OK. Do we have this now. In the first way you promote someone else’s product and “get” a commission and in the second way someone else promotes your product and you pay “them” a commission.
I’m going to keep them separate so you can keep this clearly in your mind.
Let’s start with way one where you become an affiliate for someone else and promote their product.
First of all, virtually never does this cost you anything to join someone’s affiliate program. Most people want you promoting their products. That doesn’t mean you will be accepted into everyone else’s affiliate program. Many companies don’t want to fool around with small affiliates who don’t have much influence over anyone. They don’t want to waste their time. They would rather spend their time helping powerful influencer type affiliates sell. The payback for them is bigger.
That doesn’t mean you should worry about getting accepted. There are tens of thousands of opportunities to be an affiliate. If one program turns you down, 100,000 more would be glad to have you.
One thing product owners worry about is how you plan to promote their product. Most don’t want their product being promoted in spam emails which hurts their reputation. So, be prepared to answer the question, “How do you plan to promote the product?” when you apply to most affiliate programs.
The answer could be, on YouTube, on my blog, on my social media, or on my email list. Make sure if you mention email that you let them know you have an opt in list and you don’t spam anyone.
What are the benefits of becoming someone else’s affiliate or associate? You have very little or no customer service. If something is wrong with the product, you don’t have to take care of it. The product owner does. Another benefit is that you have no product development. You don’t have to create anything or ship anything.
While I’m talking about shipping let me take a sidebar and tell you the difference between Affiliate Selling and some of you may have heard the term “Drop shipping.”
In “Affiliate selling” you refer a customer to the owner of the product. The owner of the product collects the money, ships the product (or in the case of digital products, the customer downloads it) and the product owner sends you your commission.
In “Drop shipping” you are promoting a product the customer thinks is your product. In this case the customer sends you the money. Then you forward the order to another company who ships the product to the customer. You pay the drop shipping company the wholesale price. For example, you are selling an iPhone case that you did not produce. Someone gives you $15.00 for it. You send $6.00 to the drop shipping company along with the customer’s address. You keep $9.00 profit and the drop shipping company ships the iPhone case to the customer. In this case you would be responsible for dealing with the customer if the case never got there or was broken or they didn’t like it and wanted a refund. I don’t like drop shipping and that’s not what this episode is about. I just wanted you to know that drop shipping is way different than affiliate selling.
OK> Back to the benefits of being someone else’s affiliate. You don’t have to purchase and maintain affiliate tracking software. This is what keeps track of who referred business to the affiliate and how much commission they owe to each affiliate. You also have a vast array of products to pick from. Literally tens of thousands to suit virtually any audience. And one more thing. You can add affiliate products to your existing business to easily increase profits. I’ve been doing this for years. If you already have customers for your products, they probably trust you. This means you can recommend other people’s products to your existing customer base to increase your profits from those people. As long as you are recommending good products, you are doing your own customers a favor because they might have purchased a poor-quality product instead of the good one you recommended. And one more big benefit. You can run an affiliate marketing business from literally anywhere you can get a WIFI connection. This is true of most fully online businesses, but getting out of customer service, makes affiliate selling especially attractive to those still working another job, people that like to travel or people doing other things that would keep them from being able to handle customers in a timely fashion.
HOW TO FIND
So, how do you find affiliate products? The first place to look is at the website of a product you really like. Typically, if they have an affiliate program somewhere near the bottom of the page there will be a small link that says something like, “affiliates” “affiliate program”, “referral program” or “make money with our products” or something like that.
When you click on it they take you to a page that tells you all about their program….how much they pay, what products they sell, what tools they have to help you sell, etc. So, on individual products you can look at the bottom of their site. If you don’t see a link, you can email or message them and ask if they have an affiliate program. Some do, but they don’t want every Tom, Dick and Sally applying so they hide it and only give it out on request. My affiliate sign up happens to be at the top of my site at https://www.Antion.com
If they don’t have an affiliate program, you are wasting your breath to try to talk a company into starting one. If they haven’t done it by now, chances are they have either decided they don’t want one or are clueless about what it takes to start one. Either way, you are wasting time trying to talk them in to it. Just go find another product.
So, that was for an individual company that you like. There are other kinds of companies that manage a bunch of affiliate programs. There are tons of these companies, but the ones that pretty much dominate the small business market are ClickBank and JVZoo. Clickbank has been around as long as I can remember and JVZoo is relatively new.
At these places you can find thousands of products to promote. Just go there and look at the Clickbank Marketplace and anything at JVZoo.
BEST PROMOTING PRACTICES
Now I’m going to show you some ways to promote affiliate products. The first thing you should check when you are considering promoting an affiliate product is if the product is really good and if the company behind it is really good. If I didn’t know the seller well, I would buy the product to see if it was good and to see how the company interacts with me. If they never get back to me or take forever to get back to me with questions, I wouldn’t promote the product no matter how much I liked it. You might ask, “Why should I care if they got back to me or not?” Well if they don’t get back to me, they won’t get back to the people you refer which will reflect back on you. Then no one will trust your referrals anymore and it will be impossible to make money.
The next thing I would check is if they have sales tools for me. These could be sample emails, a variety of graphics for me to put on my website or blog. Social media postings, tweets, and sales videos. If they don’t have any of those things, I have to spend the time developing and testing them which means more work and less profits per hour.
Now let’s cover some of the ways you can promote the products you have selected.
I use lots of email. I send an email telling how great the product is. In most cases you can make more money by actually using the product and getting results from using the product. You can then better enthusiastically promote the product because you have used it yourself.
As long as you have traffic, you can post graphics and articles on your website or blog and in your social media posts
I use lots of video and screen capture video to make demo videos of the product. People can’t do all the great things I’m showing them on the video unless they buy the product through my affiliate link.
You can do webinars about the product and put them on a webinar replay service (I’ll have the best one in the show notes) or put them on YouTube. You can also include it in podcasts and audio files. Whenever you only have audio to sell the product with it’s important to send people to an easy to remember link on your website or blog where you put your affiliate link. Affiliate links are usually pretty long and impossible to easily remember when someone is listening to an audio. And another thing. Facebook doesn’t like affiliate links so the best practice is to send people to a page in your website or blog and put the long affiliate link there.
In my podcasts you frequently hear me referring to my show notes with an easy to remember link. I say, this is episode 52 so visit the show notes at screwthecommute.com/52 This will even be easier once or app is developed. I’m not sure if it will be done by the time you listen to this episode, but if it is, it will be in the show notes at screwthecommute.com/52.
One thing I should remind you of here is that the laws have changed and you must tell people you are an affiliate and you may get a commission for recommending things. So, I’m telling you right here I might get a commission on some things I promote.
I’ll finish this section talking about eBooks. I have one free eBook that has earned me 3.5 million dollars and still earns anywhere from $10-20K per month. Yes, I know that sounds like BS, but I’ve been consistently giving this free eBook away for years. It’s called “How to Pick a Shopping Cart System That Makes You Money” it will be in the show notes. By the way, I covered shopping cart systems thoroughly in episode 10. In this eBook I tell you what to look for in a shopping cart system and then I recommend the one I sell. It’s a pretty simple concept. Just like the videos I make. You can’t do all the cool things in the video unless you buy the product. It’s the same with the eBook. You can’t do all the things with your shopping cart that make you tons of extra money unless you actually have it.
HOW MUCH AND HOW DO YOU GET PAID?
So, how much do you typically get paid from joining affiliate programs. The range of commissions can be anywhere from 10 – 200% or even more. Wait a minute Tom, how could it be more than 100%. You mean someone is going to give me all the money they made on a sale. That’s crazy.
Well, it’s not really that crazy. Some marketers are pretty sophisticated. They are happy to give you all the money or even more than all the money on the first sale so they acquire a new customer who they will sell stuff to forever. So, if you run into one of those deals it can make you a lot of money.
Much more common percentages are 10-50% For instance in my affiliate program, I pay 20% on physical products and products that have an enormous amount of labor, like my mentor program. I pay 50% on digital products, seats to my seminars, and memberships. I also, pay commissions for up to three years if someone you send me buys other things from me. Pretty much everything I have is commissionable in a couple different affiliate programs because I want people to promote my stuff.
Most programs pay via PayPal but in some you can request a check.
You want to make sure you understand how a program pays. Some have a minimum amount you must earn before you get paid. Mine is $50.00. Some will make you wait until the refund period is over until they pay you. One thing jvzoo has available if you qualify is instant payment, i.e. instead of waiting until the end of refund period, you get paid instantly when someone purchases through your affiliate link.
Sometimes you’ll be able to compete in affiliate contests. The product owner may try to get competition going among affiliates and they include prizes which can be physical products or cash. One time I didn’t even realize they were having a contest. I won a motorcycle and elected to take the cash instead.
If you typically sell lots of stuff every time you promote, word will spread and you will become known as a “Super Affiliate”. There is no real definition of the term “Super Affiliate”. Generally, it means that in a particular market, you can sell a ton of stuff. For instance, I’m a super affiliate in the speaker, author, coach, entrepreneur market, but I would not be a super affiliate in the parenting or family market.
When you reach super affiliate status in your market, you can usually command a higher affiliate percentage than is normally paid out for that product. The reason is, you have a track record of high sales. Also, when you reach that level you will have many people approaching you to sell their things and they will automatically start offering you a higher percentage so you pick their product to promote.
Another subset of super affiliate status is commissions paid on a sliding scale. This means once you’ve sold a certain amount of a particular product, you start getting a higher commission automatically. If the product owner has this kind of program available and if you’re really gung ho and sell a lot on one thing, you can get a higher commission even if you’re not known as a super affiliate.
At any rate, when you reach super affiliate status, you’ve really made it.
Another form of affiliate selling is private labels. This is where you make a deal with another product owner to sell their product, but the product has your label on it. That’s what I do with my http://www.KickStartCart.com shopping cart system. I don’t have the ability or interest to run a shopping cart company and all the technology that goes with it. My http://www.KickStartCart.com is a private label of a company that runs the technology and I get a commission for selling it.
There are other forms of private labels or PLR products. That stands for “Private Label Rights”. This is where you purchase rights to sell and distribute a product created by someone else. Many times you can put your name on it. I’ll probably cover that in a future episode.
One thing I’ll mention before I move on to part II of affiliate selling is Amazon. I’ve never been a big fan of their program because the commission percentages are way lower than places like ClickBank and jvzoo that primarily sell digital products.
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PART II – OTHER PEOPLE SELLING YOUR PRODUCTS
Now let’s switch to other side of affiliate selling where people promote your products and you pay them a commission if they produce a sale. The super big benefit to this is that it’s like having an army of sales people promoting your stuff and you only pay a commission if they sell something.
In this case, you must have affiliate tracking software tied to your shopping cart. No affiliate that knows what they are doing is going to promote you unless everything is tracked so they can be sure they will get paid.
Again, I refer back to my shopping cart system http://www.KickStartCart.com . The reason I call it a system is because everything you need is packaged into one service. Your email broadcasts, your email autoresponders your upselling modules and a lot more are all in one place. And that includes affiliate tracking.
I have to tell you a story of when I first started. I had to get a different company to hook up their affiliate tracking software to my shopping cart. Kick Start Cart didn’t even exist at that time. After six months and $3100.00 it still didn’t work, each company was blaming the other. With http://www.KickStartCart.com it’s all in one place with a low monthly fee so you don’t have to worry about things working together.
The way it works is that you give out or have a link on your website which is an application to join your affiliate program. You can make the requirements to join as easy or hard as you want. You can also review the application and then decide to let the person join or they cold be accepted automatically (although I tell them if they spam anyone, they are kicked out and forfeit their commissions). Once they are approved whether by you or automatically, they get a special link they can put on their website or email to people or put in the description of a YouTube video or whatever. When someone clicks on the link your tracking software knows exactly which affiliate sent you the potential buyer. If they buy, the software lets you know how much you owe that person.
I’ll include the link to my affiliate program in the show notes. This is episode 052 so it would be https://www.screwthecommute.com/52
Here are the things you need to have an effective affiliate program:
The first thing you need is good affiliate tracking software http://www.KickStartCart.com
Then you need one or more quality products (I cover products in episode 019), You need good sales letters that convert (Copywriting is covered in Episode 013), then you need good sales tools for your affiliates, like sample emails, blog postings, tweets, social media posts, and videos and you need a way to pay your affiliates and fulfill your products. It’s important to have a customer service plan in place too. No matter how perfect your system, there will be customers that need help. If you don’t help them in a timely manner, they will get refunds and your affiliates will abandon you because they will get complaints and lose commissions. You’ll also need an affiliate terms of service to make clear everything about your program. You can look at other people’s affiliate programs to get ideas and I’m obligated to tell you to get an attorney to review them, but personally I never have.
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Here’s some things to think about: Should your customers be able to use their own affiliate link? If you allow that, it means your customers can kinda take a big discount because they will get the affiliate commissions for their own purchases. Some people allow this and others don’t, I do on some products and I don’t on others. It’s really up to you and depends a lot on what your selling and the amount of labor involved in fulfilling the purchases.
One thing affiliate program operators often do is have a minimum sales commission due before paying an affiliate. Here’s an example: Let’s say you have a $97.00 digital product. If someone was not really an affiliate and just used their affiliate link to get a discount, you would have to pay them $48.50 if you were paying a 50% commission. What you could do is make the minimum payout in your affiliate terms of $50.00. That way the affiliate would have to get off their butt and actually sell at least one more of your products to someone else before they qualified to get their commissions sent to them. Basically you are forcing them to go out and sell at least one of your products to someone else before they get their commissions for the product they bought for themselves through their own affiliate link.
How are you going to pay? The most common is PayPal. When are you going to pay? You need to make this clear. Do you withhold payment until after the refund period has ended? Do you pay on a certain day of the month? Do you pay instantly as in JVZoo? Are you going to screen affiliates or let anyone join instantly? If you screen, you’ll want to ask, how will they promote? How big is their database and reach? Maybe you don’t want to fool around with a bunch of people who are going to eat up your time with dumb questions and never sell anything so you keep your requirements high.
Here’s a couple tips to help you sell more:
Make lots of sales tools to make it easy for others to promote you.
Keep your products high quality and write really good sales letters (I highly suggest my course https://www.CopyWriting901.com )
Watch for fraudulent sales. This is pretty important. If you see a bunch of orders come in out of the blue, and they have free email addresses like Hotmail, yahoo, or gmail and they may be ordering weird combinations of stuff, beware. They are most likely fraudulent.
This means a criminal affiliate put in fake orders with stolen credit card numbers. You ship the product and pay the affiliate and then all the credit cards come back as bad. You lose the product and the money paid to the affiliate.
And the last super tip is DON’T MAKE SUPER AFFILIATES SIGN THEMSELVES UP OR BUY YOUR PRODUCT.
Super affiliates have people chasing them around all day to get them to promote products. As long as the product is good and there’s enough money involved, naturally they are going to promote the people that make their life the easiest. They will laugh at you if you ask them to buy your product. This is just ludicrous and screams to them that you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, don’t ask them to sign up for your affiliate program. You sign them up and just give them the link and the pre-written sales tools.
A super affiliate can take you from being a nobody to on the map overnight. Do whatever you can including giving them a larger commission to promote you. You would really do yourself well to go back and listen to episode 031 on Joint Venturing which tells you exactly what to say and what not to say to joint venture partners which is what a super affiliate is. It could make you millions and put you on the map.
Affiliate selling has been an enormous part of my business over many years. There’s lots more about it that I can’t possibly cover here, but if you’d like to get a great education in this and all aspects of online marketing, consider joining my mentor program and or my school. The details will be in the show notes.
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Next Episode 053 Denise Wakeman- She’s built a lifestyle business that allows her to enjoy her love of hiking and mountain climbing any time she wants.
I’ll catch ya’ll then.
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