November 2014 Coaches Corner
Building Your Affiliate Army
Affiliate marketing is an easy and pain-free way to promote your business without a lot of extra effort.
However, it is a complex subject, so this article will cover what affiliate marketing is and how to approach it.
A lot of what you will discover today is directly related to competitive intelligence, so if you haven't read last month's ExpertPreneur Magazine article, check it out here
Affiliate marketing is like having your own sales force.
You basically give a “commission” to your affiliates for each customer brought in by their marketing efforts.
The appeal for the affiliates is that they can make money by selling your product to their “list” – or the people that they are in communication with.
They bypass the challenge of creating, designing, and branding a product or service, and use your hard work to make money.
The real draw for you, aside from extra sales, is that they are driving people to your website, doing lead generation for you, and getting you sales and exposure essentially for free.
You only pay them when a sale is made, and that is all you have to do. No need to reciprocate by marketing their products in return.
So, How Do You Begin?
First, you need to understand where you stand in the hierarchy of Affiliate Marketing.
There are three parties at play:
1) The Advertiser – This is your company. Or anyone who has a product or service that they would like other people to help promote. And your only responsibility, as I said, is to pay per sale.
2) The Publisher – These are the affiliates who will be promoting your service in exchange for a commission. You just provide them with a specialized tracking link, and promotional copy or banners utilizing cookies that recognizes when they get you a sale, and they incorporate that into their website or promotional activities..
3) The Customer – The end goal for everyone. The prospect clicks on your link, and fills out a form, or purchases your service, bringing you a sale and the publisher a commission.
Pretty straightforward, right?
This is the beauty of this system: you have already done all of the hard work by offering a desirable product or service. Now, it's up to the affiliate to promote it and get you leads and clients you might never have gotten otherwise.
Finding Publishers who might be connected to your market is half of the fun.
In fact, there are three major types of people you may deal with:
1) Bloggers who write within a specific niche, who have a strong readership and would like to monetize their site. They will search for products that would appeal to their readers (their list), and market those products to them as an affiliate.
2) People who make a living out of affiliate marketing; they spend a lot of time building lists and categorizing them, so they can sell various products to those people. They spend a lot of time browsing websites full of opportunities for them, with affiliate products in every niche you can imagine. We will touch on that a bit later…
3) Your indirect competition. This is not to say that your direct competition doesn't do this, as well. But, striking an arrangement with someone who sells something else to your target prospect could be very beneficial to you. Again, this concept is fleshed out in my ExpertPreneur® Magazine.
All of these types of Affiliate Marketing bring different benefits to you, but first we will discuss how you can connect to these potential gold mines.
Do Research and Get Involved
Let's say that your expertise is in life coaching, and you work specifically with divorcées.
You probably have a number of clients from your hometown that you've worked with and have gotten good testimonials from.
Now, you're looking to expand your service to a wider market. Well, the first thing you could do is search for blogs that target people who have been through divorce.
Pick a few, and then start following them. Get to know the blog a bit, perhaps even commenting on some articles.
Once you are familiar enough, contact the owner, complimenting some specific aspects of the blog, and mention that you have a service that targets the same audience, and are offering an affiliate opportunity.
All of a sudden you will have an entire new group of people looking at your product. And if they aren't buying it, they may very well be telling their friends about it.
Alternatively, you can approach those who make affiliate marketing their career. This can be particularly effective once you have a tangible product set up, and have been duplicating your efforts, as mentioned in my first blog post this November
Clickbank, in particular, has a database of 1000s of affiliate products in multiple niches.
In this example, your product would fall into the “Self-Help” category – in fact, one of the top products in that category right now is “How to Heal Your Broken Heart: a program for those suffering through divorce or break-up.”
We will go into more detail on this aspect of business and marketing strategy at another time.
Keep Your Friends Close
One thing you should be doing already is keeping tabs on people who are selling to the same prospects as you.
These companies are perfect targets for affiliate relationships.
For example, in the interest of moving onto a more uplifting topic, let's say that you are a fitness coach.
And perhaps you have a product on your website that is a collection of videos specifically teaching people how to tone their bodies using free weights.
Well, wouldn't it benefit you to make friends with people who sell free weights and have them become affiliates for your program?
Heck, you could make connections with people selling fitness clothing, sneakers, weight lifting gloves, you name it.
They will appreciate the opportunity to make some extra money on a sale they are already making.
It's win-win for both of you.
A Surefire Way to More Profit
All of this information may seem intimidating, and this only skims the surface, but affiliate marketing really can be lucrative for your business, and fairly simple to execute.
Take the time to really think about your customer base and how you might be able to expand on it.
And also think about your product or service, and different ways that you could offer it to different prospects.
Affiliate Marketing really is the easiest way to gain more sales without putting in too much extra effort.
Start making those profitable affiliate connections today, and you'll set yourself up to blow past your competition!