After months of hard work, your offer has finally come together. Product ready?
Check! VSL ready? Check! Sales and affiliate tracking ready? Check! Ok, let’s turn on the affiliate faucet!
Wouldn’t it be great if it worked like that?
That’s often the expectation that marketers have when they hire an affiliate manager. Once their offer is ready, they want to see traffic immediately. This is
understandable, since building a product takes a significant investment of both time and money, and marketers want to see a return on that investment as soon as possible (i.e. now).
Regrettably, however, affiliates and JV partners aren’t just sitting idly by, twiddling their thumbs, until they get the call from the affiliate manager saying, “Ok, press send!” No, they are busy promoting other offers, building campaigns, working on their own offers, and tackling the myriad of other tasks related to their own business.
As much as we would like it to be true, affiliates are not scheduling their business around our agenda. So how do you shorten the gap between the time your offer is ready and the time the affiliate traffic starts flowing?
First, you must view hiring an affiliate manager as an investment – just like when you hire a development team to build the software you’re selling, a copywriter to write your compelling sales pitch, a graphic design artist to create your banners, and an Infusionsoft expert to build out your funnel, tracking, and processing capabilities.
When you hire any of these services, you understand that you won’t see an immediate return on your investment. Other things must take place before the money you’re spending on these services will start generating cash. An affiliate management service is no different. So, the best way to shorten the gap
between hiring an affiliate manager and getting affiliate sales, is by planning your launch schedule and sticking to it.
Step 1: Set a launch date for your offer and then stick to it.
Step 2: Your affiliate manager will need the following information in order to lock in promotions for you, so have these ready before your hire the person:
- Link to your sales page or VSL
- Link to your JV page, or at least a page where affiliates can sign up for your program
- Brief description of your offer
- Price points for each product in the funnel
- Commission percentage paid at each stage of the funnel (e.g. initial offer, upsells, and downsells)
- EPC and conversion rate stats
- Ability to give review access to your product, or send out samples (in the case of a physical product).
The above list is what affiliates will ask for before they agree to promote your offer, so sending your affiliate manager out to recruit affiliates without this information is like sending a door-to-door vacuum salesman out to sell vacuums without a vacuum.
Sure, he can talk about how great the vacuum is, and garner all kinds of interest in the product, but he’s not going to sell many vacuums until his customers can actually see this new miracle-machine for themselves.
Step 3: Bring your affiliate manager on board 4-6 weeks before your launch date. They will need this amount of time to get the word out about your offer and build momentum and excitement around your launch.
In addition, most affiliates and JVs have their promotional calendars booked 1-2 months in advance, so starting the recruitment process early will increase your affiliate manager’s chances of securing a spot around your launch date.
Step 4: If you’re new to the affiliate marketing game, and haven’t yet established a reputation in the industry or the niche you’re entering, expect the affiliate recruitment process to be slow – especially if you don’t have a list that you can use for reciprocation, or you don’t want to reciprocate for other offers.
Affiliates view promotions in terms of risk vs. reward. If they spend the time and money to promote your offer, what are they going to get out of the deal? How likely is it that your offer is going to convert for them and earn them a big commission check? If they earn those big commissions, how likely is it that they are going to get paid, and paid on time? Are they going to get a promotion from you for their offer, giving them not just the opportunity to make money, but also build their list?
In order to successfully recruit affiliates for your offer, be sure to arm your affiliate manager with enough ammo to tip the risk vs. reward scale in your favor.
There is big money and big opportunity in affiliate marketing, but it is an investment. When done right, though, the returns just get bigger over time.
Armed with a product that converts, an experienced Affiliate Management Team with a solid network, and a little bit of patience, you can build a robust sales channel through affiliates.
If you’re expecting an immediate ROI, though – someone to turn on the ‘affiliate faucet’ for you- you’re probably going to wind up disappointed.