Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could ditch traditional marketing efforts and build a team of people who sell your product FOR you? An affiliate program may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
If you’re worrying that no one will go out of their way to promote your product, think again.
We all know how important it is to have #CommunityOverCompetition—something that Rising Tide has taught us from Day 1—but how do you really come together with others to help you grow your passive income?
How to Know if an Affiliate Program is Right for You
Hands up if you have a list of past clients or customers
Maybe you only have three people you’ve worked with in the past, maybe you’ve sold a course to over 100 people, or have 50 members in your membership?
Hands up if you have a number of business friends
This could be people in a mastermind group, people you talk about business with, friends who want to support you in your business, etc.
Hands up if you have friends or acquaintances who offer something similar to you
Maybe they offer the same thing to a different clientele or maybe their services are slightly different from yours.
If you put your hands up to any of these, you already have a group of connections that you can harness when you start an affiliate program to sell more digital products!
Think you’re not ready to start an affiliate program?
Maybe you’re thinking:
- How am I going to find people to refer customers my way?
- Who am I going to invite into my program?
- How am I going to grow my affiliate program and get more connections?
BUT, if you’re reading this, I’d bet my hat that you probably already know a lot of people who would be GREAT fits for sending new leads your way through an affiliate program!
Before I go into how to get started with an affiliate program, let’s dive into the basics and all the amazing benefits of getting started with this collaborative strategy to increase your passive income.
What is an affiliate program?
If you’re reading this, you’re likely already familiar with affiliate marketing. I’d even guess that you’re an affiliate for someone else’s product.
Maybe you share a referral link to a software you use (i.e., HoneyBook)? Or perhaps you’ve taken part in a friend’s course launch as an affiliate?
Well, we’re talking about affiliate marketing at the other side of the table.
An affiliate program is made up of a group of people (your affiliates) who share your product and receive a commission for each sale they send your way.
It’s essentially word of mouth with a finder’s fee.
How does an affiliate program work?
You provide others (your affiliates) with a trackable link that leads straight to your e-book or product (this is known as an affiliate link). If someone clicks the affiliate link, they will be cookied for a set amount of time and your affiliate software will be able to track if a purchase is made.
When someone purchases a product through an affiliate’s link, your affiliate will receive a percentage of the sale amount (their commission).
You would use an affiliate tracking platform or an in-built solution in your checkout software to make sure the commissions track from link click to purchase!
Why should you start an affiliate program for your online business?
Selling a digital product is hard enough as it is without adding affiliates into the mix. Why should you bother?
Word of mouth is a powerful thing, folks, and working with affiliates and influencers is essentially strategic word of mouth.
Did you know that 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know? And that word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions?
When I first ran a launch with affiliates, I had them to thank for 53% of the sales! After having an affiliate team for over three years, I now make more from digital product sales as I do from client services – woohoo!
Here’s a quick rundown of the key benefits of having an affiliate program for your business:
- Increased brand awareness – By working with a select group of affiliates, you can get yourself and your product in front of your ideal audience in a strategic and organic way
- Reaching a new audience – You’re going to reach whole new pools of people who have never heard of you before through your affiliates and their content
- Increased warm leads to your site – Warm leads are people who have a positive preconceived sentiment around you and your brand vs. cold leads who have never heard of you before (from something like FB ads or Pins)
- Increased SEO performance from backlinks – Influential affiliates have a positive effect on your SEO, which will mean that you get more referrals from search engines, which means more sales
- Make meaningful connections – You won’t just give them an affiliate link and run in the other direction. You can cultivate great connections and relationships through an affiliate program
- And, ultimately, increased sales for your products – And, of course, by having an affiliate program you’ll see an increase in sales from affiliate recommendations!
How can you work with affiliates to promote your product?
The best thing about an affiliate program is that it’s super flexible; you can make it as simple or as complex as you’d like!
Here are some ways you can make an affiliate program work for you:
- Start an evergreen program – This is an affiliate program that is always open for business with extra promotions and pushes throughout the year. This is best for business owners who have evergreen products such as an evergreen online course or a Shopify store. An evergreen program requires ongoing management but, like I said, it’s flexible so you can cap your affiliates at a certain amount to make it easier to manage. Examples include ConvertKit, The Contract Shop, Amazon Affiliates.
- Invite affiliates to support your launches – If you run your products on a launch-by-launch basis, then you can invite affiliates to take part in each launch but the cart is closed for the rest of the year. Getting affiliates involved means your launches are a little bit busier than usual but, with the right affiliates, they will be able to get results that far outweigh the time spent.
- Host one-off collaborations (such as Joint Venture (JV) webinars) – Instead of seeing your affiliate program as a whole group of people, work on the basis of organising individual collaborations with each of your affiliates. These could be things such as JV webinars, freebie swaps, or product bundles.
Want to learn how to start an affiliate program of your own?
If you want to learn more about starting an affiliate program for your digital products, you can click here to download my free Affiliate Program Starter Guide.
This guide walks you through:
- How to create an affiliate program strategy that works for you
- 10+ affiliate tracking software recommendations
- Things to consider when setting up your affiliate software
- The 6 promotional assets you need to provide affiliates with
- Ways to find authorities and influencers to join your affiliate program
- How to reach out to potential affiliates for your team and start influencer outreach
Ready to start earning passive revenue and scaling your business? Get our Passive Income Ultimate Guide.