How to Leverage Virtual Summit Affiliates to Make More Money with Zoe Linda

guest expert making money Sep 17, 2019

Leverage virtual summit affiliates to multiply your leads and revenue. We’ll cover everything from the basics to how to find the best affiliates for your event.

Leveraging affiliates can increase your summit's sales several times over. In fact, in my first 3 summits, affiliates have been responsible for 50% or more of sales. If you're starting with a small audience, that number can be even higher.

Today I am so excited to be bringing on Zoe Linda to talk about using affiliates in your virtual summit.

We are going to cover things like:

  • an overview of what it means to work with affiliates
  • big mistakes people tend to make
  • how to find good affiliates
  • how much to pay them
  • and some details about the full process.

We’ll let Zoe take it from here.

Virtual Summit Affiliates

An affiliate program is a structured word of mouth program where you give people commission if they send a customer your way.

You give somebody an affiliate link, which is a trackable link that gives somebody a cookie if somebody clicks on it, then if somebody ends up purchasing through that link, it's tracked back through software.

Most affiliate programs are customizable. You can customize:

  • commission amount
  • cookie amount and length
  • invite people into your program
  • run it launch by launch basis or evergreen.

Benefits of Affiliates

Affiliate programs are word of mouth, which is the most powerful marketing tool.

Some benefits of using affiliates are:

  • It gets you in front of more people.
  • It helps you deliberately pick certain people whose audiences you know will be receptive to your products.
  • It increases the number of warm leads to your products instead of getting cold clicks from Pinterest or Facebook ads or anything like that because they are coming directly from a positive recommendation.
  • It also helps you get more meaningful connections with other people through collaborations and all that good stuff. Lots of good reasons to get started with affiliate programs.

Mistakes People Make with Affiliates

Mistake #1: Expecting everyone to just join your program, start promoting, and start making commissions straight away.

I've worked with people in the past that think they've started their program a week ago, how come it's not making money yet? With affiliate marketing, it does take a while to get the ball rolling on it. People have their own stuff going on. They need to take time to create content around it, scheduling promotions, and especially with things like evergreen blog posts, having the SEO setup, having a Pinterest strategy. It doesn't just kick off on day one, it can take a while. But then when the ball gets rolling on it, it can be really rewarding in the long term.

Mistake #2: Not giving enough commission.

Another mistake is not giving enough commission. This is, in my experience, a huge mindset block for people. They see it as a loss from their profit. But you're gaining 50% because you wouldn't have made that sale if not for that affiliate. It's basically free money, and it's not like you're losing 50%.

40-50% is standard for a virtual summit affiliate. If it weren't for that affiliate, you wouldn't have made that sale.

Mistake #3: Not providing enough affiliate assets to promote.

Another mistake’s not providing them with enough affiliate assets to promote. The most important thing is email swipe copy. People can take that and repurpose it for other things like Instagram captions or anything like that, but it's really hard to do it the other way round.

A lot of people give social media swipe copy, but not email swipe copy, and then you're left with a blank email. How do I lead into this? How do I make this not one big sales pitch? How is it a valuable email, but also leading somebody into this affiliate link?

Mistake #4: Not giving affiliates enough notice before a promotion.

Another mistake is people not giving affiliates enough notice before a promotion. Give at least 30 days’ notice before your event, and even closer to 60 days if you can. If you wait until 2 weeks before, people won’t have enough time to plan, and you won’t’ see the results.

How to Find Good Affiliates

If you think of it as a smaller circle and go outward, the first people you want to reach out to are people who are your BFFs – the people who you know are going to be your cheerleader and push you to their audience.

On a wider scale, outside of people that you know, search on Instagram through the hashtags. Click on top posts, see what hashtag they use, and show relevant accounts. Go outside of your social media bubble and find more people that you haven’t met before. If you’re approaching them cold, have a long lead-up time. You should warm-up that connection and relationship a bit, and you can’t expect them to just want to dive straight into promoting something for you.

Find people who have similar values to you, have a similar audience, have ideally good engagement rates on different social media platforms. But I would put much less emphasis on that than I would have three or four years ago, engagement rates aren't as good as they were.

Another thing to check is if they're putting out regular content, or at least emailing their lists regularly. If you can get on a potential affiliates email list, that's helpful, and sometimes necessary to even get that email address in the first place, because they don't have it anywhere else.

Affiliate Process

Let's walk through the affiliate process.  The process of pitching affiliates can be the longest stage.

  1. Make a list of 30-50+ people to invite. You won’t hear back from everyone, so even if your list is more than 50 people, that’s great.
  2. Get everything ready before you pitch. Have template emails and a spreadsheet to track outreach ready and in place before you reach out to potential affiliates.
  3. Create a welcome sequence for affiliates. When someone signs up as an affiliate, they get sent a sequence of emails over 1-2 months. If it’s just for your summit, it would be over 1 week instead.
  4. Set up automations. When people sign up, have automations take care of as much of the process as possible so you’re as hands-off as possible.
  5. Write a templated pitch email. It should have an enticing subject line that’s scannable and easy to read. Use bullet points to highlight the important parts. It should include benefits, commission rate, the timing of your summit, promotional dates, and anything else you think they should know for your summit.
  6. Add a personal touch. When you can, add a personal touch to each email. Even if it’s adding a PS, saw your webinar last week, or saw you were on vacation, hope you had a nice time. Anything that means you’re not just using a copy and paste system.

Affiliate Swipe Files

You should have a promotional pack easily accessible for your affiliates. A Google Drive folder works well.

Your swipe files should include:

  • Email swipe copy
  • Social media swipe copy
  • Promotional graphics,
  • Different content ideas
  • Different ways to position the summit or product

Affiliate Tracking Tech + Tools

My favorite tools are ThriveCart and Tapfiliate. When looking at affiliate tools, the most important things are to be sure it integrates with the checkout software you use or make sure it’s built-in.

ThriveCart or SamCart are good options if you want a checkout tool with affiliate capabilities built-in. Then, you can just have a link on your sales page that sends people to that checkout software.

You could use a standalone affiliate tracking tool like Tapfiliate, which is something I really love. I've been using that with a client for over two years now, and that's been really great. AffiliateWP, which is a WordPress plugin, is another good option.

Zoe’s Biggest Takeaway

I always emphasize the point that you might not have made that sale if it weren't for the affiliate.

About Zoe

Zoe Linda helps digital business owners grow their visibility and increase their income through affiliate + referral programs.

Affiliate Program Starter GuideWebsite | Instagram

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