14 Tips to Make Your Affiliate Sales Rock
By Phil Mershon, Director of Events, Social Media Examiner
Do you wish you could earn more money through your affiliate promotions?
Have you tried affiliate marketing and wondered if it's really worth the effort?
In this article, I will reveal 14 tips and tricks from many of Social Media Examiner's top affiliates. These ideas can stimulate ideas for you as you promote Social Media Success Summit or Social Media Marketing World, and many of them will also work for other affiliate programs.
Tip #1: Make It Personal
Since people prefer to buy from people they know, like, and trust, they are definitely more inclined to buy something you have personally purchased or participated in. So be upfront about your participation in the event as an affiliate and/or speaker.
To keep it personal, Amy Porterfield recommends that you tell stories about the product or event–preferably these are stories about your own experience.
Jon Loomer recommends that you remain very selective about which affiliate programs you participate in. That way, when you promote something, people will take it seriously.
Tip #2: Coordinate Your Timing
Timing is everything in affiliate promotions. Not only should you build your promotion calendar around your own campaigns, but you should also consider key sales dates. A couple of carefully timed emails can be more effective than dozens of social media posts sent at random times.
Scarcity is a major motivator, so if you do a promotion that says “sale ends this Friday” it's a lot more likely to drive sales than if you say “sale ends in 6 weeks.” Many event organizers will share key sales dates with you if you ask.
Tip #3: Rely on Your Email List
Your number one asset in affiliate sales is likely your email list. It takes time to cultivate this list, so use it wisely. When you do send an email promotion, here are a couple tips to consider:
Andrea Vahl suggests sending out an email with some helpful tips to your audience. In the midst of that email you can share a promo to the product or event you are selling. Be sure to add real value to their lives or businesses so they don't feel like you're just trying to sell them.
Viveka von Rosen suggests writing a few relevant posts and then using an email automation tool like Infusionsoft to target the right people. You may even want to nurture those who open the first email.
Amy Porterfield recommends asking questions in your emails and prompting recipients to reply to you so you know what they think about your offer. Make sure that you or a team member are prepared to reply promptly and personably.
Tip #4: Know What Your Audience Loves
As with any content marketing, it's important to spend time getting to know what your audience likes. That's why Donna Moritz recommends taking your time to build a strong audience and then only recommending products you know will be a good fit for your audience.
Neal Schaffer explains: “You should know what your audience loves better than anyone else. So take the time to explain why this particular product is a good fit for them.” Perhaps create a video or blog post to explain your thoughts. The goal is to send your audience members to a sales page ready to buy.
Here is a sample blog post created by Donna Moritz for Social Media Success Summit 2016 (note: she updated her 2015 article for 2016 to keep getting Google results). Notice how she created a Slideshare deck to drive longer term traffic.
Tip #5: Create a Cross-channel Promotion Strategy for Social Media
Andrea Vahl and Ian Cleary both recommend creating a collection of promotional messages to distribute on for social media on an ongoing basis throughout the event promotional cycle. Know where your audience engages with your content and send a variety of messages.
If your audience is large enough, take the time to segment them based on their interests. Kim Reynolds, marketing manager for Social Media Examiner, creates custom audiences on Facebook based on how people respond to ads regarding various topics (e.g. Facebook, Analytics, Instagram, etc.) In this way she can continue to craft and deliver messages based on these interests.
RESOURCE: Kim Reynolds wrote this article with 16 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event.
Tip #6: Create an Events Listing
If your website gets lots of ongoing traffic, consider creating an events listing. This could be a list of events you participate in and recommend (see this one from Andrea Vahl or it could be a broader resource similar to the one Social Media Examiner provides here.
Tip #7: Create a List of Top Events for Your Industry
This is related to tip #6, but in this case Neal Schaffer and Kristi Hines (see the Ultimate Conference Guide) recommend curating a list of the top events in your industry and driving traffic to that post. This seems to work better for physical events, but could be tried for virtual events as well.
This listing by Neal Schaffer gets lots of traffic and he only recommends events he has personal experience with, so the credibility factor is very strong. Once he writes the article, he makes sure to share it freely across all major social media platforms.
Tip #8: Advice for Your Blog/Website
There are many opportunities to advertise on your blog, but be careful to avoid overcrowding. If you place advertisements strategically, it can add tremendous value for your audience. Here are a few strategic places to consider:
- Post a sidebar graphic
- Create a speaker page where you can list and/or include graphics for events where you'll be speaking
- Include a blurb and/or banner graphic within relevant blog posts
Tip #9: Consider Running Some Advertisements
By now, you likely acknowledge that you have to pay to get visibility on most social platforms. It doesn't take a lot of money to increase your visibility. Just decide on how much you're willing to spend in advance and then set up your schedule strategically.
Andrea Vahl and Amy Porterfield both suggest that you don't have to spend a lot to give your promotions some visibility. Dennis Yu claims you can get results for as little as $1/day.
Tip #10: Create Original Content
Your audience trusts you to provide value to their businesses, so take time to present affiliate offerings in terms they will appreciate. This can include things like doing a product review via video or in a blog post. Target the need you believe this product helps solve for your target audience. Your audience will appreciate your willingness to serve them and you'll likely find new audience members.
In 2012, Rich Brooks of Flyte New Media created this video. With today's technology you could do this with Facebook Live or any number of products.
Tip #11: Offer an Incentive
“Offer a bonus for anyone that buys a ticket. For example, offer some training you have as a bonus for signing up within a certain time period.” – Ian Cleary
Tip #12: Test Those URLs
If you're using URLs in an email program that tracks clicks, an additional code is appended to your URLs, which might override your affiliate ID. In addition, when you use shorteners like Bit.ly or those built into Hootsuite to shorten your links, your affiliate ID disappears. TinyURL is your best bet if you want to shorten your URL but still track the clicks.
Note: Beware that link shorteners can alert spam filters for email services like Gmail and impact the deliverability of your emails.
Tip #13: Create a Separate Email Account for Your Affiliate Business
Viveka von Rosen recommends creating a separate email account to receive emails from the affiliate programs you participate in. These emails are important. Most affiliate programs will email their affiliates with news and updates about special promotions, new products or services.
Tip #14: Shine a Light on Other Speakers
This tip especially applies to speakers, but it's a good general principle to follow. Steve Dotto recommends telling your audience how much the other speakers have helped you in your journey and development. Let them know how YOU are looking forward to hearing what THEY have to say. If you can provide real examples make it that much better.
You can also invite a speaker or fellow speaker on to your show to showcase the value of the event and other speakers. Steve did that in this episode with Mari Smith.
What tips do you have? If you have an idea to add to this list, please send an email to [email protected] and we'll be glad to add it.
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