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What happens when the big boys play together, when you see a guest post on a major media site? When you see an article on Lifehacker? When you see the New York Times citing an author or even letting an author write his own post on their blog?
These things don’t happen the same way that ordinary guest posts happen. There’s one distinguishing factor, and that is relationships.
There are a ton of sites out there about “affiliate marketing.” And to be honest, a lot of them promote tactics that may work in the short term, but cannot create a sustainable marketing strategy.
In this guide, I’m not going to talk about ClickBank or where to find people who will pitch your products to your list without knowing you. Just like anything, there is no “magic push button” business strategy, despite what the rest of the internet will tell you.
The truth is, for the people that are doing affiliate marketing right, it’s all about relationships. You may not have those today, but I’ll show you how to have them tomorrow.
This section is all about what happens at the highest levels — and it starts with content and building your email list (are you sensing a theme in this guide?). Personally when I started off, I would have killed to have known how it happens because it was all dark magic to me.
I want to take you behind the scenes and share what happens when big partnerships go down.
Check out this video for how this is done.
In this short video, I talk about:
Next, I’ll show you how to start the process and meet people who you’d like to have partnerships with.
This is trickier than you might think. We know people who’ve tried to schedule a call with a busy person, and after repeated back-and-forth scheduling emails, the busy person simply gave up and said, “Sorry, I just don’t have time.”
Your goal is to minimize the back and forth and make it easy for the busy person to find time to talk to you.
Here are five important things to keep in mind when you write the email:
By the way, don’t get offended by my use of the phrase “lower-status.” Let’s be candid: If you want something from someone else, in this situation, you are lower-status.
Whether it’s less famous, less wealthy, less successful, less important, or less busy, that’s just the way it is. Remember, YOU want something from THEM. It’s important to recognize this and work around the busy person’s schedule. That means:
You can’t ask them to work around your schedule, but at the same time you want to make it easy for them to say, “yes.” Don’t make them come up with a bunch of times that work. Instead, offer them a couple of different options for times that would work for the call. That respects their schedule, and leaves the final decision in their hands, but doesn’t require a lot of thought.
You wouldn’t believe how many people email complex questions to a busy person on a Friday afternoon.
Why? Why would you send something requiring lots of work to someone on their way out for a weekend?
The answer: “Oh…I didn’t think about that.”
If you don’t think about the busy person, you lose.
To maximize your chance of getting a response, email a busy person when they’re most likely to read and process it.
In other words:
Instead, think when they’re most receptive. Maybe at lunch? Maybe Sunday night when they’re prepping for their week?
Bad formatting can scuttle even the most helpful, interesting email.
Use paragraph breaks and bullet points liberally to make your email easy to read.
Also, send it in plain text rather than HTML so it can be easily read on a mobile device. For VIP emails, I like to send myself a test to make sure it’s readable and any URLs are clickable.
Lazy typos signal laziness. Use proper punctuation and capitalization.
Don’t use lower case “i”s or texting abbreviations. An email should be more polished than a text message.
Always proofread your email. Let the reader focus on your well-crafted message, not the fact that you still do not know the difference between “its” and “it’s.”
You wouldn’t think I’d need to say this, but I do.
If you keep those 5 things in mind, you’ve got a great shot at getting a positive response, but let me give you an example of these principles in action.
Let’s say a college student (low status) needs to email a CEO (high status). A great email would look like this:
Kevin Wu recommended I reach out to you. My name is Jennifer Clark and I'm a UC San Diego computer-science student.
I read about your firm's push into clean-tech solutions. At UC-San Diego, we've begun some interesting research here on the topic, and I think there could be a great collaboration.
Do you have time for a 10-minute phone call? If so, would any of these times work?
- This Wednesday (8/10) all day
- Thursday (8/11) any time after 1pm PST
- Friday (8/12) any time after 1pm PST
If those don't work, just let me know -- I can work around your schedule.
I can call your office line. Or if you'd prefer, my phone number is (555) 555-5555.
With a couple of tweaks, this email can be used to email any busy person in any situation.
There are advanced (and expensive) software platforms that you can use to track affiliates, but you don’t need these at first. These are 3 strategies you can use today
I love talking about guest posting because I’ve written guest posts on sites like Lifehacker, Four Hour Workweek, even The New York Times. All of them have been instrumental in helping me grow my business. So the strategy I’m sharing works and continues to work.
And I really want to share it with you because almost everybody does this the wrong way!
Watch this quick video for 3 strategies for effective guest posts.
In this video, we discuss:
One way we entice affiliates to help us build our list is by offering a dollar for every confirmed lead they send us.
Here’s how to do it:
The lifetime value is how much a customer is worth to you over time. Here at GrowthLab, our customers have a high lifetime value because they often purchase multiple products as their business grows. We already talked about cost per acquisition with a $10 ebook in Part 6. Let’s say your CPA for the ebook is $10. If that’s all you offer, then you are breaking even on the promotion and it’s a waste of time. But, if your customers upgrade to a $99 video course after purchasing the ebook, a CPA of $10 or more is great! Your customers have a LTV, or lifetime value of $109 dollars, meaning you’re getting 1000% ROI. Once you know your LTV, you know how much of a cut you can profitably offer affiliates to sell your products. The higher your LTV, the better deal you can offer affiliates, and the more the traffic in the market tilts in your favor.
An easy way to ask your friends and partners to promote a course is by offering them “swipe emails” to send to their list with a coupon code. You write an email selling your product, service, or event, and then they can edit for their own voice and list. It’s best when they add their own personality, because let’s face it, we’ve all received generic emails that we know the sender didn’t write himself. At the end of the email, offer a coupon code for a discount at checkout. That way, you can track where the buyer came from and you can offer an affiliate bonus without expensive software.
Why do we hesitate to buy someone a drink at a bar, delay sending in our job application, or avoid asking for help?
It’s a simple answer. We’re afraid.
We’re afraid of “bothering” someone. We’re afraid of rejection. And, we’re afraid of what happens after they say “yes.”
It’s the same way with affiliate marketing. We’re afraid to reach out and start forming these partnerships.
The truth is, if you’ve followed this guide so far, what you have to offer will be extremely valuable to them and their audience.
But, I’m not going to sugar-coat it, these bloggers have hundreds of people asking them for stuff every single day. So how do you cut through the clutter and get them to say YES — without seeming scammy, sleazy, or self-promotional?
I recorded a special video that shows you how to make an irresistible pitch (without the fear). Sign up below and I’ll email it to you right now