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Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing — Part 7

Creating Affiliate Relationships That Boost Your Traffic Quickly

Creating Affiliate Relationships That Boost Your Traffic Quickly
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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.

How big partnerships happen online

I want to take you behind the scenes and share what happens when big partnerships go down.

Tim Ferriss - Using the “Surround Sound Effect”

Tim Ferriss

Using the “Surround Sound Effect”

My good friend Tim Ferriss launched the wildly successful “Four Hour Work Week” with no money and no connections by creating what he calls the surround sound effect. The more people hear about your product or site from different sources, the more they’ll start to take it seriously as something they need to check out. Incidentally, two of my most popular guest posts ever were on Tim’s site:

(Note how comprehensive these posts were. If I hadn’t focused on content first, these would not have brought the success they did.)

Check out this video for how this is done.

In this short video, I talk about:

  • How I wrote an article for Yahoo that ended up on their front page.
  • How the Portfolio Strategy helps when you’re not sure if something is going to work.
  • How the higher up the value chain you move, your success is all about personal relationships.

Next, I’ll show you how to start the process and meet people who you’d like to have partnerships with.

How to use email to meet powerful new partners

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:

1. You (the lower-status person who wants to talk to the busy person) should initiate the call, but provide your phone number in case they want to speak to you right now

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:

2. Don’t make them think

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.

3. Send your email when they’re most likely to read it

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:

  • Do NOT email a busy person on Monday morning
  • Do NOT email a busy person on their birthday (unless it’s a simple happy birthday message)

Instead, think when they’re most receptive. Maybe at lunch? Maybe Sunday night when they’re prepping for their week?

4. Make it impossible to skip with great formatting

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.

5. Use correct grammar and spelling

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:

The writer quickly introduces their referral and affiliation. If you have a connection to the busy person, always put it right up front.
For the purposes of this email, the pitch is irrelevant. Be specific that you have a reason for emailing, but keep it brief. The point of this email is coordinating the phone call.
Always specify a short time period. A busy person is less likely to object to a minimal time commitment to a total stranger.
Offer them a few choices, and try to provide one all day option, as well as two narrowly defined times. If their time zone is PST, you put your times in PST. The “after 1pm” suggestions help busy people cope with the paradox of choice.
Explicitly acknowledge that they are higher-status and politely offer to honor their schedule.
Give the busy person the option of what to do. Sometimes, busy people will just call you right when they receive the email if they have a few minutes.

With a couple of tweaks, this email can be used to email any busy person in any situation.

How to use these partnerships to build your list, promote your events, or sell your courses

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

Simple Affiliate Strategy #1:
Guest post to build your list

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:

  • Understanding your niche — this goes back to knowing your customer from the Immersion Strategy.
  • Creating a Catcher’s Mitt — something to welcome your new audience and introduce them to you.
  • Put your best stuff into your guest posts — there's no point holding back your best material for yourself.

Simple Affiliate Strategy #2:
“Dollar-per-lead” campaign

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:

  1. At first, start off with just a few affiliates. You can do this using social (we used Instagram affiliates) or a more traditional email campaign.
  2. Based on your numbers (which we went over in Part 6), offer your partners and affiliates a bonus for each confirmed lead they refer. We offered a dollar per lead during this promotion.
  3. Set up a unique landing page for simple tracking — this way you can easily see where the leads came from.
  4. On the landing page you’ll want to offer a lead magnet or “carrot” to entice the referrals to opt-in. (Here’s how to come up with a good carrot).

Acronym To Know

Life-Time Value

LTV: Life Time Value

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.

Simple Affiliate Strategy #3:
Coupon codes for courses and events

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.

Field Report: Tripling your email list in less than a year


Tripling your email list in less than a year

One of my Zero to Launch students, Felicia Spahr, tripled her list by focusing on guest posting. She wrote a 3-step guide for how to write a perfect guest post.

Step 1: Write for their audience, not yours

You know what your audience wants and loves to read. But the site where you’re guest posting has a different audience. Look at the site’s homepage, most popular posts, and read the comments to find out what that is.

Step 2: Instantly attract readers to your website

To grab people’s attention, in your bio, you want to direct these readers to a special gift just for them. Everyone likes free things, so you’re giving them a compelling reason to click and visit your website.

Step 3: Get readers to give you their email addresses

You’ve given readers a link to a free gift. But where does that link go to? You want to create a dedicated landing page solely for that offer. This takes less than an hour (I recommend using a program like LeadPages), and the reward is huge.

Simple Landing Page Checklist:

  • Write a headline that greets your readers, like “Welcome GrowthLab Readers!”
  • Describe in precise detail what your offer is: is it a PDF? Video? Audio recording? eBook?
  • In about 3 bullets, tell the reader exactly how your offer is going to benefit them. What is it going to help them do? Make sure this is crystal clear so it’s a no-brainer for people to sign up
  • Include an opt-in form, where people enter their names and emails

For Felicia’s full guest-posting report, including examples of her most effective posts, click below

Go to the full guest-posting report

Why would anyone publish or promote my stuff?

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

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VIDEO: How to overcome your fear of self-promotion

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  • How to build authentic relationships with top bloggers (without being spammy)
  • The secret to getting even the busiest and most successful people to read your material (with word-for-word email scripts)
  • A simple way to crush your fear of promoting yourself

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Go to the next part:

Digital Marketing: What’s Next?

Creating Affiliate Relationships That Boost Your Traffic Quickly