An affiliate launch is when you promote someone else's product or service using your content.
It's a great way to make an offer, even if you haven't created one yet. So if you've been talking about a particular topic or theme for a while, but don't have anywhere to lead people, because you don't have an offer that fits with that, it's an excellent opportunity for you to partner with somebody else and offer their product or service instead.
It also works well if you’re a service-based business owner and are fully booked out. Partnering with other businesses as an affiliate will allow you scale without having to undertake a product or course creation project.
I love this whole aspect of getting to connect my audience with great products or programs that I've personally gained a lot from myself.
But I also love that promoting affiliate programs is a significant boost to my income as well. Last year, I pushed Amber McCue's Freshly Implemented, and it paid for our trip to Barcelona.
It felt like a win-win-win all round (and win-wins are a core part of my business values) – 7 people got to join me in a program that I've loved for years (there's a reason I rejoin every year), they also got my Your Content, Your Empire program as a bonus, I got to support a friend and mentor and SPAIN(!)
When should you consider an affiliate launch?
I think adding an affiliate launch is great whenever you have a bit of a gap in your editorial or promotions calendar. Maybe you're between launches or campaigns. Or maybe, as I mentioned before, you're completely booked out with services.
It's also a great time to consider adding an affiliate offer when you want to pursue a particular topic or theme with your content but don't have an offer to lead people towards after.
For example: Maybe you're a business coach who focuses on helping people create their marketing and revenue plans. As a strategy, you see the value in pursuing PR as part of their strategy, but that isn't necessarily a specialty of yours. Partnering with a PR program as an affiliate? No brainer!
Whenever I'm an affiliate for a program, I always create a bonus from my offerings so that I'm getting paid for my offers, but they're essentially getting it for free (catching the win-win theme here?). So if you have an offer that would be enhanced by something else, there may also be an opportunity to create an affiliate bundle.
How to find affiliate programs to join
(1) You could look in Facebook groups
This will work well if you already have a topic in mind. Just ask a general question, “Does anyone have a program or know of a program about X that offers an affiliate program?”
(2) You could look at the programs you've joined
This is my go-to method. I'm cautious about what I promote to my community because I feel protective. So if I haven't personally seen results from something, I'm probably not going to represent it. So consider the programs you've already done as a starting place!
(3) Support your biz besties, clients and network
Another place to look is your relationships. Are your friends running partner programs for their amazing offers? What about your past clients?
(4) Look at your inbox
What affiliate offers are you receiving from others? Would any of these be a good compliment to your own offers?
One thing to consider when deciding whether to partner with an affiliate program is cost versus reward.
(A) Will promoting this program/product be a massive win for your community? Is it something they need to know about?
(B) Is the percentage or commission enough to warrant creating a series of content around?
How affiliate programs normally work
Usually, when you sign up for an affiliate program, they'll give you your own link for a freebie leading to the offer and to the offer itself. This way people can promote either level. Then if someone uses your link to sign up for something, their sign up will be accredited to you. If it was free, it'll track them so that if they do sign up for the paid offer, that's when you'll earn your commission.
I mentioned this earlier, but I like to give people a reason to WANT to use my link (my juicy bonuses). So they double check that they are.
In most cases, you'll receive your payment after the refund period has ended (usually 30 to 60 days).
Creating your affiliate launch plan
Once you have found your affiliate programs to join, here are the steps for planning your own affiliate launch plan and then executing that plan. Plus I'm going to be giving you behind-the-scenes looks at my own affiliate launches.
1. The details:
About the Offer:
- What's the offer?
- What's your link?
- If relevant: What's the free offer?
- If relevant: What's your link to the free offer?
- What's the commission?
- What are the payment terms?
Have they provided any promotional materials?
Dates (if an open-close cart launch versus an evergreen offer):
2. Your strategy:
Will you offer a bonus?
What's your connection to this offer? Why do you stand behind it?*
What's your connection to this topic? What relevant stories/examples can you share?*
What are your 3-4 critical messages for promoting this offer?*
* Repeat for a freebie if you've been given one to promote
3. Your tactics:
Paid Promo Tactics:
- Will you run any social media ads to the offer?
Earned Promo Tactics:
- Can you host an interview with the creator of the offer? Will they share this with their audience too?
Shared Promo Tactics:
- What social media platforms will you use to promote the bundle?
- What will you share on these platforms?
- Will you do any live videos?
Owned Promo Tactics:
- How will you use your blog to promote the topic and then bundle?
- How will you use your newsletter to promote the topic and then bundle?
Want my full affiliate launch planning template?
Executing your affiliate launch plan
1. If you include a bonus, create your affiliate bonus page
This is great to ensure your community understands precisely how great your offer is. Plus – be sure they're using your link if they want.
Here's an example from my affiliate launch that paid for our Europe trip:
2. Write your blog posts
What blog posts can you write? Make sure that they're valuable in their own right and not just a straight-out pitch-fest. I like how-to posts that connect to the offer.
3. Write your emails
Next, write your emails. You would probably write some for the freebie (if they've given you one to promote) and then for the offer itself.
With the freebie ones – I like to talk about the reason this topic is so valuable to them in particular.
With the offer ones – I tell my own stories and what I've personally gotten from the offer.
4. Create your promotional copy for social media
Create and schedule social media to promote: your blog post about the offer, the freebie (if you have an affiliate link to one) and your affiliate offer.
5. Arrange an interview if you've decided to do one
Reach out to the person you're affiliating for and arrange an interview. I haven't personally used this strategy yet, but it's definitely an option!
6. Create your Facebook ad if you're going to use one.
The thing about your Facebook ad is that you're likely not using this to build your own audience. You're using it to get in front of your own audience (your email list, your Facebook page fans, your website traffic). So it's not going to be a considerable expense.
I spent $50 promoting the offer for Amber's launch just to my audience. Here's an image of the ad:
What are some tips and tricks for rocking your affiliate launch?
#1 – Be Upfront
Be really upfront with the fact that this is an affiliate link. Not only is it required that you do so, but it's also just the right thing to do. One of my favorite ways to make sure that I'm doing this is in a generous and non-awkward approach is to offer a bonus.
#2 – Context, context, context
Spell out the connection to your own content and mission really clearly. Usually, the audience that you have built isn't necessarily the same audience as the audience for this particular offer of this person. So, really spell it out, why they should care about this.
#3 – If it's evergreen, build evergreen content for it
If this will be a long-living thing and not just closing down at the end of the cart close, create evergreen resources and content it. Focus on the platforms that aren't built around a real-time feed. Create videos and put them on YouTube. Create a freebie and landing page (if they haven't given you one). Build an email sequence that delivers that freebie and presents your offer. Focus on a Pinterest strategy for the offer.
#4 – Experiment
Play with affiliate launches and decide on what strategy is right for you. You're not required to have it all figured out right away – so have fun with it and always come from a place of serving your community.
Want to create your affiliate launch plan the easy way? Download my Affiliate Launch Planning Kit