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Setting Up an Affiliate Program 101

Hailey Dale

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I’m Hailey – content strategist and founder here at Your Content Empire where we help you create more profitable, purposeful and productive content — and hopefully enjoy yourself more while doing it too. Learn more about me here >>

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Episode 6 - Setting Up an Affiliate Program 101 by Your Content Empire Hailey Dale

Curious about setting up a profitable affiliate program 101 for your own business? ⬇️

Go behind the scenes with me as I share how we recently launched our Biz Bestie Club and the 5-step process that made it possible, including:

  • Getting Clear on Intentions – Before diving in, it's about sorting out what the end game is (a heart-to-heart with ourselves on what you’re hoping to achieve with the affiliate program
  • Deciding on Details – Figuring out the nitty-gritty; like your commission structure, extra perks, who you want to invite
  • Crafting the Messaging – Choosing a name for your program, laying out the welcome mat (aka your sign-up page or information pack) and getting geeky with the key messages
  • Prepping the Support – Gathering and setting up assets for partners once they’re “in” so you make it easy peasy to promote your products and earn rewards
  • Tackling the Tech – Choosing the tech toolkit that makes the engine hum. (It's all about making the magic happen smoothly behind the scenes, we went with Thrivecart for its all-in-one charm)

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome back to the Content Coffee Break podcast. This week, we're discussing affiliate program 101, specifically how to set up your own affiliate program 101 as a means to nurture and grow community. Yesterday was a big day; we launched our Biz Bestie Club, which is our affiliate program, inviting past customers who are eager to earn both money and credit by sharing products they already love.

This idea has been simmering for a while. I previously enrolled in a course to learn the ins and outs of setting this up, ensuring we cover every detail correctly. The demand for such a program has been persistent. Multiple times a week, I receive emails asking, “Do you have an affiliate program? Can I promote your stuff?” I've had to decline in the past, but now we're all set, and it's so exciting. This entire experience got me reflecting on community and the immense power it has to start significant movements.

Another recent community event was the grand reopening of a local coffee shop. Some months back, this favorite coffee spot announced its closure. It's a place Drew and I cherish, especially during our morning walks by the ocean. However, the community rallied, and an idea emerged to collectively purchase the coffee shop. As a result, Drew and I are now proud shareholders. The coffee shop's reopening reminds me of episodes from the show Gilmore Girls, where Lorelai and Rory tend to deal with related issues simultaneously.

These parallel narratives – our affiliate program launch and the coffee shop's resurgence – made me ponder the concept of community-powered initiatives. The Biz Bestie Club has been a significant project. It started in 2022 when I enrolled in the aforementioned course, but then it got sidetracked by other commitments. Still, it remained a primary focus when we planned our Q3 content strategy. Now that we've executed this, I want to share some insights on our process, hoping you might find it beneficial for setting up your own affiliate program.

First and foremost, clarity on intentions is paramount. I've been nudged repeatedly by queries about our affiliate program. I've engaged with several other affiliate programs over the years, and those that resonated most were ones I genuinely believed in. So, it was clear to me that I'd invite only past clients to the Biz Bestie Club, offering them not just a commission but other incentives to promote products they genuinely appreciate.

Then came the intricate details. We fixed a 25% commission and an equal amount in Biz Bestie bucks, credits redeemable against our products. However, we also emphasized the need for evergreen promotions, enabling affiliates to benefit from their content continuously.

Finally, the messaging and branding were crucial. Instead of a generic name, we opted for “Biz Bestie Club,” coupling a catchy title with a clear tagline and description.

So, for us, the messaging started by answering all those questions and then distilling that into our failure program page. This allowed people to learn more, click through, and sign up for the program. We have a check there, asking “Have you purchased? What products have you used?” This ensures that we're only including past customers in the club because they best know how to discuss the program. We want to ensure we're giving back to that community.

Step four involves preparing and providing support. It's essential to think about what that means. For us, one of the evident steps was setting up our affiliate swipe copy. This included easy swipe images and copy, and some emails for promoting each product. We plan to add more over time. This setup also lets us stay in touch, updating members about what's new in the Biz Bestie Club and available resources. I decided to provide a direct line to me for any questions related to promoting the products or any collaborations or interviews. That might be a podcast interview, a video interview, or even a written blog interview, reminiscent of those fun magazine questions. This direct line is a great way to promote the products to your community. I'm here to support everyone in the Biz Bestie Club, which truly embodies club, support, and community vibes.

Interestingly, we haven't even touched upon the tech aspect until now. There's so much work involved in considering the intentions, details, messaging, and the type of support we provide. For support, we also send out monthly emails detailing what's new in the Biz Bestie Club, new products, promo copies, and unique campaigns for the community.

Moving to step number five, the tech setup piece. There are fantastic programs for your checkout system and your affiliate program. I'm a big fan of Thrivecart. We previously used SamCart, which is great and offers a plethora of features. We were with them for a while and even had a founder’s rate. However, I particularly liked the lifetime deal offered by Thrivecart. It provides both the checkout and the affiliate program functionalities, making the tech setup much smoother. Regardless of the tool you choose, I'd recommend going through their documentation, setting up the affiliate program, and organizing all the essential links into a link list. This organization ensures easy access without wasting time searching.

In the context of the EASE content strategy framework, when setting up your affiliate program, I hope you consider these steps. It's crucial to make it your priority, ideally allocating about 90 days to it. Don't attempt to squeeze it into your busy schedule or sporadic free time. When I prioritized it, everything came together pretty quickly.

If you'd like to join the Biz Bestie Club and you're already a customer, or even if you've purchased our planner or systems kit, you've been invited. You can also visit the Content Empire shop, purchase a product you like, and then start promoting it if you love it. You can accumulate Biz Bestie bucks and use them for our more signature programs, which can be a game-changer for your content strategy.

Thank you for spending time with me today. I hope you got some insights into setting up a partner or affiliate program 101 that centers around community. For us, the emphasis has always been on community, giving back, providing ample support, and keeping things evergreen (content-asset-wise) as part of our overall content mission. If you have questions, slide into the DMs. See you next week!

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