In 2016 we launched our course, 10ksubs, for the first time.
That launch brought $220k in sales.
Then a few months later we ran another sale and it brought in just over $500k.
What did we do to double sales?
We got other people to help us sell the course. We used affiliates.
Today I’m going to show you how we setup and ran our affiliate launch plan.
You’re going to learn:
- Part #1: Explain what affiliates are and the basics of how an affiliate program works.
- Part #2: Show you our results from using affiliates in the last 10ksubs launch and give you an overview of our strategy.
- Part #3: Give you a step-by-step plan for how to do the same thing (recruit them, manage them, tech stuff etc.).
This is going to be meaty. So strap up.
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Part #1: What is an affiliate?
First off, there are three words I hear a lot around this topic and they all basically mean the same thing:
“JV” and “affiliate” sound sketchy to me, so I usually defer to “partnership” when talking about this stuff. But “affiliates” is more widely used. So I’ll use that going forward. But if you see the other words being used around the interwebs, just know they’re synonymous.
What is an affiliate?
An affiliate is someone who sells your product for you in exchange for a % of the sales.
Still confused? STORY TIME!
Let’s say you’re a mailbox salesman…
(I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing, but let’s roll with it for a minute.)
Your entire life, you’ve sold mailboxes door to door. You’ve had a good career. You’ve put food on the table and you stay pretty fit because you walk around all day.
Life is solid.
Then one day you meet a guy, Joe.
Turns out that Joe is a door-to-door salesman too!
Y’all hit it off. You tell war stories. You become besties.
But Joe doesn’t sell mailboxes. He sells knives.
Then one day you’re taking and Joe has a brilliant idea. He says “Hey! What if I called up all of the people who have bought knives from me and tell them about your mailboxes?”
Makes sense. Someone who owns a house and buys knives is potentially in the market for a sexy new mailbox too.
So you make a deal. You agree to split the profits 50/50. Everything that Joe sells, he keeps half the profit.
Basically you don’t have to knock on more doors, but you bring in more customers and money.
That’s exactly how an affiliate program works.
- Your friend has a related audience.
- They agree to sell your product to their peeps.
- You split the profit.
Why is running an affiliate program a smart thing to do?
Go back to the mailbox salesman story.
His income has a ceiling. The number of people he can actually sell to is limited based on the number of doors he can knock on.
Let’s say that 1 out of every 10 (10%) people he talks to buys from him. And let’s say his take-home pay from each sale is $10.
If he knocks on 50 doors a day, how much will he make?
50 doors knocked on x 10% = 5 sales. Or $50.
And that’s pretty much his earning potential. He can’t physically knock on more doors, which means he can’t make more money.
His monthly income is $1,100 ($50 x 22 working days per month).
But check out what happens when his buddy Joe “The Knife Salesman” gets involved.
He’s able to sell 5 more mailboxes per day. Which is an additional $550 per month.
Now, what would happen if he went and met 10 other door-to-door salespeople and struck up a similar deal with them?
What would that look like?
This is what that would look like…
With his friends he can make $6,600 per month.
Without his friends he can only make $1,100 per month.
In conclusion: It’s really fun selling something by yourself. It’s a whole lot funner (and more effective) to do it with 20 other people. That’s why an affiliate program is a good idea.
Why would running an affiliate program might not be a smart thing to do?
1. It takes more time and work.
Putting together all the pieces of an affiliate program is no small task. If you’re in a hurry, don’t have a team or just aren’t a fan of doing more work, don’t do this.
2. You aren’t trying to get more customers right now.
Not everyone’s primary goal is getting new customers. And that’s ok. There are a lot of valid reasons not to be focused on that. Like…
- You have plenty of existing customers.
- You currently are serving your existing customers well and want to focus on them.
- You’re building a lifestyle business and hyper-growth isn’t the be-all and end-all of your list.
- Other stuff.
3. It feels weird to you.
Saw a great quote the other day from Laura Roeder:
“If something doesn’t feel right to you, ditch it. If you’re drawn to something no one has done before, give it a try!”
I love this.
So, if you read about affiliate programs, give it a try and it doesn’t feel like a good fit, ditch it. There are plenty of other things you can do to grow your business. This is just one option. Follow your gut here (but don’t be a wimp).
4. This is the first launch of your product.
If this is the first time for you to launch your product, don’t invite other people to help you sell it. That’s a bad idea for a lot of reasons.
- The product isn’t proven yet.
- You have no idea what your sales numbers will be (which makes it harder to recruit).
- You’re going to have 1,000 other things to focus on and panic about. Don’t add something complex like this to the mix.
So, how do you know if you should run an affiliate program?
First off… you’re the entrepreneur. Figure it out!