Guest post by Karol K.
Product launches are one of the most common marketing methods on the internet. In a nutshell, the basic idea is that you build up some awareness about your product, create anticipation, then launch it and hope for great results.
That’s of course the best case scenario, and getting there will require a lot of work and effort. And today, I want to cover one of the aspects of a great product launch – working with your affiliates.
No serious launch goes without affiliate support. For some products, affiliates actually generate the majority of sales and profits. In essence, the idea of creating an affiliate program is a genius one. You’re providing the product, marketing materials and content, and your affiliates take care of bringing people through the door.
This works really well because you pay your affiliates only after they’ve made a sale, which means no early costs for you.
It’s best to start building your affiliate team among existing partners in your niche, or among people you were an affiliate of in the past. If you generated some sales for them, they might want to return the favor by promoting your stuff.
You can also seek help on various online forums and message boards. Try Warrior Forum. There’s a whole community of affiliates and online marketers there.
One other approach is to join an affiliate network as a merchant. You can start with Clickbank, for example. The only drawback is that such networks take a commission off your earnings (besides the commissions you have to pay to your affiliates).
Keeping your affiliates up-to-date
You’ll get best results if you maintain constant contact with your affiliates. Everything starts with you getting their email addresses.
Email is still the best way of communicating with anyone online … forget about social media, Skype, and other channels.
Now, here are the steps I recommend you to take when working with your affiliates:
1. Let them know what’s going on
It all starts by sharing all the essential information with your affiliates. Things like: your commission model, payment schedule, planned promotions, upcoming contests, giving them access to your in-house affiliate forum if you have one, and so on.
Basically, it’s a moment when you share every relevant bit of information you can.
2. Give them marketing materials
Affiliates really don’t like to do things that could have been done by the merchant. One of these things is creating marketing materials.
The deal is simple, the more marketing materials you provide, the bigger the chance that your affiliates will use them in various places and promotional scenarios … which, in essence, translates into better profits.
Try to provide as many of these as possible:
- banners (multiple formats and sizes),
- text links,
- text ads,
- product images,
- sample content,
- email copy,
3. Give them exact email copy
Let’s discuss one of the items from the above list individually. Email copy deserves a bit more emphasis.
Chances are that email will be one of the main methods of promotion for your affiliates. It’s in your best interest to make this as effortless for them as possible.
Prepare a complete email sequence that your affiliates can share with their audience. How to do that? It’s best to join an email list for a product launch that’s building up right now. That way, you’ll get a nice example of emails and things they talk about.
Such an email sequence usually contains things like: the initial email introducing the idea, some free content, launch date announcement, some more content, launch day email, another launch day email, post launch day email, further follow-up emails.
You can hire a copywriter to craft these emails or write them yourself if you have the skills.
4. Let your affiliate know in advance
No matter what your plan is, you should always notify your affiliates first. If you’re planning a special promotion or a unique marketing campaign, let your affiliates know so they can join in and help you with it.
For instance, once you set your launch day, your affiliates should be the first to know.
Run a contest if you have the resources
This can be tough if you’re bootstrapping and trying to do everything on a budget. But if you have the resources, you can always buy some prizes and offer them as part of a contest.
Such a contest can be a simple “affiliate with the most referrals wins” or something. The idea here is to get your affiliates even more involved in the launch.
Also, you can search for some sponsors if you’re a recognizable brand in your niche. Who knows … maybe it’ll work if you ask the right people for help (of course, you have to offer something in return).
Remind them about the launch day
Working with affiliates is kind of similar to working with your prospective customers… You need to remain in contact with them and remind them about all key dates and events.
It’s important to email your affiliates one day before the launch, and also right before the launch hour.
Have some post-launch promotions and offers
To continue the thing going, it’s best to create some offers or special promotions you can share with your customers after the launch. Of course, letting your affiliates promote them is a must.
You can use this period as a slight buildup towards another launch, but don’t be too pitchy about it. The purpose here is to remain in contact with your customers and affiliates, not to sell the crap out of them.
In a sentence, the overall most important thing when it comes to working with affiliates is constant communication. If you get this right, you should be just about fine.
What’s your take on this?
Do you plan on finding some affiliates for your next launch? Let us know in the comments!
About the author: Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance writer and blogger. If you’re interested in various online opportunities revolving around freelance writing and want to find sites where you can get paid to write then feel free to visit him at YoungPrePro.