Tom Schmitz // Oct 25 2010
During a meeting this morning I used super affiliate marketing as an example of how strict discipline, community and cooperation can be combined to make lots of money. I figured it would be fun to share what I said here on the blog. You are not going to get a 500 page eBook here, but I will reveal actual secrets of high-power affiliate marketing and how to become a super affiliate.
If you do not know already, an online or Internet affiliate promotes items in exchange for a commission on sales. Becoming an affiliate is easy. All you have to do is sign-up with a company or its agent. For example you can become an Amazon.com affiliate on Amazon.com. Or, you can become an Apple Store or Sony affiliate through Commission Junction. After signing-up your affiliate manager will give you a codes to place in your links to stores. When a web surfer clinks on your link the store will recognize your code and set a cookie in the visitor’s Internet browser. Then, if the browser buys anything the store will know to credit you and pay you your commission.
While good affiliates can earn a nice living promoting other companies’ products and services, super affiliates exist in a whole other realm. These are the people and teams that count their monthly commissions in the tens and hundreds of thousands. They are amazing charismatic salespeople who know exactly how to reach the online masses and present them with compelling deals.
Most super affiliates begin by creating something worth selling, something that a large target audience finds valuable. This works best when the cost of reproduction is zero and the supply is inexhaustible. e-books, software programs and online tools are ideal. Yes, some super affiliates only promote products or services sold by other companies. However, they must work much harder to build and sustain an audience of buyers. Super affiliates with their own product possess an important bargaining chip.
Super affiliates who have their own product to sell can become affiliate managers, they can invite other people to promote on their behalf and pay them commissions. This is where having products like e-books and online tools work well. You can afford to pay high commissions – 50% to 75% – because it’s still pure profit when it doesn’t cost anything. You can afford to give others a high incentive to promote on your behalf. Most important, you can give other super affiliates exclusive access to sell your product during its introductory period.
You might think that super affiliates would not want to help each other, but this is not the case. In fact, super affiliates become super affiliates because they help each other. Jim and Sue will sell Bob’s e-book. Next month Bob and Jim will promote Sue’s software tool. The month after that Bob and Sue will peddle memberships in Jim’s online community. Go through the archives of different super affiliates’ blogs and sign-up for their email newsletters. Watch for who they sell for. Then, follow those people. Soon you will uncover the pattern of cooperation for yourself. Notice too that super affiliate clans tend to share an industry or niche. This ensures that no matter whose product or service they are selling, they will always be selling something that can interest their audience.
Since super affiliates promote each other’s wares it becomes in their best interest to promote each other personally too. If I help you become more popular then you can sell more e-books for me. If you help me build my audience I can sell more memberships for you. Super affiliates go out of their way to do nice things for each other and especially to help grow each other’s blog readership and email lists. They protect each other too. If something unjust happens to a super affiliate then his or her clan will provide defense and aide. Protecting each other protects their income.
Super affiliates use the calendar to maximize sales and avoid competing against each other. Because clan members sell to a shared audience you never see members of the same clan promote a new release or major update at the same time.
People join email lists because they have an interest. That makes them good sales targets. A giant high-quality email list guarantees that you can sell for other super affiliates. Imagine if you were a super affiliate and I told you that I have an email list of 50,000 names and 5% bought my $100 e-book last month. 50,000 Readers * 5% Response Rate * $100 Price = $250,000. Would you want access to my email list? Would you be willing to pay a 60% commission if it did not cost you anything? Your email list is your invitation to join a super affiliate clan.
To a super affiliate owning a good email list a guarantee of having good income. Yes, you can make sales off of your blog and when you speak at conferences, but these have far lower response rates. It’s easy to put your blog URL and Twitter handle on a convention projection screen and use you blog to gain followers. Then use the blog to encourage email sign-ups. Once you have somebody’s email address, each blog posts primes the pump, especially insider ideas and success stories. Readers expect super affiliates to sell in most posts, so when you don’t, ironically, you can come across as being more genuine. That builds trust which puts readers at ease about giving you their email.
Once you have a large enough email list made-up of quality addresses you can demonstrate your value to the super affiliate clan of your choice. When a clan member launches a product there will be a period of aggressive promotion from all of the clan. This happens because all of the clan members are selling within an exclusive period when only they get commissions. After the initial launch, but usually while the product is still new, its creator will open up sales to any affiliate. That’s when you sign-up and sell the product to your own email list and to your blog readers. Sell hard. If you make enough sales the product creator will likely notice, even if he or she doesn’t contact you directly. This is the time to reach out. Contact the clan member and strike-up a conversation. In person is best so try to arrange a meeting at a conference you will both attend or just fly to wherever the super affiliate lives. If you must, email can work too, but it’s not as personal. Show the super affiliate clan member your own product and describe your launch plans, your own email list and the commissions you plan to offer during your exclusive period for select affiliates. Invite him or her to become a select affiliate, ask for advice and ask if there are other important affiliate sellers who will be interested in your upcoming product.
I cannot tell you everything about becoming a super affiliate in eight paragraphs. I could write numerous articles about networking skills or sales strategies, far too much for this small space. However, I have given you a glimpse into how the super affiliate system works. Everyone promotes everyone for the benefit of all. You just have to prove yourself worthy of your invitation.