Affiliate Marketing • 22 min read
How to Get Profitable Referrals that Grow Your Affiliate Marketing Program
You’ve been working hard to build connections in your industry because you know that affiliate marketing is a relationship business, but there comes a time when you realize there’s only so much you can do to grow your network and access large affiliates on your own.
You start realizing that it’s time to tap into your network and get some referrals, but realizing it is one thing and knowing how to turn it into reality is another. So today, we’re talking all about how to get profitable referrals that will actually help you grow your affiliate marketing program.
If You Want to Get Profitable Affiliate Referrals, Review Your Current Network
The first thing you need to do is review the people you already have in your network. Research their tweets, newsletters, podcast or anything else you can access to see who they consistently interact with or promote.
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It’s possible you’ll discover that the reason you’re not getting referrals is because you haven’t built a strong enough network in the industry, and if that’s the case, make a game plan to change that. We all have to start somewhere, so this isn’t about being hard on yourself – it’s about taking the next step to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
On the other hand, it’s also possible you’ll realize that you’ve been building relationships with industry influencers and thought leaders on a regular basis, and it might be time to tap into the opportunities this relationship might have in store for you both to grow together.
Be Confident About Your Offer and Your Desire to Grow Through Referrals
Having a high converting offer that can make affiliates a ton of money, combined with a system that lets you pay quickly and on time every time, is something that can actually help your affiliates grow. If your offer makes a difference for customers on top of it, and you know that you can improve your affiliates’ customers’ lives, remind yourself this over and over again, and it will help you approach your network with more confidence.
But even if you still have doubt, as long as you show up with the intention to create win-win results for you and your partners, remind yourself that this is a legit way to grow your business, and there’s nothing wrong with asking. Sometimes, to get confident, you need to ask before you’re fully ready emotionally.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Vulnerable in Order to Get an Affiliate Referral
On that note, remember that it’s OK to be vulnerable and say you need people’s help. It’s OK to ask for help even if you can’t reciprocate the exact same way right now. And it’s OK to take a leap even when you’re not fully ready.
Remember that if connections say no to getting you a referral, nothing really changes. It might feel like it, but in reality, you have the “no” even if you don’t ask, so the only thing you’re doing by asking is giving yourself a chance to get a “yes”.
Remember that you’re the only one who gets to choose who you’ll be, and where your career or business gets to go.
Whenever You Can, Refer to Other People Before You Ask Them to Refer Affiliates to You
One way to ease the fear of asking people for referrals is to get them a referral first.
Remember that analysis you made of your network?
Connect with as many people as you can one on one (in person, on the phone, on Skype or Zoom) to hear what they’re working on right now, what they need help with, what type of people they’d want to be introduced to… and write everything down.
When you discover two people in your network who can benefit from getting to know each other, ask them if they’d like to get an introduction. If both say yes, go for it.
If you do it enough without asking for anything in return, you might not even need to ask in order to get a referral. It’s possible people will start sending referrals your way just because you’ll be top of mind, and they’ll be grateful for the people you connected them with.
But whether that happens or not, giving this type of value upfront will make it easier to ask for a referral when you need one down the line.
Create Ongoing Referral Agreements that Consistently Get Profitable Affiliate Referrals for You Both
If you’re already well connected, and your network analysis showed you that you’re well connected to other people who are also well connected, consider suggesting you partner up to refer people to each other.
If you can each send 2 referrals a month, that’s 24 new connections you’ll make throughout a year. Do this with 10 people, you’ll be getting introduced to 240 potentially profitable affiliates in one year.
If you’re not connected to affiliate managers in your industry, or in complementary industries, it might be a good idea to start working on that, because just like you, other affiliate managers are always working with a variety of affiliates and are always on the lookout for new ones, so they’re ideal for this type of collaboration.
Just don’t forget to shake on it…
… in writing.
Run a Referral Contest to Encourage Your Network to Get You More Affiliate Referrals
Another way to motivate your network is to run a referral contest and provide prizes to those who will get you the most affiliates. Either that, or provide prizes for people who get you the most profitable affiliates – say, those that will make the most sales during your next launch or the next quarter or the next year.
A great way to get started is with your current affiliates, who are already earning commissions from you, and might be happy with the opportunity to increase these commissions with a simple email.
Second Tier People that Get You Affiliate Referrals
Contest prizes are not the only way to reward people who get you the type of profitable affiliate referrals that make a difference for your company and career.
Another way, and one of the best ways, is to second tier them – give them a commission for every sale the affiliate they referred makes.
That commission comes off of your share, not the affiliate’s.
So let’s say Person A refers Person B, and Person B signs up to be your affiliate. Person B emails her list about your product, and makes you a lot of money. Person B makes a 60% commission, and you keep the other 40%. But since you couldn’t have gotten those sales without Person A, you give 10% of your 40% to Person A. Meaning:
Person B (the affiliate) still makes 60%.
Person A (the person who referred the affiliate) makes 10%.
And you make the remaining 30% (instead of your usual 40%), which is 30% more than you would have made without Person A’s help.
We have a full guide on second tier affiliates, so click here if you want to learn more (no opt-in or payment required).
And No Matter Your Industry, Don’t Forget to Let Walt Disney Get a Profitable Affiliate Referral for You, Too
Walt Disney once said, “do what you do so well, that they want to see it again and bring their friends.”
In other words, when people do get you profitable affiliate referrals, treat these referrals like gold, so they’ll thank these people for referring them to you, and your connections will keep referring people to you.
Heck, the new affiliates themselves will probably end up bringing their friends to the party, too.