If you feel that everyone in your space is going after the same affiliate opportunities, or that you’re just not finding really good opportunities yourself, it’s time to dig deeper, where most people won’t, so you can win long term.
To help you out, we talked to our very own lead affiliate manager, Gabrielle Hafalia. Gabbi is one of our rock star affiliate managers, and she has been instrumental in helping promote business growth and increase client exposure in the online market space. Among others, she helped us successfully launch two clients’ docu-series, re-launch another client’s coaching program, and is currently working on skyrocketing two evergreen projects.
In other words, we knew she had a ton of insights for you, and we couldn’t wait to peek inside her brain and learn her secrets.
Here are the three steps she recommends you take to discover affiliate opportunities no one else sees.
Step #1: Understand that Equally Reciprocal Affiliate Opportunities are Not Always Fair
The first thing you need to do is shift your thinking about what a deal actually means. “A deal doesn’t have to be traffic both ways or social support both ways,” Gabbi said. You might send your partner three new affiliates, and in exchange, she’ll email her list about your product, for example (Click here for 10 other ways to get one-way affiliate mailings).
“One of the biggest things people don’t understand is that you can have an equal deal that’s not fair, but you can never have a fair deal that’s unequal,” Gabbi said.
“Let’s say you have two people and their list size is a million people each, so you set up a deal where you do an 80,000 click swap. One person’s list is all buyers and another person’s list is a mix. So one person will send 80,000 clicks of buyers, and the other could send a mix, including inactive subscribers. Although it looks equal upfront, it’s completely unfair in terms of quality,” she said.
Or, for another example, “If one affiliate offers a 20% commission and the other 75%, depending on the price point to the consumer, one affiliate has the potential to make so much more money than the other,” she said. A 20% commission off a $10,000 product (meaning, $2,000 commission) could be much better than a 75% commission off a $1,000 product (meaning, $750 commission).
Step #2: The Secret Sauce for the Best Unexpected Affiliate Marketing Opportunities
Now that you know to look for the fair affiliate opportunities, not just the equal ones, you’re ready for the next step:
Talking to people.
According to SaaStr Fund founder Jason M. Lemkin’s speech at the Gainsight Pulse conference, many or all of the very successful companies – like Google, Facebook, Adobe and Salesforce – “get 80% of their customers from their old customers.”
You can watch Lemkin’s 11 minute talk at minute 08:45 here:
According to the Crazy Egg blog, the “rule still applies [in affiliate marketing]: 80% of sales come from 20% of your affiliates.”
Therefore, Gabbi recommends that you “talk to your regular partners regularly, and it’s not about business most of the time. It’s how are your kids, are you going on vacation, and maintaining that fine line of friendships and business, and eventually it goes into business and asking if there’s anything you need that I can help you with.”
Once you ask this, listen carefully.
“You just have to be able to dissect what someone’s telling you and be able to offer support in the form of both parties benefiting. Just be intuitive. If we’re having a conversation and I’m like, ‘Are you working on anything new?’, and you say ‘I’m working on something new and I’m writing on farming. But there are a few things I’m missing, like knowing an actual farmer,’ and I can go – ‘Oh, I know an actual farmer. Let me go ask them if they’re interested,'” Gabbi said.
“You need to listen to what they need and what they’re struggling with, and you can alleviate their pain, and then you can say, ‘If you want to do me a solid and if you know anyone in this XYZ space, you can introduce me to them,'” she said.
It comes down to “finding opportunities where you can help others and yourself,” she said, but clarified it doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything they ask. “If they need something from me, and I can, cool. If I can’t, I’m honest and I give them reasons why. At the end of the day, people want to know why,” she said.
Step #3: Ask for the Deal Right Away
“If I need traffic, I’m not afraid to ask,” Gabbi said, pointing out that you need to be very clear about what’s a favor (where you don’t expect anything in return for your help) and what’s a deal (where you do expect to get something in return).
“If you’re talking to someone and say ‘I can help you in some sort of way,’ do not wait until you complete it to ask for something back. Do it right then and there. Make sure they know you want something back. Otherwise, and it does happen to me – people mail my offer, and when I say ‘You did so well! Do you want to mail again?’ they’ll go, ‘Your offer did well, but you owe us clicks now,’ and I’m like, ‘You never said anything about it. It would have been different if you said it a week ago.’ It really annoys me to the core,” she said.
“Expectations need to be clear on both sides. Otherwise, it doesn’t go anywhere, and both parties feel they got the short end of the stick,” Gabbi summarized.
It’s About Remembering What Affiliate Marketing is All About and Doing the Work in Advance
To reap the benefits of the secret sauce and find the best affiliate opportunities no one else sees, remember to invest your time in the long term game. When planning your schedule, always leave plenty of time to build and nurture relationships in your industry, and always look for ways you can help them reach their goals.
When you do that, not only will you be top of mind when they hear of opportunities that might support you, but you’ll be able to jump on the bandwagon of projects they’re developing before anyone else knows these opportunities exist.