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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0471: How Do I Choose the Right Affiliates?

AP 0471: How Do I Choose the Right Affiliates?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 471 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 471 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week. We have a great question today from Justin.

Before we get to Justin’s question, I do want to give a big thanks to our sponsor today, Lynda.com, that’s L-Y-N-D-A.com, in case you want to know how to spell it. It’s an amazing platform, a learning platform online with over 3,000 on-demand video courses to help you strengthen your business, tech, and creative skills. I’ve used it myself, for things like learning how to use the newest version of Excel, to how to use Photoshop. I even got some training on my DSLR camera there, too. There’s everything there. You’ve got to check it out. What’s cool is you can get a 10-day trial for free, if you go to Lynda.com/AskPat. Again, that’s Lynda.com/AskPat. Go there now. You won’t be disappointed.

All right. Thank you so much. Here’s today’s question from Justin.

Justin: Hi, Pat. My name is Justin Powell. I work with FinanceStore. I am asking a question about how you determine what affiliates you work with. Do you determine who you work with based upon a set of values, or is it based upon the amount of income that you could possibly earn through working with a specific affiliate? I’m just curious how you go about deciding the best people to work with, because you’ve established quite a bit of influence. I’m sure you have a lot of people that are wanting to work with you. I would just like to hear your thought process on how you decide who you work with. Yeah. That’s it. Thank you. Appreciate your time.

Pat Flynn: Hey, Justin. What’s up? Thank yo so much for this question. I really appreciate it. Because affiliate marketing has been a huge, huge component of my overall income that I generated online. I think it’s something that a lot of people can do more of. I’m really glad you’re asking this question. It shows you’re coming from the right place. Affiliate marketing typically has a very negative connotation in this online world, because people take advantage of just how easy it is to do technically. It’s technically easy to find a product, any product out there, and pitch it to your audience and just really drill it into their throat. Sometimes people abuse that power. You might be a part of some email lists where you just are typically getting all these pitches left and right for all these different products. People aren’t even really taking the time to get to know who you are first, which is not the right way to do it.

The first thing you want to do, no matter what kind of business you have, no matter what you’re going to end up serving them with, is you want to understand more about them, what their problems are, what their issues are, what their needs, wants, desires, so that you can come in and become that person who provides that solution, whether or not that solution is yours, one that you create yourself, or one that somebody else has created. That’s where affiliate marketing comes in. It’s when you promote somebody else’s product to your audience and you earn a commission if somebody ends up purchasing along the way. Again, like I said, this is something that a lot of people take advantage with.

How do you determine who to work with? How do I determine who to work with? It’s very easy. I’ve made some simple rules for myself, because over time, as I’ve become more popular as a blogger and podcaster, you’re right. I’ve had a lot of people ask me to promote their products. Every day there is at least one, or two people who have come out with their new products, their new books, their new courses, membership sites, whatever, who know that I have this amazing audience that is willing to listen to my recommendations that, of course, they want to get from me. I don’t blame them for reaching out. I think it’s admirable that they reach out. That’s something you should do. I think a lot of those people who do reach out to me don’t establish that relationship first. Sometimes, they’re coming out of the blue and they’re asking for something big. They’re asking me to pitch their product to my audience. I’m not going to do that unless I know who you are, I’ve used that product before.

That’s probably the biggest thing, more than anything, is I make sure that I promote products that I use, because it makes it very easy for me to know and understand whether or not that product is actually going to help that other person, that product, the tool, that service, that book, whatever. You cannot risk recommending something that you aren’t very familiar with, almost as familiar as if it were your own product. The reason is because that trust that you have with your audience is the most important thing in the world. That is the number-one asset that you are building over time. That trust is worth so much. It’s not worth getting a quick buck to then never have that person come back and trust you, if that recommendation were to fall through. That’s what happens. When you recommend something, because of a commission only, and you don’t even know that product, maybe it gives them a terrible experience, they’re going to be upset at that product and that product owner, of course, because they’ve had that bad experience, but who are they really going to be upset with? They’re going to be upset with you, because you were the one that recommended it.

There’s some simple rules that I tell myself and I tell other people to think about. It makes it sound almost corny sometimes, but it just makes it really easy to understand what decisions to make. This one I’m about to tell you is recommend stuff that you would recommend to a friend. You wouldn’t recommend something to a friend that you wouldn’t know trust them. I’m just randomly thinking about the parenting space, for example. If you were to recommend something that let’s say your friend had a baby, for example. You recommended something that gave harm to that baby. They’re going to be not your friend. They are not going to be your friend anymore, and other bad things can happen. You don’t want that to happen. Treat your audience as if they are your friend. Hopefully, you’re doing things to make that happen. You’re building a relationship with them. That’s why building a relationship is one of the most important things, and understanding truly what your audience is going through like you would want to know about your friends, so you can help them best. That’s really what it is. Number-one, it is recommending products that I’ve used. It’s just a very simple rule, products that I know as well as if they were my own, so that I could also provide answers for people. This is another struggle that people have with affiliate marketing. They recommend products that they don’t know much about. Their audience comes back and says, “Tell me a little bit more about it.” They ask questions specifically about the product, and then if you go and say, “I don’t know,” they’re not going to take your recommendation, and they aren’t going to trust you anymore either. If you know the answers to those questions, “Yeah, that’s module two, lesson three. You’ll love it and make sure to watch out for minute number 10 when he talks about this. It’s a little complicated there, but make sure you just think about it.” If you answer a question like that, it’s, again, as if it was your own product. You answer it for somebody on behalf of another product, of course they’re going to take your recommendation. Of course, if it’s a good product, too, then they’re going to actually love you even more.

That’s the cool thing about affiliate marketing. You can start now with products that you already use. You can share it with your audience. It becomes a win for everybody. It becomes a win for you, because you’re getting a commission, but more importantly, it’s a win for your audience, because they’re getting something that they need that you know is going to serve them. It’s a win for you and the relationship you have with that product owner too. If you get to a point where you’re pushing a lot of volume for any particular products that you have and are recommending to your audience, then you have this relationship with this company that you can then begin to work with them. For example, a lot of people know I push Bluehost quite a bit. They’re a great hosting company that I used and I still use on a number of my smaller sites. I know the product very well and I can provide my own customer service for that product too. I’m very confident in my recommendation as well, but … I forgot where I was going with that. It’s okay. This is live here. We’re actually doing this live on Periscope right now. We have about 100 people watching live. The hearts are coming in. Thank you guys so much for that.

What I was going to say is I’ve worked with Bluehost before to increase my commissions, because I know I’ve been pushing volume for them. I’ve also worked with them to create custom landing pages, too. If you go to, for example, SmartPassiveIncome.com/Bluehost, it goes to a specific landing page that we worked together to create, which has my face on it. It continues that conversation. That’s a side tip for you. If you are recommending other products, you want to try and continue that conversation as much as possible. The thing is, when you recommend other people’s products, you are putting people to a link that then drives them off of your web site. It’s like most people that are just like, “Bye. Good luck. You’re on your own now.” Sometimes you have to work with that other company to make that experience, for your audience, the best that it can be.

Anyway, I’m going off tangent here. I’m very passionate about affiliate marketing. I think it’s something a lot of people can implement and are still not yet doing it the right way. I have a lot to say with it. Anyway, like I said, it’s not about the commissions. It’s mainly about the product itself and how well it can serve my audience, and also the relationship I have with the person who created that product, or the company. I want to know, through conversation, and a lot of times those conversations do happen on interviews and my podcast, which is another cool byproduct of having a podcast. It allows you to not only get experts to come on and share information to your audience, but it allows you to build that relationship with those people too.

If you have that relationship with a product owner of a product that you are promoting to your audience too, just think about it. From an audience’s perspective, not only are they getting a recommendation from their “trusted advisor”, you, who has earned their trust. They’re also hearing from that product owner, too. They’re getting a feel for exactly where they’re coming from and they know who’s behind that product. They’re going to be more likely to convert too. Like I said, that relationship you have is important. Getting to know them, getting offline a little bit, meeting those people at conferences, getting to know their staff as well, all those things work in your favor. Really what it all comes down to, to sum this all up, is serving your audience. Your earnings are a byproduct of how well you serve your audience. I think the people who are watching on Periscope right now would agree with me too. It’s all about serving your audience. The more you can do that, the better your outcome will be. It doesn’t have to always be with stuff that can earn you commission too. There are a lot of great things out there that you can recommend to your audience. There might not be an affiliate program connected to it. If you know it’s going to help them, it’s always going to come back to you eventually in some way, shape, or form.

Justin, thank you so much for your question. I really appreciate it. I think this is going to, hopefully, open up a lot of revenue avenues for people, because it really is technically easy to set this up, even if you go to amazon.com and become a part of their associate program. Again, use those products, create videos of them. Show people how they work in and out. Build relationships with your audience and those product owners, if possible. Good things will happen.

Justin, we’re going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, or watching live on Periscope right now, if you have a question you’d like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.

I also want to thank today’s second sponsor, which is LegalZoom.com, a company that I’ve used several times in the past for both business and personal stuff, from trademarks, to incorporation, to wills and living trusts and all those sorts of things. They do make it extremely easy to do. It’s obviously much cheaper than using a lawyer. Speaking of lawyers, they aren’t a law firm. However, they do have an amazing network of independent attorneys that can provide you with straight forward guidance as you need it. Don’t let the legal hurdles in your business and real life be an excuse. Go to LegalZoom.com. Start building your own future the right way. To save even more, make sure you use the word “Pat,” “P-A-T,” during checkout.

Thank you so much. I appreciate you listening in. The quote to finish off this particular episode is from Henry Ford. That quote is, “Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” I couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Henry Ford. Thank you, Justin. Thank you for those of you who are listening. I can’t wait to serve you tomorrow in the next episode of AskPat. Until then, keep crushing it. Cheers.

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