AskPat 696 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 696 of Ask Pat. 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.
All right. Now here's today's question from Mark.
Mark: Good morning, Pat. It's Saturday, hope you had a great week. I have a really quick question, and I think this is one that a lot of people are also asking. When you're creating a business, and you get to the end of developing the website, when your main approach to revenue's going to be affiliate income, without a following, without being recognized in the niche market, where do you go for affiliate links? Do you launch with Amazon affiliate links, knowing that you're getting pennies on the dollar? Do you go out and find all the products that you do trust and have used, and know that can bring value to your following? Also, those products, is it fairly easy to get affiliate links? My question is, what do you do at the very, very, very start about affiliate links? All right. Hey man, thanks. Appreciate what you do. Have a good day.
Pat Flynn: Hey Mark, thanks so much for the question. Really appreciate it. When you're starting out with affiliate marketing, the number one thing you want to do is understand what are the goals of your audience and what are the tools and software and products that are there in existence already that can help them reach that goal? Even though you might not have a following already, you can at least get ahead and think about what kinds of products, services, tools, books, all those kinds of things, what would they need and find useful for them to reach their goal?
I would also think about, beyond that, what is their first step? If you can understand what their first step is, it's going to be really easy for you to focus on an initial affiliate marketing campaign that you can use for brand new visitors. When people do come to your website, however you end up getting them, you will have some direct and clear actions for them to take as far as where to get started, and since it's affiliate marketing, it would be with this other company or product or business.
Now, with things like books and physical products, Amazon would be the place to go and really it doesn't matter how much money you're making on the back end of it. What matters is you're delivering value through these recommendations, and you just happen as a byproduct to get served and paid through Amazon. Especially with Amazon, because there's a ton of products there that could be really helpful. A lot of great books. Even though you're just making pennies, like you were saying, per commission, those things add up and if you are building a long term business here, over time, those pennies over a course of a year become many, many dollars. Just keep that in mind.
Don't just hold yourself back from promoting things, again, that are going to be really helpful for your audience. Amazon, it's really easy to get a link if you are in one of the states where you're allowed to do that. There's most of the states in the US and other countries, as well, you become an Amazon associate, so look up Amazon associates in Google, sign up there, you can look up any product, any group of products, any search term, whatever, any page on Amazon you can have a link for it, that Amazon associates will supply with you, that you can then put on your website, and that sort of thing.
Now, every affiliate program is different. Amazon, for example, I know you're not allowed to share those affiliate links via email. What I like to do is create a resource page, and this is something where I have a collection of, not only books and products, but also courses and software that people would use, again, related to that goal that I want them to achieve. You can visit my resource page if you want to check that out. It's the number one most profitable page, in terms of income, on and across the board on SPI. That's SmartPassiveIncome.com/Resources.
In terms of where to get these links, let's say it's not Amazon, let's say it's just a different company that has a product or a service or a tool. Chances are they may have, if you go to their home page, again, this is a product that hopefully you would use and know that it's helpful. You can even ask to get access to it in order to promote it if you want. Sometimes a company will say ‘yes', but if you're using it already, you may have paid for it, and then that just makes it more genuine when you promote it, you can share videos and behind the scenes of it, that kind of stuff helps people convert through your link much, much better.
You can check out my guide for affiliate marketing, which has this tip and many other tips in it at AffiliateMarketingTheSmartWay.com. It's completely free. Again, that's AffiliateMarketingTheSmartWay.com. On many different websites that have a service or a tool or a product, you'll scroll down to the bottom and there might be one of three sets of words that you can look for in their navigation menu. Typically, again, on the bottom, which is affiliate program. It might be also referred to as a referral program, or referral partners, or partnership opportunities, or partnership program. Look for those words on the home page of a website, or you might need to dig deeper a little bit if you'd like. That's where you can get supplied with information on how to sell certain things.
Some companies work through third party affiliate networks, so for example, I have the studio press theme, SPI Pro Theme, which you can all check out at SmartPassiveIncome.com/SPITheme. It's a theme that's available, it's a word press theme through the studio press, guys. Their affiliate program runs through Shareasale. Shareasale.com is a website that people use to help promote their products and people use to sign up to sell various kinds of products that are already there. You might even be able to sign up for Shareasale and find a whole bunch of other things that are there for sale for people too. I know a lot of conferences use Shareasale to manage their affiliate program. That's one way to go about it.
There just might be a direct link that that particular company will supply you through when you join their affiliate program. Now, if you can't find an affiliate program or referral partnerships or whatever, like I'd mentioned earlier, the next best thing to do is to just send an email and ask and see if they have an affiliate program already in place. Many of them do. When I started with my lead exam website back in 2008, the first ever affiliate relationship I had was with a company called Green Exam Prep. They did practice exams for the same exam that I was creating study guides for.
Initially, actually, I had been doing banner advertising for them for a number of months until I reached out to them and just said, “Hey, do you guys have an affiliate program?” They said, “Yes.” It wasn't advertised anywhere on their website, but because I asked, I guess they were making it only for private invitation only, which many companies do. I asked and they said, “Yes.” That affiliate partnership grew to tens of thousands of dollars in commissions for me, and an amazing partnership between myself and this company, and I'm now an advisor for that company, too. We get on calls every other week and I help them out now that they know what I do with Smart Passive Income, which is really interesting and exciting, but as you could see, I wouldn't have been able to become an affiliate if I just didn't ask. That's the last resort you can take if that company doesn't display their affiliate marketing opportunities.
Now, sometimes you'll ask a company and they will not have an affiliate marketing opportunity, and then from there you'll have to negotiate a deal and come up with a way for you to be able to track. Sometimes these companies, if you speak to the IT person after that, they'll be able to set that all up. Other times, it's just based on the honor system, “Hey, if you send this many people through with this coupon code, that's how we know. We'll let you know how many you sold at the end of each month and we can give the commissions on that.” That's a manual way of going about it, but if there's trust there, then yeah, it could work out. I've heard it work out very well for many people too, who don't have access to a company with a built-in affiliate program.
Mark, hope that answers your question. A lot of information there. I appreciate you asking because I think you're right, a lot of people do have the same question, especially when they're just starting out. Good luck to everybody. Again, I'd recommend checking out AffiliateMarketingtheSmartWay.com to get your free guide, a number of different bullet point type tips to help you just master affiliate marketing, something I've been doing for over eight years now. Mark, I want to send you an AskPat T-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. Thank you, again, so much. For everybody else out there whose listening, if you have a question that you'd love potentially featured here on the show here too, just head on over to askpat.com. That's it.
Use the record button there, ask your question, and we'll get to your questions and listen to them. We pick the best ones and feature them here on the show. Mark, thanks again. Everybody else out there, thank you, and here's a quote to finish off the day by Sheryl Sandberg. She says, and I think this is related to when you set the bar for yourself all the time, and you're trying to up the standards of things. Here's her quote, she says, “We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.” All right. Thanks so much and I'll see you in the next episode of Ask Pat. Bye for now.