AskPat 53 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody! This is Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 53 of AskPat where I answer your online business questions. I'm doing everything I can to help you, and again, this show is powered by you, because these are your questions, and thank you so much for them.
We have a great one today from Christopher; but before we get to that, I have a related resource or link for you, that is AskPat.com/am, which is a redirect that goes to SmartPassiveIncome.com, and the page on that site which has to do with everything I know about affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing strategies, just a free resource, a directory if you will, to other articles on my site that all have to do with affiliate marketing, that is generating an income, online, by having people go through a link on your site that forwards to a product, a tool, or a service that is not your own. You are getting paid to recommend other people's products and when people purchase those products, you get a commission. That is affiliate marketing, and technically it sounds easy to do, and technically it is easy to do. But it's hard to master, it's hard to actually do well. And that's why affiliate marketing has such a negative connotation now in the online world, but I'm trying to change that because it is how I'm making most of my money online and I'm doing it in a way where it's a win for everybody. So before we get and move on to those strategies, let's get to the question from Christopher.
Christopher: Hey Pat, my name is Christopher Klemse, I just recently stumbled upon your podcast on iTunes, listened to a few of them, and then went to your website, checked out your blog, and just the whole brand that you've created with Smart Passive Income, and I absolutely love it. I am thrilled that I found that you have such an abundance of information that is just so useful. Definitely appreciate you.
I guess my question for you would be—I am brand new to this, you know to, I guess this aspect of online marketing. I've been working for marketing firms on the sales side of things for quite some time and I guess I'm just tired of slaving towards somebody else's success, and I'm ready to build my own brand and, you know, my own success. So I guess my question there would be, for somebody brand new to this, I'm going to start with affiliate, with a couple of affiliate sites just to really get the hang of it, to really gain a full understanding of how making money online works, and then I'm going to implement some other ideas that I have there after. But as somebody brand new to this, somebody who's just getting started, what would you say is the most important aspect to focus on just getting started; like what would you say is the most important thing for me to figure out and learn and implement with my first couple of affiliate sites and blogs? Thank you so much. Bye!
Pat Flynn: Christopher, thank you so much for your question, and thank you also for sharing how you found me. I think that's always really interesting to see how people sort of go through the journey of Smart Passive Income and finding me. I think it's really cool you mentioned you found me on iTunes, and then you went over to my blog, which speaks worlds of just how powerful podcasting is. So, for those of you who are like, on the fence about whether or not you start a podcast, well there you go. This is a prime example of what it can do for you as far as introducing people to your brand and getting them deeper into your site. So thank you for that, Christopher, and also congratulations to you for wanting to do something on your own, and also choosing affiliate marketing, because I think that's a smart strategy when you want to start out with something. It's a relatively quicker way to generate an income by building an audience and then instead of creating your own products, which takes time, to be able to recommend products that maybe helpful for your audience that are of somebody else's products, tools, services and things like that.
Now like I said earlier, technically it can be fairly easy to do that. You can find a product from Amazon right now, for example, and you can get your Amazon associates/affiliate link for that and just have traffic go through that link, and anytime somebody purchases that product, and actually for Amazon specifically, when anyone purchases anything after they go through your link, those things can earn you a commission anywhere between 5 and 8 percent. And a lot of other spaces for instance, the online marketing space and the entrepreneurship space products often yield a 50 percent commission rate, all the way up to, sometimes, 75 or even 100 percent sometimes. Because sometimes, people are willing to sacrifice that upfront sort of payment for whatever product that is to their affiliates, to get people onto their list, knowing that they are probably going to be selling them other things in the future or that are worth more in the long run. But anyway, getting a little technical here. I know you're just starting out Christopher, so let me try to help you out.
The most important advice I can give you, for somebody starting with affiliate marketing—and there's a lot of different pieces to this puzzle but I really want you to think about this—I want you to treat the products that you are going to promote, to a particular audience, so a target audience, as if they were your own products. That sort of sums up how I approach affiliate marketing, because I don't recommend or promote anything that I've never used before. I don't do that. I can't risk that, you know, losing that trust and authority that I have with my audience. If I recommend something that I've never used and that person who goes through that link and purchases that product has a bad experience with it, yeah they are going to be upset at that product and that product owner, but they are going to be more upset at me. I am the one that forwarded it to them. And so I lose that trust and any sort of interaction and transaction with that person in the future.
Now, another mistake a lot of people make is they start with the product: They find the product that has a commission, a very attractive commission, and they build a site around that. That used to work really well, there used to be ways to drive traffic through Facebook and through Google Adwords, through those pages and you know, Google has caught on, Facebook is denying those ads and its just a mess. It's hard to do that. The best thing, and the best way to approach it and this is a longer-term approach, Christopher, but this is the right way to do it, I feel, is to first target a particular audience that has a pain, an issue, a problem or specific goals. You really want to hone in on the target market and understand exactly what they are going through, and then, based on those pains, problems, issues and based on what their goals are, discover ways to help them. Sometimes those ways are products that can produce an affiliate commission for you. Sometimes, they are products that cannot, or do not have an affiliate program, and sometimes they are products that you can create yourself as well. So when you build that audience, and you start to develop a relationship with them, they will eventually tell you what they need or what they are looking for, and of course you may already know a little bit about what would help them, and then you recommend those products to them knowing that it's going to help them in their journey. You don't start with the product or the commission. You start with the problem and then produce solutions for it and sometimes, like I said, those solutions can earn you an income through affiliate commissions. So start with the pain, not the product.
And then when it comes to the product, like I said, you want to make sure you use that product. You want to share also your own experience with it. And that's where I think a lot of affiliate marketers, especially beginners, can have a leg up. Because a lot of sort of old school affiliate marketers, they'll share a product and have a link for it on their site or blast an email out to their audience, be like, “Hey, here's this new product; go buy it.” And you know, if they have earned enough trust, some people will buy that, but even if you don't have trust, you can gain trust by sharing your own experience with that product. Again, another reason why you'd want to use that product. You want to show people what they are going to get before they get it. And this is where you can stand out from a lot of the other people who are going to be promoting that same product. “Hey, check this out. I actually use this,” one; two, “I'm going to show you how I use it, and how I use it the best.” And that, something a lot of people who are interested in potentially buying something are going to want to know, that's why my video for Bluehost, which is the affiliate, or excuse me, the domain and hosting company that I recommend when you're just starting out, I have a video. It's been seen over 100,000 times on YouTube, which walks people through exactly what happens after you purchase through Bluehost, and how to set up a domain and how to get hosting and things like that. And people love to see what they are going to get before they get it. I call it “unboxing the mystery.” We do that with our own products. We of course, if we have our own products, we are going to share exactly what's inside before we sell it. But hardly anybody does that with products that are not their own. So if you do that, and you do treat these products that aren't yours as if they were your own, you're going to make a better relationship with your audience, and you are going to have more commission as a result.
Now in addition to all that, another way to sort of treat the product as your own is to also provide support for it too. And you don't necessarily have to be there 24/7 as customer service but what I mean is when you promote these products, you want to say, “Hey, if you have any questions about this, let me know. Because I know this product, and I want to show you that this product can actually help you achieve your goals, or with your pains and your problems and your issues that you are having.” And when you do that, when you just say that to people who are reading your site, that immediately triggers something like, “Oh, okay well this guy knows what he's talking about, and if in case I ever have any questions, he'll be there.” I have mentioned that so many times. I've gotten like one question. One or two questions over the course of five years from people. But think about it: If people have questions, if they are like, “Hmm, I'm not sure I should get this product,” or “Could you tell me more about this?” When you get those emails, you should be happy. You know, I can imagine people being like, “Oh I don't want emails from people.” Yes you do! Because those are the people who are going to be hot leads who are thinking about buying. And if you can say the right words, and show them, based on your own experience that this is a product that you need that's going to help them, then of course they are going to get it. They need somebody else to tell them its okay. And you can be that somebody else, if you give them permission to contact you. So that's another tip you can use.
And lastly, I would say is just do whatever you can to deliver more value than what's already being delivered. So if you have an opportunity, create bonuses for those products you're going to be promoting as an affiliate as well. Maybe there's an affiliate product out there that you're going to be promoting, maybe it's a little bit difficult to get started with. So you create a quick start guide, or a PDF file people can get as a bonus if they go through your link. That's again another way you can stand out from everybody else out there who's offering or promoting that same product. “Hey, if you go through my link, yeah, you'll get this product but you also get my quick-start guide.” Or, “You get my guide for chapter five of that . . . or module five of that product, because module five is difficult, but that's something I'm an expert in, so I've given you even more information beyond what you should get here, and again, it's absolutely free as a bonus if you go through my link.”
So those are things that I believe would help you, especially any beginner, just mindset and approach to affiliate marketing. Treat those products you're going to be promoting as if they were your own. And also think about it from your traffic, or your visitors' point of view. When you have a site, if they go to your site, do you seem trustworthy? Do you seem like somebody who's actually trying to help? Or just trying to earn an extra dollar?
So Christopher, I hope that's helpful to you; wonderful question, thank you so much. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be sent your way for having your question featured here. And for those of you who are listening, if you have a question that you'd like potentially answered here on the show, and of course you're going to get a t-shirt as well, if you do, head on over to AskPat.com. That would be awesome, and of course that resource of the day that I mentioned earlier is AskPat.com/am which is my, sort of, repository for affiliate marketing strategies. And lastly I want to leave you with a quote, and this is my own quote, an original Pat Flynn quote, which I have said a number of times already, but this is important. So: “You have to treat the products that you recommend to your audience that aren't your own as if they were your own. That's how you win with affiliate marketing.” Take care, thank you so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
This resource will connect you to all of my best advice on affiliate marketing.