How To Turn Your Affiliates Into Your Best Customers
Posted on September 22, 2000
by Thom Schlip
Many Affiliate Program Managers view their affiliates as
salespeople and that's good. But what happens when your
affiliates are "parked"? Parked meaning they don't produce
The first thing you need to evaluate and accept is the fact that
many affiliates expect sales to come to them. Placing a simple
link is sometimes all they will do. What's the problem? The
answer to this question lies in the basic assumption of
affiliates, that they are salespeople who will SELL your products
and services, but, guess what? Over 90% of salespeople fail in
the first year. Why is that? Because people don't like to
sell!! The key here is to accept the fact that people don't like
to sell and then figure out what they are willing to do.
Here's the secret, People don't like to sell, they like to save!!
They like to look good to their friends and family. How you
integrate this into your affiliate model with under performing
affiliates will determine the success of your affiliate program!
First, ask yourself, who are my affiliates and why did they join
my program? Usually people join the affiliate programs that
match their interests, right? We already know that most
affiliates are not going to do the things that they need to do to
become successful, but they still apply for loans, don't they?
Auto loans, Mortgages, Credit Cards so, in the offline world what
would you call a person who's interested in your products that
also happen to be standing at your counter? A qualified buyer,
Think about it, the cost of acquiring new customers can be as
high as $170 per new customer. If you have hundreds or thousands
of potential qualified buyers and you're not doing anything to
turn them and their friends into customers your really throwing
away thousands of dollars and saying, I don't like the easy
sales, I like rejection. You've got the right products (your
products) in front of the right people (qualified buyers) and
remember, the most difficult and expensive sale you will ever
make with a customer is the first one.
Do the math; if you only turn 100 of the affiliates into buyers
you've eliminated 3 problems for you and helped a consumer
(affiliate) save money.
1) You've made the most difficult sale you'll ever make to a new
customer and did it in a fraction of the time!
2) If the lifetime value of a customer for your business is
$1,000, you've now generated a lifetime revenue of $100,000 from
3) We all like referrals. How many will you get and how much is
that worth over time? If a happy customer tells three of his
friends, and if only 50% are happy with their experience dealing
with you that is another 150 new qualified buyers! Based on the
same numbers that could be another $150,000 in lifetime revenue.
Keep running the numbers!!
The significant benefit of this virtual sales force is that it's
compensated when results are produced. This is the best business
model available today.
Now, how do you explode this even further? First, Set up a
buyer's network and give them a set percentage discount for being
a member of your network. What they are really doing is becoming
an affiliate and buying from themselves. Remember, people don't
like to sell they like to save!
Second, develop a "Share it with your neighbor" or "Friends
program" where you provide a coupon for your network (via email)
that they can use or that they can pass onto some of their
friends. This is the crucial part. People like to feel good
about helping others, make this easy for them with online coupons
that their friends can redeem and take advantage of the savings.
Let your affiliates/customers know that they can pass this coupon
along to anyone they know for use before the coupon expires. Do
this a few times and your sales will skyrocket!
Why? The new affiliate/customers feel good about letting their
friends in on a good deal and their friends are thankful and
appreciate someone looking out for them. What they've just done
is sold for you without having to sell.
Affiliate programs are so much more than a system to leverage
people to sell your products. Properly positioned and with the
acceptance that people don't like to sell, they like to save, can
transform your business into a massive order taking machine,
Remember, It's easier to pick the cherries that have fallen to
the ground than climb the tree to pick the ones on top.
PlugInGo Affiliate Network