To Be or Not to Be An Affiliate?

Recently several coaches have asked me if it’s worthwhile to engage in affiliate relationships. I say yes! And choose your friends wisely.

Be a Go-Giver

If you’re involved in social networks, like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you already know that a big part of the networking culture is to promote businesses other than your own, friends and even competitors. Sometimes you do that with an affiliate relationship (that pays you a commission for referred sales), and sometimes not.

It’s easy to retweet a blog post or teleseminar invitation without thought of return. But when you are an affiliate, you’ll go further — post an announcement to your list, invite the program sponsor as a guest speaker to your group, offer a bonus, or create an interview opportunity for that person. Because you’ve got “skin in the game”, you’ll do more.

And your extra effort pays off in more ways than one:

  1. It shows that you’re connected and a good resource for things your network needs and wants.
  2. It saves people you know time and heartache.
  3. It’s an income stream created by good old fashioned collegial networking.
  4. It builds alliances with spheres of influence who can help you build your list and boost your income.

Getting a referral fee doesn’t make you less sincere. It makes you more motivated.

I use Aweber and I’m an affiliate. I don’t feel anything but good about promoting Aweber, because they have helped me stay organized, build my leads list, and create countless connections with my market. They are simply the best email campaign company.

I also promote my webmaster,  Nichole Betterly. She doesn’t offer an affiliate program, but that doesn’t stop me from singing her praises and handing out her url, because I want my clients – coaches like you – to have the best technical support to create your web presence. Check out her site:  NPoweredSites.com

Why Become An Affiliate?

The best reason to become an affiliate of a company or program is that you think it’s great! If you’ve experienced something that helped you, why not pass it forward to others in a committed way by becoming a part of their promotion team? That’s why affiliate programs work, because smart business people know that their loyal fans help create more loyal fans.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

So someone has asked you to help promote them; should you? That depends on your joint venture criteria.

Set up guidelines about when and how you will affiliate with other companies. My first filter is simple. Do I feel the person/company delivers high quality with integrity?

There’s no substitute for first hand experience. If you’ve actually read the ebook, or taken the course, then you know what it did for you and can authentically say so. If you haven’t, then you have to rely on what you know about the person or group putting out the new program. If your jv criteria aren’t met, it’s not worth risking your own integrity for the bucks.

Be Up Front

The FTC requires that you disclose if you’re an affiliate. The easiest thing is to say it plainly. “I’m an affiliate of XYZ.” And you can proudly explain why you feel so good about referring people. Share what you got out of the program or why you trust them. (I’ll go into more detail about the FTC requirements in a future post.)

Create Your Own Affiliate Program

If you take credit cards for your coaching services and you have a shopping cart, you can set up your own affiliate program. (By the way, I’m an affiliate of Practice Pay Solutions who can set all this up for you. I’ve used their merchant account service for 13 years. They are professional, reliable, and they specialize in serving coaches.)

I have an affiliate program and many of the coaches who have taken leaps in Champion Your Ideal Coaching Market tele-workshop have earned back their investment by referring their coach friends. I enjoy writing those checks because I know it’s for a loyal fan.

If you provide an affiliate opportunity, it’s easier to set up a “joint venture” relationship with someone who has a list full of leads in your target market. Let’s say you’re a coach for massage therapists and you want to market your services through massage therapy schools. You’re more likely to “get in the door” with them if you can offer something to their list that they don’t offer, and provide a commission if the connection results in a sale.

As you cultivate your relationships with these spheres of influence, they can help you multiply your coaching income. Why? Because they can connect you with more people in your market fast!