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How’s your affiliate program looking?

Have you noticed how most of your affiliate traffic and referrals are from less than 20% of your channel partners?

Picture your top affiliate. What would it look like if you had 5, 10, 50 more affiliates just. like. them.

That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.

But friends… I’ve got a problem.

I’m looking at our channel partner program in FirstPromoter and I have to be honest, the vast majority of my affiliates have zero referrals last quarter.

That’s not good!

It’s not good for my program, and it’s not good for those partners.

Now, some of those affiliates could use with some better nurturing and training, and that’s on me, and something we’ll touch on in a future episode. But I also have to wonder what else I could be doing to bring in more affiliates like my top earners. The ones that are driving loads of traffic and quite literally making thousands of dollars a month from Agorapulse commissions.

Well, that’s exactly what our guest today, Farzad Rashidi, is going to talk to us about.

Farzad is the lead innovator at Respona, the link-building outreach platform that helps businesses increase their organic traffic from Google. He previously ran the marketing efforts at Visme, where he helped the company gain over 18 million active users and pass 3.5 million in monthly organic traffic.

He’s partnered with me on a number of initiatives over the past few years and was gracious enough to agree to come on the show and help me out with this dilemma.

Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Farzad Rashidi about:

♉️ What makes for a really good affiliate?

♉️ How brands should structure their affiliate marketing programs

♉️ Where to find terrific affiliates and actually see ROI

Learn more about Farzad Rashidi

Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode

Full Notes & Transcript:

(Lightly edited)

[00:00:00] Mike Allton: You noticed how most of your affiliate traffic and referrals are from less than 20% of your channel partners picture your top affiliate. What would it look like if you had 5, 10, 50 more affiliates just like them? That’s what we’re uncovering in today’s episode of Partnership. Unpack.

This is Partnership unpacked your Go-to Guide to Growing Your Business through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Alton, and each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships An. That you can apply your own business to grow exponentially.

And now the rest of today’s episode,

welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly used this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing and relationship building. Owen. You get to learn too, subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway every episode from a partnership expert in the industry.

I’m Mike Alton, and I’m here in the home office in St. Louis and friends. I’ve got a problem. I’m looking at our channel partner program and first promoter, and I’ve gotta be honest, the vast majority of my affiliates have zero referrals last quarter. That’s not good. It’s not good for my program, and it’s not good for those partners now.

Some of those affiliates could use with some better nurturing and training. And that’s on me and something we’ll probably touch on in a future episode. But I also have to wonder what else I could be doing to bring in more affiliates like my top earners, the ones that are driving loads of traffic and quite literally making thousands of dollars a month from a Gore Pulse commissions well.

That’s exactly what our guest today Farzad Rashidi is gonna talk to us about. Farzad is the lead innovator at Respona, the link building outreach platform that helps businesses increase the organic traffic from Google. He previously ran the marketing efforts at Vis Me where he helped the company gain over 18 million active users, impass 3.5 million in monthly organic traffic.

He’s partnered with me on a number of initiatives over the past few years and was gracious enough to come on the show and help me with this dilemma. Hello, Farzad, welcome to the show. How are you doing?

[00:02:32] Farzad Rashidi: Hey Mike. I’m doing wonderful. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I’m excited. Yeah, me too. [00:02:37] Mike Allton: Now, please just set the stage and share with us your experience with affiliate programs and affiliate market.

Experience with Affiliate Programs and Affiliate Marketing

[00:02:45] Farzad Rashidi: Absolutely. Well, Mike, as you know, just to kind of give you a little background, I started my career in marketing working as the first marketing hire at our parent organization called sme, and I’m assuming you’ve heard of SME before, since we’ve partnered together on a, on a number of occasions. [00:03:00] Mike Allton: You know what, let folks know what Visme is if, if they don’t. [00:03:02] Farzad Rashidi: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. If so, fo folks who haven’t heard of Visme, it’s an all in one brand branded content creation platform. So if you’re a business looking to create, you know, presentations, all sorts of different graphics, reports, proposals, they want to keep ’em on brand. You use phase me. And so the challenge that I’ve faced at the company was that we were completely bootstrap.

And as you know, as a bootstrap company, obviously researchers are always very limited. So what we had to rely on was on organic channels to bring in customers to our platform without having many pour large portion of our marketing budget into paid advertising. So the two main channels. Very well for us at the time were obviously SEO and content marketing, but a, another big, a close second was our affiliate program, and both of those initiatives required us to, uh, do a good amount of average to identify, okay, who is the.

The right partner that is going to be active because as you know, when you just open up your affiliate program and just put a little link, the footer of the website, you get a ton of applications given that you get a decent amount of traffic. But reality is that, uh, only a very small portion of those affiliates are actually going to be actively promoting the product or the service that you’re selling.

So it was always a challenge for us to try. Break out of just of the waiting game, basically waiting for good affiliates to come to us. And we’ve quickly realized that that requires us to actually take the initiative to go after affiliates that already have an audience that already are generating referrals and traffic for other products similar in our industry.

So that sort of initiative. Done by duct taping a bunch of different tools and, and it was a nightmare dealing with a bunch of spreadsheets and . So what we did basically was to put together the whole process that was already working for us, manually stuck in a one platform as sort of our internal software for us, sort of outta the year and a half, two years, and we decided to release it as a standalone product.

So that’s sort of the backstory of how Respona came to me as a standalone product out of .

[00:05:09] Mike Allton: It is funny cuz at a high level it’s the kind of story I hear all the time, right? Where you’ve got a brand, they’ve got a problem, they’re duct taping, you know, we’re using the word tools loosely in these kinds of scenarios, right?

together to create a solution and they end up programming their own internal solution that then gets released out in the wild for everybody else to take advantage of and, and those are tremendous success stories. Now, before we get into. How you solve that problem. Mm-hmm. . Let’s just take a step back real quick and help our audience understand what you mean by a good.

Affiliate, what does that mean to you?

What makes for a really good affiliate?

[00:05:46] Farzad Rashidi: That is an excellent question, Mike, and I’d like to also shed some light on this. That stuff that I’m gonna talk about today isn’t necessarily applicable to all types of businesses, right? So I wanted to be an inspiration to go back now and look back at your target audience and see, okay, how can we kind of apply some of these to our industry because.

One of the first things that needs to get unraveled when it comes to starting an affiliate program is to understand how your customers, ideally, your ICP are finding you and where they’re looking for it, right? So lemme give you a few examples. So let’s say if you sell some beauty products, let’s say you sell like hand lotion or makeup, it’s unlikely that you would use the same affiliate.

Than a software product like Rea, right? So like for example, for a lot of lifestyle products like that, or e-commerce is probably best to focus more on influencers on social media, right? TikTok, influencers, Instagram, et cetera, versus products like Agar Pulses and rsa. The way our customers find us is predominantly through Google, right?

So if you’re looking for a solution to help you automate scheduling your social media posts and manage your social media, what’s the first thing that people. Mike.

[00:07:00] Mike Allton: Yeah. And Google start looking. [00:07:02] Farzad Rashidi: Exactly. And then you come across a few solutions and then start learning more about them. It’s unlikely you, you know that you see a post on a of a influencer, a beauty influencer, or Instagram , and you’re like, oh, a girl pulse.

Right? So it’s just a very different talk market. And on the other hand, if you have a very expensive enterprise, great. Let’s say you are in medical, Device sales, right? And the way that hospitals purchase equipment isn’t necessarily through Googling to find, okay, what is an M R I machine , and then let me order a $200,000 MRI machine off the internet.

So the process of partnering with, you know, it’s not as farfetched like that, but even some other software platforms that are on the enterprise. Normally for those channel partners, you normally want to partner with other companies that cater to the same audience, right? Not necessarily bloggers, right? Or people that have SEO traffic coming to our site.

So what I’m trying to say is that first step to identify the right ideal affiliate is to understand, okay, what is the type of business that we have and how our current customer base, or how our ideal customer profile currently goes through the research process to find a product or solution like,

[00:08:10] Mike Allton: That’s such an important tip that I.

Folks that are listening kind of in jest, cuz it’s, I think, true across your entire swath of all of your marketing activities, which is to start with who you’re trying to talk to first, understand your target audience, understand where they’re hanging out, where they’re consuming information, how they’re learning about products like yours, and that’s where you’ll start to find.

Potential affiliates, right? Like, like you’re talking about. Can you think of a couple of specific affiliates from pasi, either for Roone specifically or for vis me and help us kind of understand the makeup of those individuals? What made them a great affiliate for you?

Can you give us a couple examples of past affiliates that stood out to you, and why?

[00:08:49] Farzad Rashidi: Absolutely. So, you know, at the time we didn’t know any of the stuff that I’m talking about today.

So , we, we had to throw quite a lot of spaghettis on the wall and figure out what works and what happened to work for us was exactly like I’m mentioning now, was. Focus on the affiliates that had access to our target ideal customers. So for us in particular, the type of affiliates that are generating basically a good amount of referrals are the type of audience that are ranking on Google for terms that are related to our business, not necessarily focused on our social media or active.

Right. We found that has very. To no impact, just simply because first of all, it’s not to right a channel for us, and also there is only a bump of traffic and signups and then two days later no one knows who you are. Right? Whereas when we get mentioned on a certain, for example, let’s say for a grow pulse, you get mentioned on this block post it’s ranking on, you know, top page of Google on what are some of the best social media platforms.

You are getting an evergreen flow of traffic to that page and, and that’s how your target customers are finding solutions, right? That’s normally the first thing I would go in type, so those type of partnerships where we get ourselves mentioned on either blog posts or certain articles that are already ranking or YouTube videos that are ranking for our target keywords, it are through Google or YouTube and our search engines.

Those seem to be the most fruitful for us in the.

[00:10:16] Mike Allton: That makes so much sense and it really aligns well with our conversation. In our past episode, I was talking to Goldie Chan about B2B influencer marketing. Mm-hmm. and what makes for a good relationship. And the topic came up, how do we find influencers for a B2B brand?

And it was the same story. It was all about the content. She got found by Adobe because of the video content that she was creating on LinkedIn. And you’re talking about the exact same scenario, just from the other perspective, right? From the brand. We’re looking for influencers, we’re looking for affiliates, which means we’re looking at the content, not their number of social followers cuz that’s.

Not irrelevant, but certainly not important. Right? It’s what kind of content are they creating? Does it align with what we’re looking for as a brand? Now I’m definitely gonna want you to help us understand how to find affiliates in just a second, but before I do, if I’m a new brand, I’m starting up an affiliate program.

Do you have any initial recommendations before I start recruit? New affiliates. Mm-hmm. , what should I have in place? What should I be thinking about?

What affiliate program advice or recommendations do you have for a brand before they start actively recruiting?

[00:11:18] Farzad Rashidi: Sure. So there’s a few simple, I would say, check marks. You want to check before you start actively recruiting candidates or affiliates. And the first one is putting in place an external software not to go and bother your engineering team to build your own.

And that is one mistake that we did at Vis me at the beginning was to basically build our own solution that was tracking affiliate referrals. Through our own app and we were like, okay, this is a simple tracking link, and then we can, you know, put together UI and, and, and move on. And it just was a nightmare to first of all maintain that platform and also created a sense of distrust between us and in our field.

It’s just simply because we had all the control over tracking all the referrals, right? so, mm-hmm. , um, and moving away from that internal solution and kind of going and starting with an affiliate software. First promoter or reward full. These sort of tools are not quite as expensive and it’s definitely worth the investment.

Uh, it was definitely a. Place to start is to have an external software. So you kind of have that neutral third party that decides on the the number of referrals on the commissions,

[00:12:26] Mike Allton: and how can a brand actually ensure that they’re seeing an ROI on their investment in affiliates.

And how can a brand ensure that they’re seeing a return on their investment?

[00:12:32] Farzad Rashidi: So that’s quite easy to measure since you normally track the conversions from the signups.

And again, it differs based on different types of products. Like, uh, some companies have a very complicated sales cycle, right? There’s contracts involved and DocuSign signed, right? So it, it’s gets a little complicated to track, but thankfully for our products, Des me respond. Even a girl pulse. There’s a self-serve, you know, clear cut signup flow and, and you basically track the conversions and see, okay, here’s how many people this affiliate referred.

Here’s how many of them converted, and here’s the revenue generated and here’s how many of them stick around after three months. Right? So sort of KPIs like that, it’s, it’s quite easy to measure for us. But again, obviously that differs for different. Perfect.

[00:13:15] Mike Allton: Perfect. Now folks, we’re talking with Farzad Rashidi about affiliate marketing programs, and just like ROI is critical for that channel, it’s also critical for social media.

And so here’s our C M O Darl pre to tell you more,

it’s the Arcta Triumph. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the cmo? Of marketing Paris, what are your main channels? Wow. There’s the arc Triumph, there’s the Eiffel Tower, there’s the Louv. Those are your channels you’re gonna use to drive tourism dollars in.

Okay, now, but you’re not the CMO of Paris. In fact, you’re the CMO of your company. Product service. So what are your main channels? So I’m gonna guess there are things like pay per click, maybe trade shows, events, maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right? Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel?

By the way, only 1.8% of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment. HubSpot and Gartners say, social media’s the number one channel to invest in this. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why you’re not doing it. Because you don’t have the tools, you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay.

We’ve got you covered. You changed the mentality. We’ll give you the tool of We Pulse tracks, all the ROI for you. One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success. Treat social media as a Channel one CMO to another. My name is Daryl. I’m with the Gora Pulses.

I’ll talk.

All right, Farzad, let’s get back to affiliate marking. And I was hoping that you would tell me how I can identify and how other brands can identify their best target affiliates.

How can a brand identify ideal target affiliates?

[00:15:00] Farzad Rashidi: So, you know there are different ways of skin acat, Mike. So the strategists I’m going to go through today are simply the examples.

Obviously this, this is not the Bible, right? . There are different ways, and you could go about it, but some of the ones. Have worked well for us in the past and hopefully you’ve been an inspiration has been one, starting with blog articles in particular that are already published in your space that are listing similar products.

Like for example, we call listed listical strategy. And what that means is that say for a goal across, you want to first. Start with blog articles that are written on what are some of the best management of social media, right? What are some of the best social media management tools? And there are different ways on how you can word that, but there’s normally a finite number of search results that come up already on the search results on the first page of Google that make a very good starting point or average when it comes to affiliate recruitment.

That’s one couple of things. Obviously starting with product alternatives strategy, that’s a another simple one where, you know, there are some other social media platforms that compete with a GU pulse, right? Let’s call ’em Company X . We dunno who they are. . So say if there are some customers or users like me who are looking for an alternative, one of the first things I do is that I go on Google terms like, Hey, what are some of the best.

Hootsuite Alternatives or Buffer Alternatives, right. Just because Agorapulse is better, we wanna make sure that , we are ranked or we are listed on some of those blog articles that are discussing alternatives to our competitors just because there’s a very high intent post. Similar ones what we call the competitor mention, where there’s other blog articles or could be even news articles that are basically.

Specifically mentioning your competitor’s name, right? Mm-hmm. . So say for example, for vis Meu b Canva. So articles that are discussing Canva, or mentioning the word Canva, it would be a place for us to start to reach out to those blog owners, whoever’s in charge of their editorial, to invite ’em to come and join.

Our affiliate program, and those are normally very simple and easy to do strategies that I highly recommend folks to get started with, but then we can get into some of the more advanced techniques. For example, if you’re familiar with tools like SparkToro, that that’s a company by Rand Fishkin, they basically tell you some of the best podcasts and some of the best blogs and news articles, publications that.

your audience normally visits, so you can say, okay, my audience has these words in their job title or talks about this and that topic. And then it normally gives you a list of some niche publications that a lot of your audience normally visits or or, so those would be also candidates that you could potentially target.

And we can get into some of the more deeper, I would say, strategies where we kind of sort of take a look at our competitors, and not necessarily competitors, but companies that are in our space. For example, let’s say UR Pulse and Vis Me or Risa, right? RSA is in the marketing space. Ur Pulse is also in the marketing space.

Even though we don’t compete with each other in any level, but we cater normally to the same audience, right? So we cater to marketers and understanding, okay, let’s take a look at a girl Pulse’s. Stackings profile and see what are some of the top performing external links that they have and see if they’re affiliates with repulse.

Right? So normally affiliate links have a very unique structure, right? Normally it’s like question mark RAF equals to, or some that unique identifier that normally affiliate programs to offer tools issue for those companies. So when you look at any domain’s, BankLink profile, you can easily identify, okay, wh which one of these are affiliate links and which one of.

Or just regular back links and we take a look at their affiliate links and see, okay, let’s sort that base on traffic. And in order to do that, you can use tools like Semrush or, or Ahrefs, or Respona, right? And don’t mean to plug our tool too much, but basically it gives you a list of top performing affiliates of any.

Domain really. So you can start with some competitors and then kind of broaden that search by looking at some of the other products or services that are within a similar price point that are in your space that caters to the same audience. So that pretty much gives you an unlimited pool of potential affiliates that you could reach out to.

And it’s a matter of basically, Finding out who’s the right person at each one of these websites, get their contact info, validate that, and reach out to them via email on LinkedIn. And those are type of initiatives that respond automatically takes care of for you. So you can kind of save a lot of time that way, but you don’t need to have access to all these tools.

You can, you can start by doing some manual average, just Googling around and doing some manual outreach. And once you have a proof of concept, then tools like responder basically helps you pour gasoline on a fire and kind of take things to the next level. I

[00:19:48] Mike Allton: definitely wanna come back to. That outreach part for a second in a moment and get your input into, you know, what that should look like, what’s a good way to do it, and so on.

But for the moment, I want to give you full permission to plug away, because I wanna know, I wanna understand how does respondent help me with this? How does it make mm-hmm. everything that you just talked about, easier, automatic, what does it do that these other tools and band-aid solutions don’t do?

Mm-hmm. . Because I imagine there’s some things that I could do with your tool. That a spreadsheet in Google aren’t, you know, aren’t just, aren’t gonna happen, right?

[00:20:22] Farzad Rashidi: So Mike, there isn’t much magic a respondent does, except that it brings the whole process under one roof and automates the tedious, repetitive tasks so that you can scale things quicker, right?

So any sort of average tactic, regardless of the strategy, whether it be for affiliate recruitment, Plug or outreach or link building, right, which is to gain authoritative back links from other websites. It normally comes down to three steps or four steps, however way you want to devise it. So first one is discovery.

So understanding, okay, we know. Let’s go through an example that would make sense. Let’s say we would like to reach out to listical strategies, right? So Listical blog posts that are talking about what are some of the best social media tools. So respondent has a template where basically you can just input, okay, what is your niche, right?

Give us a few more secondary keywords. What’s your product name, what’s your domain? And give us a few sentences on what makes your product unique. And also the incentive for the blogger. So it could be discussing. The affiliate commission structure that you have, or if you’re willing to offer some sort of free trials or some sort of incentive so that there’s something in it for the person that you’re contacting.

So what then respondent does is basically using that information. He’s going to first come up with these pretty comprehensive advanced operators in Google. So Google’s a very powerful search and is, but most people don’t know how to use it using these advanced operators that different combinations make the search very bad or good

So if you’re just looking at best social media tools, obviously there’s a lot of software review sites, there’s some competitors, right? So out of that, you know, Or so pages that Google gives you, you end up with a handful. But if you know how to kind of structure disa advanced operators and run several queries, which is what respondent does, and then basically, Automatically scrape Google results and run it through an SEO software.

On default, we use mos, but folks can connect their own s CMRs or HS account to filter out some of the lower quality search results that don’t get as much traffic or have a certain domain authority. So that whole process of, okay, building these advanced operators based on the information you inputted scraping the Google results.

Taking out the duplicates competitor software B sites, and also making sure that we’re running through some of these SEO geometrics to come up with a list of websites you wanna reach out to. So that’s the prospecting phase. Second phase comes down to finding the contacts, and that’s something that is, I would say, the most time consuming part of the process.

Because normally what we had to do was to. Have a full on team of virtual assistants, basically, that would go through each one of these websites and go on on LinkedIn, find some sort of content manager or partnerships, SEO manager or some sort of person in their editorial team, some relevant in their marketing department, and then get their email address using certain tools like Hunter or Snow ZoomInfo, right?

And then put. List of contacts for each website on a spreadsheet and verify the email, make sure they’re deliverable, and then export and you put it into an email outreach platform. So that whole process completely automated. So , basically what respondent does then is that it goes through every single one of these websites.

We are connected to 24 different public data providers for company employee data and find the emails I’m verifying in real time, all on autopilot, right? And, and you can review them, make sure everything’s good to go. And then the last step is basically email average. Where respondent puts together all the sequences.

All the variables automatically prefilled based on the information you inputted. All the email templates are custom made for you, right? So you don’t have to sit down and think about how to write a template. And you have the option to send also connection requests to the prospects that you’re contacting.

Maybe added tab manual personalization to the email if you’re contacting some of the higher intent. Prospect. And then once you click verify and launch, it basically starts sending out emails from your own email account and follows up with these folks automatically until someone responds to these emails and then ends up in your own inboxing.

You take it over from there. So that full flow from discovery to finding contacts to. Outreach automation is sort of done under one roof, so you can go through the whole process that I described within 10 minutes instead of 10 hours.

[00:24:44] Mike Allton: I know all of you listening right now. You have entire teams of staff.

You’ve got all these account managers and partnership managers, and an army of VAs overseas, so you’ve got all kinds of time. But me, I’m by myself, . I’m a team of one. So to hear you talk about. The time that’s saved, because when you talk about the research and the prospecting and the outreach, it’s, I mean, it’s all manual for me at this moment.

So I definitely felt some pain and some anxiety listening to you talk about adding on all these layers of, you know, Google searches and, and sheets and so on. That’s fantastic. I love it. So when you get to that outreach phase, right now, you’re basically cold calling, right? Some perspective. Mm-hmm.

affiliates. What kinds of tips or advice do you have for people at this point of the process?

What advice and best practices can you share when it comes to affiliate outreach?

[00:25:34] Farzad Rashidi: So I always say there’s three pillars to any sort of average tact tech. That would basically be, I would say, keys to success. As cliche as it sounds, first of all, is I would say personalization. And then that’s on a deep level.

There’s a lot of email average platforms, right? Everybody knows when they get an automated email, high first name , so we can just smell it from a mile away. I get over a hundred emails every day. So when you take the time to just add one personalized sentence, Hey Mike. You know, remember me joining your webinar last year, right?

Just one little sentence at the very beginning of your email. It doesn’t require you to do, you know, deep research and no mike’s. Like dog’s name, right? . People sometimes go overboard with that. Some can executives, but basically this is kind of like sales, right? Even though it’s a partnership, you are still trying to sell yourself, uh, because there’s still quite a lot of other affiliate programs that potential affiliate could reach out or could join.

So having that one personalized sentence captures their eye and makes them want. At least take the time to respond to say no if they’re not interested, right? So having that build some level of rapport and helps you get a much better reply. So adding just a ton of personalization to each email before you get sent up.

So what respondent does is that I actually reads the content of the page that you found the fill on, and then it gives you some snippets that you can input into the email. So it doesn’t take too much time. You don’t have to sit down and read the entire. Another one is multi-channel approach. So a lot of people get a ton of emails, very mocked, right?

But if I get an email from Mike, I’m on it . Why? Because I know Mike, we’ve collaborative before. I’ve had interactions with the outside of my inbox. So those emails I, I prioritize in my day cuz I value our relationship. So same thing goes when it comes to when you reaching out to affiliates. So what respondent does that, we help you find, uh, LinkedIn profiles, each one of these affiliates that you’re reaching out to.

So you just send ’em a connection request, especially if your email profile image is the same as your LinkedIn profile image, right? It clicks. So when a. Person receives a connection request on their LinkedIn, and then like a day or so later, they get an email in their inbox. We found that to be statistically significant enough that you get much better reply rates that way versus just a cold email.

So that multichannel approach is the second, and the third is the incentive, right? So at the end of the day, even if you have a very personalized approach to your outreaching, you found that person on LinkedIn and sent ’em a connection request. What matters is that. It’s normally a first touch with that person automatically in their mind, because they also run a business, right?

If you’re an affiliate, your business is affiliate marketing. This is how you make a living. So what’s also gonna make or break your campaign is what are you offering a return? Normally if few good things still offer, right? Just as an example is if you have a SaaS product or an e-commerce product that is within reason, right?

You’re not selling like cars . So if you’re selling like, like a GU Pulse subscription or respondent subscription, that’s like $99 a month, right? We offer them like a year long access on the house. You’re like, Hey, come try it out. See how it works, right? So you’re not promoting something you’re completely unfamiliar with, right?

So a free trial is always helpful or free product, uh, with quite a lot of eCommerce companies also doing that. Is obviously your commission instructor. So lots of affiliates love reoccurring commissions versus one-offs, right? So if I’m referring someone to sign up for a go poll or for respondent, if I have a 20, 30% reoccurring commission, we all know that reoccurring revenue, it’s gold, right?

Because when they refer you one customer, that customer stays with you for two years, adds up. So having that affiliate commission structure, something that would make sense. Obviously e-commerce, not possible, right? So you. Structured however way would make sense, but having that be a significant enough percentage that it would incentivize folks to take the time to join your affiliate program, go through the hoops, and actually start actively promoting you is key.

And last but not least, I would say another good incentive that works always is to make it easy for them to promote. Right. So when I say make it easy for them, a lot of affiliate managers, they’re like, Hey, put together a packet of your screenshots videos and like books about your platform and, and you give this to them.

And then I sometimes take, look like at, at Disney we made the same mistake we, we put together as Google Drive fuller of like a million different things. I’m like, I work here and I’m never gonna look at everything that’s in here. , like . I don’t have enough hours in the day to just sit down and read these, these like novels you’ve written about viz me.

I was like, cut it out. Nobody cares. So what worked well for us was actually in that pitch. We were like, Hey, you already have an article on Best social Media Tools, , let me write an Excel that matches the tone. Of your blog post and a screenshot, it’s ready to copy and paste. It’s not plagiarized. I gotta sit down, write it for you, and you can just copy paste it in here and join out affiliate program.

So within 30 seconds, you just start making reoccurring commission. So they’ll go overboard with the whole marketing kit. Nobody’s gonna open it . Right. Just make it super easy for them to start promotion. And, and that’s just my 2 cents.

[00:30:59] Mike Allton: Sorry, I’m just, I’m sending a note right now to my design team to stop putting that together after [00:31:05] Farzad Rashidi: Sorry guys. Well, I must give it to you though, Mike. Honestly, anything that Agorapulse puts at looks ab absolutely incredible. I’m not just saying that cuz I’m biased because I love you, but I’m just saying that, where is your designer? Agorapulse, Kick ass. [00:31:18] Mike Allton: Honestly, we have a great design team and you’re right, I am super blessed.

I mean, they do the graphics for my show here. They do the graphics and videos for my quarterly summits. Makes everything look and sound so much more professional. So thank you for mentioning that cuz they are a fantastic team and I love something else you mentioned earlier, you just kind of tossed out the word partner and I love that so much.

It’s this perception that an affiliate is a partner. It’s why we’re talking about affiliates here on this show. We should be bringing them on. Partners. Which leads me to just my last question. I wanna know if you have any ideas or tips on how to keep affiliates around. Mm-hmm. , after you’ve got them onboarded.

What tips do you have for keeping affiliates happy once they’re onboarded?

[00:31:58] Farzad Rashidi: So Mike, I’m gonna be totally honest with you, this is also something that is more of an experiment for us too, and Region Wing is people are very busy nowadays and we found, so what we just started doing, especially on the business side when we had our affiliate, so we had a network of close, about a thousand active affiliates.

We’re like, okay, this is great and let’s. Try having some events all put together and have some sort of webinars and we kind of show them like new features of sme and we just found that attendance for those are quite low. And just because it was sort of a broadcasted sort of event to en list of emails, right?

It wasn’t at one on one conversation with each one of our affiliates. So what, what we found that works best is that we would take out the list of affiliates and then we knew already. How the trajectory looks like. And so if you see an affiliate that is sort of stagnant or their commission structure’s sort of turning out, right?

So some of the customers that may be turning out and they’re not referring any new ones or, or it is on the way up regardless, we’d reference that in an email that we sent to each one. And again, we obviously, we are still a smaller team, right? Even though there’s a hundred folks. Affiliate team’s still small, so we have only limited capacity to be able to handle, but we would actually set up one-on-one calls with each one of the affiliates just so we sort of put a face next to the name and we’re like, Hey, we’re human beings, right?

We’re not just some companies signed up for their affiliate program, but let me help you earn more commissions. So what we would then do is that for folks that would actually do take the time to set up that call, we would actually run through their blog and kind of see, okay, what are some of the top ranking pages they already have that’s somewhat similar to ours.

And we’re like, Hey, listen, so you got, you have a girl pulse, mentioning your best, for example, social media management tool. You also have another blog post on some of the top marketing tools of 2023, something like that. And I think it would also make sense to mention a group pulse here, right? So find.

Other pages on the website that you could easily, and, and then again, we offer to obviously write and give the, uh, screenshot on everything. So just plug and play for them and also give them some tips and, hey, maybe this block goes that you mentioned us is sort of on a downward trend. Maybe try rewriting the post right.

And. Offer to help ’em with that. Right. And maybe it’s time to kind of do some content refresh. Maybe it’s time to do some link building for this post. Right? So any sort of advice we could give them to help them earn more commissions also create some goodwill that is mutually beneficial, right? So it’s, they’re earning more commissions than that.

What that means that they’re referring more customers and signups.

[00:34:41] Mike Allton: I’m so glad you brought this up because one of our affiliates had approached me a couple weeks ago, said, Mike, I I, I’d just like to have 30 minutes of your time and, and ask you some questions. I said, sure. So we had on a call and it was essentially what you just described, right?

I was giving him a 30 minute consulting call on how to be a better affiliate, cuz for instance, he’d been doing YouTube videos about just general marketing topics, not even mentioning a Agora Pulses, but he’d always have our link and an affiliate link. In the description of the mm-hmm of the video, I said that’s nice, but that’s not driving any traffic or interest cause the videos have nothing to do with a girl Paul.

So just general marking video. So I was able to give him ideas and suggestions on what to do. And after that call I was debating should I invite our 300 other channel partners and affiliates to book such a call with me. Now I know they’re not all gonna take that time, but still that was a significant investment of time.

Right. And that’s why I’m glad you brought that up because that reinforces that. Yeah. That probably would be a good use of my time. Right. At least for some of those.

[00:35:46] Farzad Rashidi: Absolutely. And you know, it’s a matter of prioritization, of course. Right. So you’d like to start with affiliates that have already started.

You know, actively promoting Error Pulse, they have earned some sort of commission, right? And starting with those folks normally is gonna be more fruitful just simply because they’ve shown more interest than some of the folks that haven’t already started, right? Haven’t even started. So normally a lot easier to help them grow more versus.

To activate, right? So normally wanna prioritize them, which is normally a subset of the, the entire affiliate network. Awesome.

[00:36:17] Mike Allton: First, this has been fantastic. This has been so much fun to catch up and, and literally pick your brain on this topic. Thank pleasure you. My pleasure. Let folks know where they can find you and learn more about you and, and these great companies you represent. [00:36:29] Farzad Rashidi: Oh, thanks. Well respond respondent’s website to respond.com. R E S P O N A. And, uh, we have quite a lot of just free educational material that’s on gated, and so if you’re looking for more affiliate recruitment, Strategies and kind of the step by step instructions. We actually have an outreach strategy hub and the footer, our website that we give you like ready use recipes and you don’t need to use respondent for them.

As I said, you can do most of the manual and me personally, I’m on LinkedIn. It’s probably my best social media platform to connect with and my name is Far Rashidi. There’s not a whole lot of us out in the world, so I stick out like a sore thumb. So I, I’m pretty easy to spot.

[00:37:09] Mike Allton: Awesome. Thank you so much. And that’s all we’ve got for today.

Friends, don’t forget to like and subscribe to the Partnership Unpacked podcast on Apple and drop us a review. We’d love to know what you think. Until next time,

thank you for listening to another episode of Partnership Unpacked, hosted by Mike Alton, empowered by I Agora Pulse, the number one rated social media management solution, which you can learn more about at I Agora. Dot com. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on your favorite podcast player. Be sure to leave us a review.

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