A Recipe for Affiliate Success
BY Jason Ciment | April 26, 2002
Some people need a daily dose of Coke or coffee. As for me, I prefer pastries. I particularly enjoy chocolate chip cookies every chance I get, especially the chewy kind. Recently, in my constant pursuit of the perfect cookie, I uncovered a recipe from Mrs. Fields that not only delivers the fix I need to start the day, get through the day, and ultimately end the day but also provides a formula that could guide me to more productive affiliate marketing. Here are some insights into the secret I discovered.
To begin with, I've learned that Internet-based affiliate marketing from the perspective of the merchant follows the 99/1 rule, not the more generally known 80/20 marketing rule. My surveys of other affiliate merchants indicate that you are lucky if just 1 percent of your affiliates produces significant results — one reason it's called "affiliate marketing" instead of "affiliates marketing."
You have to find the individual affiliate that will generate 99 times the revenue of the 100 other, poorer performing affiliates.
Through the prism of chocolate chip cookie baking, I hope to explore a step-by-step method for attracting new affiliate marketing partners.
The first step is getting your ingredients together:
Here is how you make the cookies:
How can we apply this recipe to finding and attracting strong affiliate marketing partners?
The first step is understanding that good cookie making requires two bowls (one for preparation and one for actual mixing) and three actions (shopping for ingredients, mixing, and baking). The same holds true in our quest for the one strong affiliate out of 100 possible choices, because you need to do the following three things:
Action 1: Pure Shopping
Do the following for the first bowl of information you'll need when using the chocolate chip recipe for affiliate success:
Action 2: Pure Preparation
In a second virtual bowl, start combining the other ingredients — information about each target company on your hot list. You can't just call each company straightaway, because you've got nothing more compelling than the product to offer them. Plus, you don't yet have any "pull" with the person you are contacting. You have to make each call count. Here's what you need to do:
To review, you've identified your product and its related features and benefits and put together a list of keywords related to your product. With this list, you have discovered which companies could serve as single targeted affiliates to help you move product. You've put all this information into a mixing bowl and come up with some really tasty dough (contacts) that is ready to be turned into cookies. This is where you move to the last step in the recipe — baking.
Action 3: Pure Penetration
Armed with your name-dropping resources and any referrals, make the call. Don't just send an email. Do both. Make your pitch. Keep baking. It takes 22 minutes to make cookies. It may take months to win over the affiliate. It isn't an instant process, even if you are totally prepared with the right ingredients.
The secret to keeping the process alive is to constantly give something of value to the people you are dealing with. Don't just stay in touch; send them articles for reference that may help them with their jobs. Keep your name on their minds. Eventually, if your proposal is strong enough and the value of your offer is compelling, the affiliate should participate.
That is when you get to the best part of baking cookies — eating them, or, in this case, making money when the affiliate you've converted produces significant revenues.
By the way, if you can't get the contact to take your call, then send letters to the contact, the contact's boss, and the contact's assistant. Make sure you indicate in the letter that you have sent it to each of the other people. This technique creates a buzz and produces results. I read this in a fantastic book last year that describes this method in more detail, but, unfortunately, I've forgotten its title. The book was endorsed on the back cover by Roger Staubach of Dallas Cowboys fame. If you can track it down, let me know. It works.
Jason Ciment is CEO of MagMall, which he founded 1997. He designed, programmed, and developed the fully interactive java and perl-based magazine subscription Web site that has more than 10,000 individual and corporate partners. He has also worked with manufacturing companies such as Liz Claiborne and Jones New York to maintain quality standards and prompt order fulfillment.
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