There are many ways to sell products or services in this modern age. You can leverage the power of the internet to make sales across the entire planet, or you can focus on a local brick and mortar store. You can sell products that you create once and then sell to many people, or you can find clients and sell your services by the hour.
The options are almost endless. My experience with selling products is totally focused around the internet, as I believe that’s the path of least resistance.
What I’m talking about specifically is known in the entrepreneurial circles as “Passive Income”.
Info products are a great example of passive income. For example, my info products that I sell in my other business can be sold 24 hours a day seven days a week. This means that I’m not trading dollars for hours. Instead, I’m working initially to create products and then when those products are done, I’m able to sit back and collect all the revenues that are generated.
A fun story that goes along with the info products that I created, was back when I went on a vacation with my girlfriend. We went to New York State together for one week, and while we were there and I didn’t work a single minute, yet I was still making money with every day that went by.
Another large bonus to passive income is that it is highly leverageble. This means that it’s quite easy to go from zero customers to 100,000 customers overnight.
Examples of info products include selling membership websites, eBooks, training courses or anything else where you are selling knowledge.
Now, let’s compare this with creating a business around selling services. Generally speaking, when you are selling your services, you’re trading dollars for hours. What is needed to get around dollars for an hours in a service business is to build a team around you so that you can systematize the work that you’re doing.
This means that you are paying other people to do the work on your behalf, thus essentially creating a passive income business.
So now this brings me to the topic of this post…
Affiliate marketing is all about selling somebody else’s product and receiving a commission for that sale. This is actually the main monetization strategy for the coders’ startup podcast. At the coders’ startup we talk about products and services that we use and that we love. These products help your overall goal to create a profitable business.
One such example is SendOwl, if you were to click on the SendOwl link you would be taken to the SendOwl website and a cookie would be logged on your computer. Then, if you were to purchase the SendOwl product, we at the coders’ startup would receive a commission from that sale. The beauty of this situation is that YOU (the customer) do not pay any extra money for the product. This commission comes out of SendOwl’s pocket and pays me (the affiliate).
The reason why SendOwl does this, is because they may not have landed you as a customer without my help… So really, some money is better than no money. This is the same reason for any company that brings on affiliates.
Companies that use of affiliates to sell their products can pay anywhere from 5% to 100% of the sale to their “affiliate army”. I’ll get into why a company would pay 100% of the sale to an affiliate in a moment.
Typically, companies pay their affiliates anywhere from 20 to 50% of the sale. Some affiliate commissions are recurring for a specific period, some are recurring commissions for the life of the customer, and some are one time payments.
Let’s use send owl as an example. Let’s say you sign up for SendOwl for $10.00 a month, SendOwl pays 30% recurring commissions, which means I will receive $3.00 a month for as long as you are a customer with SendOwl!
A big bonus to affiliate commissions is that if the customer has any questions, they won’t contact the person who referred them to the product (the affiliate) the customer will contact the product owner (in this case, SendOwl).
In the case of the coders’ startup, we will never promote products that we don’t fully believe in or haven’t used ourselves first… You can certainly get carried away with promoting products! My relationship with you (the listener / reader) is more important, so I’ll only promote products that I know are great.
This is a win win win situation. You win because you now know about products that rock, the product owners win because now they get new customers, and I win because I get a cut of the sale.
How to Find Products to Sell as an Affiliate
There are a few resources dedicated to finding other people’s products to sell.
ClickBank is one of those resources.
ClickBank is an entire marketplace dedicated to selling products through affiliate deals. You can sign up as a product creator or as an affiliate to find products to sell. If you’re selling your own product, you can attract affiliates as your own sales force to sell your stuff. Now that is leveraging your time!
If you want to leverage an affiliate sales force, you first need to attract an affiliate sales force. This is no different than trying to sell a product to customers. You need to sell the affiliates on the idea of selling your products. So be sure to leverage everything that you’ve already learned on the coders’ startup podcast to make this a reality.
Why Give Away 100% of Your Sale to Affiliates?
Now let’s talk a little bit more about why someone would create a product and then give away 100% of the commission to an affiliate.
The answer is something known as a tripwire product. Tripwire products are also known as welcome mat products, because some people don’t like the abrasive term “tripwire”. A tripwire product is a low cost product designed to turn someone into a buyer with the least amount of barriers as possible.
For example, picture in a $100 training course being sold at a 95% discount. If you were even the slightest bit interested in this training course, a 95% discount on the cost of the product may be enough to push you over the edge and actually purchase the product.
Offering a tripwire product is used to separate the buyers from the people who just won’t spend money online at all. The concept here is that you don’t want a waste your time trying to sell products to people who will just never buy.
Also, if someone purchases something from you once, they’ll be more likely to open up their wallet a second time.
Alright, so how does this tie in with the 100% commission on a sale concept? The trick with a tripwire sale is that you get the email addresses of the people who purchased the tripwire product, and typically speaking you can get a lot of email addresses if you have a lot of affiliates selling your tripwire product. Remember, these are email addresses of people who actually opened up their wallet for one of your products. This is INSANELY valuable!
You Don’t Need to Create Products to Sell Online
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you just don’t need to create your own products before you can start selling stuff online. All you need is an audience. So building an audience of people that know, like and trust you is critical to making affiliate sales. Because the more people that you have in your audience that know, like and trust you, the more potential affiliate sales you can make.
And hey, once you’ve built a big enough audience, you can find out what products that they want YOU to create, and then you can really get to work!
Stay tuned for a future episode of the coders’ startup where we talk to John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire. John has an amazing story of building up his own audience and then monetizing with a podcast.
2 thoughts on “EP11 – Affiliate Marketing – What is it and How Can You Use it?”
Trevor, great introduction into affiliate marketing.
What are your thoughts on Amazon affiliate program? Have you (or anyone you know tried it) and what kind of conversions can one expect?
With the Amazon Associates program you really need to make a large volume of sales before you can get good commissions from them. I believe they only tend to pay around 4% as a commission to you for any given sales.
I’ve just started using them as an affiliate, but so far I have not made any sales.