5 Ways To Set Up Successful Affiliate Sales For Your Digital Content


Woman shaking handsDigital publishing lends itself well to using affiliates for expanding your sales and reach into new markets.

Just like anything else, though, getting into affiliate relationships that actually work for both you and your affiliates takes foresight and planning.

Affiliate sales work best when there’s a good partnership between the content creator (you) and your affiliates (those who are selling for you and making a commission off of their sales).

Too often, I’ve seen digital publishers set themselves up with an affiliate program but then fail to follow through with much of anything for their affiliates other than handing out a unique affiliate link.  This costs you sales, and costs your affiliates the commissions they otherwise could be earning from  you.

Leverage these 5  ‘best practices’ for setting up successful affiliate sales for your digital content:

One: Make sure that you have a welcome packet for each new affiliate.

This packet should nclude their affiliate link, how to link into your affiliate program so that they can get sales tools, and perhaps a copy of digital content you are asking the affiliate to sell for you.

TIP:  Ask your affiliates to preview new content you plan to launch in the coming month.  Provide them with a digital copy, and ask for their feedback.  You can then repurpose their feedback into testimonials to create buzz for your new product release.

Two: Create a properly timed launch schedule.

This is the top reason for disappointing affiliate sales I personally see.  Almost every time someone I affiliate with wants me to promote a product for them I hear about it a week to 10 days ahead of time.

Plan more lead time into your product launches.  Good affiliates often have a promotion calendar that is filled up months ahead of time.  When you wait until the last minute to ask them to promote you are not being a good partner.

Affiliates can only market to their list a certain number of times before list fatigue sets in and their list goes cold.  When you ask them to cram your last-minute promotion into their calendar you’re setting both of you up for failure.

TIP:  The marketplace is far more crowded than it used to be.  Allow twice as much time for properly launching your product than you think you need, and promote twice as hard.  You’ll see more successful sales.

Three: Create solid, professionally done sales copy and graphics for your new digital product. 

If you are a great copywriter do it yourself, but if you aren’t it’s worth it to invest in someone to help you.  Sales copy drives your income from this product more than the product’s content does.

I’ve seen useless and poorly written digital content sell very well and I’ve seen fabulous content go begging for buyers.  Sales copy and graphics made the difference in each case.

TIP:  Create a wide variety of promotional content including the copy for your sales page, graphics that catch the eye, short videos, and brief content useful for social media blasts. Sales copy is more than just your sales page!

Four: Bring on your affiliates early and touch them often during your pre-launch and launch phases.

More than likely, you are not the only person your affiliate is selling for.  You need to stay top of mind with them, giving them fresh promotional materials, reminding them of key launch dates, and rewarding them for being your top salesperson.

And don’t forget to thank them for promoting you once your big launch is over.  Relationship is everything in affiliate sales.

TIP:  Create a calendar for your affiliate that you provide early on in your launch sequence, then follow-up with a brief e-mail reminding affiliates of each key date.  It helps keep everyone focused.

Five: Pay on time.

You might not think this is a problem, but it is.  Sometimes your tracking software goes awry, sometimes you don’t get around to it, sometimes you take affiliates on before you have figured out how to process your commission checks to them.

Personally, I like to get an email every time I’ve made an affiliate sale for someone, and I like to get paid at the minimum monthly, and on time.

If someone has to chase you down for their affiliate commissions I guarantee you won’t be top of their list to promote again.  The trust factor has to be high on both sides for an affiliate partnership to work well.

TIP:  If you offer a prize to your top affiliates, make sure it is prize-worthy and will generate buzz for you.  Don’t be cinchy. The keychain with a business logo on it that I once received for being someone’s top affiliate didn’t go very far!

You can create lucrative partnerships with your affiliates and make good friends along the way, too.  Make up your mind that the affiliate sales arm of your business needs care and attention and manage it as an integral part of your sales strategy.  You and your affiliates will smile all the way to the bank!

Sue Painter
A successful serial entrepreneur and author, Sue Painter is a mentor to small business owners throughout the U.S. and overseas. Known for her quick insight and her strong skills as a marketing strategist, Painter most loves to work with small business owners who want to refresh their business and take it to more reach and profit. Painter is a certified Book Yourself Solid coach, one of 3 coaches for Ali Brown’s worldwide Elevate coaching program, and a published author on the Kindle platform. Her books, articles, and blog posts have been published world-wide.
Sue Painter
Sue Painter