Martha's advice is great if you are an established company and you already have a brand or product that affiliates are beating your door down to sell.
However, in the online info-product world the affiliate is king. They have the list. They have the know-how. They have the ability to drive an enormous amount of traffic and customers to your site. So...
Don't Make Them Jump Through Hoops To Promote Your Product!
Below are excerpts from a Special Report I wrote about JV marketing. I think much of this will be relevant to your post...
How much time, effort and money should you spend pursuing a affiliate? That depends on how valuable a joint venture with a particular affiliate is to you.
You should investigate potential affiliates to determine their value as Joint Venture Partners.
Here are some things that you should look for:
How long have they been on the Internet? Naturally, the longer they have been on the internet the better. You can use Alexa to find out how long a site has been online. Try to find out how long the owner has been online and not just the site. You can do this by finding other sites owned by this person and checking them in Alexa.
Do they publish an ezine? Publishing an ezine means they have built a list of prospects. How are they going to reach their website visitors to tell them about your offer if they don’t have their email address?
Is the ezine a quality publication? The major players know the importance of publishing a great ezine. Does the ezine have original content? Is it the type of publication people print out or save? On the other hand, is it a reprinted article with a bunch of ads?
Do they send out too many offers? A good affiliate will choose their Joint Ventures wisely and only send out an occasional offer. If they send out offers every day, the list quickly becomes unresponsive no matter what the offer is.
Who are their past Joint Venture partners? Is your product of the same or higher quality then products they have promoted? In addition, if they have recently promoted a product similar to yours, they may not want to promote your product.
Are they major players in their Industry? Enter their names in Google to see how many hits you get. Look in the archives of industry specific discussion boards to see how often they are mentioned.
Are they easy to reach? Do they have contact details on their websites? It’s usually a bad sign when a site owner hides behind his website.
As you are gathering your information you should find out as much as you possible can about the potential JV partner. Sign up for their ezine, buy their product, and figure out what their motivation is. Every little piece of information will help you when you approach him or her with a JV offer.
Before you approach an affiliate make sure you have a tested and proven concept:
You have to make sure your product is worthy of their consideration. You should have everything ready to go including: products, sales copy, auto responder follow-ups, order processing, tracking, etc, etc.
You should also be able to show the affiliate that you have tested all the elements and that the product is a winner. If you do not do this and the JV is a failure, you will probably never get another JV with this affiliate again. In addition, word travels fast on the Internet so it is likely that you will miss other JV opportunities.
Here is one of the emails that I send to potential Joint Venture Partners. I call this a “first contact’ email because I send this when I don’t have a prior relationship with the affiliate other than being one of 50,000 ezine subscribers. My comments are in bold.
(This particular email was sent as a reply to the affiliate’s ezine. If you want to greatly improve your chances of getting your email opened and read, reply to the ezine address. Most ezine publishers make it a priority to open and read mail from their own subscribers. Do not include the entire ezine in the reply. Just the first paragraph is sufficient.)
Subject: RE: Your Next Issue of Ezine
(The subject is automatically inserted with a RE: when you reply. Do not change this subject)
Hi Jim. I always enjoy reading your ezine but particularly liked this month’s article, “Top 10 Home Business Ideas.” You have some great ideas.
(This is a short, but very powerful paragraph. Notice how I have personalized it by addressing the affiliate by his first name. Also, notice that I have also mentioned something specific about the ezine. This proves that I have read it.)
Jim, I have a product that I think would be a great fit for your ezine subscribers. It is an ebook called "Underground Business Ideas." It contains over 500 pages of Off-the-Beaten-Path ideas, articles and reports about starting your own home business. I pay 50% commission on a $39.99 sale.
(Get right to the point. The above paragraph describes the JV offer in a nutshell).
I just ran a test with an affiliate who owns a website very similar to yours and she sold 83 copies in 12 hours just by announcing the product to her ezine list. Here is what she had to say:
How's it going?
I'm fantastic! I am so excited about the amount of orders received
so far from our Joint Venture.
My customers love your products and I am always happy to offer them to
my subscribers. I am especially grateful for everything you've done to
make this Joint Venture successful!
(Provides proof that your offer is a winner. Getting a recommendation
from a past JV partner is very powerful)
Jim, I would like to offer you a complimentary review copy of “Underground Business Ideas.” You can download it from this link: http://www.business-ideas.biz/membersonly
Or, if you prefer, I can mail you out a CD that will install the ebook on your computer. Just email me your address and I will Fed Ex it to you.
(Make it easy for the affiliate to say “yes”. Give him a download link so he can review the product immediately but also offer to mail it to him. He may be too busy right now to download it so all he has to do is email you his address.)
Jim, feel free to email or call if you have any questions. My personal cell phone number is 704-541-5903.
(Always include a telephone number. I give out my cell phone number because I always carry it and do not want to miss the call. It also helps to create a sense of urgency when you give them your cell phone number.)
P.S. Jim, I just received this unsolicited testimonial from one of many satisfied “Underground Business Ideas” customer:
The first thing I noticed is the sheer, absolutely overwhelming volume of
the number of ideas your site presents. Give someone access to your
site and if they aren't in business for themselves within a week, they
have to be brain dead.