If you've never tried affiliate marketing before, it can be an excellent way to earn some passive income.
I've been using affiliate marketing for some time, and I've also promoted some courses directly as an affiliate. How it works is, when there's a big course launch, you get invited to recommend it to your audience by an affiliate manager.
Matt McWilliams is one of the most well-known affiliate managers online today.
I met Matt several years ago online when he invited me into the affiliate program for Michael Hyatt's Five Days to Your Best Year Ever course. Since then, I've taken part in other affiliate launches with Matt, like Self-Publishing School.
In this episode, I want to help you understand how affiliate marketing can help you earn more money as a writer and build an ecosystem of products and services that you can promote.
I finally had the chance to catch up with Matt for this podcast episode. I asked him about his journey into affiliate marketing and how writers and creators can use affiliate marketing to promote goods and services.
In this episode, we discuss:
Resources:Support the show
Matt: The number one rule in affiliate marketing is find products that serve your audience. Find quality products that serve your audience. They need to be good products, you know? They need to be — you either need to have had a personal experience with them or they have such a reputation that you feel comfortable promoting them.
So, if you’re promoting something on Amazon, for instance, don’t promote something with 3.8 stars, you know, out of five, like you want something that’s got four and a half or above. And so, you know, if you’ve got a personal experience, if there’s a course you wanna promote, so it might be Five Days to Your Best Year Ever. The reason why I was so excited to promote Five Days to Your Best Year Ever? I’ve been through it. It changed my life. So, the story that I told was, “This course is amazing. You have to check it out. Do yourself a favor, check it out.” And, of course, you know, you tell that story and people go buy.
Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.
Bryan: How can writers use affiliate marketing to earn more income and grow their business? Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins and welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast.
I first accidentally discovered affiliate marketing back in 2014 or 2015. At the time, I was building out my site and I wanted to learn how to change the look and feel of the site using CSS and also by editing image files in Photoshop.
Now, all of this was beyond my skill set at the time so I took a series of photo editing and CSS courses on a service called lynda.com, which you may know now as LinkedIn Learning. And when I was finished taking the courses, I figured I’d write up what I learned about the course in a type of review.
So, I published a 1,500-word review about what I liked about lynda.com, what I disliked, and what I learned, and I concluded that it was a good service for bloggers and for creators who want to learn some skills that can help them with photo editing and CSS and so on.
I didn’t think much more about the post for a few months, then one day in work, at the time I was working as a copywriter for a British software company, a friend said to me, “Bryan, I was Googling ‘Is lynda.com worth it’ and your review came up number one.” “What?” I said to him, so I went to Google and I typed in the search term and, sure enough, my review was number one in Google, at least in Ireland, because your rankings can vary by country.
A couple of days later, I got an email from a rep from the lynda.com affiliate program. She invited me into the program and said that if I inserted some links into the post, I could earn a commission if people clicked on them.
All I had to do was disclose at the top of the review that there was affiliate links in the post. So I did this and, to my surprise, a month or perhaps two months later, I got a PayPal notification from lynda.com saying I’d earned $500 or $600 from the post. And at the time, I needed to buy a new set of wheels for my car and I didn’t really have much savings for it so this was an unexpected windfall which helped me pay for wheels for the car.
After that, I decided I’d learn a little bit more about affiliate marketing and I came across Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and he basically proposed two rules for affiliate marketers, which are rules that I use today: Only ever recommend products and services which you use or trust and also recommend products and services which will provide value to your audience.
So, these days, I don’t talk much about lynda.com because it’s not really a service I use that much, although I still have the review live on my site, but I do promote services that I use regularly. Services like the grammar checker, Grammarly, and ProWritingAid and also courses that I take on the likes of MasterClass, and I’ve written up all of my experiences on these courses and with this software and I’ve even negotiated discounts for services like Grammarly which I offer to readers and to listeners. I put details about all of that in the show notes for this week’s episode.
I’ve also promoted some courses directly as an affiliate. Basically, when there’s a big course launch, you can get invited to recommend the course to your audience and, typically, an affiliate manager will invite you in. Now, one of the most well-known affiliate managers online today is Matt McWilliams.
I met Matt several years ago online when he invited me into the affiliate program for Michael Hyatt’s Five Days to Your Best Year Ever course, which is a course I’ve taken several times and I was happy to promote. And as one of the lower performing affiliates, I still managed to earn a couple of hundred dollars and I even won an Apple Watch, which was fantastic at the time. I’ve also taken part in other affiliate launches for courses that Matt was involved in like Self-Publishing School.
Now, I’m not sharing all of this to talk about my experiences with affiliate marketing, I want you to understand how affiliate marketing can help you earn more money as a writer and also to build an ecosystem of products and services that you can promote and then you can later on use your affiliate income to invest in your craft by hiring editors, book cover designers, and so on.
So, I finally had the chance to catch up with Matt for this week’s podcast episode and I asked him all about his journey into affiliate marketing and how writers and creators can use affiliate marketing to promote the right goods and services.
Now, if you find this week’s interview useful, please consider leaving a short review on the iTunes Store or simply share the show with another writer or a friend on Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you’re listening.
And you can also reach out to me on Twitter, let me know if you enjoyed this week’s episode, I’m @bryanjcollins. If you really enjoy the show, consider becoming a Patreon supporter. For just a couple of dollars a month, I’ll give you discounts on writing software, courses, and books.
Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Matt McWilliams.
Bryan: So, affiliate marketing is a fantastic strategy for any content creator, maybe it’s overlooked by some writers, but before we get into any of that, would you be able to explain to listeners how you got into affiliate marketing and I suppose how your business came to be?
Matt: Oh my gosh. I got into it kind of by accident. Back in 2005, a couple friends of mine and I, we’d started a business together and we had a little bit of success, we’d started to build a team, but then our main source of marketing basically had completely gone out the window, you know?
Back then, this was 2005, so this was banner ads, right? And so our main source of like leads had just completely dried up and we had to make payroll and we had kind of one of those like emergency meetings, we’re like, oh my gosh, we’re gonna have to like fire everybody, we don’t know what we’re gonna do. I was like, “Well, guys, I’ve heard of these things like these people call affiliates, you know?” I’m like, “They promote us, we don’t pay them until after there’s a sale made.” And, of course, you know, a company that’s about to go broke, we’re like, this is like manna from heaven.
And so I had no idea what the heck I was doing, no idea how to find affiliates, no idea how to do anything. I spent the entire, you know, in the US Memorial Days in, you know, late May, I spent the entire Memorial Day Weekend 2005 learning what I could. Now, there were like two blog posts and a forum post about this so I basically had to make it up and, you know, fast forward about 18 months later, we were doing over a million dollars a month in sales from our affiliates but it started with the first couple of affiliates that I got that did about, one did 300 its first month, one did 1,000 —
Matt: — and another did about 500, one did about 2,000, and that was what kind of got us to the point where we basically were able to break even, you know, pay our payroll, cover our expenses. The next month, we went from like a $3,000 program to a $10,000 program onto a $25,000 program, you know, and so forth up until, like I said, about 18 months later, we’re doing over a million dollars a month. So, that was kind of the genesis.
Bryan: Were these other people’s digital products and courses?
Matt: No, this was — so this was our affiliate, like that’s how I got into that world —
Matt: — so at that time, we were working in the insurance industry, you know, selling leads and so we went out and found these affiliates who could sell stuff for us. For me getting into affiliate marketing, the irony, Bryan, is for the next seven years, I was one of the world’s leading experts on, you know, growing an affiliate program.
You know, I’d run programs, I ran that program, I ran programs for companies like Shutterfly and Adidas, you know, I went on to work with companies like, you know, people like Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, I know your audience probably knows him, Ray Edwards, Lewis Howes. I mean, the list goes on and on, right? Bryan Tracy and so on and so forth.
I wasn’t doing it myself. I started a blog in 2012 that wasn’t about affiliate stuff. So, I switched over in about 2017, ’16, ’17, to now I talk about how to do affiliate marketing and how to run an affiliate program on my blog at mattmcwilliams.com, but, back then, mattmcwilliams.com was all about leadership and personal development and things like that. And I wasn’t making any money. And I know a lot of people can relate, like I was spending $400, $500 a month, hosting, plugins, you know, I had a VA, plus my time. I was working 15 hours, 20 hours a week on my blog, you know, 80 hours a month —
Bryan: That’s a lot.
Matt: — and I was making literally $0. We’re spending $400, $500, I’m spending it, like let’s just — let’s pay me like the average wage of like $15 per hour, you know? I’m putting out almost two grand a month and I’m making nothing and then, finally, one day, I think it was in 2015, I saw a product for a guy named Michael Hyatt.
Bryan: I remember that product. I promoted it.
Matt: Yeah, and he ended up becoming a client and I know you were an affiliate when we ran his launch, but I saw this product from Michael Hyatt called Five Days to Your Best Year Ever and I said, “Michael, do you have an affiliate program?” He’s like, “Yeah, like here, here’s how you sign up.” Again, this was before he was a client. I’m like cool, signed up, like if I can just make two sales, I had a list, I had an audience of like 800 people, it’s kind of tiny at that time, I’m like if I can sign up two people who will pay 200 bucks for this course, I can make like $150, oh my gosh, that’d be great, you know, it’ll change my life, you know, not really, but, you know, that’s what I thought.
I ended up selling eight. I made $588 and I was like, oh my gosh, if you looked at that month, we spent $460 and I made $588 just from that one promo. I profited $128. I’m like, you know, like you hear angels sing. Fast forward about less than one year later, I was the number one affiliate for Self-Publishing School.
Again, they also became a client later, but I was the number one affiliate there, made like $10,000 plus. Over the next two years, I had no products of my own, an audience of less than 2,000 people, and I made $134,000 from affiliate marketing. And so that was like the big moment that kind of showed me like, duh, this thing I knew about and I was managing affiliate programs, I’d manage hundreds of thousands of affiliates and yet I wasn’t doing it myself. When I started doing that, you know, my business took off on a completely different trajectory.
Bryan: Did you have that success with promoting to subscribers of your email list or was there another strategy that you used?
Matt: Initially, it was, you know, subscribers to my list, people who, you know, were listening to the podcast. That was pretty much, you know, it early on. Now, there’s other ways to do it, like you can reach people who aren’t even on your list, we can talk about that with like writing review posts and, you know, comparison guides and things like that.
But, initially, I wanted to find, you know, the number one rule in affiliate marketing is find products that serve your audience. Find quality products that serve your audience. They need to be good products, you know? They need to be — you either need to have had a personal experience with them or they have such a reputation that you feel comfortable promoting them. So if you’re promoting something on Amazon, for instance, don’t promote something with 3.8 stars, you know, out of five, like you want something that’s got four and a half or above.
And so, you know, if you’ve got a personal experience, if there’s a course you wanna promote, so it might be Five Days to Your Best Year Ever. The reason why I was so excited to promote Five Days to Your Best Year Ever? I’ve been through it. It changed my life. So, the story that I told was, “This course is amazing. You have to check it out. Do yourself a favor, check it out.”
And, of course, you know, you tell that story and people go buy. You know, that’s the big thing. So, for me, I was just looking for ways to serve my audience, to fill in those gaps where, like, I didn’t teach goal setting, you know? I was teaching personal development but I didn’t teach goal setting and so it’s like, “Here’s the expert on goal setting, go learn from him,” and I’ll get a commission, of course.
Bryan: Yeah. Yeah, I discovered affiliate marketing by accident. I used to run a technology blog and I — it was like a hobby and I wrote a review of LinkedIn Learning, at the time it was called lynda.com.
Matt: I remember that.
Bryan: I didn’t write it to get any traffic, it was just my personal impressions about it, and, to my surprise, I started getting traffic and then I was invited into their affiliate program and I’ll never forget, I was working as a copywriter at the time, getting a payment via PayPal for $700 or $800. Couldn’t believe it, like I was able to replace the tires on my car with that payment and all I did was write up while I thought about a course, which I actually found quite useful.
Bryan: So it was a great introduction to affiliate marketing. But if somebody is looking for an offer today, it seems like Amazon is the main place new content creators go but what would you suggest they do? Because the commission rates for Amazon are quite low.
Matt: They’re terrible, yeah. Amazon’s great if you’re promoting a commodity product. So, I’m just looking around my desk right now, you know, my microphone. I don’t know where else you can buy this microphone other than Amazon. And even if I did, I personally am only gonna sell 12 to 24 of these a year, because I’m not a guy, I don’t talk a lot about podcasting but, occasionally, people ask me what microphone to use. So it’s just easier for me to say, “Here. Here’s the microphone I use, it’s on Amazon.” Yeah, I only make five bucks when you buy it but it’s a real quick purchase for them, one click, boom, done
. But if it’s a product where, you know, they have a specific affiliate program and it’s something that you’re gonna sell a lot of, you’re gonna recommend frequently, you’re gonna go out of your way to promote it, you wanna join their affiliate program not promoted through Amazon. It might be a digital course. It might be something, like I’m looking at my desk, you know, I’ve got the SwitchPod here from my friend Pat Flynn, right? You know, Pat has an affiliate program for that. I don’t know if he sells it on Amazon or not, I wouldn’t use an Amazon link for that because I know he has a separate affiliate program, but stuff that you’re gonna — that are core to your business, that you’re gonna promote frequently, of course, you want the highest commission possible.
And so, I mean, the simplest way to find an affiliate program — or what products should I promote? Look on your desktop, both your literal desktop and your, you know, your computer desktop. For writers, you know, again, you know, that’s your audience so what are the tools you use? You know, maybe you use Scrivener. Maybe you don’t, you know? I don’t know what other tools there are personally, I don’t even — I’ve never used Scrivener, full disclosure, I use a Google Doc to write my book, you know? Actually, three Google Docs because once you get to about 120 pages, it starts getting really slow —
Bryan: It does. It slows down.
Matt: And so, anyway, you know, full disclosure, I know nothing about that. But like maybe it’s Scrivener. Well, you got actual Scrivener, you got Joseph Michael’s course, Learn Scrivener Fast, you know? Those are things you can link. Well, how do you find, you know, Joseph’s Scrivener, you know, course? You Google it. You just look it up. A lot of times at the bottom of the website, it’ll say Affiliates or Partners. You click there. If not, you type in that into Google, you know, “Learn Scrivener Fast affiliate program.” Boom, pulls up, you know? Super simple.
So look at your desktop. What are the places you log in daily, you know, or frequently? So I log in to ClickFunnels pretty much every day. I log into — I don’t but our team does, logs in to MeetEdgar to do our social media. I log in, or at least our team does, I don’t, but Canva, you know? That’s what our graphic designer uses is Canva.
We log in, you know, to various things every single day. Slack and there’s tools that we use, you know, through G Suite and other tools that we use for customer service so it’s like just look at what are you using and then I’ll look at my literal desktop and think, okay, I’m using this microphone, this boom arm, you know, I use the SwitchPod, I use my Full Focus Planner from Michael Hyatt, you know? What are the things that you use daily, weekly, in your business? In your hobby? You know, it doesn’t have to be a business, you could be a gardener.
So what do you do? Oh, what products should I promote? Go to your gardening tools. What are the fertilizers you use? What is the trowel that you use? What knee pads do you use? What gloves do you wear? You know, what seeds do you plant? And just look at those and recommend them. I mean, that really is, at its core, that’s what affiliate marketing is.
Bryan: So I’m in the affiliate program, I’ve got the products that I’m going to promote, do I now write a series of emails? Do I use the swipe file which the affiliate program has or do I write a review or do I set up an ad campaign? Because there’s quite a lot of strategies, so what what’s the best one for beginners?
Matt: All of the above. I mean, truth be told, so, here’s the thing, there’s two types of programs, there’s an evergreen program and there’s a launch-based program, okay? So, an evergreen program means that you can buy it 24/7/365, you know? I’m pretty sure, go back to that example, you know, the SwitchPod, I think you can buy that 24/7/365. Why not? It’s a physical product, it ships out of a warehouse, there’s really no reason why this wouldn’t be available every day of the year, 24/7.
Now, a digital course where, you know, maybe there’s a limited time where the, you know, it’s an eight-week course and they’re gonna — there’s a live coaching element, you can’t have that open year round, you know, and do live coaching. So it opens and it closes. So if it’s an open and close, if it’s a launch model, then you, you know, you have a defined period of time. The launch starts on February 1st and ends on February 17th so you’re gonna focus on that period of time and you’re gonna come up with a plan for how you’re gonna promote it then. With evergreen products, what you wanna do is find small windows of time, 3, 5, 7 days where you can go really hard on promoting that.
Then, you also promote it in an evergreen fashion, things like we are big fans of what we call resources pages, Bryan. If anybody wants a guide on how to create a resources page, just go to mattmcwilliams.com/resourcespage, okay? I will walk you through exactly how to create a resources page but a resources page is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a list of tools, now, there’s more to it than that and I walk you through that in the guide, but it’s like your people are coming to you saying, “Matt, what do you use to record your podcast?” Well, instead of every time saying, “Well, I use this,” and I list all my tools at mattmcwilliams.com/toolbox, I have a cut and paste response that I can use every single time and the microphone’s on there. Well, of course, you’re on the resources page so we’ve got tools and softwares and websites and, you know, some of them are free and we make no money.
Some of the stuff on my resources page don’t even have an affiliate program but I still list them because my number one job, as I mentioned earlier, is to serve my audience. So, you have that evergreen stuff. Maybe you can put it in your autoresponder, Bryan, you know, where somebody has been on your list and on day 90, from day 90 to 94, you’re gonna pitch them a product that will benefit them, you know? Don’t want to do that too soon, you don’t wanna start pitching an affiliate product like day 4, you know, they’re still warming up to you and now you’re like, “Oh, here, go check out this other person,” that’s not a good idea, but you could put that in your autoresponder. And here’s the thing, if you’re getting even just 10 new subscribers every day, that means every day, 90 days from now, you know, every day, 10 people are getting that email and you’re doing nothing and it becomes kind of passive income.
Bryan: Do you find, Matt, that a lot of affiliate or new content creators have a limiting belief about affiliate marketing that maybe it’s too salesy for them or not something that they’re comfortable with?
Matt: Yeah, and it’s not. I mean, here’s the thing. Affiliate marketing serves your audience. That’s the big thing. If I could get something through to everybody, it’s salesy because some people make it salesy. You could say that about anything, you know? Is it salesy to recommend a health product to somebody, you know?
People like — I don’t mean to get into like the whole vaccinate or don’t vaccinate or any of that stuff, but like both sides are trying to sell you something, you know? And you believe whatever side you’re on you think is right, you want your side to be selling, you know? That’s all selling is, like both sides are trying to serve people in the best way that they can and so if we think about that, affiliate marketing actually serves your audience because here’s what affiliate marketing does.
If you’ve got — let’s say you’re the world’s leading expert on time management, okay? Making this up as I go here. You are the world’s leading expert on time management. Think about all the other things that have an effect on time management but they’re off in the periphery, like fitness. No doubt about it. If you weigh 400 pounds and you are vastly out of shape, it’s harder to manage your time properly, like studies have shown that, right? Fit people are better at managing their time, but you’re not a fitness expert, you’re just really good at teaching people time management, so go recommend a fitness product that helps people lose weight and get in shape and stay in shape.
Goal setting. You know, we just talked about Michael Hyatt, right? Okay, if you’re better at setting goals, are you gonna be better at time management? Of course, it’s a logical progression, right? But you’re not a goal setting expert. So you say, “Hey, listen, I’m not the goal setting expert but I know that you probably wanna learn goal setting. Here’s the guy to go see.” Entrepreneurship. You know, a lot of people who are in time management wanna be better, they have a dream to be an entrepreneur. That’s not you. You don’t really teach that stuff so you recommend somebody who can teach them how to start a business. And so the list goes on and on but like you find those ways to fill the gaps, complement your own products, complement your expertise.
It could be taking it to the next level. Maybe your thing is like you teach people how to write the book, you don’t teach them how to market the book, how to get a publisher, how to get an editor, you just teach them how to write the book. Those are completely — you know this, I mean, as well as anybody.
I know this because I just wrote my first book and I’m in the process now of all that. Writing the book proposal and talking to, you know, the different publishers and the editing process are so vastly different from the creative process of writing the book. I wrote the book, dude, I woke up every morning, I was writing by 6:55 every morning and I’m like you couldn’t pull me away from the computer. By nine o’clock, I’m like, I have to stop because I need to get other work done. Then when it came time to editing the book proposal, I was like if I got 10 minutes in without wanting to kill myself, it was an accomplishment. Like, we know that.
Matt: So teach me how to do that, you know? Like that’s a completely different thing. So you’re serving your audience with it. It’s not salesy, it’s not scammy, it’s not sleazy, it’s about serving your audience.
Bryan: When I was in some of your launches, you have a leaderboard where you share rankings about affiliates that are converting well and there’s prizes for people in the top 5 or the top 10, but what are the most successful affiliates doing that sets them apart from the dozens of other affiliates that are normally involved in the launch?
Matt: Yeah, you know, the biggest — the big, like absolute number one factor, Bryan, they go all in. You know, they treat it like their own promotion. So, when that launch is coming up, and it’s coming up, you know, I don’t know when this is gonna air but it’s coming up on November, November 1st through 15th is the big promo, right? They’re planning for that in September. August, even. They’re thinking now. “Okay, it’s coming up, what do I need to do? What do I need to do to warm up my audience in October?”
And so, you know, they do things and we teach our, you know, we teach our affiliates like how to warm up your audience so things like doing an interview with the product, you know, creator, if it’s a digital, you know, course, for example. Talking about the concepts that are gonna be presented in this launch. Maybe they have a free workshop or a free webinar that leads into the purchase, talking about those things. So, using Michael Hyatt, for example, what I would start doing and I would plan this is in October, my podcast episodes would start talking about things like productivity and goal setting and I would quote Michael.
I wouldn’t even mention Five Days to Your Best Year Ever. I wouldn’t even mention he had a goal setting course. I would just get my audience thinking about goal setting and I would have quotes from Michael Hyatt that — and early on might not even have anything to do with goal setting, I might just quote Michael Hyatt because you and I know who Michael Hyatt is, we kind of think he’s a big deal. In the entrepreneurial world, Michael Hyatt, like we think everybody’s heard of Michael Hyatt.
Go to your local Target or I don’t know what you have over there but like go to your local Target, right? I call it the Target test. Go to Target or whatever the big store is in your community, ask 100 people if they’ve ever heard of Michael Hyatt, you will be lucky if two of them have. In fact, you might even be lucky if one of them has. You go to certain parts of the country, you’ll be lucky if one does.
Nobody’s ever heard of Michael Hyatt. Ask them if they’ve heard of like a Kim Kardashian or a Tom Cruise, they’ve all heard of him, right? So we think Michael Hyatt’s a big deal. Nobody’s ever heard of him, okay? So you have to introduce him to your audience and you gotta get them — you start getting them thinking about goal setting. You share statistics about how people who set goals make this much more money, you know, and things like that. We do that all through October. When we hit November and say Michael Hyatt has a free workshop coming up about goal setting, they’re all like, “Thank God, I’ve been wanting to sign up for that for weeks. I’m so glad somebody has something, I was getting ready to Google it,” and so they go sign up in droves, they’re already warmed up, they’re much more likely to buy.
Why did that happen? Because I went all in. I treated it like my own promo. And so when I treat it like my own promo, the attitude that I have, the number of emails that I send, that’s another big differentiator, yeah, audience size matters. Audience size matters. But I finished, speaking of Michael Hyatt, when I wasn’t working with him, I finished in third place in his affiliate promotion, made over 20,000 bucks in commissions on a fairly low-priced item. I finished in third place ahead of people who had lists anywhere from 10 to 25 times bigger than mine.
Why? Because I went all in, like I busted my butt, I did the things that it took, you know, to succeed. And in that particular case, one of the reasons why I did that was the price for the top three was that we got a mastermind at this very exclusive resort, like I know exactly how much they spent because I learned later, you know, it’s like about $12,000 a couple that they spend in this just exclusive, like amazing.
And I’m sitting there, Jeff Walker on my right, Amy Porterfield on my left, that’s kinda cool when you’re kinda new to the online marketing game. So I busted my butt and that’s really what, you know, separates the people who are like super successful from those who are kinda like, oh, they finished in 12th place.
Bryan: Yeah, the internet’s a big place so I agree that you and I might know somebody online but that doesn’t mean people in our audience would.
Bryan: So if I have an offer that’s converting quite well, like for software or for a product, what can I do to increase conversions?
Matt: You know, the number one thing is you wanna send you them, we just sort of talked about this, you wanna send them to them warm?
Matt: That’s one of the things why I like — if you’re looking for affiliates, you know, it’s like, if you’re an author, I know one of the reasons why we’re able to get a big publisher more than likely and my agent’s working on this is because I’ve got people who are gonna promote the heck out of this book as an affiliate, you know?
And so if you’re an author, having those affiliates is a great thing. But if you’re looking for ways to increase your, you know, your conversions as an affiliate, it really just comes down to the warm traffic that you’re sending. The warmer you can get traffic to be, the more you can sell, kinda pre sell people. So, again, what we just talked about, like, you know, getting them warmed up weeks before. If your audience has listened to, you know, let’s say your last two podcast episode and they read your blog post and they’re like, in their minds, they’re thinking, “Man, I need to really — I need to learn how to set goals effectively.
I need to learn how to write a book. I need to learn how to market a book,” whatever it is, they’re thinking this in their minds, and then you come to them and say, “Okay, here’s the solution,” they’re gonna disproportionately likely to buy. Whereas if you come — what I see is like people try to come out of the gates so that promotion starts November 1st and ends November 15th, the first thing they do is on November 1st and your audience is like, “Why are you talking about this?” you know?
Like you usually talk about time management, not goal setting, you’re coming out of left field talking about time management, but if two weeks before, you had done a post or a podcast talking about the connection between time management and goal setting and then a week before you had interviewed Michael, on day one, you send that email talking about goal setting, it’s like I got it, like I understand like I’m in, let’s go —
Bryan: Yeah, it’d be easier.
Matt: — that’s really, if you wanna increase commissions, conversions, commissions, you know, they’re tied together, of course, it really comes down to how warm is your audience and how much are they already in a place where they’re like, “Yes, this is the thing that I need,” and then you just come in and present it to them.
Bryan: And what you’ve described, like it feels like that would work quite well with email and blogging and content marketing. Do some of your other affiliates use Facebook advertising to follow a similar strategy?
Matt: Yeah. With Facebook ads, we really like — the best way we seem to profitably do Facebook ads as an affiliate is retargeting. So, give you an example, like one of the things that we give our audience is a list of everybody who opted in for the free workshop, for example, or we give our affiliates, sorry, you know, let’s say you sent 1,000 people, 1,000 clicks, 500 of them opted in to the free workshop, I will send you that list, you can now upload that as a custom audience on Facebook and target them to buy the product. Well, that’s gonna be a pretty hyper-targeted audience.
Even if you — like if we don’t give them their opt-in list because actually I think in the EU, for example, you’re technically not allowed to do it, even though they opted in, it’s kinda weird but they did an, you know, it’s a whole thing, I won’t get into that, well, you can take the 1,000 people who clicked and upload those as a custom audience. And here’s the thing, anytime you’re targeting an audience of only 500 to a few thousand people on Facebook, the ads are gonna be so targeted and they’re gonna convert so ridiculously well that the clicks are gonna be cheap.
Matt: So, let’s say you’re targeting 500 people, you might only, you know, spend $1 a click and not all 500 of them are gonna click clearly. Let’s say you get 150 clicks, you might convert a third of that traffic or, you know, 15 percent of that traffic. So, for 150 — let’s just use an example like, let’s just say it’s a $1,000 course so a $400 commission and we’ll go low, you might be able to make $5,000 in commission spending $107.
So that’s how we recommend. Can you do it otherwise? Are there other ways to do it? Yeah, absolutely. One of the ways that we, you know, we deal with people who’ve promoted a product in the past, once you get to 100 buyers, now you can create a lookalike audience of those buyers. You gotta get to 100 though. I forget why, I think it might just be like a Facebook requirement, but you need to get to 100 buyers.
Once you have those 100 buyers, you can create a lookalike audience and promote to that lookalike audience. It’s a little hit or miss early on, it requires some tweaking, but that’s worked very well. You know, the key is you gotta do this profitably. Like, yeah, I can go make a lot of sales, so I’ll just spend a lot of money. But if you wanna do it profitably, it’s all about the right audience.
Bryan: So we’re almost out of time, Matt, can you tell us a bit about the book and when it’s out?
Matt: Yeah, so when it’ll be out? I don’t know. You know, we’re going traditional publishing. It could be as soon as July of 2022, which, gosh, it’s so far from now. I’m an entrepreneur, I move fast, like it is so — wow, the publishing industry is so antiquated, right? Except for the company that’s gonna publish our book, you guys are amazing. Whoever you are. Our agent’s working on that right now, like we’re so close, like, oh, it’s so close. Yeah, the book is called The Passion to Profit Path, we think.
There’s always a chance that the publisher will change that so I don’t even know what color the, you know, the cover is gonna be or anything right now or even the title.
Bryan: What was your reason for going for traditional publishing for the book over self-publishing?
Matt: Yeah. For us, it was less about profit and less about speed, more about, you know, the fact that we have the firepower with the affiliate partners, again, that’s one of the advantages to having great affiliates, we got some amazing people lined up to promote the book and we’re confident that we can make, you know, if not New York Times, we can definitely make Wall Street Journal and USA Today, possibly, you know, get up there — I mean, number one kinda depends on who else launches that week, right?
But, definitely, you know, top 2, top 3, top 4, and there’s a certain amount of — I mean, admittedly, it sounds kind of selfish, there’s a certain amount of prestige that goes with that and that opens doors that you can’t otherwise open self-publishing, you know? That’s just the — that’s the way of the world. Does it mean you can’t make the list if you self-publish? Of course not. Is it harder? Substantially, you know? The other thing is, to be quite honest, I wanna walk into Barnes and Noble and take a picture.
Bryan: That’s a good — that’s a valid reason.
Matt: And I’d rather make less money. It’s not about the advance. I mean, we’ll get a decent advance but, quite frankly, I don’t give a crap about that. I really wanna be able to walk into Barnes and Noble and other bookstores and be like, “Cool,” you know?
Bryan: “That’s my book.”
Matt: Yeah, I mean, you know what, that’s what I wanna do and it’s like there’s no right or wrong answer. If you wanna self publish, I love self-publishing. One of my best friends in the world is Chandler Bolt, who runs Self-Publishing School, and I think it’s great. It’s just not for me on this book or probably the next, you know, two.
And then there’s always the opportunity, like Michael Hyatt’s done, to then self publish books, you know, on specific topics. He’s releasing these like shorter books, you know, 125, 150 pages on very specific topics that he’s self-publishing and making a ton of money on just the book. That’s an option down the road after you’ve had like that recognition to be like, “Hey, Wall Street Journal bestseller,” you know?
That changes things when you self-publish down the road. So, yeah, it’s called The Passion to Profit Path and it’s all about the 10 steps to take your passion, which is, you know, your idea, your message, your voice, the thing that you’ve been called to share with the world, and ultimately turn it into a profitable business and, newsflash, heads-up, step nine is all about monetizing, and guess what we talk a lot about? Affiliate marketing. So everything we talked about today, Bryan, like I go super in-depth. Not surprisingly, it is the longest chapter in the book by about a factor of two —
Matt: — ’cause I have a lot to share on affiliate marketing so that’s what it’s about. We’ll see what — I’d give you a URL but I don’t even know if that’s gonna be the title of the book yet so we’ll see,
Bryan: I look forward to reading it, but July is quite a while away so —
Matt: Oh, it could be even longer. Could be like November.
Bryan: Yeah, it could be longer so, I mean, we’ll have to wait, but where can people find more information about you or your work before then?
Matt: Yeah, here’s where I’ll point people. If you’re interested in starting affiliate marketing, like you’re like, “I don’t know the first thing about affiliates. I don’t even know where to,” you know, we kinda covered a little bit about where to start, but like, “I just need to know what’s step 1, step 2, step 3,” if you just go to mattmcwilliams.com/quickstart, I will give you our quick start guide. It’s gonna walk you through how to find affiliate programs, how to reach out to prospective affiliate programs, what to do even if you’re declined, because that will happen from time to time when you’re new, and how to actually get accepted, and then how to start your first affiliate promotion. So, it’ll walk you through step by step how to do that.
Bryan: That’s great, Matt. Thank you.
Matt: Thank you, Bryan.
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