How to Increase Revenue Even If You Don’t Have Your Own Products

  • July 10, 2012 by Guest Writer
  • 19 Comments

This is a guest post by Anne Samoilov.

Your audience sees you as the go-to person in your industry.

But then the questions and requests start coming in for additional training and products.

It’s a good problem to have – people telling you what they want… but it also points out some weaknesses that could be your downfall if you don’t address them.

You realize you’ve got some holes to fill – that your curriculum isn’t complete.

You don’t want your customers to go somewhere else, right?

But – you also know you don’t have the bandwidth to create comprehensive products overnight…

So what CAN you do to make sure that your customers stay engaged in what you do and keep coming back for more?

Find strategic partners or peers who offer products that fill those holes.

Build Out Product Curriculum The Right Way

What I’m about to share is essentially an affiliate marketing strategy taken a step further then most people do.

I’m sure you’ve seen people with the “products I love” or “recommended resources” banners in their blog or website sidebar.  That’s all well and good to promote work that you think is good, but it’s also important to use those choices and recommendations as a way to build up your own offerings.

Instead of just choosing products on the topic that people are asking for – make sure that the products speak to your audience’s problems and mesh well with your current offerings.

Make sure that the teachers of these products are also a good match and will speak to your customers in the similar way you do.  If you are known for your zen-like, calming, nurturing vibe, don’t choose an over the top, tough as nails teacher/product to add to your curriculum.

The Affiliate Curriculum In Action

Let me share what we did at LKR using this strategy – and it’s been working really well.

We had a LinkedIn product and Youtube/Video marketing product on the books for 2011.

But time and resources didn’t pan out.

Our other larger, more lucrative products took precedence.  There’s only so many hours in a day.

We did a joint webinar with Lewis Howes on his LinkedInfluence product.   LKR’s audience LOVED him – so it made complete sense for us to continue promoting his product beyond that webinar.  Laura is also friends with Lewis, so the fit didn’t seem contrived or ingenuous.  I’d even been through the program myself.  It was a good fit all around. No brainer.

So – we put his product LinkedInfluence on the LKR shop page – and it began selling as well as our other products at the same level.

A few months later, we decided to do the same thing with James Wedmore’s Video Traffic Academy.  Our audience wanted training on making videos, we answered and gave them what they wanted without lifting a finger!

To get maximum return on affiliate products added to your offerings be picky.

Be Picky:

  • Try to be really picky when you promote other people’s stuff.  If you are building your own business, you don’t want to depend on affiliate commissions forever. Choose products that provide training that’s either the step before or after one of your current programs.

Bottom line: Ask yourself what type of training your customers need before and after something you’ve already created.

Make The Products Visible + Take Ownership:

  • Include the products in your email promotions and newsletter sidebar
  • Write blog posts and create resource pages on your site about the topic to bolster the connection and build trust and strengthen the perceived partnership with the person/product.

Bottom line: treat them like any other product on your shop page – just one where you don’t have to manage a second of customer service or technical support!

Integrate Your Own Product:

  • You may still have an idea for a product about the topic, don’t let it drop because you’re offering this other one.
  • Think of add-ons to the product you can create or offer an existing product as a combo package for people who purchase the partner product.

Bottom line: Find ways to build on what’s already there in the product you are promoting.

Take The Commitment Seriously:

  • Use the tried and true affiliate marketing strategies you’ve seen others use well — create a review page talking about the product, a link in a blog post about the product, a series of emails during a launch to promote a product.
  • When you add a product to your shop page – it’s a commitment. It’s bigger than just promoting it once during a launch or when there’s a special promo or push.
  • Make sure to stay in touch for any re-launches they do of the program, so you can be part of it with new webinars or other types of promotions they run.

How Do You Gracefully Take The Product Out Of Your Curriculum?

If you’re putting the product on your products page as a placeholder for a future offering you will create, make sure it’s really clear with the partner.

Make sure you don’t ruin your partner-relationship before it starts.

Tell them that you are planning to create a program on the topic sometime in the future, but you believe their current product is already fleshed out, ready to go, and perfect for your audience.

Can You Build a Curriculum Completely with OTHER People’s Products?

Surprise! Yes you can.  You shouldn’t do this for long if your plan is to develop your own products, but there’s nothing wrong with making your paid offerings, other people’s products at first.

Ideally, you’d want to start with at least some type of offering – even if it’s free  - that is your own.

Take Action Now

Identify 1 product or program that you need in your product offerings.

If you don’t have the time to create it in the next 6 months, start looking for something that fills the hole now!

Contact the product creator or distributor and let them know what you’d like to do.  If it’s a clickbank product, you can probably just do it without permission, but it’s also a nice gesture and good idea to let someone know you’re doing it.

***

Leave a comment below if you have a few products filling out your own lineup.  What criteria did you use to put them in those coveted spots?

Guest article by Anne Samoilov of AnneSamoilov.com, creator of Fearless Launching and Director of Operations at LKR. Follow her on Twitter: @annesamoilov.


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John Lee Dumas July 10, 2012 at 6:07 am

Hi Anne!
Great article, and timely for me :-) I know there is a balance between waiting too long to have a complete platform and launching too early with nothing. This strategy allows people like myself to fill the holes with quality content and get their launch off the ground and out into the world. Thanks again and I have Laura scheduled as one of my “Power 20″ podcast interviews coming up this September. Can’t wait to promote the LKR team!

Anne July 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

Excellent and you’re very welcome. I’m very proud of the work we do at LKR…and that I’ve been part of its growth for the past 2 years. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Blair de Jong July 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

Anne

Nice article!

Never thought of using affiliate marketing as a bridge or lead in to building and launching your own products before. This is a great blueprint to follow to getting a product off the ground and out to the masses.

Looking forward to applying this strategy to my own blog launch.

B

Natalie July 10, 2012 at 8:10 am

Definitely a great post and I agree wholeheartedly as I’ve seen great results doing this myself.

There are some excellent products out there that there is no need for me to recreate when I can promote theirs instead as they align with my audience and will offer huge value.

It’s also a very lucrative revenue stream when you take time to work with the right partners as you say

Natalie Sisson July 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

Anne it was great to get to meet you briefly and I know that the team at LKR have done a great job of leveraging affiliate partners. I’ve really enjoyed watching this grows as a lucrative revenue stream for my business too without initially focusing on it much.

I love to bring in experts, tools and resources that complement my own offerings and don’t see much point in recreating the wheel if someone has an excellent offering out there that fills the gap. I have a Sculpted Social Media program but don’t cover blogging in it as it’s a huge topic unto to itself, and I think Corbett’s got a great product that covers it better than I could so I’m happy to be an advocate and promote his to my audience.

And you’re right it’s about choosing your partners wisely and valuing their integrity over making money. If you choose the right partners their products will do the work!

Anne July 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

Natalie – It was also great finally meeting you!

The main thing I like about this strategy is that you don’t simply choose products you like, you look at how it fits in with your business, your current offerings, what your customers need.

So often people get annoyed by affiliate offers – this usually happens when the product doesn’t quite match the audience. I find this a much more elegant method of affiliate marketing…and am already working on my own curriculum. So glad it’s been working well for you too!

Thanks for stopping by – and I’m sure we’ll cross paths again soon!

Brock Taylor July 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

Hey Anne,

Great article!

I haven’t created any of my own products yet, but I’m in the planning phase of starting my first. The affiliate strategy to fill the gaps is awesome, and I hadn’t ever really thought of it that way.

I’ve experienced some apprehensiveness to build products, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that I feel like I have some deficits in my knowledge, but this strategy can help to fill those gaps while I keep polishing my own skills.

I appreciate the tips, thanks!

Brock

Anne July 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I think many people feel the same way before they put out their first product – don’t let the affiliate products stop you from creating! Keep it simple…but continue building your own programs. Thanks for dropping by – and keep us posted!

Carrie Smith July 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

This is a great piece of advice! I’ve been fumbling around for several months now, wondering how I can increase my affiliate sales or if I should start my own “curriculum” of digital products. So this post is right on time! I think it’s a great strategy and plan to implement it right now. It’s a smart way to test out my marketing skills in the event I want to start my own line of products. Thanks for sharing your advice Anne!

Anne July 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I especially like the idea of creating your ideal curriculum of products you want to create – and then choosing affiliate products to supplement your own. As you create your own products, you’ll be able to slowly 1 by 1 remove those products (or keep them if your audience is loving them!).

Sheyi | Ivblogger.com July 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

These days, I read blogs where the owner promotes different kinds of product that does not even apply to their audience IMHO.

Great article and i wish those guys can read this.

Sheyi

Jamie Alexander July 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

I think this can be very beneficial for businesses. I’m doing the exact same on my blog at the moment. In fact, I don’t even have my own product. There isn’t too much been researched into my niche and I find lots of the same advice everywhere. For that reason I have to spend maybe the next year coming up with something that’s different. I’m just glad I have something good to promote or I’d be in for a long wait to taste freedom.

Sandy July 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Excellent advice! I recently just started promoting affilliates after constantly being asked what product I was using for recording videos. Lightbulb moment! Might as well make a few dollars if I’m going to tell everyone about it..and so much easier to blog about it and share it that way then repeating myself all the time :)

Ayaz July 11, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hi Anne! Great post and worthy advice and I was looking for something like this. I have a question about the launching of the product if I am working on the product and I mentioned the expected date on the site but somehow couldn’t get the product up, will that effect my reputation or ?

Though thanks again for sharing great post :-)

Anne July 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Believe it or not – my opinion (and how we’ve handled it at LKR)… just change the date. Don’t worry about – and if someone gets annoyed, just tell them you want to make the program even better!

Generally – you don’t have to say a thing. Just change the date!

Jeannie Spiro July 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Anne,
Excellent post and advice. I noticed LKR’s strategy and thought it was an interesting approach. Since most of my clients are new in business they don’t have products of their own and they don’t have a strategy to incorporate other complimentary services. Great ideas.
Thanks,
Jeannie

Darlene July 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I just have one question – what’s LKR?

IGBALAYE OLAYEMI July 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Am impress with the post, so simple, unique and powerful points. thanks for sharing.

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