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.
- 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?