What you need to ask before partnering up with an affiliate company…

As I continue my journey building my own affiliate marketing business, I have to admit that it’s been quite a learning experience.

Despite having a fantastic business background and working with some of the best business systems a multibillion dollar company could provide, I was totally lost about how to use the internet to generate real income.  Let alone, to think of surpassing the salary, bonuses and perks I worked hard to achieve over the course of my career.

This sounds silly, but my confidence to grow an online business was about a 1 on a scale of 1-10. I wasn’t a fan of social media and not only did I not understand it, I did not want to understand it.  For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why would anyone want to know what I ate for breakfast?

So, when I entered the world of online marketing, I was lucky that the initial and most important part of starting an affiliate marketing business was already done for me when my wife and partner started her own business and chose her first affiliate partner.  To quote an “Indiana Jones” movie, she “chose wisely.”

I learned from experience the tools made available to affiliates are incredibly important if they are to be successful marketers and make sales.  Let me be clear about this.  I am talking about people like me who had little or no experience with affiliate marketing.  Honestly I had no idea what systems and steps I would have to learn or what basic software tools I needed to purchase just to get started.

As I did research and tried to wade through all of the information and misinformation on the internet, I did learn one thing.  If I jumped in without a system, I could and probably would lose a lot of money making costly mistakes.  Why?  From personal experience all top companies provide their leaders with operational manuals and require constant coaching that when followed ensures a profitable and predictable outcome.  They also require ongoing training, goal setting and accountability to maintain peak performance.  In other words, everyone follow the same “success” path.

Does this guarantee success?  Absolutely not.  Success is no more guaranteed in this venture than working as an employee in any type of business because people are unique and each person’s work ethic is different.

Now, if you have decided to move forward entering your first affiliate relationship, how do you decide what company is the best one that will help you reach your goals?

For our purposes, let’s assume you have already figured out who your ideal customer is and that you know what they want.  If your still not sure, see my earlier post about your “avatars” to find your ideal customer.  Let’s also assume that you have a clear financial goal in mind and understand that there will be extra costs involved and you have already looked at different products.

Instead of listing the countless affiliate programs available, I going to point out some questions I would ask that will increase your ability to be successful achieving personal and business goals.

  • How much is the initial training and what does it cover?
  • If I want to grow my business and earnings does the company have a track record and training program to help me achieve my plan?
  • Is their training geared only for the specific company or will it help me to work with multiple companies to develop multiple streams of income?
  • What additional types of training do you offer?
  • How much will it cost to gain your licensing rights?
  • What tools do you provide that will help to make sales and what do I need to purchase on my own and have in place before I can start earning?
  • Do you have different levels of live events that will appeal to entry level people all the way up to your highest earners?
  • Are the products you offer physical or digital and do I have to be responsible for handling, shipping, collections, and returns?

Not enough questions?  Here are a few more to think about, especially for someone new when considering any business venture

  • How successful is the company you want to partner with?
  • Do they provide many of the necessary tools that you will need to conduct daily business?
  • Does the company understand that their growth is dependent on their affiliates and treat them accordingly with financial rewards and recognition?
  • Does the company provide value driven sales training right from the very beginning that is constantly updated and ongoing?
  • Is the company committed to constant training for its veteran marketers to meet their needs as they scale their business?
  • Does the company and its affiliates partners promote an active community offering help and support? Are members of the company hierarchy actively involved and responsive in the groups?
  • Does the company have ready-made quality tools for affiliates like funnels, emails, and other follow up necessities?
  • What types of products are offered to sell and does the company have different tiers (levels) of products?
  • Will the company take over the actual selling to the customer or does the affiliate have to assume the role of telemarketer and to make the sale?
  • Does the company offer passive commission?

One statement of caution, when doing your research on a company:  Do your research from many different angles and understand that all “reviews” will contain positive and negative opinions.  Look at the good and the bad comments, remember that people who fail rarely take ultimate responsibility.

What I learned in my own business is that deviating from the system model or not following my own mentor’s advice could lead to costly mistakes.  My definition of “costly mistake” goes beyond money, it translates to any action or inaction that slows down my forward momentum.

P.S. Need a place to start? 

Pick up a copy of this book. It’s just $3 and is a great primer on creating an entrepreneurial mindset and making a six-figure income online. ==>  http://it-begins-now.com/wifi-book