While still working as an English teacher, Hailey Friedman launched a successful mobile app, which started her on the journey of growth marketing.
Friedman is now the head of marketing at Improvado, which provides a tool for helping marketers to collect all of their data in one convenient place.
On the podcast, she provides tips on how to set up a successful affiliate program, as well as how to build brands and relationships.
What is an Affiliate Program?
For those who don’t know, an affiliate program is when marketers take advantage of bloggers and influencers who have amassed a dedicated following. By establishing a relationship with these people, you can then leverage it to get your product in front of many eyes.
In fewer words, it’s a way of getting popular media figures to sell your products for you.
Of course, this isn’t a parasitic relationship. In addition to the marketer getting their product in front of a large audience, the influencer gets content, which they can monetize through their audience.
One of the best things about affiliate programs is that the traffic that comes to your website is already primed—the influencer has convinced them of the product’s value, and you, as the marketer, don’t need to push it anymore.
In fact, the numbers back this up. According to Hailey, the average conversation rate of a website visitor is about 1%. But with traffic from influencers, the number is about 4.3%.
How Do You Decide if an Affiliate Program is Good for Your Brand?
First, you need to figure out whether there are any influencers in your space. For example, if your product is picture frame, there might not be a high-profile influencer who specializes in picture frame reviews. For electronics and food, finding a compatible influencer is far more likely.
To help you find out if there are any influencers for your brand, take a look at the search volumes for your product. That will clue you in on how much demand there is for content based on the product. And if there are a lot of searches, they’re probably going to some influencers.
Once you do find some influencers, Hailey suggests not going in cold when contacting them. Instead, a little flattery can help grease the wheels.
In fact, when Hailey was first utilizing affiliate programs, she informed influencers that they were included in a Top 60 blogs list. Grateful for the recognition, the influencers would write back with thanks. This would open the doors to further cooperation.
How Do Write a Top List?
Now, we know how flattered influencers can be by being included on a list of top blogs. But a legitimate “Top Blogs” list requires a fair amount of work.
Hailey suggests using BuzzSumo, which allows you to sift through blogs and influencers with a fair amount of ease. You can also search for specific keywords, which can help narrow your results.
Another program, SEMrush, lets you peek into the blogs’ competitors, site traffic, and Alexa rating, which is another way to sort out the best blogs from the mediocre.
Once you collect all of this data, you can put it into an Excel sheet, at which point you can compare and contrast. If ranking sixty different blogs has got you stressed, they don’t need to be ordered from best to worst. Simply compiling a set number of the best blogs is enough.
What Happens After You’ve Hooked Some Affiliates?
Creating partnerships with influencers is only the first step. After that, you need to maintain your relationships with them, which can require almost as much work as courting them.
One of the most important aspects of managing your affiliate programs is to set up a system where you can track your influencers. This way, you can know how many clicks they’re getting, conversation rates, and the amount of revenue they’re pulling in.
There’s also a program that Hailey used a tool called OmniSTAR, which is a cheap way to upload assets, ads, and press about your company for the influencers to use. Another program Hailey uses is Ambassador, which notifies influencers when someone signs up or when payments go out.
These tools help a lot with managing communication with all the different affiliates, which would otherwise be a herculean task. Of course, there should still be human-to-human interaction, especially when you’re first building the relationship.
Can You Make Sure Your Affiliates are Successful?
Not every affiliate will end up being a good affiliate, but there are ways to help them. Pre-written blog posts, pre-written emails, and pre-written ads have all proven effective in the past.
You’ll also want to make sure to give them press pieces regarding your company. The more information they have, the more they have to work with when making good content. And when they’re making good content, you’re bringing in traffic.
Showing your affiliates other blog posts that are doing well can give them some good ideas when crafting their own content.
When starting out, Hailey contends that it’s incredibly helpful to incentivize your affiliates as early as possible. Maybe pay them a little extra for bringing in a certain amount of conversions in a month.
Where Can You Learn More About Hailey Friedman?
If you’d like to learn more about growth marketing and affiliate programs, check out Hailey’s blog at GrowthMarketingPro.com, where you will also find Hailey and her partner’s new marketing playbook that offers customized solutions for growing your business.