Laura Sprinkle is our guest for the 278th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Laura is an affiliate partnerships strategist and has worked with people like Amy Porterfield, Selena Soo, and Todd Herman. Launching can be challenging, but adding an affiliate program could give your launch the eyes it deserves to increase sales and reach.
Laura breaks it down like this:
- Laura’s fascination with the ability to sell what you create.
- Early beginnings as a health coach and how she transitioned to the marketing side of business.
- How she bumped into big names like Selena Soo and Todd Herman – you never know who you know.
- What’s working in the launch space vs what isn’t.
- How to elevate your VIP experience with clients to make deeper connections.
- Why it’s important to focus on prelaunch – and guidelines on how to make it work.
- The differences in each style of launch and knowing which is right for you.
- Deciding what you want to be known for.
- Navigating multiple offers and how to not dilute or confuse your audience.
- The importance of content and media repurposing.
- The benefits of being an affiliate for a program – and how to express that to affiliates.
- How to find good affiliate partners through the rings of recruitment.
- Are affiliate partnerships for first time launchers?
- How to build relationships and network without the aim of just getting something out of it using the 4 wins exercise.
- Affiliate program best practices… and what to avoid.
- How her team is set up to help her attain maximum productivity and function.
- Money mindset – being expensive but worth it.
- How to reframe failure to raise your rates.
Tune into the episode and learn how to implement affiliate marketing into your business.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:
The Copywriter Club In Real Life Event
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Laura’s starter kit
Kira: You know you’ve got a great offer to sell and it’s been proven to do well and get your clients results. But now you’re looking to expand your reach and help even more people. On this episode of The Copywriter Club, podcast, affiliate marketing expert, Laura Sprinkle, joins us to walk through what it takes to create a successful marketing strategy and how to utilize affiliate marketing to get your offer in the hands of other people’s audiences.
Joining me today is a very special guest, Jonnie Stellar. Jonnie is one of the most talented copywriters I have worked with. I’ve worked with Jonnie on many different projects over the years. Jonnie has written copy for TCC. And his most recently worked with a big marketing agency. So, thank you, Jonnie for joining me today and cohosting. I appreciate it.
Jonnie: Absolutely. I’m so excited to have dusted off my podcast mic that I never used. Yeah. It’s such a pleasure to be here again with you, Kira, for the second time I’ve been on the podcast.
Kira: Yes. All right. So, before Jonnie, we jump in, I’m just going to share our sponsor, TCCIRL. This is not anything new. We have our big event coming up. It’s coming up fast. So, we are traveling to Nashville, Tennessee on March 28th through 30th. We’re going to host our event in person after a hiatus and last year going online. And we’re really excited just to see so many writers in one room. We can’t wait. And I could read the promotional blurb in front of me. But I’d rather just ask you, Jonnie, you’ve been to our event. Can you share what stood out the most to you? Why was it worth it for you to be at TCCIRL?
Jonnie: Yeah. I think I believe I’ve been to three TCCIRLs of two for sure. First one was in New York and then the second one was most recently last year in, I’m sorry, in 2021 in San Diego. Sorry, if I’m getting my years mixed up.
Kira: It’s all a blur. It’s all the years are a blur now.
Jonnie: I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels that way. Because it’s definitely been like just such a huge for the past year and a half. So, I’m kind of getting my wires crossed here. But I do know one thing is for sure, something that really stands out. At least the highlight of some of the past couple of my years of life has absolutely been attending TCCIRL.
Everything from walking away with, I mean, stuff you can’t read on the internet, stuff that you can’t learn anywhere else. And then, the connections that you make with the other copywriters as well. I mean the importance of making these connections that could essentially last you a lifetime.
And just as fun. It’s like, it was one of the best. And I’ve been to a lot of copywriter conferences before, by the way, just like marketing conferences. And this stood out for me so much, just because, well, you and Rob were there. And I noted on the podcast forever before I even ever reached out to you. And the way that just the entire event flowed. And you had the best speakers. I mean, even last year, when all the things went down the year before, it was you still had the most incredible speakers that I still follow to this day and that I still get so much value from.
And so, I hope I’m not overselling it. But I definitely think that all of us need to get out of the house and just get your butt to TCCIRL this year.
Kira: Yes. All of us need to get out of the house. I agree with that. So, if you are listening to Jonnie and it sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can find out more information and head over to the copywriterclub.com/TCCIRL-2022, and we will link to it in the show notes. So, let’s jump into the interview with Laura. Okay. So, we’re got to kick off with your story. How did you end up as an affiliate launch strategist? How did you get here where you are today?
Laura: I ended up here well, for a variety of reasons. But I would say that the biggest thing was that I was really, really fascinated with launches and with people getting their ideas out of their head and into the world and the fact that as entrepreneurs, we literally just create things from our minds and then sell them. I just think it’s so fascinating. But before that, I was actually a health coach.
So, I created a program called She’s Got Guts and I had a book, and I was getting it out there, and I made some traction. And I found that when people would ask me about what they should eat and about their health, I really felt uncomfortable answering. I really didn’t care that much, not care that much, but I just was like, you need to figure it out for yourself what you should eat. And when I really, really thought about it, I really enjoyed the putting together of the programs and coming up with the marketing strategies and all of that. I didn’t care as much about how many carbs you should eat and all of that jazz.
So, I went into the marketing side of things. And through that, it was actually Selena Soo. I was working on her launch and she invited me to be her affiliate manager. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew her launch well. I needed money. I was like, “Sure, let’s do it.” And really fell in love with it. So, it was just that divine invitation, I guess, to join this world, and that’s how I got started.
Rob: So, I love that story. I’m curious, what was the She’s Got Guts program? Obviously, there was some of that stuff you didn’t like, but what did it promise? What was the transformation?
Laura: Yeah. It’s so funny. It’s been so many years now. I’m like, “Oh, yeah, what was in that program?” I wrote a book too. I’m like, “What was in that book. I wonder if it’s any good.” But I talked about gut health primarily. And at the same time, I remember my course being nothing about health. It was a lot about getting in touch with your intuition. It was about following your gut.
And it was about how when you dive into your health and when you take care of your belly, which is in the chakras, if you follow chakras at all, but your gut health is really related to your sense of self and your confidence in the world. So, I talked a lot about that as well.
Kira: Okay. I might need the book.
Laura: Here, you think we’re talking about affiliates. So, we’re got to talk about some gut health right now.
Kira: Different direction today. Sorry, Rob for jumping.
Rob: No. I was just got to ask, as you were launching that, were you doing anything specific? Or obviously, this is your first foray into launching a product or whatever, how did that go, what did that look like?
Laura: Yeah. So, I took B-school. And I put together the program. I spent so many hours I remember on the website and creating graphics and the videos and filming and all of that. And then my quote launch was really, I posted a few times on social media. I think I did like a challenge. And I sent some emails to my pretty small audience. Actually, I also ran Facebook ads. I had no idea what I was doing. But I probably spent $1,000 on ads.
And I maybe have 10 people join my program. It was $99. I may be conflating two different versions of this launch. I think I launched it twice. And I say now all the time. If I had known about affiliates, if I had known that partnerships was a thing, I would probably still be doing that because it would have just worked a lot better than what I actually did.
Kira: And I know you mentioned, you met Selena Soo and kind of got started with her. I know, you’ve also worked with other big names in our space, Amy Porterfield, Todd Herman. Can you just share how did you end up bumping into Selena? And because it’s a big client, big name, and so, could you reverse engineer that for anyone listening?
Laura: Yeah, definitely. So, the way I got connected to Selena was I joined Todd Herman’s 90-day year program. And at the time, I was having a lot more time on my hands than money, I would say. And I spent a lot of time in that community, in that Facebook community. So, I was like, “Let’s connect with everyone.” I hopped on coffee chats every single day with a lot of people in that community.
And this was just something I didn’t know that it was a “strategic” thing to do. Now, I recommend that everybody do this, but at the time I just have a lot of time on my hands. I was trying to network and meet people and get excited about business.
And in one of those conversations, I met somebody. She was actually in the Philippines and she was a virtual assistant. And I was saying like, “Oh, I want to talk about launch strategy with people.” It’s kind of saying I was a launch strategist. I had a little bit of experience in that area. She saw a Selena post in Quemera Luna’s Facebook group that she was looking for a launch manager because her launch manager had just quit and her launch was coming up. And she thought of our conversation. She tagged me in the post, and I was like, “Sure. I’ll throw my hat in the ring.”
So, really, it was like just the dots connecting to the dots connecting to the dots and I applied. I’d say it was really talking about my ass, but I was full of confidence and I went for it and got the gig and that’s we connected.
Rob: Yeah. I mean, it’s so interesting that there’s so many connections like that that happen. I kind of want to deconstruct that process though. As you’re reaching out to people in the group, it’s not like you were pitching anything. You were just trying to create friendships, or were you doing more than that?
Laura: Yeah. I remember, actually, I found this recently, the post that I put out there to get on these calls was something like … Because I had a couple of clients, I was kind of working with them one-on-one behind the scenes to help their launches. And they were clients that were local friends of mine here in Maine that had online businesses.
And so, I put something out there that was like, “Hey, I have these clients that I’m working with. And I’m hoping to get some more in the launch space. And they need support in these areas.” I was like, “They need support with copywriting. They need support with web design and web development and business management.” I don’t remember exactly what the categories were I put out there.
So, I would love to connect with people who I could potentially refer. And I had no idea that this was a good thing to do. It just felt right. And so, that’s what I was saying is like, “Hey, let’s just be friends. And maybe I can send you some clients” is how I did that.
Kira: I’d love to talk about launches. And you’re someone who’s working with clients in the space. You’re launching your own products and programs. Can you share a little bit about what is happening today? What’s working in the launch space? Also, maybe what’s not working in the launch space?
Laura: Yeah. So, I’m excited to talk about this too because I for a while stopped working behind the scenes with clients and I ran my own launches. So, I could tell you what worked and what didn’t there. But now, I’m also back in the fray working one-on-one behind the scenes. And I would say that one thing that I’ve seen is working is just anything that people can do to create that experience of a one-on-one connection with people. So, even though you may be talking to a lot of people, can you give them that experience of being that VIP person? Can you do a personal video? Can you connect with them?
I would say that anything with videos and interaction and really getting to know you is working a lot better I’ve seen. Long gone are the days I found where you could do a webinar and hide behind your slides the whole time and not show your face. And so, is there anything that’s like a bit more personal, it’s definitely, definitely working.
Rob: Can we take a step back and maybe just define what a launch is? Because it strikes me that a launch could be thought of as I wrote an eBook, and I’m sending three emails to my list, and I’m launching it. And it’s maybe that small, versus some of the launches that we see with dozens or maybe even more than dozens of emails, webinars, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, maybe even reels and videos. Talk to us a little bit about or maybe let’s just kind of define a few different kinds of launches that we might be thinking about for our products or our clients?
Laura: Yeah. I love that you brought that up because there are so many different kinds. Like you said, if you’re doing an eBook, you might send a few emails. So, Chantelle Adams is a good friend of mine. And we’ve watched something together. And the way that we launched it was she posted one post on Facebook. I posted one post on Facebook. I sent one email to my list and we completely sold out in that “launch.”
So, I really define a launch as just getting the word out about your products, programs and services in a certain time period, like a marketing event. And so, it could be as simple as that or it could be as complex as what you’re talking about. There’s a three-part video series, and then there’s a webinar or there’s a challenge and it’s a month long.
And to kind of go back to what Kira was asking. The other thing I’ve seen that works well no matter what kind of a launch you’re doing, the reason that my launch with Chantelle we did two posts on Facebook and one email, the reason that that worked or the reason that the big launches work is everything that happens before the launch.
Like what kind of relationship do you have with your audience or does your partners have what their audiences? Do they know you as selling that thing, like having that trust built in and them knowing like, “Oh, this person gets results in this area?” I think people talk about it a lot, like the “prelaunch runway,” but it’s so underutilized. And again, the reason that we were able to “sell out” in a couple of posts is because everybody knew, oh, Laura and Chantelle. They work on launches. They get results. And it’s because of all the years that we were talking about it and putting the work in.
Kira: Yeah. Let’s dig deeper into that. Because I hear what you’re saying, the power really happens. Before the launch, and sometimes it’s years of time you’ve invested into your business and building your brand. But for anyone who’s newer to the launch space, maybe they’ve launched once or twice, maybe not at all, what should they think about before the launch? What should they do before the launch?
Laura: I would say someone asked me this this morning, even. So, it’s definitely can be an iterative process. And as you heard, I was doing lunches that were about gut health. And now I talk about affiliate programs. But even with that iteration, you learn every single time, so I’m going a little off topic there. But I would say that you should think about what do you want to be known for and just start talking about it as much as possible. So, whether that is on social media, whether that is in coffee chats, where you’re talking to people that are related to your topic.
So, if you want to be known in copywriting, there’s a lot of different kinds of categories that are complementary to copywriting that you can start having coffee chats with those people. And so, when I say the relationships, it could be a one-on-one relationship, like a coffee chat. And it could also be a one-to-many relationship, like with social media. And so, I think that both are possible.
And I would start doing that now, even if you may change your mind later. I have some people that work with me now that actually joined my audience when I was talking about gut health. So, I don’t think that you’re going to be pigeonholed into one thing, either.
Rob: So, Laura, follow-up question then on that, what is the bare minimum on prelaunch? Is it one or two little things or how do you game plan it out that’s really effective? And I’m asking this, because we launched a couple times a year. Up until this last time we launched, we hadn’t really given a lot of thought to prelaunch and talking things up. But we discovered in doing it, even just taking a week or two to talk more about the program that we launched, we sold out to half of the seats to our warm list before we even started advertising.
And so, I’m just wondering, like, “Okay, well, if we’d done that for four weeks or six months, what would the impact be?” So, what are some maybe guidelines around prelaunch?
Laura: I love that, that you did it and you have this tangible difference between when you didn’t do it versus when you did do it. That’s really, really cool. And as far as guidelines, kind of as much as you can, but I do recommend to people who come through my programs to block off maybe four weeks of prelaunch content. I have two things here.
And so, one, in those four weeks, you don’t only have to talk about your program, but if you have different types of offers, maybe you’re transitioning into talking more about things that are aligned with that program. And the other side of this is, even though maybe in previous launches, you’re launching twice a year, you didn’t have like a really thought out and planned prelaunch one. The fact is that you’re always talking about copywriting and being a copywriter, and you’re talking about what you’re good at in the world, like you’re out there, and people know you for that.
So, I don’t think that people necessarily need to overthink it either, just be talking about your topics on a regular basis. And if you want to get structured, aim for two to four weeks ahead of when you’re going to launch something to really focus on reconnecting with your audience on that topic.
Kira: Can you talk a little bit more about that, just because again, we’re about to jump into our prelaunch content for our accelerator program. And as I was laying out the promo calendar, I was trying to think through the best way to lay out this prelaunch content for the accelerator with our other offers, because we don’t want to just drop everything else we’re doing and we can’t do that. So, what’s the right way to approach prelaunch mixed in with your other offers so that you don’t dilute the message and confuse people?
Laura: Totally. So, the things that I like to think about when I’m coming up with any kind of content, but especially prelaunch is really that story arc of where people are before they’re going to join where people are going to be after they go through your program, and to start planting those seeds with things like testimonials or case stories from your students or clients, or whatever you call the people who join you in your programs. And so, starting to talk about their journeys, even while ahead of time, addressing some of the questions that people might have even before they’re coming in.
So, it may not be like our accelerator is opening on this day, but you could have that kind of content too, which will be more directly related to the accelerator. But it could be what do people need before they join the accelerator and addressing those needs and concerns ahead of when you’re going to talk about it. Does that make sense?
Rob: Yeah. No, it definitely makes sense. As we think about this, are there media that is particularly good for say, prelaunch content versus launch content or is it all the same? Should we be engaged more on Instagram and then the launch happens in an email or a significant part of the launch maybe happens in videos or webinar? Or I am just trying to wrap my brain around all of the ways that we can get that message in front of the right people so that when it is time for a launch and I guess all copywriters might be thinking about this for anything that they’re helping to launch too, what’s the best media for that?
Laura: So, I’d say a couple of things. You would want to have your prelaunch content potentially be in more places. But if you’re going to have prelaunch content on Instagram, then you also want to have your launch content on Instagram because they’re already following you on Instagram. But I would say, wherever you’re already interacting with people is the best place to do it.
And I was on a call recently with Dan Fleischman, who is a social media wizard. I don’t know if you all know him. And he was talking about the fact that like, he’s just got epic social media reach. And he posts the exact same content on every single platform within five minutes of every single post. And I’ve watched him to see like, “Hey, is he actually doing what he said he does.” And he does that. So, you’re already creating content, just repurpose and post it everywhere. Don’t overthink it. And then, wherever people find you is going to be a beautiful place for them to find you in your work.
Kira: Let’s talk about the launch and affiliate launches. And so, can we define what that is, what is an affiliate launch? And then why is this important for us to think about?
Laura: Yeah. So, obviously, this is my favorite part of a launch is getting other people to promote your offers. If I had done this with, She’s Got Guts, I wouldn’t have wasted money on those ads. And I would have had a larger audience to really promote that, too, at the beginning, instead of my tiny email list, which was amazing. And obviously, the more people that you’re able to reach, the better.
So, I love borrowing other people’s “audiences” through partnerships. And people can do this even if they’re just getting started. So, even if you are hopping on a coffee chat with somebody in a complementary field, you can be referral partners for each other.
And if you are doing a launch, so you’re doing posting on Facebook, you’re doing a webinar, you’re doing a challenge, you are doing a video series, some sort of timely marketing event, you can invite partners, affiliate partners on board to also promote that marketing event. And they will get a commission. So, they’ll get a percentage of all of the sales that they send your way. And so, it’s a win for them. They get more money. They don’t even have to create the product. They have already built up trust with their audience. It’s a win for their audience to find out about you and your incredible work, and something that’s going to help them.
Obviously, everybody listening, you have something amazing to offer to the world and the more people that have it, the better. It’s a win for you because you’re getting in front of more people, without needing to pay Facebook ads or spend a ton of time creating new audiences on social media and email.
And I really do believe it’s a win for the world. And I also view it as this beautiful wealth redistribution instead of paying Google and Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to get in front of more people. We’re here to pay people that we care about, that we share values with. So, I could talk about that for a long time. But that is what an affiliate launch is and why it’s amazing.
Rob: So yeah, let’s talk about that for a long time. Let’s say that I’ve got a client who’s launching for the first time and obviously want to help make this the best launch ever. A lot of copywriters would think, well, maybe this isn’t part of being a copywriter, but I like to think I’m helping my client solve the problem. So, how could I advise them to identify good affiliate partners for their launch? Where would they start?
Laura: Yeah. So, I take people through something called the rings of recruitment. And essentially, you’d want to think of yourself in the middle of concentric circle. So, you’re in the middle, and that first, ring, ring one, are the people that are closest to you already. So, they may have taken your programs. They may already be referring people to you. They know, like and trust you. You know, like and trust them. And that’s a great pool of people to get started with. You can test things out. They have your back. They already love what you’re doing. And they may be sharing it already with people. So, it always starts there.
The second ring are colleagues, maybe you know them from an event that you went to, or in a Facebook group, like I met all those people, in Todd Herman’s Facebook group. So, they know a little bit more about you, but you want to just set the tone and create a really generous and giving relationship first. So, look at what are ways that I can support them? What are they interested in? Do they even have an audience that is right for my offer? And start the conversation that way.
And then out from there, I do want you to think about what are the categories, I keep talking about these categories, but they’re really important of people that serve the audience that I want to serve in a complementary or different way.
So, if I am teaching people how to create affiliate programs, my first choice and partners are not going to be people who also teach people how to create affiliate programs. They’re going to be people that teach my clients different things. So, they might be teaching them how to start their business, copywriting, web design. They’re kind of the same things that I talked about earlier. So, I want you to make a list of those things.
What are your customers and clients buying from other people already? What do they need before they come to you? For me, people need to have a product, they need to have a program. So, people who teach those things are great partners. What do they need after they work with you? I love to say that after people work with me, they have so much money that they need a better financial accountant. So, those might be good partners. And then what do people need at the same time as working with you? So that can help.
Kira: All right. We’re just breaking in here to chat about a few things that stood out. So, Jonnie, what really resonated with you from this part of the conversation?
Jonnie: The first thing that stood out to me for with this was her confidence. She just went for it. And for the introverts out there, you put a lot of pressure on going out there and networking with people. And I have to say the right thing and I have to make sure I have all my information at hand. When in reality, it seems like a very organic process for her.
She didn’t overthink it. She went out there and she used the resources she had around her and was kind of just connecting with the people that she was already in a space with. So, there doesn’t have to be a lot of pre-thinking or conspiring to network with people. It’s really just a matter of getting out there and going with what you know already. So, I really admired that about her.
Kira: Yeah. She mentioned the one-on-one chats. I think she said I had more time back then to book those calls, those one-on-one calls and really to show up in Todd Herman’s group and that showing up and solving problems in public and helping people really paid off and helped her form those connections.
So, that could be something, especially if you’re just getting started and you feel like you don’t have all those connections yet, those one-on-one chats. We’ve talked about many times, but those one-on-one chats can be so powerful. And it could just be 15 minutes, 20 minutes, you’re not asking too much from either party on either side. But that’s really such a great powerful way of building a business.
And you’re right to it. It sounds so simple when she talks through it. Like I just met these people and then we started working together. And I think business can be simple if we don’t overcomplicate it with our own head trash, because it is all about relationships and relationship building and we just managed to get in our own way most of the time.
So, Jonnie, what helps you get out of your own way? Are there any, I’m not got to say mindset hacks, but what helps you, what works for you when you feel like you’re getting in your own way and maybe not doing the simple things like join me on one-on-one chat with someone that could be useful friend?
Jonnie: I would say, and stop me if this isn’t where we’re going with this, but just putting a lot of pressure on myself to deliver. Let’s say that we’re on a sales call and you just think about selling, that you’re closing the deal. And so, you’re just consumed by that thought. And that’s where it puts a lot of pressure on you to maybe things that you didn’t mean to say come out and words get scrambled, and you stutter. Whereas if you look at it from you’re on that sales call because you just want to provide genuine value and really help this person out.
And I believe that’s something I learned from you and Rob forever ago, is just take that pressure off of just sell, sell, sell, and look at yourself more as a consultant in that you’re genuinely there to help that person. So, that’s kind of like a mindset, I guess, trick that I use is really reframing what I’m doing as not a performance and just doing it to genuinely help. That way, I stop overthinking. And then things just come out organically because I love to help people.
Kira: Yeah. No, that’s such a great reframe. And you’re right, it makes sales calls easier because it’s a lot easier to show up to a call and just be like, “You’re here, I’m here. We may end up working together if this clicks and is the right fit for both of us. But in the meantime, I just want to help you. We’ve booked the time already. We’re both in Zoom together. So, how can I just be really useful to you in this time together.”
And just showing up that way on a sales call or just what Laura was talking about with one-on-one coffee chats, it does take the pressure off. And then all of a sudden, you’re not worried about selling, you’re just trying to be more human and make a connection. And then that’s when you actually are able to sell or you get a referral, or you make some connection and talk about some type of collaboration because you take that pressure off. So, I really resonate with that reframe. Yeah. That works for me. So, anything else that stood out to you, as you were listening to this part of the conversation?
Jonnie: Yeah. I really think that launches can be a little crazy as we all know and actually getting into the content of launches. I love how Laura actually really emphasized that making mistakes during the launch process is normal. She normalized those mistakes. In fact, they’re good to reflect on. And the launch process and launching is an iterative process. It’s you’re not going to nail it the first time. And I think for people who are perfectionists might be a little intimidated by just putting something out there.
But in reality, it’s like the sooner you put something out there and launch and just go for it, the quicker you’re going to get some data, some data to improve maybe the next round of launch. So, I really love that she is emphasizing and really highlighting that you have to learn from your mistakes. Just make sure you document the process and log that data, and really have that retrospective slash postmortem or a launch diary to build on and maximize those takeaways. So, you just keep improving and keep building on what’s working and cut the stuff out that doesn’t.
Kira: Yeah. And with your work with different clients on anything launch related, is there something that you’ve done differently or you’ve done that surprised you and actually ended up working really well, even though you weren’t expecting it?
Jonnie: I think that just being real with my copy, it’s really easy to overthink using the right words. But a little bit before right when the pandemic hit, it was like 2020, I believe it was you and I working on launch copy for someone. And we were real about it. We were real about what was going on. We didn’t capitalize on and what was going on. But we absolutely were just like, “Hey, this is a curveball year, but don’t let it own you, and just being really raw with talking to people like you’re talking one-on-one with a person.” It works way better when it just comes out so naturally, versus so scripted.
And kind of tying back into, I love Laura’s point about humanizing and personalizing your outreach to your list or to even potential clients to make a video, recorded video. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that work and I know for a fact it does. I’ve seen it work. And now more than ever, and as more copywriters kind of flood into this space, you’re really going to get that leg up by personalizing and adding that special human to human touch to your communications.
Kira: Yeah. And I’m glad she shared that too that that seems like that a shift in the launch space is just personalizing it. And we’ve seen it with our own launches where we were launching our accelerator several times. And only recently, we started to add more personalization by inviting people to jump on a sales call, really, essentially to just chat through like, “Hey, if you’re interested in the program, but you’re not quite ready to jump in, why don’t we just chat through it.”
And that’s something that I feel like when you just start launching, you’re almost taught not to do that because we’re just thinking go big, and just send the emails and scale everything. And you shouldn’t actually be doing anything that’s personalized or one-on-one. But it goes a long way. And people really appreciate that.
And it’s also wonderful because you end up attracting the right people to your program or whatever your offer is. And then you also gather really valuable data as far as you’re having one-on-one conversations. Or maybe you’re reaching out to people in sending videos and you hear back from him, and they send a video back to you.
That’s really helpful to get insights that you may not get otherwise and clicked otherwise if you don’t take those steps to reach out to individuals and really get in there and understand what your audience is dealing with, what they’re looking for, what hesitations they have. So, I’m glad that more and more launches are leaning in that direction. It seems like it’s not going to go away anytime soon.
Jonnie: Yeah, I agree. If you’re launching to a whole bunch of people or a large list, you may not be able to customize the video for every single person. So, I just wanted to say just kind of insert the disclaimer that it might work for your more engaged leads or your hotlist or whatever, just sending those five to 10 videos of no longer than 60 seconds to minute and a half and actually using their name and inserting their name in order or even drawing it on or writing it on back on a whiteboard behind you is going to go a long way and make an impact and keep you top of mind with them.
Kira: Yes. And we also talked earlier in the conversation about Laura’s journey and her pivot and how she started as a health coach and really enjoyed the marketing side of things. So, then really shifted in her business and that evolution seems really normal. And for so many copywriters, we get into this and we realize, “Okay, well, I don’t actually want to work on website copy. I want to create some type of consulting offer or I want to launch a group program or I want to do something else entirely.”
And those shifts are really natural, but they often feel difficult, too, because we often see ourselves as one thing and we give ourselves one title. And it’s hard to pivot away from that because we get comfortable with that title in our own identity. So, I like that Laura mentioned she was able to kind of make that shift and just kind of run with it and see where the launch management would take her. And then eventually took her to really focusing on the affiliate side of launches. And then we don’t know where she’ll go next.
So, I guess my question for you, Jonnie is just, what advice would you give to someone who might be struggling with that pivot, like they know they’re no longer the copywriter who writes website copy, and they know there’s something else out there for them, but they’re struggling to really own it and make that pivot in their business?
Jonnie: Wow. You just asked the most perfect questions, and they’re so timely, and they’re so relevant, I’m just getting goosebumps right now, because I was just thinking about this right before we hopped on. And ironically enough, I was listening to I think, you and Rob recently interviewed each other, and you brought up such a good point. And I wrote it down on a sticky note. I can even take a picture of it and send it to you.
Sometimes we do typecast ourselves into just being a copywriter. And then that just rolls off the tongue so easily. And you, kind of like make that your default response when someone asks you what you do for a living and blah, blah, blah.
I’m kind of transitioning myself between roles and trying to figure out what I want to do if I’m being honest. Because I have done all the things and I’m what really lights me up. And you had mentioned something about, some of us sometimes take jobs that are a distraction. And that was like, wow, what’s really at the core? What’s really at the center of what I wanted to do?
Now, copywriting is a foundational skill set and so extremely important, but you have to remember that it leads to other things, too. I mean, I’ve been a creative strategist. I’ve been a copy chief, and it is an essential skill set that could take you who knows where. But the important thing is, is that you’re introspective about it. Really kind of about to get a little blue, dropping down and realizing what is lighting you up and what’s not lighting you up, and paying attention to that.
If you’re dreading your job the next morning, and you don’t have that oomph you once had, then it’s time to pivot. But the important part is that you’re actually listening to yourself and not ignoring the flags and the signals that are telling you, “Hey, might want to pivot right now.” So, I really liked that she was so intuitive and so in tune, and emotionally intelligent enough to be able to pick up on that.
Kira: Yes. I think you said it well. I can’t add a whole lot to that other than just the space that we’re in, especially the online marketing world that we operate in, these changes, I personally feel they happened more and more frequently in the space because the landscape that we work in is changing constantly, too. And then, so many of us are super nerds, and we geek out on all this stuff. So, we’re constantly learning. We’re taking new courses we’re reading. And so, as you learn more, your interest change.
And so, if you put the nerdiest of the nerds, that’s me and Jonnie, that’s you, too. If you put us these self-improvement, personal growth junkies into a space, and you give us a lot of books, and you also give us an industry that is constantly changing, what we decide to do in that space is also going to change, even though you’re right, the core of what we do as writers is if you’re a writer, you’re always a writer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out where else this writing skill set can take you, where else it could take you on the path, and maybe that means a title change. But at the core, we’re still writers.
So, I think that’s a good kind of tie back to the way that Laura started, and the evolution she’s made in her business, and how normal that is and how great it is, and we can celebrate that. And with that, let’s get back into the episode and hear about Laura’s approach to building meaningful partnerships.
So, maybe this is taking a step back. But you mentioned, creating those generous giving relationships, building those, I think that’s where a lot of copywriters get tripped up. I think this comes naturally to many people. But also, I think we tend to overthink it as soon as we say it’s for business or it’s to help us build an affiliate relationship eventually, it’s like we psych ourselves out of it.
So, I guess my question is, how do you recommend approaching those conversations, so that the conversation will actually take place? And then what mindset shift do we need or did you need or do your clients need so we can step into it and really own it and feel like I am being generous, I want to help this person, rather than getting in our own way?
Laura: So good. And I just want to say that every single client, including myself, runs into this. So, if you’re like, “Oh, I feel uncomfortable about asking people to partner with me,” literally everybody. All those top names that you mentioned at the beginning of the episode. And everybody has had some version of like, “Well, I don’t know anybody I can ask.” Even though they’re very well connected. So, I just want to reassure everybody with that.
And going back to the generosity first, I really believe that if we are the person who sends referrals, who connects people to their dream podcast opportunity, I’m not really one for sending things in the mail because I’m allergic to going to the post office, but I have friends who are and they are masters at going in and gifting people things.
So, if we are that person giving generously in the world, then it will come back to us tenfold, and not in a transactional way. I don’t say like, “Okay, I want Kira to be my affiliate partner. So, I’m got to send her something in the mail and then she has to mail for me.” That’s not how it works. We just want to be generous and put it out there. And I know that it comes back even if it wouldn’t be Kira. It could be, “Oh, Kira is referring me to somebody else who might make a good partner,” is sometimes how that ends up happening.
But how we actually have that conversation is what I want you to do is I want you to think about this four-wins exercise before any conversation. So, one is being out there in the world and just being that generous person and thinking about how you can serve them. And two is doing the four wins exercise.
So, the four wins are how is this partnership a win for you personally. I want you to get clear on it. Who are you really trying to serve? What are you trying to create? How is this a win for you and your family and your team if you make this ask of this person? And they promote.
Number two, how is it a win for the partner? Why is it such a win for them to share this with their audience and make money on something they don’t need to create? I have promoted Selena actually in her program on getting media. So, I don’t have to go be an expert on getting media and PR. I can send my audience to Selena for that information.
Why is it a win for the people that you’re going to get in front of their audience and then finding out about you, why is it so powerful for them to invest in you? And then the fourth win is for the world. What is the ripple effect that you being able to reach more people has on the world?
And when you get clear on those four wins, and read that piece of paper before any conversation, then it really becomes like, wow, you’re kind of rude if you don’t get out of your own way and get uncomfortable and make the ask, because you’re stopping yourself from really making that impact.
Rob: So, I have a couple questions related to especially how do you make this a win for your partner. Number one, what is the typical share that you should give somebody who’s promoting your affiliate program for you? And the second part, I guess, the second part is kind of a different question that’s it’s really like, if this is the first time you’re launching, should you even be reaching out to affiliates at that point or should you figure it out first?
Laura: Yeah. I’m going to answer those in reverse. I would say that if it’s your first time doing a webinar, doing a video series, doing a challenge, I personally, when I launched my own program, I did my webinar, and I did my launch first with no partners. And my goal for that launch was really to create the material.
So, I launched the webinar. I had 25 people signed up for the webinar. I think I had three people attend and one person interact. But I was so happy because I made the webinar. I did the thing. And then when I launched it again, that’s when I invited partners to come on board. And I started really small. I just had a group of eight partners promoting my webinar the second time. So, I do like starting without partners for your first launch, so you can create those assets, because otherwise you’re creating materials for yourself, and you’re creating materials for your partner. So, it’s a bit of a double launch. It’s a bit more work.
And if you already have people that you can set up something really simple for them to refer to you, then I think it’s okay. And I have had people just say like, “No, I’m going for it. I’m going big.” But my preference would be that you do your launch, get your marketing materials in order, and then you invite partners to come on board.
And then when you do invite them on board, there are so many different ways to set up the commission structure. And all of them can be great when it comes to something that’s scalable, so you don’t have a lot of costs involved in the delivery, so it’s a digital program, a digital membership, something like that, then typically we see between 40 and 50% commissions, because there’s not going to be additional cost for you to deliver on that.
For ongoing memberships, I’ve seen up to 50% for sure, but they can start a little bit lower or like 25% if you’re going to be doing ongoing commissions, month after month, and you get into the physical product space. It’s typically more on 10%, because there are obviously hard costs associated with the physical products.
And then for SaaS companies, which I know you’re talking to copywriters, mostly. But anyway, for SaaS companies, it’s typically around 30%. So, there’s a big range between 10 and 50%, I would say.
Rob: Yeah. I mean, let me ask just a really quick follow up that, especially with memberships with SaaS, where it’s a monthly billing, is there a length of time that you would pay out that affiliate? Is it as long as they’re a customer or would you sunset it a three months, six months?
Laura: Yeah. We’ve had people do it in both ways, and so the majority do it the over time. And whichever way you choose, I would just think through how it’s a win for both you of course, and then also a win for your partner. So, the beautiful thing about saying you’ll get paid as long as they’re a member, which is how like Ontraport and UpCoach and a lot of SaaS companies do it, for example, is you’re creating a passive income stream for your partners. So, I would talk that up in your invitations on your partner page, et cetera.
I have had other clients who after their three-month mark, they’re going to pay out a bigger amount of commission, but then it stops from there. I tend not to like that, but If you’re getting started small and you want to keep things really simple, then that could be a way to go as well. And I’ve found that that works for some people. But typically, I love the messaging around you’re creating a passive income stream.
Kira: So, let’s say I’m listening and I’ve thought through the rings of recruitment and thought about the four wins, and I’m ready to go and create my own affiliate program for my launch, what are some best practices around setting it up so it actually works and is successful for all parties?
Laura: Yeah, so many things. So, we run through something called the cycle of partnerships, which is activate, amplify, and appreciate. So, attract is when you’re actually inviting them to be a partner. So, go through those four wins and really think about why it is such a win for them before you make the invitation. That would be attraction. Activation is between when they say yes and when they actually promote. And the key element there is really making it easy for them to promote.
So, if you have a webinar, can you create an email template that they can copy and they can customize if they want, but they can use that email template to invite people to the webinar? Because if people say yes to promoting your offer, and then they don’t actually promote, it’s not because they’re crappy people. It’s because they’re busy, or something has come up. So, how can we make it really, really easy for them to say yes, and really, really easy to take action?
Amplify is when they’re actually promoting. So, after they send that email inviting people to your webinar, make sure to thank them, cheer them on, tell them who signed up, follow up with them, that’s how you’re going to amplify their results. Can you send them an additional email template after they’ve sent that email of like, oh, my gosh you got these 40 people to sign up for the webinar. Here’s a follow-up email that you can send to these 40 people specifically about my program. So, they’re endorsing the offer as well.
So, make it fun, make it easy, and then appreciate it. So, make payouts on time. I would come up with a schedule of when you’re going to be paying people out. So, kind of what Rob was talking about before. If you’re going to be paying people monthly, pick a specific day of the month. And always make sure that you make those payouts. So, my payouts happen on the fourth Wednesday of every month for all the payments received the month prior. So, set something like that up and let them know about your next launch. So, they come back for more.
And obviously, there’s a lot more nuances that you can get into there. But that would be kind of the minimum viable, keep things simple. And then a lot of people are probably wondering, I’m just got to ask myself this question, if that’s okay?
Rob: Do it.
Laura: People are probably wondering about the tech. This is another one was kind of nuanced answers because there are great things and there are bad things, probably about every tech platform. So, I would look into what tech you’re already using. And is there some kind of affiliate tracking already built in? And if there is not, then there’s a lot of different solutions. There’s SamCart has affiliate tracking. ThriveCart has affiliate tracking. There’s a lot of different platforms out there.
And I would just go through a trial, run with them, test things out. And when you’re testing it out, talk to customer service, see how easy it is, how quick are they were to respond? Because that will be a key indicator if it’s a good company or not.
Rob: So, what tech do you use, Laura, for your particular launches?
Laura: Yeah. I use Ontraport. So, it’s all in one, which I like. And there’s some times that I really want to throw it out the window.
Rob: I think we feel that. We also use Ontraport. And there are times when, yeah, we pull our hair out just a little bit. But I mean, it’s a robust tool, when it works, it works really well.
Laura: Yes, exactly. And then just to give some context for Selena and the Todds of the world, a lot of them use Infusionsoft. I know Marie Forleo ran her big affiliate program on Ontraport for many years. And a lot of the clients I’m working with now are using ThriveCart, if that’s helpful for anybody listening.
Kira: I would like to hear more about your business, Laura, and what does it look like on the back end? How many team members do you have? What are your other offers? Just give us a glimpse into your business.
Laura: Yeah. So, I feel like I start every answer with, yeah, so. I have to work on that maybe. My business right now has two different parts I would say. So, one part is Rock Your Affiliate Program where we are teaching companies and their teams how to create affiliate programs. And on that side of things, I can keep things pretty lean, so it’s fluctuated between just me and me and a couple of people helping out on that side.
And then on the agency side, we’re working right now with three clients. And one of them is kind of a mega client, I would say. So, we’ve got about nine people that are working on the agency side at the moment.
Rob: And I’m curious somebody may be listening thinking, “Yeah, I don’t love copywriting. But I think I could love managing launches.” Give us a sense of what you can charge for help with a launch project, whether it’s small to large.
Laura: Yeah. So, on the launch management, not affiliate management side?
Rob: Yeah, yes.
Laura: Yeah. So, when I was doing launch management, it definitely fluctuated. And actually people are often surprised about this, but I used to charge hourly for everything, because I found that the amount of hours that you put in on a launch, if I had charged a flat rate, I would have probably lost. You know what I mean? It was just more convenient for me to charge hourly. Because I put a lot of time in.
In my very first launch ever, I charged, I believe, $36 an hour. And when I left that space, I was at about $60 an hour. So, I definitely increased it. I mean, it that may sound like a lot or it may not sound like much. I did like charging hourly too, because I feel like when people heard like, $60 an hour, it was still an easy yes. And by the end of that launch, that last one, I think I made 27,000 because of so many hours put in over the course of three months.
Kira: Those hours add up fast.
Laura: Exactly. And they were fully prepared for that. It wasn’t like auto left field. Like here’s my bill for 27,000.
Rob: It’s $60 an hour. Yeah. Oh, and $27,000 later. Right.
Laura: Exactly. And then on the smaller side, I would say probably around 10,000 was the lowest.
Kira: Okay. So, while we’re talking about money, let’s talk about money mindset. And what have you done to kind of shift your money mindset as you’ve increased your hourly rate, doubled your hourly rate, and then moved on beyond that to where you are today, what’s helped you the most?
Laura: Such a good question. Money mindset, I would say I have always, I don’t even know if that’s true but right now, it’s true. So, I’ll just say, I have always been the type of person that I want to be expensive but worth it. And so, I have no problem with people saying no to my rates. Because, yeah, I want to work with people who are really showing up and are ready to support the process.
I’ve had clients when I would kind of negotiate with my rates, where they didn’t even really show up. And so, we didn’t get the results that I wanted. They didn’t get the results that they wanted because of that. And so, anyway, that’s one of my mindsets because I want to be expensive but worth it.
And then the other thing that helps a lot, and sometimes I still run into this a little bit like I think like, “Oh my gosh, I’m charging so much for this.” And I have to remind myself that the knowledge that I have on partnerships and affiliate programs is because of all of these years. Honestly, it’s because of all the mistakes I’ve made. That’s why I’m good at what I do is because I’ve made so many errors and learned a lot along the way. And that’s why my rates are where they’re at is because of all those years.
And so, we were in a certification program this year for affiliate managers. And I told them, start out with an hourly rate or start out with a lower like a $5,000 flat fee for doing the affiliate launch. But the next time, I think you can double it, because you’ll have that experience to be able to call on. So, I think it’s a bit of both of those, if that makes sense.
Rob: I love how your money mindset wraps around reframing failure as a way to raise your rates. I think there’s a really deep principle there that maybe is worth thinking about or talking about it at some length. But I’m not going to talk about that, because since you talked about the failures, I’d love to hear just what are the big huge mistakes that we make when we launch things that just basically make the launch into a failure or the things that we could so easily avoid if we just would pay some attention to it. Give us maybe a top three.
Laura: Yeah. I would say at the end of every launch, one of the things that we write in our debrief is just more time for testing, especially when it comes to affiliate links. But honestly, this is for every launch, run through a simulation ahead of time. So, what does that experience look like when people use that link and sign up? So, running testing is always super huge.
And regarding your comment about reframing failure, I’m working with a company right now who’s just ginormous and the work they’re doing is so beautiful. And they talk often about speed being a force and kind of the dust that that kicks up. And that’s really sat with me in a good way. Because I think if we’re moving at velocity, and we’re making things happen, and we’re taking action, we’re going to break things.
And instead of thinking like, “Oh, my gosh, I failed at that,” it’s like, that’s actually what’s supposed to happen if we’re moving at the speed with which we need to create change and do big things. And I don’t know if you want to specific mistakes I’ve made, because I can definitely share those.
Kira: Yes, yes to that.
Laura: Yeah. So, one time, this is actually in Todd Herman’s launch, we were sending an email to the partners who hadn’t gotten any leads yet. I don’t remember how many days, and maybe we were a weekend to the launch. And we’re promoting the video series. And these people had no leads. And so, I wrote this email is like, basically what can we do to help you. I see you don’t have any leads yet. It was kind but it was a little bit of a kick in the pants kind of an email. And instead of sending it to all the people that didn’t have leads, we send that email to all the top partners.
Kira: It’s like, work harder, work harder now.
Kira: That’s great.
Laura: I was so confused and I was so embarrassed. And we luckily, we realized it pretty quick. So, we sent a follow-up like, so sorry. You actually are killing it. You’re awesome. And that was my bad.
Kira: That could work in your favor, though to motivate them. You’re not doing as well as you think. You don’t have any leads. Send a couple more emails.
Laura: Totally. Yeah. So, a lot of the mistakes I do think come down to getting sleep and paying attention to what you’re doing.
Kira: Speaking of sleep, I read on your website that you wrote alarm clocks are overrated. So, I’d like to hear kind of your approach to alarm clocks and time and sleeping and your schedule.
Laura: Yeah. So, this is so timely, I would say, this question because I have recently been working on my sleep and going to bed a lot earlier. So, I definitely don’t use an alarm clock unless I have to. If I have an early flight or something. And for a while there, I got myself into the habit of staying up till 2:00 in the morning and still waking up early.
So, I have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, as you know. She’s with me half the time. And so, my sleep was really bad. And I saw the effects of that had on my mood, on my accomplishments, on just how I felt about life in general. I was in a pretty dark place earlier this year actually. And I can attribute a lot of that to how I was treating my sleep.
And so, over the last month, I’ve gotten a lot better at going to bed early and really prioritizing my self-care and getting outside every day. And now I wake up really, really excited about the day. So, I think it’s twofold. I think that my sort of saying screw alarm clocks. I’m going to get up whenever is true and it’s still true to this day. And I think I took it a little bit too far into the direction of not prioritizing sleep for a while there.
Rob: Thanks. But a problem is easily relatable, least in my case. So, Laura, I’m curious, or going to ask this question for everybody who’s listening is thinking okay, actually, I think I need to learn more about launching, connecting with affiliates. Tell us a little bit about your program that helps us do that and when it will be open next.
Laura: Yeah. Rock Your Affiliate Program is a complete system. So, we walk you through how to make your list of ideal partners in the attraction phase? How to reach out to them? How to activate them through training and assets, amplifying leaderboards, everything all the way through appreciation. And that is an ongoing enrollment so you can learn more at rockyouraffiliateprogram.com. And if you’re interested, I would love to have you.
Rob: Perfecto. And how else can we connect with you, website, all of the places?
Laura: All the places. So, I’m on Instagram with imlaurasprinkle, iamlaurasprinkle. And I am also at laurassprinkle.com is my website. And if you are interested in just getting a nibble of the affiliate stuff, you’re not sure if you want to dive into it fully yet, you can go to laurasprinkle.com/start. And I have a starter kit. I do talk a little bit about tech in that starter kit and just how to get started as you could have imagine.
Kira: Who is the other Laura Sprinkle on social media?
Laura: The other Laura Sprinkle, there are multiple Laura Sprinkles. And actually, there is a laurasprinkle.net. And for a while, she overtook me on SEO and I got angry.
Kira: All right, all right. We need to look into this. Well, thank you so much for jumping in here with us. I feel like every time I listen to you speak about affiliate launches, I’m just like, ah, you make it sound so simple and exciting. Yeah. You just make me want to do more of it and do it really well. So, thank you so much, Laura.
Laura: Thank you. And thank you for those words. It’s exciting.
Rob: Thanks, Laura.
Kira: That’s the end of our interview with Laura Sprinkle. Before we close, Jonnie, let’s kick it off with you. Really, what do you want to share from this part of the conversation?
Jonnie: Yeah. I really liked again, it’s something that I’d mentioned in the first segment. But I really liked kind of like her beta run, like her approach to that initial launch to work out all the bugs, and again, normalize these lessons learned.
And whether you’re launching a product or a service for yourself or you’re doing it for a client, really just circling back around to ensuring that losses are wins because they are. And it looks like A/B testing. You put something against you that something or put something against something else. And regardless, there’s going to be a win, because you learn something for the next time. So, I just think that’s a metaphor for life in general. But yeah, I really wanted to highlight how great I thought that her approach was and her attitude towards it as well.
Kira: Yeah. And she said towards the end when we’re talking about more money mindset. And she mentioned that she views her mistakes as an opportunity to raise her rates. And Rob, especially, we talk about money mindset frequently, we talk about pricing.
And I don’t think anyone’s ever said it the way that Laura said it where it’s like, I think about write down every single mistake you’ve made in your business, where there was a learning lesson attached, which is every single mistake. And if you add up all those mistakes, that actually can be your own calculator.
We talk about pricing calculators all the time. Well, make your own calculator and tally up all the mistakes you’ve made. And look at that page or multiple pages of paper, and then have that start to feed into what you’re charging because those are the lessons learned that you bring to the table from each experience. And that’s how you can start to think about pricing yourself and reframing it for yourself. And yeah, again, that reframe for me is really helpful because I’ve never thought about it that way.
Jonnie: Yeah. You essentially paid for those lessons in one way or another, just regardless of what the currency was. You either paid for a course out of your pocket, or you worked at a crappy agency for a year and a half, and learned lessons the hard way. So, those takeaways are gold, and they will help others. It’ll prevent others from some “unnecessary suffering.” And you can make some good money while you’re at it. So, yeah, I love that reframe.
Kira: And while we’re talking about affiliates, I think the importance is just to overcommunicate, if you are doing launching anything with affiliate partners. And this is something that as for TCC, we have been an affiliate partner for many different copywriters who’ve launched offers. And I love doing that. That’s so much fun, because it’s a win, win. And Laura talks a lot about that. The win for everyone involved. It’s always so much greater than the individual act of promoting someone else when you think about the wins.
And Rob and I only recently started to create our own affiliate programs. I mean, we’ve done it loosely with IRL and affiliates, but we haven’t heavily focused in our own marketing. And so, we’re starting to move into that space, of course inspired by Laura mostly.
But I guess my advice for anyone who is stepping into that arena and working with affiliate partners for the first time or the second time is just really to do what Laura said and overcommunicate, make it really easy for them to help you. Because as soon as you get that yes from a partner that they want to be your affiliate partner that they believe in you and your offer, and they say, sign me up, from that point moving forward, they just need it to be really easy, and they need you to hold their hand.
And I guess just to reiterate what she said, if they aren’t necessarily promoting as frequently as you like or in the way that you would like, then they just may need more help. And I know that’s the case for me oftentimes, when I say yes, to be an affiliate partner for someone else. I need reminders. I need reminders. I need someone to tell me send out an email today.
And of course, template copy I can use as a starting point, which is a given, but just to really handhold and be very supportive with your affiliates so that they can do a great job, because they are busy, and they’re probably more focused on their offers, not necessarily the affiliate offer. So, they just need all the help they can get.
And I guess I’m sharing that because I think for anyone who is testing the affiliate partnership model in their own business for the first time, I think it’s easy to feel timid, and to feel like, oh, I shouldn’t follow up or should nag them or shouldn’t bug them and ask them to promote or I shouldn’t give them deadlines. Because they’re helping me, and that seems like it’s too much to ask.
So, all I’m saying from my perspective, is it’s not too much to ask. They said yes, so they want to help you. So, go out of your way to make it easy for them and show up consistently to get what you need, because then it’s a win for everyone. So, that’s my PSA. And I will get off my soapbox about that right now.
Jonnie: Sounds great.
Kira: Any tips from you, Jonnie, about how to maximize if you are on either side of an affiliate partnership?
Jonnie: Yeah. I definitely will put pause. Let’s earmark that question. And I would love to quickly just touch and you feel free to cut this out. But I’m excited to hear that you and Rob have delved into the world of affiliate marketing. I know a couple years ago, I can’t remember what, I was helping with the accelerator launch copy. And I was like, you guys should totally do affiliate marketing. You have copywriters on your list. You have other copywriters on their list. And it was not a priority at the time.
Kira: What did we say?
Jonnie: I don’t remember. I think it was like, we’re up against a tight deadline. But I think you were open to hearing suggestions on how to do it, how to go about doing it, like this pay model or this pay structure that Laura had mentioned. Maybe that was more of the mystery behind it.
But I was just curious if, I’m actually not curious at all, I’m so excited to hear that you’re actually doing because I think it’s a really, really good opportunity. So, yeah, hopefully that works out really, really well. I don’t see a reason why it won’t. But was it intimidating for you?
Kira: I think it was. And again, this is before I met Laura Sprinkle who has changed my whole perspective on affiliate marketing, because I think I just didn’t feel great about it. The whole, the concept in general which I just had some misconceptions about it. And I didn’t fully get it, which is very typical in my business journey of many things are like I don’t get it and so I don’t do it. And then five years later, I finally get it, and I do it. But yeah, I think I was turned off by a lot of large affiliate marketers in the space. And so, I didn’t open that door because of that, and got in my own way.
And then I think just understanding more recently talking to Ashe Schow, who worked with us on prelaunch, a prelaunch strategy, and Ashe is amazing. She really built out a strategy for this accelerator launch and gave us a roadmap. And she also mentioned the opportunity is with affiliate partners.
And so, once enough people have told me that, so I finally started to listen and just walk through the steps. And so, again, we did it for this past accelerator launch. And we did it last minute. It was not done nearly as well as it could have been or should have been, but it was a baby step forward. So, next time, we can improve it and start earlier, do a lot better. We have ideas of how we can improve it.
So, I think we followed just Laura’s whole idea around, just start and do it. It will not be perfect. It may not be a homerun but just move forward. And then the next time we’ll get a little easier, and we’ll have more clarity and we’ll know what you need to fix.
But I guess it’s a long way of saying, I gotten my own way and we probably were overwhelmed with other areas of the business that it felt like it needed more attention. And only now do I really understand how smart it is and how it’s a win for everyone involved if you do it well. And if you choose the right affiliate partners with the right offers, and you are really intentional about it, it makes complete sense.
Jonnie: Yeah. That connects nicely back to I think Laura called it her launch kit, and really emphasizing making this as easy as possible for your clients, literally handing, spoon feeding everything they possibly need, silver plattering, whatever you want to call it. So, it’s basically just like fill in the blanks, a name here or a tweak there. But when you have all of that ready-made at your fingertips, you’re more likely to follow through with it and start promoting and do the affiliate thing.
And so, I think that’s really genius on her end. And I think I’ve seen some other copywriters do it too, even just templatized thing the surveys that their clients will send out to their list. I think I’ve seen you do that. And that’s just, it’s genius. I mean, it really is the quickest, most effective way to go ahead and get something off the ground is just making sure everything is ready and prepared for the client.
Kira: Yeah. And if you’re listening, you’re like, “Well, I’m not ready to start my own affiliate program. So, I have an offer out there yet. I’m working on one-on-one done for you services.” It might be worth just exploring more of the affiliate space, just to understand how you can better help your clients.
And like you said, maybe if you’re working in the launch space, maybe you can provide more a copy for affiliates, more templates that they can just hand over, maybe that becomes part of your package that you’re selling, that it’s not just emails and landing pages. You also have a bundle of affiliate copy that you can hand over to your clients.
And this also gives us the opportunity to step out and not just wear the copywriter hat where we’re just taking orders and writing for our clients. But we can wear our consultant hat and start to suggest to them like, “Hey, you’re about to launch this product. Have you thought about having an affiliate marketing plan and looking at partners? I can help you we can brainstorm different partners and I can guide you through that process.”
So, I think what a lot of what Laura said in this conversation, if it resonates with you, you can take it and then add it to one of your packages, your copywriting packages to strengthen it, you can charge more for that. You’re providing more value. You can create it as a standalone offer. But it all blends into what we’re already doing as problem solvers in this space. And so, again, you don’t need affiliate partners because you don’t have an offer out there yet. This will just strengthen your copywriting services and make you more of an expert if you pay attention to it.
Okay. So, before we start to wrap up, towards the end of the interview, we talked with Laura about sleep and taking care of herself and the importance of self-care in our lives and our businesses. And so, I’m glad we were able to touch on that because, times are uncertain and weird and hard for a lot of people right now and hard for a lot of copywriters who feel exhausted dealing with day-to-day challenges at home, and then you got to show up on Zoom with your clients and deliver a copy overnight. And it’s just it can be really hard.
And so, I’m glad that Laura was open to sharing that she’s gone to dark places, too, and how rest has been so important for her and have she’s prioritized sleep more recently, and getting outside and creating healthy routines for her life and to not just strengthen her business, but just to improve her health and her happiness.
And so, that resonated with me because I definitely can go dark places. I can go really dark places. And I have to pull myself out of that. And I know again, sleep is such a big part of that. So, I try to be very strict about my sleep routine, too. So, Jonnie, did that part resonate with you or did you take anything away from the end of that conversation?
Jonnie: It did. I never knew what kind of miracle good sleep was until I actually started having good sleep. I mean, beginning of this year, tail end of last year, dark place as well. But it’s funny because I kind of pivoted out of an old role and have had the best sleep of my life since doing so. I don’t have those nagging thoughts jolted me awake at 2:30 AM. Did I forget to do this? Or just like ideas like when your wheels are constantly turning, it is so hard to get. Not just sleep but quality sleep.
I think that’s where the I want to put the most emphasis on is as copywriters, as business owners, we all have our wheels turning all the time. But once you start running on fumes, your work suffers, your life suffers, you have bags in your eyes. I mean, you’re drinking NyQuil. You’re taking Benadryl. You’re doing all the things to try and get a good night’s rest. And for me, it was really just not stressing about things anymore. I know that sounds really just, oh, it’s easy for her to say, but that’s what had worked for me. That’s why I’m able to get such good sleep.
And for the first time in my life, I think or at least a couple of years, I went to the store yesterday and some random woman who’s, I’m sorry, she’s not random. She was the checkout girl. And she’s like, “You’re glowing.” And I haven’t seen her for months and months and months and months. And out of nowhere, she just comes in with this like, “You’re glowing. You look good.” I’m like, “What?” And so, I went home to my partner and told him the same thing. And he’s like, because you’re less stressed out.
So, whatever distressing looks like for you. I don’t want to be that superficial advice giver. But really, it has made me … Yeah, I feel better. I feel so just relaxed and so able to charge my day way better. And taking time off, that goes along with resting and sleep, taking time away from your business sometimes is the answer. And that’s something that I struggled with quite a bit myself.
But Kira, I think you helped me reframe it, it’s an investment in your business. Look at time off, look at time away, look at whatever you need to do to step away from the desk as an investment in your business, because you can feel yourself powering down and your output is not the same.
Kira: Yeah, no. I mean, you said that well. I think you’re right, we can feel it. So, we know when we’re losing power, losing steam. We can feel it. The signs are there. And so, making the shifts and it’ll be different depending on the situation. But for you, it was leaving that role and dramatically decreasing the stress from that position has made a big difference. It’ll be different from someone else, but just paying attention to and asking those hard questions too, if you’re stuck in a place that causes you a lot of stress. It’s like, what is one thing I can do to improve the situation?
It’s really tricky and we’ll continue to talk about that darker place because it exists. It’s part of the game we’re playing as business owners. It’s not easy space to be in. It’s rewarding. There’s so many benefits, but it can be so hard and so isolating at times. So, anyway, I am glad that Jonnie, you’re willing to go there and share and that Laura was willing to go there as well in this conversation.
Jonnie: That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter, Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter, David Muntner. If you liked what you heard, be sure to head over to Apple Podcasts to leave a review.
Kira: If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to check out Episode 239 with Kristina Shands about writing for launches, and episode 124 with Shannon McCaffery about product launches. And be sure to leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoyed the episode. If you’re interested in joining us for TCCIRL in Nashville this March, we hope to see you there. We’ll link the info in the show notes. You can check it out there.
And a big thank you to Jonnie for cohosting this commentary. I really appreciate you Jonnie and if someone’s listening, they’re like I want to say hi, I want to connect to Jonnie, where should they go?
Jonnie: I think I’m comfortable giving my email address if you want to hit me up. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s J-O-N-N-I-E or you can catch me lurking in the Copywriter Underground.
Kira: Yes, do email Jonnie. She’s the greatest, send her all the emails. All right Thanks for listening we’ll see you next week.