Promoting membership programs is a great way to get started in affiliate marketing…and a great way to boost your long-term earnings. Imagine every single month getting hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars deposited into your account automatically. That is the power of recurring affiliate revenue. In this episode, I’m going to share some of the benefits of promoting membership programs, some strategies for making more sales when you promote, and some of the top membership programs for affiliates.
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LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Ultimate Guide to Resources Pages
How To Write A Review Post That Ranks & Converts
How to Warm Up Your List Before a Promotion
List Launch Challenge
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Transcript with List of Affiliate Programs
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Previous Episodes of The Affiliate Guy
Behind-the-Scenes on Our Affiliate Promotion for Product Launch Formula
How to Promote Virtual Summits as an Affiliate (If You Aren’t a Speaker)
Fix Your Funnel: How to Increase Sales and Make Your Affiliates More Money with John Ainsworth
How to Increase Your Commissions by Guiding Your Followers & Creating Repeat Buyers with Dave Gambrill
Affiliate Marketing Lesson: Shifting From Promoting Free Content To A Paid Product
Book Launch Party: An Interview with Matt About Turn Your Passions Into Profits
Special Episode: Highlights from My Whirlwind Book Tour
Top 5 Biggest Affiliate Recruiting Mistakes
Promoting membership programs is a great way to get started in affiliate marketing and a great way to boost your long-term earnings. Now imagine every single month getting hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars deposited into your account automatically.
That is the power of recurring affiliate revenue. In this episode, I’m going to share some of the benefits of promoting membership programs, some strategies for making more sales when you promote, and some of the top membership programs for affiliates.
So every month, like our company, we get thousands of dollars in recurring affiliate revenue. Now, the truth is, we don’t do enough of this.
To be clear, we do not do nearly enough of this or it’d be a lot more. Most months we’re getting close to $10,000, doing virtually nothing.
It’s a pretty nice floor to have and that’s something I think I mentioned this late last summer in an episode where I talked about one of our things as a company last year was to create a higher floor. So as a company at that time, we have different parts of our business, but at that time, our floor was about $20,000.
There were a couple of months a year where we made just barely over $20,000 and payroll and everything else at that time was 32, $33,000 is it much higher now? And so we were losing money two months out of the year and there was like another two months where it was maybe in the high 20s, low 30s.
We were barely breaking even. So we made all of our money in like eight months and one of the goals that I set a while ago was like, okay guys, we got to get the floor up.
We need the floor like in our worst month, our absolute worst month, we need to make a dollar. Can we get our floor high enough so that in our absolute worst month, we make a dollar?
And we did that. And part of that, it’s not the only thing, but part of that was getting this recurring affiliate revenue up, getting that to a higher level.
Because at that time, I think it was about $5,000, $4,500. Now it’s up north of eight, almost $9,000 a month on average and so most months we’re coming close to that $10,000 number and we’re doing nothing to make that at least now.
And some of the things we promote that are recurring, we’ve got some SAS products, software, as a service Convertkit, for example, we promote that and email service is one that we recommend. If you want to trial by the way, you go to MattMcWilliams com/convertkit and it’s the best email service that we know of and recommend MailChimp is another email service.
It’s typically for beginners. For beginners, it’s a little bit less expensive and a little bit less complicated.
We don’t recommend it unless that’s exactly what you like. You are genuinely completely starting out.
You need the cheapest version possible without all the bells and whistles. Then, yeah, we recommend MailChimp.
I think that’s just mattmcwilliams.com/MailChimp, and most people go with Convertkit, but about 10% of the people that we recommend signing up to get an email system. They use MailChimp.
There are Clickfunnels, and simply Raven Tools I’m sure I’m forgetting at least like ten of all these things. Some bring in as little as $100 a month.
There was a time I remember our monthly affiliate commission from Convertkit was like $27. The monthly thing that we got from Clickfunnels is like $120 for Mailchimp, it was almost nothing.
Raven Tools at one point, I think it was $4. 70, but we got it for like four months before we made a second sale.
So some of those are still around. I mean, Raven Tools I don’t think we’re not above 150.
It’s a small amount of money. Others are more than $2,000, but it’s every single month and you get over $150 times twelve months.
I’m not a math whiz, but I can do that one and figure out that eighteen hundred dollars a year pay for our son’s soccer and some of the travel for it. Like, that’s a lot.
That’s an entire sport. Travel that we’ve paid for $800 a year is what we pay for a lot of things.
It’s a lot of money. That’s half of our team’s training budget every year.
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These are pretty cool things that we can think of. Some of these things we haven’t promoted in over a year.
Some we continue to promote either once a year or promote them. Evergreen Clickfunnels, for example.
We heavily promoted two times during our list launch challenge, but we still sign up a new person every six weeks or so. Evergreen so we add maybe seven or eight people for every one or two that drop off.
So every few months our income goes up, whatever, a few hundred bucks. That’s pretty cool.
So this is the power of this. This is the power of this recurring affiliate revenue.
And today I’m going to share some of the benefits of promoting membership programs. Some strategies for making more sales than you promote.
And then I’m going to share some of the top membership programs for affiliates. Now just caveat with those top programs.
Probably only one or two of them are going to be relevant to any specific affiliate. One or two of them are going to be relevant to you.
I’m just listing some of them. But more importantly, I’m sharing why I think they’re a top membership program.
So you can know what to look for in other programs. All right, so let’s jump into the benefits of promoting membership programs number one, you create that recurring revenue as we talked about.
I mean, this is my favorite part, promoting membership programs. As an affiliate, I can create that recurring revenue.
So month after month, I do one promotion. I continue to get paid sometimes for years.
As I said, some of these promotions I promoted as far back as 2017, and 2018, and today, I haven’t promoted them. One in particular, I won’t mention is I haven’t been promoted since 2020.
It still brings in enough money today to cover almost all of our monthly software expenses. So all the stuff that we pay for as a company, actually, it might even be above what we pay for.
Some of these things we pay for yearly. But if I divided them into a monthly thing like click, funnels and Convertkit, and this other service and all these things like the ads and all these things that the ad tools and the plugins and all these things that add up, they’re in the $7,800 range.
We haven’t promoted this thing in three years. March 2020 was the last time we promoted this particular product.
It’s bringing in a little bit over $1,000 a month, every single month. That’s pretty awesome.
The second thing is, this is passive income. Most of the income I create for membership programs is fairly passive.
Now, in a moment, I’m going to share benefit number three. Number three is the barrier to promotion is low.
So I don’t have to do a hardcore lengthy promotion. For most membership programs, I can casually mention them in Facebook Live, or casually mention them on a podcast like I just did Convertkit.
As I know for a fact, based on past history, one or two people will sign up for Convertkit again. Ramaclaims.
Comconvertkit. One or two of you listening are like, yep, I need to sign up for that and you will. So I just did a casual mention.
I’m not going to do a seven-email campaign or even a three-email campaign. All I did was just mention it on the podcast and then I’ll put it in the show notes for you.
Or I’ll do a live and we’ll drop the link in the comments and I’ll get two sign-ups. And you go with two sign-ups, let’s say $10 a month, Whoopee does $10 each. $20 a month? Yeah.
But some of those will go on for five years. That’s over $1,000.
I could take 7 seconds to mention a program and make $20 a month for the next five years. That’s pretty freaking cool.
So because most membership programs are between like $20 and $100 a month, the barrier to entry is incredibly low. I think the most expensive one we promote is $297 a month.
The next most expensive is $97 a month. So for most Americans, at least, this cost falls under their discretionary budget.
Each month, the decision-making process is shorter, especially some of the $ 20-a-month ones and $ 30-a-month ones. They don’t require any hard selling.
They’re like the candy at the grocery aisle when you just dropped $200 on milk and steak and chicken and whatever, what’s a 50-cent pack of gum, right? It doesn’t require a great display or any hard-selling things like that.
You just tell a few stories about how awesome whatever you’re selling is. The membership is provided a link and you’re good.
And that makes planning the promotions easier. Take some of the pressure off me as the affiliate.
So, again, that barrier to promotion is lower because I don’t need to take up a whole week. I don’t need to do like a full campaign like in this one.
I wasn’t planning on mentioning Convertkit. I didn’t have a note that I have to mention Convertkit for this podcast effect.
What I just did, was I had to pause for a second to write down in my notepad. I’ve got whatever links I happen to drop on the fly.
And I wrote CK for Convertkit so I didn’t have to plan anything around that. And then I get to make $20 a month for the next five years or so or longer.
How cool is that? That’s pretty freaking awesome.
So again, the planning is so much easier to take some of the pressure off. I’m not saying to do only recurring promotions, and recurring affiliate revenue, but having a little bit of it is pretty nice.
And then the fourth benefit is you get to be a part of a community. Generally, I only promote membership programs that I’m a part of or plan to join.
So part of the benefit to me is I get to be in the membership with the people I refer and that’s fun for me personally creates a cool community vibe with them. So some of the not software as a service stuff, but some of the memberships that I have promoted, are memberships I was already a part of.
And I’m in there and then when people buy through me, they see me in the community as well and they see me as a leader in that community, which reinforces that belief that I’m a leader outside of that community. Now, as far as strategies, what are some of the strategies that you need to use when you’re promoting some sort of a membership program?
Now, there are two types of membership programs that you might want to promote. There’s open or Evergreen and then there’s closed right? So the Open programs are open.
They’re open. You can join them year-round, 24/7, and 365 days. You can join them anytime. These are the type of things that you can promote.
Literally, you can promote them 24 7365 with no limit. Closed programs have a registration period that’s only open for a defined period of time.
So they might only open up for ten days out of the year or two six-day periods, or seven-day periods twice a year or quarterly or whatever, but they’re open only for a short period of time. Now, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
I’m not going to get into that. That’s not what this episode is about. I think both of them can work and they work for different types of programs. But for you as an affiliate promoting them, all that matters is that the promotional strategies change.
So there are different strategies if you’re promoting an open program versus a closed program. So if you’re promoting an open program, an Evergreen program, make absolutely sure you do the following four things, all right?
Number one, you need to add the program to your Resources page. So if you go to Matt Mcwilliams.com/Toolbox, for example, you will see my Toolbox page.
And some of those things on there are recurring revenue items. Like they are membership programs or SAS or things like that.
They’re recurring revenue. And so I make sure I add those there because you can click on that any day, 365 days a year.
If you click on that link, you’re not going to get a Coming soon page or a Waitlist page. You’re going to be able to sign up and join.
If you want more on creating a Resources page that works, make sure you grab my Ultimate Guide to Resources pages. If you go to Mattmcwilliams.com/Resources page, I’ll put that link in the Show notes as well.
You can download that free guide there on how to create will actually walk you through how to create a resources page. The second thing is you got to memorize your link, and create a pretty link for the membership program or the software, whatever it is. For instance, that mattmcwilliams.com/convertkit. I didn’t have to go look that up.
I knew it was mattmcwilliams.com/convertkit and even if you don’t know, if you’re recommending a few different software and you want to say like, hey, go to mattmcwilliams.com/Toolbox, I’ve got links to all of them there.
That can work too. But if you’re mentioning them one-off, it’s generally better to just mention the one unless there’s a compelling reason to.
Again, if you’re mentioning something where you might say, I’ve also got some other recommendations at mattmcwilliams.com/toolbox where you’d be able to grab that but memorize the link. In fact, grab the pretty link.
It’s a plug-in for WordPress. If you use WordPress, I know what it is, it’s mattmcwilliams.com/prettylink because we created a pretty link for a pretty link. It’s like so meta, right?
So make sure that you memorize your links. Keep a spreadsheet with your links in case you don’t know them, so you’ve got them easily accessible.
The third thing is to talk about it regularly and mention it periodically on your podcast, your blog, and your videos. Find a reason to work these evergreen things just into the conversation to keep them front and center for your audience.
As I talk about Convertkit, I mentioned that link at least once a quarter. I don’t necessarily do that on purpose, it’s just that it comes up in conversation, right?
So the point there is just to make sure that you aren’t going dark on these evergreen affiliate programs and never talking about them, right? And then the fourth thing is to write a review.
Write a review about the product, whether it be a SaaS product or a membership, write a review about it because then it’s open 365 days a year. Writing a review for something that’s only open twice a year, I mean, you can do that.
It’s just a little bit more of a beast to keep up with it when it’s only going to be open for a week. And we’ll do it from time to time.
We’ll write reviews for things that are going to be open for a short period of time, but it’s better if it’s open again. You can grab my free report on how to write a review post that ranks and converts because that’s the super important thing.
You can’t just rank. You can’t just have it be, hey, great, I got the second-ranking for that.
You know that search term Whoopi. If you go to your page and it’s like, wow, this sucks, and it doesn’t convert.
Well, if it’s just ranking high because you’ve got good keywords and you’ve got good all that stuff, but it doesn’t convert, well, you’re not going to make any money. So you needed to convert the same thing is, the reverse is true.
Like, you got a beautiful page, the sales copy is amazing, and it converts like crazy, but you only get four hits to it. Well, all four of them bought it.
Well, what if you had 400 hits to it? I’m not saying you’re going to get 400 buyers, but you might get 50 or 100.
So go grab that free report. It’s at mattmcwilliams.com/reviewpost and again, I’ll put that in the show notes for you as well. I just wrote myself a note to do that. All right.
If you’re promoting closed programs, with a closed program, you’ll want to create more of a marketing strategy. Treat it like a product launch, because really, in effect, it is.
So make sure at the very least, you do the following two things. These are the two things that are specific to closing programs.
Number one, you warm up your audience in advance. Okay? Warm up your audience in advance. You’re treating this like a launch.
This is going to be like a 6, 7, 10-day sprint. You need to warm them up, right?
If you’re going to go that heavy, you got to warm them up in advance. If you want more on warming up your audience in advance of an affiliate promotion, I’ve got a blog post for you called how to Warm Up Your List Before a Promotion.
The same thing is applied to listing social media, podcasts, and all that stuff, and then secondly, mail like crazy during Open Cart.
During the open cart period, I want you to plan on at least one email every day of the open cart and at least five on the final day of the promotion. That sounds crazy, right?
But I have done the research. That is what works and if you want more cart close strategies, I did a whole series right here. I did a whole series about closing sales.
So just search for that. Look up closing sales. Go to mattmcwilliams.com look up closing sales or where we were listening to it, but look up that series I did on closing sales. I walk you through the ten keys to closing sales.
You want to follow those during the open cart period for a membership program and then strategies that work for both. There are three strategies, whether it’s open, closed, or whatever.
If it’s closed and it opens four times a year, ten times a year, it doesn’t matter. You want to get these basics down.
Number one, you want to focus on the transformation. Do not focus on the content of the membership, the cost of the membership, or the four things they get each month.
Whoopi. Dude, nobody cares. Focus on what they get from joining, which is the results they will experience. So what is the transformation you’ve experienced or others have experienced?
Talk about that. If it’s your transformation, then be personal about it. Get very personal and share your transformation.
Number two, share tons of case studies. Yes, you have a transformation, that’s one story. Or, you know, somebody who had a transformation, that’s one story.
So demonstrate the clear results that members are getting from the program. Make the ROI clear in terms of cost savings or time savings or results.
If it’s a membership for parenting, make it clear what are five or six other families got from this membership. And then lastly, sweeten the pot with bonuses.
I’ve done tons of episodes. I’m putting together a great bonus package. So I’m not going to belabor that here, but make it sweet for them. Give them some sort of a bonus.
And in those episodes, I share how the research has evolved over the years. And you want your bonus package to be roughly 100% to 200% of the value of the product.
Now, when you’re promoting a $2,000 affiliate offer, that means you want a $2,000 bonus. But when you’re promoting a $ 47-a-month membership, that means really anything.
Fifty dollars to one hundred dollars is a great bonus. If you have a $200 bonus, that’s awesome, but you don’t need it.
So it really, in terms of pricing your bonus, you don’t need a super expensive bonus. And even if it’s a $297, like I said earlier, $297 product, then a three to $600 bonus is phenomenal.
And it kind of takes the pressure off you to provide this, like, 3000 $4000 bonus package. You don’t need to.
The simplest way to do that, and you could even put a nice little price tag on this is just to say, hey, when you join this membership, for example, through my link, then once every quarter we’re going to go through the previous three months worth of material together. It’s a $ 200-a-quarter value, so it’s an $ 800-a-year value.
Boom. What a great bonus to offer people if it’s software, then offering them a tour of how you use that software.
This is something if you have a larger company, you probably already have a sop standard operating procedure for like, how do you create affiliate links in Clickfunnels? We’ve already got a video for that inside of our company.
Like, I’d probably just share that. Maybe not, because there are a few personal things in there I probably wouldn’t share, but those are the type of things that just show them how you use the software.
Before we purchase Notable Press, which is a WordPress theme company, we now own a company that creates WordPress themes, and if you want to check it out, go to Notable Press. By the way, we’ve got some amazing themes there and some other cool tools.
But before we purchased it, we were a pretty big affiliate for Notable Press. And one of the simple things that we did was we had a little bonus where we showed them how we set up our website.
I mean, it took 20 or 30 minutes, but they got to see like, oh, this thing that you did here, Matt, that we really like, here’s how we set that up. I didn’t even have to do the video.
It was Robbie on our team who did it. And it was a great bonus for purchasing this WordPress theme through us as an affiliate.
So again, focused on the transformation, share tons of case studies, and sweeten the pot with bonuses. Now, before we wrap up, I just want to share some examples of great affiliate programs for membership sites.
This is not an exhaustive list, all right. I’ve tried to cover a variety of really wide niches here.
Now, for the best programs in your niche, a simple Google search will do the trick. You might want to consider checking out day one of our No Product No Problem course, which is all about finding programs and getting accepted.
To get started with affiliate marketing the right way, download my free quickstart guide to affiliate marketing. Grab your copy here!
If you want these links, just check out the transcript at mattmcwilliams.com. page 53 two. I’m going to put the links and also you can kind of read through the descriptions in the transcript as well.
So the first one is Go join go. So this is it. A travel club. Gives their members access to unpublished wholesale hotel rates, 60-70 % off retail prices.
They’ve got almost a million hotels, I think, around the world now. Pays a $25 commission.
Everybody that signs up and then 1% of the hotel bookings, they’ve got a 60-day cookie. I’d like it to be longer, but most people aren’t taking much longer than that to plan their stuff.
So it’s got some cool advantages. Discount travel memberships are a pretty good commission for the niche.
I mean, it’s definitely in the top 10%, 20% of the travel niche, all those great things. The Lifetime 1% commissions on hotel bookings.
So once they book one time, they continue to book through Go join Go, you’re getting 1% of those hotel bookings, you know, $1,000 per week, you’re making $10 every time. Again, that’s residual.
That’s what we like about that. You can get some good coupon codes and all kinds of other stuff.
It’s really cool. They’ve got some pretty good graphics and social media posts, text links, and stuff like that as well wishlist products is another one. This is something that we use and recommend.
They’ve got a pretty good 30% commission, which is pretty sweet for a Lifetime cookie as well. So it’s a membership site software that helps people create their own membership sites.
It’s what we use, we run for us and our clients. I don’t know, I think we’re in the neighborhood of 15 or 20 membership sites now and that’s what we use.
We love it. They’ve got great training if you purchase through them.
I’ve never had an issue because everything I ever needed to know how to do was in their wiki and I’ve got access, they’ve got great support for them. So if I’m like, I don’t know how to do this, I just go on the support forum.
I usually get an answer within an hour or 2 hours on the high end. So really good wish List is what we use to run our membership site in-house.
So speaking In House, it is an in-house program so it’s not on a network. That’s pretty unique among membership sites and yeah, and they got great commissions, all this stuff and we’ll put links to all these in the transcript.
genie traveler is another travel deal site. So it’s a little bit different commission structure.
Theirs is 20%, just, you know, a little bit different. Same kind of thing as Go join Go, but a little bit different model.
They’re on a network which is a vaunt link. Cookies are also 60 days.
Again, I’d like to see that a little bit longer. sam’s Club we have all know at least heard of sam’s Club.
Their commissions are 7% off memberships and 4% on pretty much all other categories downside to sam’s Club’s three-day cookie. But again, not like people with an average order size of $265, probably a little bit higher right now.
Usually, people aren’t taking a ton of time now they’re on Rakuten, which is an affiliate network and they run that. So it’s great because they get over 46,000 products.
So yeah, I will say the one thing I don’t like about it in addition to the cookie link, but it’s not usually a problem. That cookie link is only a problem a quarter of a percent of the time, so it’s not that big of a deal.
Gift cards, laptops computers, and a few other things. You actually get 0% commission, so it’s just something to watch out for.
Just make sure you’re careful about what you promote on them. Dollar shave Club it’s a great 115 percent on razors, and 12% on non-razor stuff.
Three-day cookie. Again, it’s a low enough ticket item.
Most people aren’t a life-or-death decision about what kind of razor they’re going to buy. Most people aren’t taking more than a minute or ten, so they’ve got tons of stuff.
Their line, their product line is increasing, so it’s pretty cool to watch what they’re doing in terms of every month there’s more and more stuff to promote. So again, this recurring thing is as their stuff recur, every time those razors are shipped, you’re making money.
They update their creatives. I love the way they run their company, like their affiliate program.
They do a great job updating their creative. And usually, you don’t have to do the updating, they update them for you.
So as long as you’re pulling them directly from their stuff using linking to their images, then they update them for you. I wasn’t going to say about that one.
There’s something else, but I can’t remember. They’re on a network, which is Pepper Jam, so go check them out again, we’ll put links in there as well.
And then the last one is monthlyclubs.com commissions are pretty solid caps. They’ve got like a chocolate club, a beer club, a wine club, a cheese club, a flower club, all that stuff.
Pretty straightforward. cigars. I think they’ve got some others as well. And so yeah, it’s just a monthly club.
No, it’s a monthly club, and yeah, pretty flexible memberships. Like you can even design your own club on there, which is pretty cool.
So they use CJ Commission Junction to run their affiliate program and haven’t checked it out. It’s pretty cool.
Like they’ve got the number one beer of the month club. That’s their big one.
Some pretty cool plans that members can use. They got a 90-day cookie.
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So one of the better ones again, why not make it lifetime people? That’s how long your cookie should be because it just sells better and has pretty good commissions.
Typically they end up working out in the 15% to 20% range, which is pretty good for retail products. So those are just some suggestions.
Again, you can see some of the issues with those. Typically cookie length and maybe being a little bit stingy on the percentage.
But again, if it’s recurring and you’re getting a 15% or 20% recurring commission, that ends up being pretty sweet. So as we wrap up here, I would love to hear from you.
Your biggest takeaway. Shoot me a text, at 260-217-4619. Let me know what your biggest takeaway was. All the links we mentioned, will be in the show notes for you.
There are tons of links today. So go check out the show notes and make sure you hit subscribe because, in the next episode, I’m going to be taking your questions.
We have got a backlog of listener questions, and Q and A time. So you’ve got the queues, I’ve got the a’s.
I’m going to give them to you all about finding affiliates what’s, working in affiliate recruiting, affiliate email templates, different types of affiliate coupons, affiliates, whether you should go in-house or network, and just good grief.
There are so many other great questions. Oh, man, that’s a good one about social media. So, got some great questions that we’re going to answer in the next episode.
In our Q and A episode, we do one of those about every quarter or so. If you’ve got a question, go to Asktheaffiliateguy.com and you can ask your question there.
Maybe if you ask it in time, might be worth squeezing into that episode. I don’t think so.
I think I’ll record it too far in advance, but go there anyway. Ask your question and I’ll answer it in a future episode.
So with that, we’ll wrap up and I will see you in the next episode. Bye for now.