Podcast Episode #08 - Growing Trough Affiliate Marketing | Dustin Howes - Affiliate Nerd - AFLUENCER

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Podcast Episode #08 – Growing Trough Affiliate Marketing | Dustin Howes – Affiliate Nerd

Zeljko Nemet

YouTube Chancellor

We’re thrilled to present the latest addition to Afluencer’s content lineup – our podcast series featuring insightful conversations with influential brand owners. In this inaugural article, we have the privilege of introducing Dustin Howes, the visionary founder of Affiliate Nerd, as our esteemed guest.

Meet Dustin Howes: The Mind Behind Affiliate Nerd

Dustin Howes, the innovative mind driving Affiliate Nerd, takes center stage in the Afluencer podcast series. With a wealth of experience in the world of influencer marketing, Dustin shares captivating insights, challenges, and triumphs that have shaped his brand’s journey.

Podcast Premiere: Delving into the Affiliate Nerd Universe

Join us in exploring the enchanting world of Affiliate Nerd through the eyes of Dustin Howes himself. We’ve embedded the riveting YouTube podcast video below, offering an exclusive glimpse into the transformative power of influencer marketing.

Also, listen to the Afluencer Podcast on:

Key Takeaways

00:00 🎙️ *Introduction to the podcast and guest, Dustin Howes.*

– Dustin Howes’ background in affiliate marketing.

– The merging of traditional marketing and influencer marketing.

– Dustin’s journey from poker player to affiliate marketing expert.

03:09 🚀 *Creation of the “Affiliate Nerd” brand and podcast.*

– Dustin’s decision to start the “Affiliate Nerd” podcast.

– The concept of being an “affiliate nerd.”

– Benefits of interviewing experts in the affiliate marketing industry.

08:36 💡 *Starting an affiliate program and the importance of optimizing your website first.*

– When to consider starting an affiliate program.

– Prioritizing website optimization before affiliate marketing.

– Using influencers as an entry point into affiliate marketing.

11:46 🎯 *Creating a “Partner Persona” for targeted affiliates.*

– Defining a “Partner Persona” for affiliate marketing.

– Identifying the ideal affiliates based on your customer avatar.

– Focusing on quality over quantity when recruiting affiliates.

16:05 📈 *Setting up affiliate and influencer programs with specific metrics.*

– Differentiating between affiliate and influencer requirements.

– Determining follower counts for influencers and affiliates.

– The importance of SEO value and intent in affiliate partnerships.

19:46 🛡️ *Monitoring affiliate compliance and ethical affiliate marketing practices.*

– Tracking affiliate performance metrics like conversion rate.

– Assessing the quality of traffic driven by affiliates.

– Addressing compliance and fraud prevention in affiliate programs.

21:05 💼 *Understanding Attribution Models in Affiliate Marketing*

– Discussing the importance of attribution models in affiliate marketing.

– Exploring the analogy of attribution to hockey assists and goals.

– Emphasizing the need to compensate affiliates who provide early touchpoints in the customer journey.

22:00 📈 *Prioritizing Website Traffic over Social Media Followers*

– Highlighting the value of website traffic in affiliate marketing.

– Suggesting that social media followers may not be as crucial as website traffic.

– Exploring the importance of analyzing metrics beyond social media engagement.

23:22 🌐 *Giving Affiliates a Chance*

– Encouraging the consideration of affiliates with legitimate websites.

– Mentioning the significance of evaluating an affiliate’s game plan.

– Advocating for giving opportunities to affiliates with potential.

24:18 🤝 *Advice for Nano Influencers Seeking Brand Deals*

– Providing guidance to Nano influencers with focused content and a small following.

– Emphasizing the importance of negotiation and finding a win-win situation with brands.

– Suggesting the use of personalization and concise communication in outreach.

26:46 🧩 *Leveraging Automation in Affiliate Recruitment*

– Discussing the use of AI-powered tools for affiliate recruitment.

– Highlighting the role of AI in building lists and identifying potential affiliates.

– Mentioning tools like ContactOut for automated email outreach.

29:29 🌟 *The Power of Backlinks in Affiliate Marketing*

– Stressing the value of backlinks for affiliates focused on organic traffic.

– Recommending the offer of backlinks as an incentive for affiliates.

– Acknowledging the importance of domain authority in this strategy.

32:09 🎓 *Affiliate Marketing Training and Community*

– Promoting the Performance Marketing Manager course for those interested in affiliate marketing.

– Highlighting the benefits of the course, including training and community access.

– Offering a discount code for course enrollment.

Transcription Insight: A Peek into the Conversation

Gain an insider’s perspective as we burrow into the transcription of our engaging conversation with Dustin Howes. Discover the strategies, anecdotes, and wisdom that have fueled Affiliate Nerd’ success, all captured in this in-depth transcription.

In Conversation with Dustin Howes, Founder of Affiliate Nerd:

Brett:

Welcome special guest here today, baseball reference.com expert Dustin Howes. We were just talking as we came on the podcast. Dustin’s a guy, I told our podcast producer, Hey, we got to get him on because in the influencer marketing world today, you’re seeing this kind of collision worlds collide between affiliate, traditional marketing, commission-based stuff and this influencer creator type of marketing efforts. They are really kind of turning into one and the same thing, and we need to talk to Dustin to figure out where things are going. So we’re going to get to that in a moment. But first, Dustin, welcome and we want to get your origin story. So tell me a little about yourself and I need you to include the poker room into this one also, so let’s make sure we talk about everything.

Dustin:

No problem. Dustin Howes here. I’ve got 13 years of affiliate experience and just like any high schooler, I came dreaming of being in the affiliate marketing management world, which is never true. Nobody comes into this world saying, I want to go into affiliate marketing. No, I wanted to be an umpire coming out of high school. And then I joined the Marines and then I became a professional poker dealer and then a professional poker player. And then I went broke and decided I’ve got to get a full-time job with my college degree and affiliate marketing kind of fell in my lap. I got my first job at CJ doing network compliance and eventually I got into being very passionate about this industry and managing programs, and I found that a vertical of affiliate management resources was pretty limited in the field, and I figured this out about six, seven years ago. And besides going to conferences and learning from other experts, there just wasn’t enough material out there. So that fired up the course that I created. It’s called Performance Marketing Manager, and it is a course that goes through every intricate step of being a good affiliate manager and what that entails, and that’s what I do. I sell that course, I help people. I do constant consulting calls and coaching to help people grow their affiliate program the right way.

Brett:

Great program. By the way, also, that was my previous company in life at Lead Dino where we did the affiliate tracking and we tried to get as many people over your way to sign up for your program. We would have folks sign up for the software e-commerce companies, Hey, I want to launch this big affiliate program and take over the world. Can you do it all for me? No, we can’t. We can provide you with the tool and let’s get you over to Dustin so he can sort of teach you the methodology and even if they don’t carry it out, hopefully they can hire someone to do that. Let’s talk about affiliate Nerd. This is your podcast and this is your new brand. How did you go from a broke poker player to coming up with the affiliate nerd brand and term?

Dustin:

Yeah, it’s been a long journey, man, but I’ve made a lot of friends in this industry over the last 13 years and one day I decided I need new content for my website. What’s a good way to go about this? Well, I do like jumping on the phone and talking to people. Why don’t I just make some kind of live video podcast out of this? And affiliate is something I’m super passionate about, and my sisters growing up, they were nerds, they were valedictorians and super book smart and they called other people nerds and it was a rite of passage and a badge of honor, and I felt like the word nerd actually applies to me because that’s exactly what I am today with affiliate marketing. And so I started inviting other nerds in the industry to come and talk and we’ve made a good show out of it. It runs 30 to 45 minutes. We just talk about affiliate stuff that they’re super important. And the greatest part is I get to pick the brains of some of the smartest people in this industry and make good content out of it. So I’m really proud of what I’m doing there

Brett:

Did the statistics aspect of the affiliate world that bring in, I can picture your sisters sort of dominating their schoolwork while you’re over in your room. You’ve got the Bill James Saber Metrics and while you’re supposed to be studying, I’m sure you’re looking at the back of the baseball cards and figure out the advanced metrics there. The advanced stats fast forward to broke Dustin, and you’ve got the same type of metrics with the affiliate world, right? It’s all based on these click-throughs, this, that, right? There’s a million different stats. How did that then appeal to you as a original baseball nerd who evolved into this affiliate marketing guy?

Dustin:

Honestly, it didn’t really chime in until the last recent years. I’ve always been a relationship guy, yes, in baseball, I know who is the all time home run leader for Leadoff batters. It’s 81 with Ricky Henderson. You nailed it. You know it too. We know baseball cards and we grew up in that, and that is my first love was baseball and learning that stuff, but statistics speaking, that doesn’t compute for me in an affiliate. That took a lot of time for me to develop that kind of skillset. But my original skillset is relationship building and busting chops, making friends like you in this industry and having fun with people, and eventually I had to turn that side of my brain on and get better at it because you can’t run an agency or a business without looking at statistics and what you’re doing or it’s a recipe for disaster. So yeah, that took some time for me to develop.

Brett:

Let’s talk affiliate marketing today from your perspective. I do lots of these types of calls with especially e-commerce store owners, head of Shopify store owner on yesterday where he was pretty early in the process. Usually I chat with people after they’ve got a wrap installed or something and he just wanted me to look at his website and says, I got this up. I made one sale. What do I do now? And by the way, and everyone’s, especially these new store owners are all doing sort of that who’s who of online marketing, right? He’s like, I’ve got Google ads running. It’s really expensive. I’m like, I could picture that he’s got a kitchen product. I’m like, you’re probably competing with Bed Bath and Beyond, so that’s bad. Okay, continue. Okay, I’m doing ads with Meta, I am doing SS e o, but it’s not working yet. Right. So you hear all of these things. Where in your perspective does affiliate marketing fit, especially with, I mean this applies to experience brands also because we chat with them too where they’re trying to scale, they’re trying to get up the next level. Where does affiliate marketing fit in the year 2023 in terms of their overall portfolio of marketing tools?

Dustin:

Such a good question. Such a tough question too. Well, I would say I tell all people that I have phone calls with that affiliate marketing should not be done until you’ve optimized your site and all your other digital aspects. So do your paid and organic traffic and get a page that is converting before you think about affiliate programs. But what I don’t tell them is influencer marketing is a caveat here because influencer marketing, if you have a good product but you’re not exactly great at marketing it, influencers could be that turnkey for you to get that new solution for you to actually be able to convert. They can convert for you just by their word of mouth and being passionate and having a good product is that first step. So I would go into influencer marketing before I would go into affiliate marketing, in all honesty, and if you do have all those things in place, your site is converting. The biggest reason you don’t start an affiliate program before that is because you don’t want to fail your affiliates. You don’t want to start a relationship with affiliates and then they send a whole bunch of traffic your way and none of it converts. That’s a recipe to burn that bridge and you just don’t want to do that. So have your conversion rate maximized and converting at an appropriate click to your competitors before you start reaching out and bringing in those affiliates.

Brett:

That’s an interesting delineation there that you’ve got also between the website doing the work, and that’s where you might want to scale it with affiliates versus when you’re early on you may be able to cut a corner or two. And that was actually kind of my inclination or advice with this particular brand was that hey, he was grinding on every aspect of optimizing his homepage. If he gets someone here with intent to buy, you don’t have to worry necessarily whether they have a video or a photo at the front if you get someone there. Now I’m old enough to have run companies where we tried to do that via editorial where if we were mentioned in this editorial is an old word for a blog post or a newspaper article, if you were mentioned there, then the person would go to your site and they wanted to buy from you, and then you could kind of use that momentum and you’d tweak what you’re selling on your site so that eventually you want a cold visitor to be able to buy, at which point to your point, dust. And then you can bring in the affiliates and scale that up, but you don’t want to, like you said, have an affiliate sending you traffic and then it’s not converting and they know that they’re sending you traffic, so they’re going to ask where their commissions are and then you kind of shrug, right? It’s kind of a process.

Dustin:

So there’s a train of thought here. Almost all the platforms have kind of an entry level way to go. Some of the major platforms do not have this, but there is 50 affiliate tracking solutions out there that you can dip your toe in the water and then when it’s time to scale that you can switch over to a different platform to get that solution. But even impact today has a $30 product that you can start creating your own affiliate program for $30 a month, which is an incredible value. There’s lots of other platforms. I’m a big proponent of first promoter, very simple solution lead dyno. I’ve sent a ton of people over to Lead Dyno because it’s a simple solution. It’s cheap. You get to dip your toes in the water. And on the other side of that, you might just use that as your influencer platform to track affiliate commissions because when you’re working with influencers, you should be trying to motivate them with affiliate commissions on top of whatever sponsorship you do with them. So a lead dyno is a really good solution to have it as your tracking solution to compliment what you guys are doing over there.

Brett:

Makes sense. So it’s kind a no-brainer would you say to have an affiliate program, even if you have it in the footer, as you said with Lead Donner, I didn’t realize Impact had a solution like that or first promoter you didn’t have in the footer. So people sign up or you have customers who buy, and then why not offer them a spot in your affiliate program?

Dustin:

This is an absolute must, especially for small businesses. One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make is not putting their program that they’ve created in the footer of their page. Because if you’re an affiliate and you say, oh yeah, I like this brand, I like this product, I want to go promote this. That is the first place that they are going to go look is right in that footer. So make sure it’s there. Make sure the process of the application is simple and easy. It is not long and drawn out. You don’t need to ask them for their mother’s middle name or any other ridiculous question about what city you’re in. All you need is an email address, their name, their website, and why they think they would be a good affiliate. Get them in the program and ask those questions later after you start making a relationship and they start driving traffic because you want that entry level point to be as quick as possible so that they can get their link up as soon as possible.

Brett:

Yeah, that’s great advice. You just want to get ’em in because you can always email ’em and hey, at the end of the day, if they don’t do anything, that’s not the end of the world either, as long as they’re not burning time for you. So you want to just get these people in the door. Are there other no-brainers that you see? So you’ve trained over a hundred managers and many of our previous lead dyno and influencer users, so lots of trainings that you’ve done, other kind of no-brainer things that are high leverage plays that aren’t necessarily big effort, but like, Hey, let’s do these to juice, either our affiliate or our influencer efforts.

Dustin:

Biggest things I would say, we’ll get back to the mistakes, but the must haves that you have to do, create a avatar of your ideal affiliates, make three of them just as your customer avatar that you’ve created. This is a 50 year old female from the United States, like this is who we target, this is who we’re going after, this is where we’re sending traffic. We want to create three ideal influencers or content publishers, whoever that ideal affiliate partner is, let’s make an avatar of them. I call ’em partner persona. And then you look at, Hey, how am I going to get ahold of them? What’s the best way to get ahold of them? Then we look at what is the best message to send to these affiliates as well? And then you start building a list of where you would find these affiliates. So you use tools like SEMrush to go and build a list for you, and you use tools like hunter.io to go and find the email address for all of those websites. So these are those that must have thing that I see a lot of people never doing and putting an affiliate program and hoping it’s going to work. You have to be super specific on the target of affiliate partner that you want in your program.

Brett:

I really like that on the partner persona. So from your perspective, is that partner persona, is that your target customer? I think most people know who their target customer is. Does that translate directly over the partner persona or is that different? Is that the person who can influence your target market? How do you think about that when you’re creating that avatar?

Dustin:

Oh, super good question. So you would think we essentially step backwards and think about it logically from, okay, here’s your customer avatar. It’s that 50 year old female in the us. Where is she going to be visiting? What kind of websites are she going to on a daily basis where she’s going to see an ad or an article about you or have the best chance to do that? So find those websites that she’s going to be visiting. And the best way to do this is if you look at a site and you see that might be a good fit. This is a blog about raising children that might be a really good fit for your target demographic, let’s go reach out to them. But you’re also, you don’t want to waste time on sites that don’t have a lot of traffic. So you need to be talking to those affiliates that and asking about their metrics. Hey, what is your breakdown of your demographics for the people that are coming to your website? Let’s dig into that a little bit and see if this is a good fit for a partnership. So yeah, so work backwards is the best way. Find your avatar and where they’re going to visit and that’s the part persona that you’re going to be going after and replicating.

Brett:

Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. That’s very helpful. In terms of numbers then, and we’ve got our personas, is there a target number that we’re looking for in terms of partners? Do we want three partners? Do we want 30? Do we want 3000? Right? And let’s maybe frame this from, well, let’s do each, but let’s start with the affiliate side. So let’s say, okay, we’re looking for a partner persona, we’re willing to pay 20% commission, and then I’ll have you wrap around and say, Hey, we’re looking to do an influencer thing and maybe we’ve got $200 per host or per reel that we’re looking to do. So how do we think about each one of those in terms of numbers that we’re targeting?

Dustin:

Yeah. Well, in terms of influencers, you got to be a little bit more picky. You have to really, you’re going to be investing upfront money. You better make sure that you know that this kind of person is going to help you convert or at least get your brand name out there and have a wide reach to get your brand name out there. But with affiliates, how many join your program is a vanity metric in my mind. I would much rather go after three targeted affiliates every week and try to get them in the program that I know going to actually make sales then go in after a thousand people that are just throwing paint on the wall and seeing what comes back to me. Because those are rarely going to be difference makers in your program, but the ones that you have catered messages to, you’re going to get the best responses back from them. In my history, that’s exactly how I like to run it.

Brett:

I love that focus on quality. Do you have a specific follower account that you’re looking for? So on our platform, influencers will often recommend setting up, especially if we’re doing affiliate and influencer stuff. Hey, here’s a collab for your affiliates, and it is going to be a lower bar in terms of follower requirements, influencers, even micro influencers, nano, it’s going to be higher. Do you have a specific follower account? Say, Hey, we’re looking for a thousand or more followers from our affiliates versus this for our influencers. Any rough metrics that you have in mind that you recommend when you’re telling people what to set up or when you’re setting it up for them?

Dustin:

Well, with affiliates, you’re looking off their ss e o value and what their traffic is coming from Google and SEMrush is a great solution to find out how much traffic is actually coming in and the intent of that traffic as well. So you can find these metrics in a tool like that, but as far as followers go, I don’t check that metric too often. On the affiliate side and on the influencer side, I would always highly suggest that people start early. You get the really the nano and the micross, dip your toes in the water with it early on and then scale it up, see who works out of these five, which one was the best, let’s replicate this one that was the best and do it on a bigger scale the next time. So we’re just ratcheting up and stepping up the ladder. But with affiliates, it works in the same kind of capacity.

You’re looking for all the mommy blogs out there to join your program, and then we’re going to find who is working here, who is converting at a good tick. So if conversion rate’s a good metric to be looking at who is driving traffic, the amount of traffic that they’re driving might be a good fit, but the audience might not be closers. So you got to take a look at that. You have to look at assists as well if you can get that metric. Some content sites are really good assisters. They might bring a lot of good quality traffic, but somebody else on the affiliate side closes that sale. Interesting.

 

Brett:

Okay. You’re set up your seventh, eighth inning pitcher there.

Dustin:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. You’re John Stockton’s. I mean Stockton.

Brett:

Yeah. Good. Yeah,

Dustin:

We don’t have too many assists in baseball, at least in the,

Brett:

I guess we’ll even take the hockey assist, right? We’ll even go, we’re setting up the setup. We’ll take it.

Dustin:

Absolutely. And also one last point here, make sure they’re doing following the terms and conditions, because if you have somebody that’s converting at a really high click, that could be a red flag that they’re doing something fraudulent and you don’t want fraudulent affiliates in your program because that is, it’s not making it a fair playing field for the rest of ’em, and you want to give everybody a fair chance to get that and earn that commission from that last click. That is most of the time the attribution model.

Brett:

Yeah, that’s a great point. I guess if we shift our analogies for once over to hockey, you get one point for a goal, one point for an assist, one for an assistant leads to an assist that leads to the goal. So that’s kind of what we’re looking for. I mean, that research always, it resurfaces every few years the number of touchpoint that you need for someone to sell. So if someone has giving you that early touchpoint in that process, you do want to, to your point, compensate. You don’t want to just reward the closer every time because maybe the closers stepping in front of ’em, maybe the closers, the, I coached my five-year-old’s basketball team. There are people who score and they’ll rip the ball from a teammate literally and throw,

Dustin:

Yeah.

Brett:

They do. Not necessarily what we’re looking for, although we get the bucket.

Dustin:

And who’s keeping scoring five-year-old basketball anyway,

Brett:

Nobody’s keeping score except for the kids themselves. Only

Dustin:

The lunatics in the stands. That’s

Brett:

Right. That’s right. And the intense parents. So I also like the point on the affiliates where we’re looking, we’re interested in that traffic on SEMrush, so that makes the case. Maybe we deemphasize our social media followers. Maybe we just want them to have a presence on social media for legitimacy, but we don’t care that they have, we certainly don’t care if they have 10,000 followers. We may just want to see like, Hey, they’ve got this site. Sure, they’ve got Instagram hooked up. That’s not their focus though. We’re more focused on the traffic and the overall everything that’s coming in, and we don’t necessarily, we’re not relying on social media for that. Whereas if we’re doing an influencer, we’re paying per post on Instagram than maybe we do care. Maybe we care a lot about the followers and then we’ve got the country’s percentage we’re shipping here, so we want this percentage here and engagement rate and all that type of stuff.

Dustin:

And with affiliates, you really never know. In all honesty, they might have not great organic traffic coming to their website, but they might have a really good game plan for how they’re going to get that traffic. Maybe they’re doing some kind of paid media on the side or paying for additional posts or traffic on Google. You just don’t know until you get them into the program and start checking out their metrics of what they’re doing. So I never give up on anybody. If people have legitimate websites, I give them a chance. If they apply to the program and they’ve got a garbage website and a garbage game plan, then I don’t accept them to the program. But if they have a garbage website and they have a good game plan, I’m going to give them a try. So you never know. Give it a shot and then check out what they bring to the table.

Brett:

That’s great. Let’s going to flip the script and have Dustin here give advice to, let’s say a nano influencer on our platform. And we have people who they’re up and coming and they’re focused on the content and their stats are what we would like to see, right? High engagement rate, and they’re doing a nice job next step, they want to work with brands. So you’ve got the affiliate offers, you’ve got the paper post offers. From your perspective then, what should this person do next? Let’s say they’ve got 2000 followers and laser focused content, whether it’s beauty, whether it’s travel, so they’re doing a good job on that focus. What’s next for them in terms of getting some sort of brand deal?

Dustin:

What’s next for them? I mean, your evaluation of who they are is just intuition, and that comes with experience. And you can only do your best. They’re going to give you a value proposition of what they think that you’re worth, and you’re going to be able to negotiate back against that for what they’re worth. It’s kind of rare today in the affiliate world to reach out to somebody and they just work off a straight commission. It can be tough and much like it is in the influencer world, it’s hard to get them to do it on strictly a commission basis. But if the value proposition, if you guys can meet in a middle ground, that’s when the win-win situation comes in. And again, testing with small budgets is always a smart idea. And then scaling up into the future on what works for those. I don’t know if I answered your question exactly though.

Brett:

Yeah, no, that’s interesting. It actually gave me another thought because back in the lead Dino days, when we were recruiting our own affiliates,

To your point, it was very hard to get attention. Even though we offered a generous commission, we always put it as high as we could. It’s hard to get somebody’s attention. And this is bloggers that we would approach it would always ask about advertising, and if you bought the cheapest ad on their site, then you could do a better job of getting their attention and maybe sign ’em up as an affiliate. So interesting that you said today, then that still carries over with the top end affiliates because you definitely see that with influencers. Is it better to offer to use sponsor something or do some sort of pay posts? What’s the lingo today in the affiliate world, if you’re reaching out cold, how should I get someone’s attention? Am I still asking for their media kit or is that very 2014 of me? What are the kids saying today to get an affiliate? Yeah,

 

Dustin:

What are the kids saying? I love it. I keep it short and concise. I look at their website and I make something personal that I can relate to them in some kind of capacity and I make one or two sentence remark as my first sentence, get us some kind of catchy title, something that’s not just super boring, like partnership, what my brand, not going to get their attention. But the first line is going to be like, Hey, I love your LinkedIn profile over at Wrigley Field. Great picture. There I am reaching out. Second sentence. Essentially I’m reaching out on behalf of my brand. This is what we do. In one sentence, do you think this is a fit for your audience? And always end this in a question. And this gives you three to four sentences to work because affiliates are going to go through a lot of emails and if there are good affiliate, they’re getting hundreds of emails a day, you have to first stand out.

And secondly, you have to be short and concise with what you do. Give them a chance to look at your website and say, yes, I could actually promote this. And then secondly, if you really, really want to work with them, bend over backwards. So something I’ve been playing around with is actually creating the content for good affiliates. And that’s a lot of legwork on my end. I will use tools like Jasper and content at scale and surfer ss e o to create the content. And I tell the affiliate, Hey, I can create you a 1000 word blog post fully optimized, ready to post if you just join our affiliate program. And then you can start earning the commissions. And that’s a message that will resonate with them. But again, you’ve got to have the infrastructure behind you to actually build that out because affiliate managers, that’s a whole day’s process if you try to go and do all that by yourself. So you have to have somebody below you that is writing that content for you and passing that to you so you can pass it to the affiliate.

 

Brett:

And I guess a good argument for getting our toes, but as you said with the nano influencers or they’re called nano creators for a reason, they can potentially create the content. And I like your point on the game plan, something we do tell brands, say, Hey, when I’m working with our influencer, I like to kick it to them and say, Hey, what do you have in mind? What I want to hear? I want to hear a game plan. And then I want to hear all the different channels they can get us on. I want to hear our laundry list, right? Instagram, TikTok, Instagram stories, YouTube, right? Tell me more your game plan and then we’ll go. So I think from our previous nano influencer, that would be great to hear is, Hey, you don’t need a ton of followers to work with a brand. But I think hearing that, I think the game plan is something great as a thread or piece of advice for them to have in mind as they want to monetize their

Dustin:

Creativity. And then one last nugget there, affiliates that have ss e o value, that want organic traffic, you can tell them, you can offer a backlink to their article if they join your program. Backlinks are very powerful. It’s just like gold to affiliates that are working on organic traffic and if they hear backlink, they’re going to be much more available to write that content at a much quicker pace as well. You’ll get up to the top of that content calendar. So that is a lever that you can pull. If your website has a high domain authority, you can pull that lever and get some action quickly.

Brett:

That’s a great piece of advice. Again, I keep hearing human thinking, human thinking. It’s 2023. Is there an AI aspect to this that you’re implementing today or thinking about there in the future?

Dustin:

The only AI I’m using is in the recruitment potential. So I’m using some really cool tools out there. New ones pop up every day, like some of the old school ones, like I helped build out the one at Grovey years ago, and that was a very complete C R M and recruitment tool. Publisher Discovery is one of my favorites right now, but this is essentially to build lists in your vertical and niche that are going to be much faster than you trying to search Google for every single serp. Again, SEMrush is a really good solution for this because you take your biggest keywords that you want to rank for, and we’re going to look for who’s ranking on the first three SERPs of Google. SEMrush just gives you that list so that you can download it and start looking for the right people at those companies.

So in terms of automation, that’s the way I do it. In terms of the outreach portion of it, there are things like Contact Out is something I’m using right now that will help do a drip email sequence of five emails. You’re never going to get them their attention on the first email. I won’t say never, but if you get a 20% response rate on your first email, you’re doing magic in this world. So I like shooting five emails over three week period to affiliates, and I use tools like Contact Out to make that drip campaign happen so that the email outreach is automated and I might get their attention on a third or fourth email sometimes.

 

Brett:

That’s all great advice. Great hard hitting tips there. Let’s, to our brands who are watching this and who I will say would greatly benefit from taking your course dust and walk us through the mechanics of that. What do they get? How do they sign up? I know sometimes you do the consultations, so a brand watching this wants to learn more from you and get this vast tap this knowledge, how do they do it?

Dustin:

The sure thing, the course is performance marketing manager.com/ I’ll hook you up and anybody listening on here with a $50 coupon off, you join the community. You get eight hours of my training just like we’re going through today. I go through it step by step with slides and my insight on how to do each intricate part of being an affiliate manager and what will this will happen to do for you is if you’re thinking about creating an affiliate program, this is a great way to start. It’s a step-by-step process of these are the things you need to do, these are the platforms you need to be looking at for your brand, and it gives you an entire game plan. So executives, if you’re a small business owner, this helps you get an understanding of what affiliate marketing is and how to do it right so that you can employ somebody else to do it if you don’t have the time to be doing that, or you can just send it to your young professional that’s working Kids fresh out of college, take my courses all the time and get trained up very quickly to run an affiliate program for somebody and they get a cheap salary.

So you get the eight hours of training, all the slides, all my insights, and then you actually join my community as well. So I’ve got hundreds of affiliate managers that have joined my community and my course in the past, and they are involved in my Slack community where we’re always bouncing ideas off each other like, Hey, I need to know what to do with this affiliate. Does anybody have a contact over here? Yes, I’ve got this contact. Or I’m constantly doing Loom videos, like showing people how I would go about finding this person or doing this task. So it’s a community that is helping each other and trying to get better.

 

Brett:

That’s great. And we’ll get that link below in the show notes here so people can just scroll down and click on it, get you out of here on this one. Dustin, thanks again for your time today. You’ve got your podcast affiliate nerd out. You were kind enough to have me on as a guest, talk about Affiliate Nerd out, and then talk about the types of guests that you’ve got booked in the weeks months ahead here and who you’re looking for.

Dustin:

Absolutely. Affiliate Nerd Out is all about bringing industry powerhouses in and picking their brain, getting the information that they know. If you have something interesting to talk about in affiliate marketing or influencer marketing, for that point, I want to talk to you and pick your brain and we can just hang out for 30 minutes and educate the audience out there and make affiliate marketing bigger than it is today. That’s the whole point.

Brett:

That was great. Well, thanks again, Dustin. Appreciate you joining and everyone, we’ve got wrapping it up here live from the wool Clark Den. We had Dustin Howes here from Affiliate Nerd.

Dustin:

Yeah, I just want to, one last point, I don’t know if anybody can see this, but the Giants are 56 and 47 and the Yankees are 54 and 48. So just slightly ahead in the standings right now. Do

Brett:

You really update that every day or is that a special, I feel like it is not Fenway. I feel like this was put up prior to logging on Zoom here,

Dustin:

Special ad today. Absolutely.

Brett:

Appreciate that as always,

Dustin:

Just for you buddy.

Brett:

Alright, thanks again, Dustin.

Dustin:

Alright, take care y’all soon.

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