Want to increase your affiliate income without doubling or tripling your traffic? I’ve got two words for you: special perks.
Special perks are what I call uncommon promotional tools and resources your affiliate manager can give you to increase your conversions and commissions.
But Justine, why would they be willing to share extra stuff with little ol’ me?
First, your affiliate manager wants you to succeed so if they can give you a special perk to improve your performance, they will.
Second, sales driven by content affiliates have risen 240% in the past 2 years. Which means now more than ever, affiliate managers are investing additional time and resources into helping bloggers and content creators thrive in their affiliate programs.
Sounds great – how can I take advantage of these special perks you speak of?
That’s what today’s post is all about.
Here’s what I’ll be covering:
Let’s get started…
What are Special Perks?
Think back to when you first got accepted into a new affiliate program.
Inside your affiliate dashboard, you found the most common types of collateral companies offer: text links and banners. You happily used them then and you use them now.
While these are a great starting point for most affiliates getting started with affiliate marketing, there are usually private items your affiliate manager can provide you with upon request.
These are the special perks I speak of. The reason I call them “special perks” is because not every affiliate gets them and some can be customized just for you.
Besides increasing your conversions, special perks also increase trust with your audience since their exclusive or limited nature makes you look like a VIP partner or brand ambassador compared to other affiliates who don’t have the same perks as you.
6 Special Perks You Can Get
1. Coupon code
Although many companies add coupon codes to your affiliate dashboard, those are public to every affiliate and often have expiry dates.
But there are other types of discount codes you can get – either branded for you (i.e. my coupon might be JustineGrey) or with a slightly higher discount than public affiliates get. Both of these types give you a slight advantage over your affiliate competitors and are definitely worth asking for.
Here’s an example from Veronika Palovska of Do You Speak Freedom, who offers a personalized coupon code for Paul Jarvis’ Grow Your Audience course:
2. Co-branded landing page
Instead of sending your traffic to the company’s homepage or other designated landing pages, they can create a co-branded landing page that displays your logo and/or other personalized text or visuals.
This lets your audience know that you’re officially affiliated with the company and typically increases your visit-to-sale (or lead) conversion rate. I’ve personally seen the benefits of co-branded pages, both as an affiliate and program manager. And so did Prezzybox, according to this case study from affiliate network Awin.
Since I share affiliate marketing strategies with awesome people like you, naturally my content may contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you take action (i.e. subscribe, make a purchase) after clicking one of these links, I'll earn some coffee money ☕️ which I promise to drink while creating more helpful content like this.Affiliate Disclosure
This is the co-branded page we offer FreshBooks’ affiliates like the lovely Gina Horkey:
Sometimes, co-branded pages are combined with other special perks, like coupon codes and extended trials. Here’s an example from Richard at A Better Lemonade Stand, who offers a discount on his co-branded Shopify landing page:
3. Free offers
If you see a cool resource or offer on a company’s site – think eBook, free course, email challenge, white paper, and more – consider promoting that instead of or in addition to promoting the sales landing page.
But why?Let me explain.
While the ideas in this post will optimize your chances of converting more of your traffic into sales, at the end of the day it’s really the company’s responsibility to optimize their visit-to-sale conversion rates for themselves and their affiliates. But no matter how well-optimized their website or landing page is, you’ll never convert every single person you send over to the company’s site.
If you take a look at your current affiliate clicks and sales, you’ll get a good sense of how your various program’s convert.
As an example, let’s say you send 100 clicks to a company’s website and 1 sale takes place. That means your conversion rate is 1% and your EPC (earnings per 100 clicks) is $10.
Instead, what if you send 100 clicks to the company’s helpful free resource that converted at a whopping 40%? Although you wouldn’t get any sales from those 40 people right away, over time the company will nurture those leads and could eventually convert 2, 3, 4, and even more into paying customers.
Sounds good, right?
Pro tip: You may be able to get this special perk without asking your affiliate manager by creating a custom or deep-link pointing to the free offer or resource.
A company that always has cool freebies for their affiliates is Food Blogger Pro. Their Viral Video eBook is one I regularly share with food bloggers in my audience:
4. Extended trials
If you’re an affiliate for a software company or subscription service that offers a free trial, you may be able to score a longer trial window exclusively for your audience. I know this because I’ve worked for several software companies and am an affiliate for many more, most of whom give out extended trials in private for partnerships and custom promotions.
Just keep in mind that when using an extended trial, you'll wait longer to see sales from the free trials you are generating since the conversion cycle is also extended.
SEMrush offers a 7-day free trial publicly but thanks to their affiliates, you can get a 14-day fairly easily. On a related note, click here to grab your extended trial from me (you're welcome 😉)
5. Co-hosted webinar
If you have a decent-sized audience, many affiliate managers in the SaaS and digital product space will gladly co-host a learning webinar (or similar live event) to help you generate more sales. All you have to do is prepare some promotional materials to get people to show up for the webinar. The company or product creator will do the heavy lifting by presenting the webinar, selling their product and tracking your affiliate sales.
The only catch is that there's usually a minimum audience size requirement (i.e. 1,000-10,000 subscribers depending on who you want to work with) to get these pushed through.
ConvertKit, Teachable, and LeadPages are just a few of the software companies I’ve seen offering these webinars.
Example time. Here’s an email Maya Elious sent me recently, detailing her upcoming sales funnel webinar that ConvertKit was hosting for her:
6. Custom collateral
The last type of special perk I’m highlighting today is custom collateral. The key word here being custom. Unlike what you find inside your affiliate dashboard or on the company’s website, custom collateral is created just for you upon request.
For example, if you’re planning a big promo for the company and need help with some extra talking points or copy pieces, your affiliate manager may be able to get an in-house copywriter to develop something special just for you.
Same goes with visuals. If you need a special banner size or unique type of graphic (think social media, webinar cover, employee headshot, etc.), a member of the company’s design team might be willing to whip it up for you to ensure you stay within their brand guidelines.
It’s tough to capture examples of custom collateral but to give you a visual example, here’s an old banner that the ladies of Being Boss have used to promote FreshBooks:
Who Can Get Special Perks?
Pretty much any affiliate can get a special perk, but what you get and from who depends on the company’s affiliate platform and internal resources.
- Affiliate manager A can create co-branded landing pages herself with a few clicks thanks to a landing page tool the developers at her company created. However, her company doesn't discount their products so she can't offer coupon codes.
- Affiliate manager B has to fill out a lengthy document to request a developer's time to create the co-branded landing page. The document has to go through multiple approvers, meaning it can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to get the landing page created. However, his company offers coupon codes regularly and he is able to create custom ones without needing special permission.
In the scenarios above, affiliate manager A will happily create a co-branded page for ANY affiliate who asks since it’s super easy for her to do. Whereas, given the work involved behind the scenes, it’s rare that affiliate manager B would award a co-branded page unless the affiliate is sending the company a lot of sales.
On the flip side, affiliate manager A can’t offer any affiliate – including top performers – a custom coupon code. Yet affiliate manager B can and will do it for ANY affiliate who asks.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible for me to say exactly what you will get because there are so many variables at play. The best way to see what you can get is to simply ask for them. Which leads us to…
How to Ask for Special Perks
There’s no right or wrong way to ask for special perks, but here’s a 3-step process you can use:
Before asking for a special perk, do some sleuthing to see if you can find out what the company already gives out. By asking for something specific, it’ll increase your chances of getting what you want vs. requesting something vague that they might not be able to give you.
A few places you can sleuth:
- Program info/signup pages: check these areas to see if the company lists out any resources and tools they currently offer besides the usual fare.
- Fellow affiliate’s sites: you can find the top ranking affiliates for a particular brand with some quick Googling (try “company+review” or company+tutorial). Visit their sites to see if they are offering anything special in their content or promos.
- Program terms & conditions: although these can be tiring to go through (not sure about you but all that legal speak makes my head hurt!), some companies have a section in their terms & conditions devoted to collateral and creatives. There you may find references to special perks they offer outside of banners and text links.
If you try sleuthing with the above options and can’t find a specific perk you want to ask for, don’t worry about it. Move on to the next step.
Next, find your affiliate manager’s email address. Usually there’s a reply-to address in your program approval email, or an email address on the program’s information page. You can also try emailing the company’s support team or Googling “LinkedIn + Company + Affiliate Manager” to track the person down.
It’s time to draft a short and sweet email with your request. I really want you to take action on this so I created a few copy-and-paste email templates for you to tweak and use.
- Template A – Use this if you have a specific special perk in mind based on your research from step #1:
My name is [ME] and I’m one of your affiliates. My affiliate ID is [#####]. I noticed other affiliates using [SPECIFIC SPECIAL PERK] and I’d love to offer that as well. Can you please let me know how I can go about getting that? It’ll really help me drive more affiliate sales for you.
My name is [ME] and I’m one of your affiliates. My affiliate ID is [#####]. I see on your program info page that you offer [SPECIFIC SPECIAL PERK]. How can I go about getting one to increase my conversions?
- Template B – Use this if you’re not sure what special perks are available:
My name is [ME] and I’m one of your affiliates. My affiliate ID is [#####]. I’m writing to see if you have any special offers available that I can use to increase my affiliate conversions. I know you offer banners and text links but I’d love to take my clicks and sales to the next level. Do you have any of the following items available:
- Extended trial*
- Co-branded landing page*
- Coupon code*
- Free offer to promote (i.e. eBook)*
- Co-hosted webinars*
I look forward to hearing back.
*Only list items that make sense for this brand to offer – i.e. extended trials don’t make sense if the company isn’t offering free trials in the first place.
That’s really all there is to it. That said if you want to go ALL IN on this, maximize your chances of getting special perks by:
- Emailing several companies at once. I come across affiliate sites all the time that showcase special perks from loads of different companies. Trust me, there’s no limit on how many brands you can ask for special perks from.
- Following up 1-2 weeks after your first email goes out. Established programs will get back to you within a few days but smaller ones can take a week or two to respond. If you don’t hear back after following up, try an alternative email address. If you are still getting nowhere after that, the program may not be professionally managed or credible. Consider joining an alternative that’ll treat you better.
The bottom line: it’s a great time to be a content affiliate. That’s why you should never be afraid to ask your affiliate manager for special perks that boost your affiliate income. After all, it’s a win/win for everyone involved.
Action Time. Use this handy checklist to get your special perks:
- Sleuth: Do some research to see if your affiliate companies offer any specific special perks
- Target: Find your affiliate manager’s email address
- Contact: Craft an email asking for a special perk (or use one of the templates provided above)
- Follow-up: If you haven’t heard back in 1-2 weeks, follow up with another email.
- Rinse & Repeat: Increase your chances of getting more special perks by repeating
Which special perk are you most interested in getting? Already have some? Tell us which ones by leaving a comment below.