This was a question from one of my mastermind members on a coaching call this week, who wanted to know whether using using affiliates for a beta launch is a good idea. For this one, there’s a very simple answer: affiliates for a beta launch is not a good idea.
Consider how this reflects on you
When you’re in beta, you’re still learning about your product and making developments. This is a good thing because it gives you time and space to improve your product and use customer input. But to an affiliate, or potential affiliate, having a product that isn’t fully polished may seem unprofessional. If they’re going to be sending customers your way and making recommendations, they need to know exactly what you’re offering (and what you’re not) and sometimes you’re still figuring this out during a beta launch. So no, do not jump into affiliate relationships at this stage.
Prepare for future affiliates by knowing your numbers
Just because you are in beta now, it doesn't mean you can't prepare for future partnerships. Affiliates will be interested in one thing more than anything else and that’s your conversion rate. By launching in beta without affiliates, you will then have these numbers to hand when your product is more polished. You will also, at a later stage, be able to show your retention rates (which are more likely to be high if you have actively engaged your customers during your first launch). To a membership site, retention rates are the gold standard – affiliates will want to know these figures too.
So when should you start using affiliates?
Start approaching affiliates on your second (if you had amazing results) or third launch. You’ve got tasty figures to hand, you’ve ironed out the problems in your product and you’ve found out what’s working best. This is the time to start building these relationships.
Affiliate relationships work best for large scale launches and events and these are likely to come along at a later stage in your product development. Don’t worry too much during the first stages of development about getting loads of customers through the door – you can develop your product on a smaller scale and then grow affiliates for a launch once you’ve experimented and learned from your earlier beta launch.