(Cue maniacal laughter.)
Did you feel that? The breeze suddenly became more crisp…
All around, leaves are shuttering as their imminent mortality becomes apparent. Starbucks Baristas everywhere have begun their ritualistic dance to give life to the pumpkin spice gods that they may bring them lattes, cold brews, scones, and more during this season. Decorative gourds have shown up on store shelves, doorsteps, and kitchen counters.
Of course I am talking about the greatest season of year: Autumn. And earlier this week I felt it for the first time as a cold front came in and made my heart skip a beat. Everything about the transition of summer to fall is perfection in my mind and it probably helps that I was born during the heart of the season. One of my favorite things about this amazing time of year is the ghost stories and attention around every thing that scares us the most.
Personally, I love monster stories so it’s fitting that the theme of this post if one of the most famous monster concepts… The Reanimated Corpse.
I love Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” and H.P. Loveraft’s parody “The Reanimator” and since I think most marketers have similar traits to the mad scientist, I want to share with you today the top 4 things to creating a MONSTER launch with affiliates.
Make Sure You Find a Fresh Enough Body (Test Test Test)
One of the running jokes in H.P. Lovecraft’s series The Reanimator is Dr. Herbert West’s growing obsession with finding the most recently deceased bodies he can in hopes they will perfect his experiment to bring people back to life. While this ended up leading to the demise of Dr. West, his commitment to testing is something that I see in the most successful affiliate launches we have had at ClickBank. Specially the testing that occurs BEFORE they push an offer out to affiliates.
While you might feel confident that what you have created is the greatest offer that has ever been given to man, until you start to see clicks actually come to the landing page you don’t really know. I can tell you that this level of confidence has burned me before.
Sometimes the best offers from the best marketers still just don’t work. Or, they don’t work in the way you anticipated. When you scale the offer out to affiliates who are wading in the sea of offers to promote and yours does poorly, your chances at getting them to try again will plummet. You risk the chance of really lowering the ceiling or killing an offer before it ever got a chance to get started.
So, how do you test an offer if you don’t send it to affiliates? Here is the flow that I recommend to my clients.
Always test to your internal list or audience first.
You have the most relationship-equity with this group of leads and buyers that have shown interest in what you are doing. If you can’t get great results from this list, you need to go back to the drawing board with your offer. (Unless you are creating a product in an entirely new vertical. In that case, your internal audience might not work for testing.)
Once you hit some solid benchmarks and the offer looks like a great offer to your audience you can start moving into the next step.
Be Sure You Know Where the Bodies are Buried (Have a Plan)
Dr. West may have found a solution to bring the dead back to life (although not as people…) but that was just the beginning. He had to make sure that he had a detailed plan in place to get the bodies, find a secure location to experiment on them, and that he had the “tools” to eliminate failed experiments.
Having the serum wasn’t enough–just like testing an offer to your own audience, putting it on ClickBank, and expecting traffic is not enough to create a monster offer. You need to identify what traffic sources you want to have, and who you can partner with to test it.
The plan shouldn’t just be to test with a one person and then wait, but a targeted approach in tiers.
You start with a testing group of maybe 3-4 affiliates that you personally know to test the offer. You will want to set clear performance goals that will be indicators that the offer is a success and make sure both sides understand what they are.
Test, observe the results, optimize the funnel, and test again (sometimes to a different partner).
Once you hit the benchmarks you were looking for (Target EPC, Conversion, CTR, AOV, etc.) you can move to the next stage.
Double the affiliates beyond close relationships, post about it in groups that you are a part of, take it to an event and get some people to try the offer out (if we ever have events again).
Similar to what you did in Stage 1, you need to set clear expectations for what success looks like so you know you can move on to the next stage. Number of affiliates successfully promoting, revenue, stability of your numbers, and other key measurements will indicate if you’re ready to move on.
Once you have that all dialed in and your offer is starting to scale, it’s time to reach out and go after the big whales and “dream people” on your list. The reason for the slow approach is you want to make sure when you push all the traffic your offer is primed to be the most successful it can be. You often times only get one shot with a large list owner or super affiliate. Don’t waste it.
After you have your plan laid out and targets set for each stage, you need to make sure you have the team in place to execute.
Every Mad Scientist Needs His Assistant (Have a team)
While Mary Shelly didn’t write in an assistant for the Dr. Frankenstein it was quickly added to stage and film adaptations. My personal favorite is Igor in Young Frankenstein. H.P. Lovecraft told the story of ReAnimator through Dr. West’s long-time assistant who aided him in his dark dealings…
The important lesson here is that it takes a village to make a monster (or who else will the torture and maim when they are let loose?).
For monster offers on ClickBank you don’t need a village per say, but you do need 4 key roles to be filled by someone on your team (even if they are all the same person). Without these roles being occupied and executed on, your offer will not have the support it needs to reach those monster levels.
- Project Manager
You need someone who is going to be able to own the offer and all it’s little projects and tasks to make sure you don’t lose momentum. If you don’t have someone owning the project, executing the plan, it will only go as far as your attention will allow it. (Which, because of TV, isn’t very long for most of us, what was I talking about? Oh yeah Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, what a great series…)
You cannot have a great offer without great copywriting. If you are not a trained copywriter and you are looking to write for you own offer I would recommend taking a course on it (Stefan Georgi RMBC method is great). If you can’t do that, you should at least map out the structure of the copy of top offers on ClickBank right now. If you only hired one of these roles this is the one I would pick for you to hire. Get a good copywriter and find a way to pay 5k-20k for copy. I would recommend going to a vetted group like Copy Accelerator and looking for copywriters from there. To learn about how to effectively hire a copywriter, check out this blog.
3. The Tech Guru
You are going to need make sure the customer data coming from ClickBank is integrated with all of your back end systems (ESP, CRM, Fulfillment, advanced tracking, etc.). Many providers have built in integrations with ClickBank which makes the process so much easier, but you will need someone to play this role for your offer regardless.
4. An Affiliate Manager
It is one thing to get someone to run a test or send a single email drop to their list, but to really make an offer grow into a monster that will terrorize all other offers for months and years, you need an affiliate manager. This needs to be the person that not only will reach out and recruit new affiliates but will also grow and develop the existing relationships you have. It isn’t about the first send but the 3rd, 4th, or 5th time they mail your offer. Fostering these relationships and grooming them into massive ROI takes time and effort.
As long as these 4 roles are assigned and not being neglected, you are on your way to entrenching your offer in folklore and keeping people looking over their shoulders at night for generations to come.
While your monster offer will keep people watching their backs, you need to make sure that you are always looking far ahead which brings me to number 4…
Maybe we should have made sure it was dead… (Build Out Systems for Scale)
Twice in the tales of the Re-Animator, Dr. West goes to discard a body only for it to reanimate later and reap some form of havoc upon people in the cities he was residing at. A little bit of extra prep would have gone a long way like “checking” that it was dead before he walked away and let it become a super strong crazed monster…
This is not too different to someone who builds a killer offer but doesn’t put in place the software or tools to handle it once it starts to scale. Here are a couple things you can do to help.
Own and host your own pages so they can handle the volume you will have not what you currently have. I am a huge ClickFunnels fan, as well as a many other page builders, but they tend to struggle at scale. Not to mention out of the box solutions are always harder to build automation or integrations on. The sooner you can have your own pages, the more prepared you will be for massive scale.
Split testing software should be a day 1 investment and be something that you want to have in place that will scale with more offers, and more data. CBsplit is one of the best I have seen for the top offers on ClickBank. It will give you all the details you want to know when split testing in a single place you can easily digest.
You’re also going to need automated and easily-scalable customer support. The fastest ways to find yourself getting in trouble with returns killing your bottom line and putting your processing at risk is having bad or insufficient customer support. You want to make sure you don’t just handle the request you have right now but you have a process that can easily add more support when your volume increases. Setting up a Zendesk system or working with a customer care agency can help prepare you to scale with ease, instead of with headaches.
And last but not least, you’ll need processing and affiliate reporting that can scale like ClickBank. I know this might feel like a shameless plug, but ClickBank can make scaling with affiliates less painful whether you are just starting out or making 8 figures on a monthly basis. Not having to worry about getting shut down or cash getting held from a bank because a large affiliate drove too much traffic is a big deal. Plus, ClickBank takes care of tax remittance across the world (well, everywhere that we can process… which is most places) and sends tax documents to your affiliates, giving them the assurance that they will be paid on time every single time. Affiliates can trust they will get their money which makes recruiting conversations so much easier.
If you can nail these 4 steps, you are going to be on your path to creating a monster offer and you won’t have to wait for a lighting storm or find freshly deceased bodies. If you’re eager to get started experimenting…er… I mean building an offer, you’ll need to sign up for a ClickBank account first. While you’re at it, get yourself a pumpkin spice latte and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.