Launching a digital product requires a coordinated sales effort. The most successful launches are the result of combining a great product with a powerful sales team. But unlike a car dealership or computer store, for example, each product vendor must recruit his or her sales team for each launch — they aren’t on staff. Therefore, the vendor must first sell his potential affiliates on promoting his product during the launch.
When a vendor’s product is done and they are ready to recruit affiliates – we suggest they start at least 30 days before Launch Day. He or she must design a JV page to promote the launch to affiliates. (JV stands for joint venture) The JV page invites affiliates to sell the product in exchange for a commission. The JV page also explains the product and provides the tools that the affiliates will need to promote.
There is a difference between a Joint Venture Partner (JV) and an affiliate. An affiliate is basically a distributor or sales representative for your product. They earn a commission and sometimes prizes based on their sales of your product. The affiliate does not own any portion of the product nor has an interest in the profits from the launch. A JV has an interest in the profits from the launch and may own a portion of the product. You may see the terms affiliate and JV used interchangeably; however, they are not the same.
For the purposes of this post, we’ll use the term “affiliate” exclusively. However, we will use the term “JV page” to refer to the web page that is designed to recruit affiliates because that’s just an industry standard term.
The most important feature of the JV page is that it must convert affiliates into partners. If you can’t successfully recruit your affiliates and turn them into sales partners that will promote for you, then you’re not going to have significant traffic to your sales page at launch time. (Unless you’re a traffic driving machine in your own right!) So you have to convince your potential affiliates to promote for you and then you have to keep them promoting during the launch week.
Another critical function of the JV page is that it collects the emails of the affiliates for you. This allows you to communicate with them before and during the launch. You will need to keep your affiliates constantly up to date with your launch, as many will be pulled into other launches for a variety of reasons. Also, you want to be able to contact your affiliates for your future product launches. Having an email opt-in form will help you make the most of your affiliate recruitment efforts.
The JV page is a critical component for ensuring a successful launch. You need to design this page at least 30 days prior to your launch. The JV page assembles the sales team you need. The page will also provide the tools your team needs to effectively promote. (More on that to come!) A high-converting JV page gives you the most opportunity to shift units on launch day.
MAKE YOUR JV PAGE INFORMATIVE, ENGAGING AND MEMORABLE
There are lots of launches happening every day and that’s why YOUR JV page must stand out. It needs a unique theme to make it memorable. Affiliates will often surf the launch announcements as they seek to fill their calendars. You want your page to get noticed but more importantly, you want your launch and your business to stick in the minds. We all have that friend who agrees to be at the party, but forgets to show up!
Giving your JV page a theme will give you three big benefits.
#1 BE MEMORABLE
The first is that it will set your page apart from all the other pages that just use the sales page’s color scheme. Your theme will add graphics and styling to the page that make it unique and memorable.
#2 A FUN EXPERIENCE
The second benefit is a fun theme makes your launch less like work and more of a fun experience. If you’re doing an affiliate contest, then you can give out prizes consistent that relate to your theme!
#3 TAP INTO THE BUZZ
Finally, you’ll be able to tap into preexisting buzz if you choose a theme related to current public events like an upcoming movie release, the Super Bowl, or even an election.
You may want to identify all of the big world events that are scheduled to happen around the time you announce your launch. NOTE: This means the time you announce your launch, not the launch day.
Select a big upcoming and memorable event that people are already talking about and theme your JV page around it. Look for events that will naturally have tons of buzz being building by the promoters.
MOVIE RELEASES, especially for big franchises like Star Wars, have tons of publicity you can tap into.
SPORTS EVENTS, like the Olympics, or a Marathon, The Tour de France an MMA or Boxing match (McGregor/Mayweather) or the Super Bowl.
TRADITIONAL THEMES, are great too! You can even create your own theme like Cowboys, Astronauts, or Knights of the round table if you want.
PRO-TIP: DO NOT VIOLATE the copyrights or intellectual property rights of the parties from whom you’re deriving your theme ideas. Create themes that are SIMILAR but don’t copy someone else’s work. If you’re ever in doubt as what images, audio, video, or other materials you may use, consult an attorney or do not use them. Use popular events as a guide but NEVER COPY ARTWORK, MEDIA OR TRADEMARKED MATERIAL.
Your theme should control the design of your JV page from the JV video to the Affiliate Sales Contest. You’ll want to create graphics that follow the theme and choose a color scheme that works for the theme as well. The JV page may not resemble your sales page or membership pages at all, but that’s okay.
It’s important to note that creating a fun theme like this is recommended for your JV PAGE ONLY – and NOT your sales page. The sales page does NOT have to follow suit with the JV page theme.
Remember to have fun with your JV PAGE theme so that your launch is different than everyone else’s. It should also amuse your JVs so they’ll be more likely to remember your launch when the day comes. Your theme is also an opportunity to show off your personality while getting down to business!
CREATE A VIDEO THAT “SELLS” YOUR LAUNCH TO YOUR AFFILIATES
Just like you should have a video on your sales page, you’ll want a video on your JV page. Just know that the way you speak to affiliates is different because affiliates are not customers. You video shouldn’t be direct and to the point. A couple of minutes giving only the highlights of your launch is all that’s necessary for your video. You can always put a longer demo or explanation video further down the page for those that want more info.
You may also want to tie in your JV page theme into your video. Remember that some affiliates may be completely unfamiliar with you, so this is your time to shine! You don’t need to go into every single detail about the product since the affiliates will have the rest of the JV page to read and perhaps a separate product walk-through video. Be sure to cover the date and time of the launch, what the product does (in a sentence or two), the funnel including commission structure, and how they can contact you.
Some people are more comfortable being on camera than others. Those who are less comfortable being on camera may be tempted to make a PowerPoint video. For a JV video, it’s a good idea to be on camera because of the personal connection you’ll make. Or at the very least, place a picture of yourself in the video. This is an important opportunity to connect with affiliates and build relationships.
PRO-TIP: If you’re really camera shy, you can hire a spokesperson to be in the video for you. This is a good arrangement if they’re also a partner in the launch!
Your JV video doesn’t have to be complicated. It can just be you with an attractive background. You’ll just need your cell phone, tripod, and perhaps a lavalier microphone to capture good quality audio. The background can be a simple white wall or you can get fancy with a green screen and edited-in background. (You’ve probably seen a few “Day at the beach” JV videos. Notice how simple those are.)
Your JV video is a key part of getting affiliates on board to promote your launch so keep it brief, but make it engaging. It’s a great time for affiliates who’ve never met you before to get to know you. All your efforts here will go a long way!
SWARMS OF SWIPES SEAL IN THE SALES
One HUGE tool that your affiliates will need is the swipes for the launch. “Swipe” is just an industry term for emails that the affiliates can use to promote your product to their subscribers. Swipes are pre-written by you and designed to cause the reader to click the link. You will need a set of swipes that your affiliates can send to their customers. Some affiliates will write their own swipes, but it’s fair to say that most will want to use your swipes — at least as a basis for theirs.
You should provide LOTS of swipes. Oodles and Oodles of emails for affiliates to chose from. If you want affiliates to mail their subscribers for you everyday of your launch then you should provide a few emails for each day of your launch! If it’s a 7 day launch and you want each affiliate to mail 3 times per day, you should provide 21 swipes! Most top JVZoo vendors provide at least a dozen swipes but many provide even more!
Affiliates that use a bonus page to promote your launch will modify your swipes to point people there first. For the first few days of the launch, the links in their emails will generally take the reader to the a bonus page they’ve created to preface your sales page. Towards the last few days of the launch an increase in urgency is noticeable in the swipes. You should write your swipes to coincide with the launch schedule and be sure to increase the impulse towards the end.
PRO-TIP: If you need some inspiration for your swipes, go look at the emails other marketers are sending you. Notice the structure and placement of the links. Pay special attention to the timing of the email and its proximity to the end of the launch. Many affiliates even use PRE-LAUNCH emails to warm up their buyers!
Ideally you’ve been sending your swipes to your own list. It’s very important that the swipes have been tested before the launch. Many autoresponders may filter the emails if they contain words that are associated with spam mail. You’ll need to know this ahead of time and adjust your swipes to match. Also, smart affiliates will want to know key facts like click-through rates and open rates. You’ll only be able to answer those questions if you’ve tested your swipes.
Keep in mind that you’re actually going to need two sets of swipes — one is for the affiliates to use on their list and the other is for you to send to the affiliates. Remember how you’re going to collect the affiliate’s emails when they see your JV page? Well, you’ll want to have your autoresponder send them reminders about your launch. You’ll also want to send them the swipe for each day as the launch is underway.
This means that you’re going to be a busy little bee during launch week, mailing swipes to customers and updates to affiliates every single day! That’s why we recommend that you set this all up DAYS in advance, TRUST US ON THIS. Launch week is a busy time and your emails MUST go out on time every morning so it is prudent to queue them up way in advance.
PRO-TIP: Writing the swipes the day before it’s supposed to be sent is a big NO-NO for the affiliates. Be prepared at least 30 days before the launch!
You’ll definitely want to take the time to write out a complete series of swipes. You’ll also need some time to test them. If your affiliates find out the swipes are hitting the spam filter, then you’re likely to lose that affiliate forever!
It’s a good practice to start up a fresh new google doc and create some headings Email 1, Email 2, Email 3… etc. Then type each subject line so that they build urgency through the whole campaign. Paste some greeting and signature text into each email section and now all you have to do is fill in the bodies for each. Creating the entire email campaign in one document like this will make it flow much better during the launch.
THE EXTRAS THAT TAKE YOUR LAUNCH ABOVE AND BEYOND
Email marketing is just one method your affiliates will use to promote your launch. Some marketers have blogs and others will produce Facebook ads and posts too. You’ll want to give these affiliates a couple of additional tools. You want to be as accommodating to your affiliates as possible because they’re your main source of sales. Fortunately, a lot of the tools you need to add are things you can use in your own promotion of the product!
THE MORE YOU WANT AFFILIATES TO PROMOTE,
THE MORE TOOLS YOU SHOULD PROVIDE THEM
One of the most important tools you’ll need is images. Specifically, you’ll want banner ads, blinking banners, and product images like box covers, computer screens, iPads, and product bundles. Affiliates use these images to create bonuses and review websites.
Between blog articles and squeeze pages, you’ll need a few product images to give to your affiliates. But don’t forget about the Facebook affiliates who will need timeline cover images and possibly Facebook ad images. High quality images are an excellent addition to your affiliate tools.
It’s a good idea to create some unique bonuses for your affiliates. This is some extra stuff that they can offer their buyers as an incentive to purchase through them. You can use PLR materials as the basis. You can also use extra training or other resources for your bonuses. Giving the affiliates bonuses that they can add to their promotion will help them flesh out their bonus pages, making it easier for them to promote.
PRO-TIP: You’ll want to make separate ZIP folders for the templates and bonus items. DON’T JUST CRAM ALL THE TOOLS INTO ONE FOLDER. Take the time to separate things into zips so affiliates can see what you have and download what they need.
Finally, you should prepare a Bonus Page template, including OptimizePress 2.0 and HTML and whatever other page builder templates you can include. Many affiliates use different types of site builders. Providing prebuilt templates will make it super easy for your affiliates to set up their own bonuses. The bonus page template needs to complement the sales page, not the JV page. It should use the color scheme from the sales page so there’s a seamless continuity during navigation. A bonus page template, combined with extra bonuses you provide, will really take the cake when it comes to getting affiliates aboard.
PRO-TIP: You may want to make a demonstration video on how to install and customize your bonus page templates. This will help out your newer affiliates.
Your JV page should be a resource for all of your affiliates. The main function is to announce your launch and get affiliates their links. However, you can provide excellent service to your affiliate with the tools you provide. Don’t be afraid to show your affiliates that you understand their needs and you’re willing to work with them. Train your affiliates to sell for you and give them the tools to succeed.
It is also prudent to list your rules for promoting your products. Every business has rules and so should yours. Be clear with your affiliates and explain to them what you are okay with and what you do not allow them to do as they represent your product and your brand.
EVERYBODY LOVES BRAGGIN’ RIGHTS AND MONEY
The JV contest and prizes will really help you win over the affiliates. A JV contest is typically a contest to see who can get the most sales — typically based on the highest number of front end units but can also be calculated by revenue. A leaderboard can be easily set up in JVZoo to track the top 10 sellers (in real time) based on the criteria you specify. You can even group affiliates into TEAMS if they chose to promote together. Each person or team can win a prize you supply at the end of the launch in addition to the commissions they’ve already been paid.
Believe it or not, the top prize amount may not be the biggest factor in determining whether an affiliate will promote or not. Often, the affiliate will consider other factors like whether they can actually win a prize, how their list will respond, whether they owe you a favor, and other reasons. You don’t have to have a huge prize in order to attract affiliates.
If you do chose to offer prizes then it’s a good idea to make them match the theme of your JV page. If you’ve picked a fun theme, you can have some really cool prizes. The prizes help the affiliate visualize the size of the prize beyond dollar amounts and it also sticks out in their minds better than $XXX. Each physical prize that you list should have an equivalent value in cash. Most affiliates will prefer cash, but the physical prize images will add “pizzaz” to your page.
PRO-TIP: You should be prepared to collect their PayPal information and send them the prize amount immediately after the contest has closed.
In our experience, we’ve noticed that the majority contest winners will want the cash equivalent instead of the physical prize you pictured on your JV Page. However, they are entitled to the physical prize listed on the page, so be prepared to send it if they request delivery. NEVER OFFER SOMETHING YOU CANNOT PROVIDE.
On that same token it’s important to mention a few things here about contests. JV Contests are awesome, and you should definitely look into doing them because they really do increase sales and affiliate participation. However, you should know that contests, giveaways and sweepstakes are in fact bound by specific laws. In most states you’re required to have the prize in your possession BEFORE you offer it on a contest advert. Don’t offer a free Lambo if you don’t already have it in your possession and you don’t intend to award it.
Be wary of putting unrealistic minimum sales requirements on your contest prizes too. Performance competitions don’t usually have “minimum requirements” because they can be perceived as a way to NOT award the prize you offered.
Imagine if the Olympic gold medal had a minimum requirement on it, you could be the absolute best athlete in the world but still not “qualify” for the gold due to an arbitrary minimum requirement set by someone who is NOT the best in the world (like you.) Keep your contest fair and easy to understand, avoid fine print that affiliates might miss when evaluating your launch contest. Be transparent.
During your launch, you may want to give out special prizes like “First to 5 sales on Saturday”. These are called “spot prizes” can help keep your affiliates promoting, especially if your sales are down. Of course, if you’re doing well, spot prizes can help keep your lead. Your launch is your biggest source of customers and your affiliates bring you those customers so it is wise to use spot prizes as a method of further incentivizing them so that they keep promoting for you!
The contest is an important part of your launch. Affiliates will take a lot of pride in where they placed on your leaderboard. Whenever an affiliate is launching their own products, they will often use screenshots of their leaderboard ranking as proof that they can reciprocate and do well for their affiliates. Don’t skip out on the contest even if you’re on a more restricted budget. A sales contest adds an important competitive edge to your launch!