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The Affiliate Alphabet - what a game changer!
In Joint Venture Marketing, it’s crucial to understand the relationship between the A, B, C and D level affiliates--what some people call the Affiliate Alphabet. Before I get into it though, it’s important for me to stress to you that the hierarchy has nothing to do with who someone is as a person or even as a business professional. It has only to do with their experience as a JV Marketer. There’s a strategy that is effective at each level and my goal is to give you the right one for you wherever you are right now.
An A-level affiliate is someone who has been around for a while and has a lot of currency. They know what they’re doing. They have lots of contacts. They have a big list. There’s not as much strategy at this level because everyone wants to meet and connect with an A.
A B-level affiliate is a slight step down. The B might not have a big team or a massive list but has a decent amount of currency somewhere or a good source of traffic. They have a solid network of people, know a few A’s, lots of Bs and some Cs.
A C-level affiliate is someone who likely started out in the last year or so. They have a small list, know a few people and have a little bit of currency to leverage with. The C wants to become a B as soon as they can.
Finally, you have D-level affiliates. These are people who are just starting out. Maybe they have a product, maybe not. Maybe they have a list, maybe just a few facebook followers and emails of friends and family. They don’t know a lot yet, but they do have some currency. Everyone does--even if it’s only facebook friends.
The key point to state is that as a D, don’t squander your time trying to get to A’s and B’s. It’s a waste of your time and theirs because you don’t have what they want. Can you connect with them and make friends? Sure. Go for it--but if you’re wanting to work your way up the chain, you’re much better off to concentrate on other Ds and Cs at the beginning. When you make your way into the C level, you have more currency and you begin to interact with the Bs. You cannot go up three levels from a D to an A and the top level is not going down three levels either. This is where a real disconnect happens for most people and a mistake you want to avoid.
So what can you do? Suppose you don’t know anyone or only a few people and are looking to build your JV business. You first identify who you want to partner with or at least connect with. You then seek out ways to connect with them. One initial strategy some people use is to email them and fluff their ego: “Hey, so-and-so...you are amazing and I’ve been following you for ages…”
Is this enough? No--because you haven’t built any currency with them yet. It will fall flat if that is all that you do. If you really want to connect, go buy their products first. Spend a little money to pop up on their radar. Then, before you email them, get on your own Facebook page, promote them and be sure to tag them.
Then reach out to them. Now it makes more sense to communicate: “Hey, I love what you’re doing and I’ve been following you for a while. I’d really like to connect with you or someone at your company to work out a way that I can support you more.” Who’s not going to pay attention to that? It’s a much more effective way to engage someone in a conversation and you can do this as you work your way up the levels.
Here’s another way to think of why this works. A highschool basketball player doesn’t challenge a professional to a game nor asks them to play in their recreational league. All they would do is look foolish. JV marketing is just like that. The affiliate hierarchy is real and it serves the industry. To be successful you have to know your place at a given time and work within it intelligently to get to the next level. If you do that, you will quickly climb to higher levels and make great JV relationships along the way!
Glen Ledwell is a serial entrepreneur with a diverse background of experience. Since 2007, Glen has been the co-founder & the CEO of Mind Movies, where he continues to be the driving force behind all the marketing strategies. In the first 3 years of being online, he took the company from $0 - $6 million SOLELY through Joint Ventures. To date, he has generated in excess of $50 million online, in which $25 million of that has been purely from Joint Ventures.
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