099: Best strategies to grow a membership affiliate program – with Brady Cassidy

Brady Cassidy is the Co-founder of Rewardful, a platform that allows SaaS companies and memberships to set up an affiliate program. In this episode, he joins Ward to discuss some of the most advanced strategies to grow your membership affiliates.

✍️ Show Notes

📄 Show Transcript

This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂

Ward Sandler: Welcome everyone, today I’m talking to Brady Cassidy. Brady is the co-founder of Rewardful a platform that allows SaaS companies and memberships to set up an affiliate and referral program. He previously helped build three venture funded startups, leading growth and product from the first dollar in revenue to post series A and generated over a hundred million in market value. Brady, welcome to the Membership Maker podcast. It’s great to have you here.

Brady Cassidy: Thanks for having me.

Ward Sandler: Sure thing. All right. Are there any advanced strategies that we haven’t spoken about that would help someone to grow an affiliate program?

Brady Cassidy: Yeah. So there’s a ton. I’m actually working on a course right now, putting other course on, on some like advanced strategies. I’ll go through like a few of them here, but some of them require like a little bit more like visual and screen-share and things like that to walk through that aren’t as easy to share in this format, like activating your affiliates and onboarding them through email series is really important, but then a lot of it comes down to once you have that infrastructure in place, it comes down to like finding and recruiting these affiliates. And so, you know, as we dive into like a lot more of the advanced strategies, it becomes around that. Because if you, if you become extremely good at recruiting and finding a field, You’re going to be very successful with your affiliate program. We’ve seen that, you know, time and time out, it says the single biggest factor on like the magnitude of the success of your program. But the simplest way to get started is to, you know, invite your existing customer base. Something you could do is you could set up a Zapier connection so that you auto invite your Stripe customers. So whenever you get a customer that comes in. It sends them an invitation to join the affiliate program. So it keeps that on an ongoing basis. It’s kind of an interesting approach to put in front of people, especially, you know, they’ve just signed up for your membership. That’s probably one of their like peak excitement points. When people, you know are likely to promote you, and find other people that, that are, that are relevant. So some strategies to dive a little bit deeper into is using different tools you can look at a competitor, alternative solutions. And what you do is you run their backlinks in a tool like that. And you can see which sites are linking to them, but not linking to you. You can look at them and there’s some filters you can use. If you want to like whittle it down more, you can look at their user generated content filters. You can look at their sponsored content filters. You can look at just their peer, that content based filters. And you can find folks that are promoting them and reach out to get them not to add a link to yourself on that content. But to you know, they obviously relevant to your industry and get them as an affiliate to work with you. At Rewardful we, we built, um, one of the, the world’s first, or it is the world’s first affiliate. It’s still in beta right now where we’re going to be launching it really soon here, but we can provide you with beta access as well. And what it does is it essentially you enter your keywords for, you know, that you’d want to rank for a Google, for example, or you can enter competitive terms, and what it’ll do is it’ll crawl the web and then they’ll try to find people that are using affiliate links. So these people are already existing affiliates. They know how affiliate programs work. It’ll prioritize them by Alexa rank and their backlinks, like how much you can get approximate, how much traffic or influence they have, and then it’ll surface their contact information, so you can reach out to them. And you can build it into lists that you can, you can reach out to. So we’re really excited about launching that. There’s also a very simple way as you know, what, what keywords would you want to rank? What are your ideal keywords that you would love to show up number one for, and type those into Google and see who the top 10 sites are and look at them. And are there any of them that could become your affiliates, or could you get on those pages somehow? It’s essentially a way that you can piggyback on their SEO without having to build a ton of backup. Those sites are probably already getting a lot of traffic that you can tap into. Another tool that’s quite interesting is something called SparkToro. It’s formed by Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, one of the leading SEO tools. And what it does is you can enter, your website or know people that visit your website, and get where else do they hang out online and it’ll show you like what podcasts to listen to.It’ll show you what other websites do they visit? It’ll show you a lot of like interesting properties like that. And so it gives you an indication like where your audience hangs out on. Or people that are similar to your audience, and then you can start to engage with those different types of folks, obviously tap into their audience and hopefully get them as affiliates. So that can be that. A really big win as well it can also find like influencers in social media that, you know, your customer base or, or other people’s customer bases, uh, uh, engage with. Can be quite powerful.

Ward Sandler: Yeah. I mean, it comes back to the whole, it’s not set it and forget, it’s not as simple as turn on the affiliate program, add links everywhere and you’re done, and money will just automatically flow in. I’m sure In some cases, maybe that happens, but don’t assume that. There is some effort involved in getting people to know about the program, getting people to engage with the program and then, oh, I sent them some kind of, you know, distribution law or something that affiliates where it’s like 20% of the affiliates generate 80% of the sales or something like that, at least I’ve seen that at our own affiliate program and, and a few others out there. And then I think it’s just kind of true for sales stuff in general. So getting those folks that are gonna be like the power affiliates, that is the key. Why don’t you have, you know, X number of those locked in. Then you do have pretty much a consistent channel of sales, of people that are sending you qualified good leads and traffic and clients. But to get that built up that part’s on automatic and it’s worth putting that effort in, because it’s essentially this nice permanent channel that just sends stuff your way that you can always add onto. But if you need to take a break from getting more affiliates, at least you have this consistent channel, that’s at least that’s pulling it in for now.

Brady Cassidy: Yeah, for sure. Once you get a handful of really good affiliates in there, and like you mentioned, it definitely is quality over quantity. Once you get a handful of floats in there, it does become more on autopilot, but it’s just sort of the, you know, when you’re first getting set up, it’s not set it and forget it, getting those folks in the door is really important. But you know, it’ll continue to grow with them, but if you want to take to the next level, obviously you can, you can keep, finding other affiliates that have a relevant audience that you can tap into.

Ward Sandler: For folks that are still, I know we’re talking about more advanced stuff now, but if someone’s, let’s say for example, someone offers a monthly membership. Do you have a percentage that you kind of give out as a best practice to start with for an affiliate program? Like what percentage of that membership should be paid out to the affiliate?

Brady Cassidy: Yeah. A good question. It depends on like a lot of different factors. It depends on do you have a lot of competitors in industry that are offering something similar? Probably not so much in that case. In a lot of industries like this, the way I would think about is like, what’s your true profit with your membership? Do you have a service component to it? You know, are you putting in a lot of your time or is it basically access to like materials and content and courses that you put the fixed cost, and your variable costs are for a new customer quite low? Obviously the more you can offer, the more incentive it is for, for,affiliates. One way to think about it as well, should you position it as a percentage or should you position it as a fixed amount fee to the affiliates? And that often depends upon like your price point as well. So like, if your membership is, is $10 a month and you know, it’s probably better to opt to offer 30% than it is to offer $3 because 30% psychologically feels like a larger amount. But what we see in like the membership spaces, you know, the most common it was anywhere from like 20 to 30%.

Ward Sandler: Yeah, I figured it was something around there, but yeah, that totally makes sense. Depends on what your profit margin is and exactly what this involves, because especially if it involves like a service that costs you money, a physical thing of some kind or something after order then, yeah, Just giving away 30% of the sale might not actually make a lot of sense. So yeah, as always, your mileage will vary, but get a range out there for folks who just aren’t quite sure what to start with.

Brady Cassidy: Yeah. And then they give us an example of how to like position to them. If you have like a very high ticket membership and it’s like a thousand dollars a month, you’re probably fine getting away with like saying it’s $50 or a hundred dollars commission, which probably sounds a lot more interesting than like five or 10%. But often, with this high ticket ones, there’s areas like, the consideration of a service component as well.

Ward Sandler: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. We all really appreciate it. Where should the audience go to learn more about your work?

Brady Cassidy: Yeah, thanks for having me. You can find us www.getrewardful.com, and I’m more than happy to connect on LinkedIn or Twitter or wherever at @BradyCassidy.

Ward Sandler: Great. Thanks again, Brady.

Brady Cassidy: Thanks Ward.

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