Simply put, affiliate marketing goal setting is often the difference between being successful and making money, and wasting your time and going nowhere.
As Bill Copeland said, “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
At Ultimate Bundles, we know a lot about goal setting. We work with a network of over 8,000 active affiliates and have noticed that our happiest affiliates are the ones who set goals ahead of time and carefully create a thoughtful strategy.
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’ve been involved in some kind of affiliate promotion in the past. There’s a chance you were disappointed with your results. That stinks.
On a positive note, this article is going help you achieve success with your next promotion. To do that, we’ll be reflecting on the most importantly affiliate marketing goal setting lessons we’ve learned over the past 7 years. At the end of the article you should be armed with the knowledge to meet your affiliate marketing goals and grow your business.
If you haven’t ever participated in an affiliate event, don’t stress. The lessons in this article are universal enough that you’ll still get some value out of what we have to say. You’ve also got a great opportunity to join the Ultimate Bundles affiliate network. It’s free to join, you earn 40% commission on all sales, and are treated to a ton of incredibly marketing training.
Why bother with goals?
For every affiliate who sets a realistic goal, there are 10 who aren’t sure:
a) what goal to make in the first place and then
b) how to actually execute that goal.
This leads them to jump into the promotion without knowing what to expect. As a result, they’re not sure how hard to push and usually end up disappointment with their results.
When you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, you’ll go into your next affiliate promotion with confidence. And when the promotion is over, you’ll have a framework by which you can evaluate your results.
And that will set you up for even more success on your next promotion.
Curious how this can look?
This is what affiliate marketing goal setting success looks like
After working with thousands of affiliates over the last 7 years, we’ve seen every flavor of success possible. People like…
- Ruth Soukup with a large email list who often grabs the top spot (and hefty affiliate commissions)
- Phylicia Masonheimer, a new affiliate, with a small list (under 10,000) who carefully crafted a promotional plan, went all in, and surprised herself (and us…) by being the #1 affiliate in a recent bundle sale
- Renee Harris who had 20+% conversions because she knew the offer was a perfect fit for her audience
- Shailajah Vishwanath, new to promoting our bundles, who learned a ton about promoting affiliate offers and made enough to get a small commission (and get reimbursed for the bundle)
These examples may feel lofty, but the point is these big players all started by creating measurable and achievable goals.
Perhaps you’re not trying to pull a 20% conversion rate, but moving up a few spots of a leaderboard, doubling your commissions, or even grabbing one of the top prizes in an affiliate promotion? These are achievable goals if you approach them the right way.
So let’s talk about it.
4 questions to ask yourself to set the best goal for your next affiliate promotion
If your goal is unrealistic, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. On the other hand, if it’s not enough of a stretch, you could be leaving money on the table!
No matter where you find yourself on this spectrum, these four questions will help you find the right goal.
- What’s the typical conversion rate on the sales page of the affiliate promotion?
If this is an established product, you can ask the affiliate team what sales page conversion rates have been. At Ultimate Bundles, our sales page conversion rates range from 5%-10%. We’ll refer to that number later.
- What are your email open rates and click rates?
This varies by industry, but one report states that the average for the last quarter of 2018 was 29.4%. Is your audience used to receiving promotional emails from you? Are they used to receiving valuable emails? And most important: are they engaged subscribers? If you can increase your open rates and increase the number of people who click on your affiliate link, you’ll get more traffic to the sales page…which means you’ll have a better chance of meeting your goals.
- Have you promoted a similar product before? What was your conversion rate?
If you’ve promoted this product before, what were your sales? What will you change to improve your sales numbers? Some of our affiliates boast conversion rates of 20+%. What can you do to either improve your conversions?
- How can you diversify your strategy to grab as many customers as possible?
As we mentioned, most of our affiliates see the best results with emails. But you can build trust with your audience by showing the behind-the-scenes glimpses of the products with Facebook Lives or Instagram Stories, testing how well social media posts work for your audience, and trying different types of emails and varying the length of your email campaigns.
Setting Sales Goals
After you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to apply them to make a real sales goal. Sales goals are usually calculated on your past performance. That way you can aim for continual improvement.
If you don’t have a past event to base your goal on, you can follow this simple formula:
email sales goal = expected link clicks * expected conversion rate
To work out how many link clicks you can expect, you can take the industry average of 2.48% and multiply it by how many people you’re emailing.
For your expected conversion rate, you can again take an industry average of 2.35% or check in with the event organizer to see what their normal conversion rates are. As we mentioned already, at Ultimate Bundles we typically see conversion rates between 5% – 10%, and sometimes up to 12% or higher!
Let’s say you send one email…
If you have an email list of 10,000 people, a 25% email open rate, and a 1% click rate, 25 people will visit the sales page. At an 8% conversion rate on the sales page, you’ll make 2 sales.
In the above example, two sales isn’t very inspiring, but we’ve got you covered!
10 steps to crushing your next affiliate marketing promotion
Prepare to hit your goals by using a combination of these strategies:
- Know the product well.
We’ve noticed the affiliates who are meeting or beating their goals have actually used the product. Some affiliate products are quite expensive, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash for it, how do you expect to convince your reader? Plus, you’ll know what to expect when you send your audience to the affiliate promotion. You can craft your email promotion based on your experience (and even more importantly – your results!). (Contributors to our bundles get a free bundle + a 70% sales commission. Just sayin’ ;).
- Talk about the product authentically.
If you know the product, you can share easily. What did you love about it? What wasn’t your favorite? You’re not bashing the product here. After all, you want your readers to buy it, right? But also, no product is perfect. If you kindly point out what could be improved (and maybe how your readers can fix or overcome that little issue), your readers will be even more grateful!
- Plan ahead.
You can still make a worthwhile affiliate commission by jumping in at the 11th hour (we have affiliates do it all.the.time), but your best results will happen when you take the time to create an affiliate promotion strategy.
- Use the swipe copy.
For every affiliate promotion, we provide a full email campaign, plus social media. We do this because we want to make our bundle promotions as easy as possible. But don’t copy and paste it! That’s one of five mistakes affiliates make with swipe copy. Read the other four mistakes here.
- Use your promotion time and resources wisely. In our experience, most of our affiliates have the best results with email campaigns. But you know your audience best. Where does your audience hang out? If you’re not sure AND you don’t have a lot of time to spend on your affiliate promotion, focus on creating personal, well-written emails first and use social media posts second.
- Test what works! Some affiliate program offers advanced tracking links so you can track where your sales are coming from. Also, keep an eye on your email open rates, your click rates, and your unsubscribes. (<—- Everyone worries about unsubscribes at some point. Reduce your unsubscribes and keep your email list engaged and healthy.) (Want to see how an experienced affiliate marketing grades a successful affiliate promotion? Check out Pat Flynn’s evaluation of one of his affiliate promotions.)
- Send more emails. We ran an experiment recently and found that by sending emails in the beginning, middle, and end of our launch, customers were 20% more likely to buy. That’s compared to sending emails at the beginning and end of a launch.
- Improve your email open rates. Depending on the size of your email list, a 2-3% increase in open rates could be hundreds of people. Tweak send times and subject lines to get more people reading your emails. (Not happy with your email open rates? Here are 7 steps to resuscitating your email open rates before it’s too late.)
- Increase your click through rates. We’ve also discovered that more links inside an email increases the chance that people will click through to the sales page. But not too many…Genoo says 3-5 is best.
- Improve your email deliverability. Sending the emails won’t work if the emails don’t make it to your reader’s inbox. Email deliverability is a big deal, and guess what? You’ll love our podcast episode all about email deliverability!
- Know the product well.
In the end, it’s a numbers game. By improving open rates, click to open rates, increasing your email subscribers, and making your promotional campaign more effective, you’ll be most likely meet your affiliate marketing goals.
We can’t wait to see what you do with your next affiliate promotion.