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Join me as I host Tony Kasandrinos, owner of Kasandrinos Olive Oil and an Affiliate Marketing Expert as we discuss the most effective strategies for launching and growing your Amazon product sales.

If you’ like more information or to contact Tony Kasandrinos regarding affiliate marketing, you can visit him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kasandrinos/

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Webinar Transcript

Shannon: So, I know we’re going to have a couple of people joining us still for everybody who is on the webinar now either live on Zoom or live on Facebook, welcome! My name is Shannon. I’m the host of Marketplace Seller Courses Facebook Webinar Live and with me, I have today Tony Kasandrinos. He’s the co-owner of the Kasandrinos Olive Oil and an Affiliate Marketing Guru, if I have ever met one. And so, Tony, thanks so much for coming on today, I’m really excited for us to go through the webinar.

Tony: No, you’re welcome. Excited to be here.

Shannon: So, just a little housekeeping first. This entire webinar will be recorded. So, if you miss it and if you have to bail out early, no problem. You can watch it live on Facebook @MarketplaceSellerCourses. And it will be on our website MarketplaceSellerCourses.com afterwards. We’re going to go through the whole webinar and it will be largely Q and A. And if you have questions throughout the webinar, you can post those both in Zoom or as comments on Facebook and we will try to answer those throughout but we’ll focus most of the questions at the end. And then at the very, very end, we will be able to have some special contact information for Tony if you want to follow-up and get more information. So, Tony thanks again so much and let’s go ahead and get started.

Tony: Definitely.

How did you get Started in Business?

Shannon: To kick it off, how did you first get started in business, in terms of what you’re doing right now? What was your sort of initial inception point?

Tony: Well, to make a long story short. I have my uncle and my father’s olive oil with me in my car and we’ve always had it in the family but we normally just use it for ourselves and then sold everything that we press in bulk, Alco bottles and brings a little over here to America. Well, I started sharing with some friends. After a few months, it snowballed to I had a lot of people asking me and then it got to a point where it was like probably over 100 people so I was like, huh, maybe I’m onto something here.

So, made a website, started selling it online and then– yeah, kind of snowballed from there I mean I got overwhelmed pretty quick because I was a one-man show at the time. It was a side thing that I had started and I brought my sister into it about a year after we started which was back in like 2011. And yeah, it has just been going ever since, been growing, both been– well, my sister is going full time right now but it has been a side thing the whole time for the last six years now.

Shannon: OK. And what makes Kasandrinos Olive Oil special? I know you’ve mentioned things like family farm and cold pressed. Talk about what makes it unique just as a product in general. I think it’s important as we kind of get into this conversation.

Tony: No, definitely, definitely. The one– I mean there’s a lot of great olive oils out there, don’t get me wrong– ours is a single batch single state, comes in specific area in Greece so it’s not blended with other oils. It’s not a bunch of other olive oils or olives from different regions. It’s one specific olive from one area. But our biggest thing that really separates us is we offer the freshest oil available because we only do sell on Amazon and our website so, whatever you’re getting is the freshest harvest available.

Shannon: OK.

Tony: We don’t carry stuff over or sell it to stores where they’re going to hold it for 18 months, 24 months. So basically, you know aside from getting a great product that it’s also fresh because you can get– you can have a few, a bunch of great quality olive oils but if you don’t consume them that year, maybe away two, three years you know it’s not nearly as good.

What was your first introduction to Affiliate Marketing?

Shannon: So, with that being said, what was then your introduction to affiliate marketing?

Tony: Well, that I learned probably let’s say about eight or nine months into business. Basically, I did a podcast one evening with Diane Sanfilippo, one of my friends. She had The Balanced Bites Podcast and we did it on olive oil and we did a discount code on the podcast. So, we got quite a few orders the next day. So I was– and that’s when I first think, I was like, “Wow! If I have one person promoting my oil and I got all these sales in one day after going live what if I had a bunch of people doing that?”  And that’s where I really started getting interested I learning as much as I could about affiliate marketing. And just– and a lot of it came from the fact that I didn’t have a lot of time.

So, I needed basically affiliates for promoting our product. You know I didn’t have all the time in the world to really spend marketing. So, instead of looking for a ton of new customers, I focused on finding brand influencers, people that we kind of aligned our company with, people that were in a healthy eating and food. And we looked for those people and they would find our customers for us.

Shannon: Yeah.

Tony: But… yeah, definitely learned really early on the power or difference one person can make. And then it was just, OK. Let’s streamline this. Let’s get as many as we can. And it was definitely some growing pains over the first year, you’d see a lot of learning you know. But it definitely was very productive and I mean it was paying benefits right away. So…

Let’s talk about Amazon Storefront & your Amazon Launch

Shannon: Yeah, I mean we’ve talked a little bit about that in terms of time constraints, in terms of budget. We’ll get into some of those specifics but our introduction point was I was actually working with Ludwig Marketing and Sales in California and we had gotten hired by you guys to optimize your listings. So, the key principle and takeaway for this is if you’re going to drive targeted traffic to your Amazon listings however that be, you want to optimize your landing pages first because whatever you optimize, whatever percentage of increase you see in the conversion rate, that plays out into an immediate conversion that increase in sales.

So, if you can increase your conversion rate from 10% or 15%, that’s a huge increase and you’re going to see that increase in sales immediately without driving anymore traffic to the page. So, if people are thinking about you know affiliate marketing or even internal Amazon campaigns or Facebook ads, the million ways that you can drive traffic, it’s so important to optimize first. Now remember, looking at it actually just a few minutes before we jump on, some of your initial conversion rates were around 18% which was phenomenal.

But after we did the optimization and you drove traffic to it, it got as high as 30 which is unparalleled on Amazon. You don’t see that. So that optimization first then launch is really critical. But let’s talk about this because again, as an Amazon consultant for many, many years, the traditional way of launching is OK you get your products optimized, you do the keyword research, you add your photos, you get a couple of reviews from past customers and then you run some internal campaigns. And slowly it builds maybe after just a few orders the fist month and then next month, it kind of grows from there maybe after a year or so you got a strong brand and stuff.

And you just blew all that out of the water. I think you did something like five figures in your second month after we optimized and got an Amazon choice product. And that was just unheard of. I mean you had like 50 reviews within the first 60 days. And again, I was so surprised and taken aback by that because I never seen somebody utilizes affiliate marketing the way you did. And that’s what fascinated me and we’ve since hired Tony for other products that we’ve done on Amazon and had some situations that happen unintentionally with the affiliate marketing.

What are the Biggest Benefits of Affiliate Marketing over other types of Paid Advertising?

But let’s start to get into that in terms of some of the nitty-gritty details. What are the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing over other types of paid advertising?

Tony: Well, one, your– to me, it’s a win-win-win. I say it a lot but it’s a win for the consumer, a win for the brand influencer or ambassador or affiliate, whatever you want to call them because they’re getting paid. And it’s a win for me because I don’t have to go upfront and pay somebody $1,000 or $50,000 or X amount of dollars to promote my product.

One, we look for people who promote our product because they love the product, I think that’s key. But, once they are promoting our product and sharing it, I’m basically offering them a way to share something they love with their followers and you know some of our affiliates have 100 followers because they are brand new and just starting and some of them have hundreds of thousands of followers. So, there’s no real– anybody can promote your product, you know, it’s word of mouth. At the end of the day all these social media and everything is word of mouth. And people are listening to the chefs or bloggers or you know, Lebron James for sneakers. I mean you name it, everybody– people are taking an influencer’s word on said product.

So, the biggest advantage to me is, it’s very minimal cost. You’re basically just paying for the software to track everything. And then you’re paying your affiliates based on the sales that they generate. So, it’s– from a small business standpoint, in my opinion, it’s unparalleled and you know, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not reaching out to these influencers. Not everybody is going to want to do it or say yes but there are a lot of people who do especially the people who are already using your products.

How do you Find Relevant Affiliates?

Shannon: Yeah, you mentioned that when you did the training with one of the companies I work with. So let’s talk a little bit about how that works. Just start, you’re starting off, how do you find relevant affiliates? Because I think there’s a key and we’ll talk about maybe an exception but we definitely want to find affiliates that when you guys were starting off, you actually went through and said, “Let’s look at all the potential sub-categories and niches that a product can be relevant to.”  Talk about that whole experience because I think that’s really, really valuable.

Tony: Yup. And that’s going to be specific every product. I mean if you– for us, full of healthy food, you know, if you are doing an unhealthy food like I mean preservatives or something, you’re going to go to pastry shops but we’re healthier food being that it was olive oil so, we went after people in that world whether it be the bloggers or the chefs or the fitness athletes. But the first thing I think you know what we’re talking about is look inside your own circle first like why go out after random strangers. So, first thing is go through your own social media and see who’s actually following you, who’s potentially using your product already and tackle them first because that’s going to be the easiest. Hey, you know who I am already, let me talk to you and you know see if we can work something out.

After that, we basically broke down like your saying subcategories and we basically came out with any middle category whether it be food or fitness or for us, it was different kinds of diets. And just take a piece of paper and a pen and write down as many as you can. And now that we have say, 100 subcategories, then we would look for influencers within each one of those categories. So now – because we started out in the Paleo community, we’re probably one of the more well-known olive oils in the Paleo community. And I saw that happening in the beginning as like we’re focusing and we love the community, both my– Effi and I are deeply involved with it.

But there’s a lot more out there you know so we didn’t want to just totally focus on this one community and not pay attention to everybody else. I think that happens a lot with companies especially smaller companies, they find their little– their little market and they’ll kind of get hang-up inside of it and it’s like there’s a whole big roll out there so we really want to expand into any little subcategory we could and start finding influencers inside of those communities.

Shannon: So, it’s not just a matter of, in your case, going after influencers who are passionate about olive oil, like yes, that’s great but it’s all the related tangential aspects of fitness, of health, of Paleo or crossfit and those kind of things because that gives you a much broader range of influencers as opposed to people who are just going after say, gourmet food bloggers, for example.

Tony: Yeah. We basically did exactly the opposite of that.

Shannon: Right.

Tony: Because every– you’ve got a million– I mean, you’ve got a million olive oil companies doing the same exact thing. They’re trying to get on a store shelf or get in front of like the next top chef or high-end restaurant. And we’re like we care about– I mean we kind of like went in the community we’re involved in at that time which was a Paleo community and like the crossfit community and you know because you know, we’re like, this is how we started. We started sharing it with our friends in the basement of a crossfit gym. And we’re like this is the real people that one, we enjoy dealing with and you know these are the people that were looking forward to become customers.

So– but, we didn’t want to just focus one sole market. So, we really tried to expand any little possible market we can get into or look at. I mean everything from different international diets overseas to any sort of diet in America but oh it’s not only that, because olive oil kind of goes across a lot of lines, I mean it goes from big in the Paleo, it’s about as black and white as you can get. But, also, a lot of health and fitness communities too like the running communities and its partners communities so basically anything where your product can possibly be utilized in, we look for influencers inside of that community.

Shannon: Now, talk about the  exception which was your best day of sale because I love this story and I think it opens people’s eyes and turns even the niches that they think are relevant and applicable but one of your best days of affiliate sales, they actually were not in any of those communities. Talk about that or tell that story real quick.

Tony: Remind me which one we’re talking about because you might…

Shannon: I think that was the– I think that was the eyebrows.

Tony: Oh! Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Oh, totally forgot about that. Yeah, that was totally unplanned that’s why I was wondering, I was like, what campaign did we run? That was actually not a planned thing. Anastasia of Beverly Hill, who I had no idea who she was, I don’t know, you can probably didn’t– when I brought her up to you.

Shannon: You know when I worked in Beverly Hills I didn’t know who she was.

Tony: Yeah. Well, long story short, a friend of a friend asked me to send some olive oil to her. I’m just going to– I’m on my phone really quick, I want to see how many– yeah, right now, she has 15.7 million followers. At that time she might have had like five.

Shannon: A couple, she’s got a few.

Tony: She’s got a few followers.

Shannon: OK.

Tony: And she’s all into makeup and eyebrows, I’m sure most of the women watching this probably know who she is but I did not. So, I sent her a bunch of olive oil and then I was– the funny thing is I was having email conversations with her not knowing who she was and my sister is like, “Do you know who that is?”  But long story short, she posted– and if you look on her Instagram, which I was very grateful to her, most of it is all makeup, that’s all it is. But she happen to be having a dinner party one night and posted a big picture of our olive oil with a salad she had made and our sales blew up that day like we probably– it’s definitely a top three. I don’t know if that’s our busiest day but it’s definitely a top three. We got some busy ones since that last time we talked.

But yeah, so that’s– and that just go to show what one person that’s totally outside of your world can do because that’s the cool thing with food, I mean everybody is going to eat and you know. So– but she happens to post that like I remember I was at work with the marine corpse. And my sister texted me and she’s like, “What’s going on with our sales right now? Like we’re getting sales every two minutes.” And I looked at my phone and I was like “Oh my goodness!”  But yeah– yeah, so…

Shannon: Yeah, we had a similar thing happened with WISPWe had just on a kick start of campaign for the WISPsystem product and just to generate some sales and revenue, and basically get the product exposure. Well, somebody took our video and cut and slice it together our website called Droold, D-R-O-O-L-D. And they posted this video with an affiliate link to Amazon. We’ll get into the specifics in a second and how that works.

And all of a sudden here, we are on the next morning, I got a call from the warehouse manager, he goes, “There’s a problem with our FBA inventory.” I said, “Why?” He goes, “It’s all tied up.”  And I said, “What do you mean?”  He goes, “It’s all reserved, you know, there are thousands of units.” And, so I called the Amazon and they go, “Nope, it’s true, all of them, our orders are pending processing.” And all of a sudden we started seeing the merchant for failed orders come through. And it was like, I mean you’d be on the phone with somebody and over the course of 30 seconds, you’ve refreshed three times and there would be like 100 orders. I mean those are unbelievable. I think it was something like 20,000 units in two days, two or three days.

So, again, unintentional, once it went live and viral. Every other influencer wanted to pick it up and they cut their own video and they did their own affiliate link to Amazon. And so, it was literally a spiral that over the last you know year, a little– you know year and a few months has generated video views over 100 million. And most of them use those affiliate links to Amazon because it’s the cleanest, simplest way to do it. And they like the exposure. They like giving their audience something new. And that’s the other important part to remember is that these influencers and content providers, they want content. They– you know, if they don’t have anything to post about, they’re at a loss. They actually want products to feature, want products to promote and that sort of thing.

How do you Reach Out to New Affiliates?

So, let’s talk a little bit about specifics. You talked about starting in your own circle. Getting beyond that, what are some other ways that people can start to find some of those influencers and then I have– the follow-up question is, how do you reach out to those influencers? So, few hard questions.

Tony: Yup. So, as far s looking for them, Google is the greatest thing in the world. We basically, we– like I told you, we broke up our subcategories and we would literally just search all these different either websites or social media is huge. Like I told you, first, we went to our social media and sub, who is following us. So, we go out to those people first and talk to them and see if they want to be affiliates. Then we go into those subcommunities in social media. And then after social media we would go and do searches. And you know we basically brought somebody on to search all day long for us.

So, yeah, I mean you just search and– real quick before I get to the next part, like you touched on earlier, it does snowball. A lot of times one influencer is using said product, a lot of influencers see what other influencers are doing so– especially in the food world, like if you’re using this ketchup and then it’s amazing. The other chefs might start using this ketchup too.

Shannon: Yeah. Note to self: Influencers follow people.

Tony: Yeah, exactly. I mean so you’ll definitely– you’ll see a lot of like-minded influencers kind of promoting the same kind of products, very common if you look around a little bit. Now, as far as how you actually get an influencer. That’s just reaching out to them. And there’s just different ways of doing that. You can engage via social media, you can engage on their blog, you can send them an email through their website. So, basically just reach out.

And a lot of time when we started it was usually, if they kind of know who we are, you’re going to just reach out and say, “Hey, what’s going on?” then to talk a little bit about it. But we have a set email that will generally– I mean which we get to every individual. But we have a set format which is very down and dirty, simple kind of like, “Hey, this is who we are. This is what makes us special. This is the benefits of being an affiliate of us. Would you like to try a sample of our product and we’ll send it out to you? And if you love it and you want to promote us, hey come on and join the team.”

There are a lot of different features and benefits you can offer through an affiliate program. Even if someone is doing it, if you’re doing an affiliate program through your website or with Amazon, generally, someone is going to want to kind of see the product, taste the product in our case, before they start promoting. But we’re actually testing out a video right now. We’re going to put this pretty much who we are, what are the benefits and come signup, into a video format.

Shannon: Cool.

Tony: And send that just because I like talking a lot better than I like writing. Well, did a video and we’re going to be testing that out a little bit.

Shannon: Well, it’s a way to engage people. And I think it’s so important that key takeaway that people don’t miss that offer a sample of your product unless we’re selling $10,000 diamond rings, offer them a free sample because it’s the simplest way to get it into somebody’s hands, letting them feel it and taste it. And I think a lot of times, you know, people just reach out and say, “Hey, how would you like to make some money?” and kind of forget that there’s an intrinsic benefit of, if I believe in the product and I’ve used the product, I’m going to be more convincing then I’m going to be…

Tony: Oh, for sure, for sure. Yeah, I mean I could be drinking a bottle of water and if I’m promoting this water to all of my followers, I’ve got it one, if I have the product, I can post it on social media. If you send it to me, I’m going to, at least as a thank you, post it. And that a lot of people get in a day, the bigger the name, the bigger they get innovated with stuff. But if you don’t at a minimum send your product, I don’t think it’s a good thing.

What Content/Offers do you Give to your Affiliates?

Shannon: Right. Now, it makes a lot sense. You talked about some features and benefit, what content and offers do you offer your affiliates? And we’ll talk about some of the follow-up in a minute here but, what are some of the content things and offers that you offer your affiliates?

Tony: Well one, we give everybody a free 25 bucks just for signing up. So, that’s kind of cool I guess, just, “Hey, here’s $25”. With some bloggers, that’s not a lot, that’s nothing. But to some people that are just starting out, it’s a good amount. And then really quick before I keep going, that’s one very important thing for any brand is not to shy away from smaller bloggers with smaller followers because a lot of times those people will have a lot more engagement with even their 200, 300 followers. And a lot of those smaller bloggers or influencers, 2, 3, 4 years from now will be very big. And when they’re very big, they’ll probably stay loyal to who that was with them when they were smaller.

Shannon: Who was willing to give them the opportunity and the shot.

Tony: Yeah.

Shannon: I was going to point that out because you mentioned that so you don’t put a cap on…

Tony: Not at all.

Shannon: You look– you guys, you look a little small, we’re not really interested. It makes a lot of sense to reach out and build that bond.

Tony: If I’ve got a– I’ve actually got one of my affiliates, Sadie, I don’t know if she’s out watching but I think she’s like 14. You’ll never know it talking to her. You feel like you’re talking to a 30-year-old. She’s like the most mature 14-year-old I know. I mean her Instagram has probably got 20,000 or 30,000 followers and she’s an amazing cook/chef. But here she’s a little 13, 14-year-old chef and she has promoted my olive oil all the time. But there’s no doubt in my mind, five years from now, she’s going to probably have three or four cookbooks out by then.

Shannon: Right.

Tony: You know? So, yeah, you just never shy away from anybody because, in my opinion, if you get one sale from an affiliate or an influencer, that’s one sale, you wouldn’t have had without them.

Shannon: Yeah.

Tony: So– but, and so as far as other like incentive, so we do definitely give somebody a monetary signup bonus for coming onboard. Then we give them a sample for coming onboard. And then they get– and obviously it’s going to be different for every brand but we give them a pretty good percentage discount to our products for life, for personal use.

Shannon: That they just use for their own. Yes, for Christmas gifts and that kind of thing…

Tony: Yeah.

Shannon: …for friends and family.

Tony: Yeah. And then we also have vanity codes, which is a discount code that they can offer to their followers. So that’s definitely– that’s a really good perk actually especially when you’re dealing with print or podcasts that basically somewhere where you can’t click or even Instagram because Instagram, they’re getting better with clicking but there’s not a lot of links on these. I mean now you could swipe up on the stories or you know, but on a regular post, you can actually write on there “use discount code” or whatever and that gets tied to commissions. So…

Let’s talk about the Amazon Associates Program

Shannon: Got it. Now, let’s get in and talk about the Amazon Associate’s Program because specifically, for Amazon, it’s absolutely huge. I know they made some changes recently. But let’s just explain real quick, what Amazon Associates Program is and how that sort of works just in a general brief overview.

Tony: I mean it’s very similar to our program and that you’re getting you affiliate commissions through Amazon instead of through the brand’s website. But the cool thing but that as you can– it’s very vast and you can promote any sort of product. The different products and all of Amazon but they change things a lot so you got to kind of keep up-to-date with the different products will get different percentage commissions.

Shannon: Right.

Tony: But there’s also other benefits as far as if somebody buys something through Amazon on your product and then the key find a few other things, you might get even more commissions.

Shannon: And I was going to mention that as well because that’s huge. I don’t know what the exact specs are. I never order one thing off of Amazon like ever. In fact, I needed something that was an add-on item, so I had to buy like a couple other things. People had incentive to buy a multiple things. So, how doe that work? If I click an affiliate link to buy your olive oil and I also have these two or three other things, does that person make a commission off of everything?

Tony: Yes. Yes. I’ll give you a perfect example because it happened to be today. Well, it didn’t happen to me, I did it. I was on Amazon buying a– I’m setting up a really nice office space with a new desk. So, I wanted to get a wireless keyboard and a mouse, $30, $40. Well, I ended up buying like a $400 monitor. So, had I clicked on somebody’s link for that mouse, meaning they got the commissions for the mouse, the keyboard and the monitor or anything else I decided to buy. So…

Shannon: And that’s huge because people look at it and sometimes think, well, if Amazon is changing their affiliate commission, they’re not going to want to buy my $10 product, for example. But when you consider the fact that if they’re driving– if they have million…

Tony: Traffic.

Shannon: …followers and they’re driving thousands of click and traffic plus those people are all likely going to buy other things in addition to that.

Tony: No, definitely.

Shannon: It’s still worth it for them so don’t– again, don’t shy away from the value of your own product. We do recommend if you have a smaller product that’s– you know especially if it’s consumable, that kind of thing, your gourmet food companies, consider doing multi packs so like a two pack, three pack, lots of food brands do that. It gets you typically above the $20 mark which is a really good sweet spot and allows customers to get a really good value, they’ll get a discount for buying the multi pack but it also typically increases your margins for FBA and…

Tony: Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, you know yeah, I mean that’s– I mean we really– we’ve got– we’re looking at essentially these two affiliate programs because we have the one for our website and for Amazon and we promote both of them and some people don’t like having multiple different affiliate programs and they specifically with Amazon which makes sense. I get it. Like if you’re promoting 50 different products, you know, you don’t want 50 different logins and not, you know, so Amazon is like your one-stop source for promoting products and not to mention you can snowball with other things that people buying it. I mean you could go there just to buy a $15 book that was hyperlinked and end up getting a $100 commission because somebody bought a big screen or something.

Shannon: Right.

Tony: So, that’s definitely– definitely one really great thing about Amazon’s program.

Shannon: Now, I want to talk about launch because there are so many different aspects of this that are important. But for launching new products, we actually just updated Marketplace Seller Courses course number four which is Launching New Products. And we included affiliate marketing because again, it’s new and it’s unbelievable. Some of the other aspects that you can look at our social media, print, email and that sort of thing but– and even pay-per-click you know people will do that to drive external traffic to the Amazon listings.

But the idea that Tony brought forward was you can reach out to somebody, have them drive traffic to your listings and if you have something like Feedback Genius setup you can get verified purchase reviews without giving away tons of product, a lot of people are being told that oh, you have to give away that you know 2000 products a week or just ridiculous things. And the idea that you don’t have to pay for them till after or the idea that you don’t have to pay for it at all that Amazon will pay for it is mind boggling. I mean that’s 180 degree kind of change.

Tony: Yeah, that’s huge. Yeah. I mean that’s huge because that’s the difference for me as a brand to always look at both sides of it because I do a lot of affiliate marketing on my own with other products. So, I’m like an affiliate but then also am a brand and pay affiliates. So, we pay our affiliates a lot of money every month through our website sales. But anybody that buys our olive oil on Amazon that go through an affiliate or an influencer which I know a lot of them do, I don’t pay the commission to that influencer. Amazon does it for me. So, you know that’s part of where our– as a seller where FBA fees go to sharers you know. But, either way in that, that is a key distinction to you know affiliate marketing when it comes to your own program and Amazon’s program is the fact that on you as you’re paying, with Amazon, they’re paying.

Discuss how Affiliates can be good for Launch as well as On-going Sales

Shannon: Well, in addition to that, the other side of this was you didn’t just use it for launch, you’ve used it ongoing. And so, you basically said, look, I don’t SEO, I don’t do paid advertising, I’m not worried about all these other– there are tons of different kinds of marketing that you can do because of your time limitation just focusing on affiliate marketing, it’s not simply one and done, you can continue to reach out to new affiliates and I work with dozens of brands on Amazon and not– it’s not only great to sustain your ranking.

But if you think about how Amazon works in terms of algorithms in the ranking, if you sell more product, the conversion rate increases. Amazon is going to increase that product in your organic ranking as well, which means if you’re driving affiliate marketing towards your product in the outside, you also have the capacity to rank organically higher inside. So, your overall organic sales are going to be higher in addition to the affiliate sales. And you know we have products that are like number two in terms of the best seller list and I imagine with a little bit of affiliate marketing we could be number one best seller. And the difference between number one best seller and number you know number two, is huge.

Tony: Oh yeah, yeah.

Shannon: So, if you can get that number one best seller badge and keep it and continue to drive traffic using affiliate marketing, it’s a huge opportunity for brands. Like you said, you know both small and emerging because they’re not going to have maybe the budget or the brand awareness that other companies will have. And again, the fact that I have seen people spend thousands of dollars you know through you know CPC campaigns internally that would cost them $5 per click, $4 per click and they were to maybe 100% ACoS which is break-even excluding Amazon fees like you’re not making any or you’re losing it. It’s a huge opportunity for brands to leverage that aspect.

Tony: Yeah. No, definitely. Then one other key point, I’m just thinking about it now but we definitely promote it is anybody that is on your affiliate program and selling on Amazon or vice versa, you can ask them or request them to promote your Amazon listing if you want to do things like increase you Amazon sales because all these extra traffic coming in is going to obviously, you’re saying increase your ranking in Amazon and obviously that’s got a snowball effect and it’s going to end up increasing your sales down the road as well. But if they are– if somebody is promoting your product only on Amazon and has not signed up for your program, it’s great that they’re selling your– promoting your product but you have no way of contacting them.

If you get them singed up onto your program then you can at least engage with them and let them know when you have sales coming up or hey, this is what our Black Friday or Cyber Monday Sale on Amazon is going to be. So, I’ve talked to a few people that are like, well, if there’s– if they’re just promoting my products on Amazon, I don’t need them on my affiliate program.” I was like, you actually kind of should get them on your affiliate program even if they don’t sell on your affiliate program.

Shannon: Right.

Tony: And that’s for the fact that hey, I can reach out and contact thousands of my affiliates all at one time you know like I did today to say, hey, I’m doing a webinar on this, some of them are probably watching right now. But if they’re not part of your affiliate program, you can’t really reach out to everybody and let them know about specials or deals you’re doing or you know basically what you want them to promote.

Shannon: Well, yeah, I mean you can consider the fact that maybe you got a new product coming up or that new assets and resources. One of the companies that I work with they have intentionally looked at sort of the high points of their sales throughout the year and then looked at those low points and said, “How can we offset those low sales with affiliate marketing and influencer marketing?” I mean if you look at Amazon, that’s what Amazon with did with Prime Day. Their Prime Day and their Prime Week that was like OK, this is our…

Let’s create our own Christmas and you know they did. So, let’s talk about content that you provide not just the initial contact but now, they’re signed up as an affiliate. They’ve got your olive oil. They bought it for friends and family using the coupon code. What content do you provide them throughout the month or over the months that’s going to help them continue to do it? Because you don’t want to just do one time.

Tony: No, that– yeah.

Shannon: OK, good luck. And you figured they promoted you one time and they’re done, your goal is continuing to provide them with quality content that will be new and different and engaging for your audience.

Tony: Yeah, like– and I mean we talked about it for about– I mean with an affiliate program, you’re only going to get what you put out at– put into it. If you just signup an affiliate and say, “Hey, here are some oil and just promote it this week.” That’s probably all you’re going to get from it. If you engage with your affiliates like I mean, I might email them very clearly, “Hey, call me anytime if you want to do giveaways, if you want me to promote your cookbooks that’s coming out next month. Anything you want to do.” So, my biggest thing is to say we’re engaged with them. And what I really like to do, honestly, as far as figuring out what kind of content to put out is, well, the most important thing is do what works.

Shannon: Yeah.

Tony: I can have, say a thousand affiliates, the top 10% earners are generally doing something different than everybody else. So, I try to teach all the other people especially the newer people who you know– and the coolest thing about it and I’m very like upfront and honest about this because I love talking to affiliate marketing which is fun to me. But I love helping like branding people are clueless about it especially like new bloggers or– because they’re like, how do I do this? You know and they’re like, everybody started somewhere and if you couldn’t show them like hey, this is will let– people that are making a really good living off of this are doing, this is how you do it. That’s the first and foremost thing.

I’m going to teach them what I see works best. Because I can kind of see it all from the back view. I see who’s selling the most and what are they’re doing in order to do that. And who’s not selling much, even a little active and what might not be working. So I really, really like to teach what’s working to my affiliates. Then my biggest thing is just asking them what they want to know. We’re actually– like I was talking about that video where we’re redoing our entire facts and question section of our website for our customers but also our facts and questions for our affiliates just to make sure the program inside and out is simple, streamlined and is transparent as possible.

Like even like the simple little things like how do you create a personalized vanity code? For someone that’s not really computer savvy, or used to these kinds of programs, they might not know where to go and click and how to request it. To someone that does it regularly it’s like OK, this is simple. But you know, to a lot people, they are new at this. Even though and they probably have the potential to do really well, just a lot of times they don’t know. So, I try to like put myself in the situation of someone that really doesn’t know anything at all and teach those people that. And then the people that are pretty savvy on this stuff just give them as much content as possible or any tools they could possibly need at all.

Shannon: Well, and let’s talk about that aspects of content because it goes both ways and this is really crucial we talked about content for social media. You want to provide content for your affiliates to inspire them in terms of you mentioned listing the features and benefits of your product so they know how to describe it, not just, “Hey, here’s our product, go promote it.”

Tony: Oh yeah, definitely.

Shannon: You don’t want to do that. You want to equip them with tools and resources so they really understand the features and benefits of the product so they know how to position it in addition to having that they want to know the information behind that. In addition, once you give them some of those resources, whether it’s graphics, whether it’s video or just some content, they’re going to likely turn around and create their own content which in turn gives you more content for your social media. You talked about if all I do is repost other things that pictures, videos and things that people put on their Instagram, their Facebook and their Twitter, you won’t ever have to created content probably for the rest of the business.

Tony: No, yeah, no.

Shannon: Talk a little bit about that dual benefits because it’s really, really huge.

Tony: Well, I’ll go from when I first started when I first started when I have like a thousand followers on social media when Tony was in his apartment in Texas creating all h is own content. So I’ve been making like Greek salads and you know lamb chops whatever, poured olive oil on it. So, I was creating the content which sucks because I mean I love cooking but I like to cook quick and get it over with and eat and I’m done. I don’t like making stuff all really pretty and everything.

But I learned, hey, after I had about 20 or 30 affiliates in the beginning, all these affiliates are creating really great pictures and posting on social media. So, as a kind of thank you to them, hey, look at this amazing dish this affiliate created with our olive oil. So, I’d post that to the point where I was like, OK, social media is a lot easier now because I don’t have to be creating all this content because I really don’t have the time to create food content, to the point where now, I couldn’t keep up with it. I mean we’re tagged in like at least 100 food pictures a day. And it’s kind of hard to tell like on Instagram or Facebook if it’s an affiliate or just the customer because at this point, we got so many affiliates.

At first, I knew them all by name and everything and talk to them all the time but not now it’s a point where just it’s so many. So, and it’s another thing that I like to communicate with them. If you’re posting stuff with us and this is really important with affiliates whether it’s Amazon or your website. It needs very clear and concise in what you’re asking of them. So, if I send you olive oil, I would say, “Please tag me @Kasandrinos and hashtag our specific hashtag” because if they don’t, I’ll never going to see it. And my social media girl is not going to see it at all because it’s so much.

But also, if it’s a smaller blogger with maybe a thousand followers and they want to increase their following, I’m like, shoot me a quick email and say, “Hey, can you come out with this?” Because I mean I’ll gladly I mean to me, it’s a two-way street. I mean definitely like our affiliates to promote us but I love promoting them. We do– we touched on this before but doing cool give aways because a lot of times a lot of influencers will have their own either products or books or something that they’re selling that’s tangible that you can cross promote. So I embrace any opportunity to cross promote with any of our affiliates because to me, not just– again, it’s that win-win-win situation. You know it’s a win for us, it’s a win for the influencers and it’s a win for the customer.

Shannon: And it gives you a way from having to spend a bunch of money that you are literally throwing out and you’re hoping some of it sticks. I mean I still look at you drive by and you see a movie poster on a bus stop and you’re thinking, “Where’s the value at on that?” I mean really, yes, a lot of people see it but is anybody going to actually go watch the movie because they saw it on a bus stop somewhere. But the power of if influencer marketing really not just affiliate marketing but influencer marketing is so key because if I talk about me and I talk about the courses that I have created or that sort of thing with Marketplace Seller Courses and I talk about what they can do and the benefits, that’s great. But if you’ve been through the courses and you talk about it, it’s a whole different ballgame. And it’s not just somebody speaking for themselves. It’s somebody else in that third party testimonial review is huge when it comes to it. Because your credibility just goes to the roof.

Tony: Yeah, definitely. I mean it’s– you look at like well, anybody that’s an influencer has people that they influence based on what they’re doing or what they’re using so its like if you’re a fitness model and you’re doing this workout regime everyday, your followers want to know what you’re doing so they’ll do it. Or they want to know what supplements you’re taking or what kind of sneakers you’re wearing. I mean that’s really it, at the end of the day, you know this whole thing is about basically people doing or buying the products or services that the influencer is using on their own.

And to me, it’s really– I think a lot of times you could see through if influencers are doing it just for the monetary reasons or if they’re doing it because they really love the product. I really try and seek out influencers who are going to do it because they love the product. Now, you got to introduce your product at some point to new people that don’t know what your product is. But even at that, you know I’d rather have 20 smaller people promoting my product because they really loved it to their followings than paying someone just to promote it just because we’re paying you to do it.

Shannon: And you’ve talked about that before, giving an email example, there’s a buddy of yours, who wanted a certain amount upfront as a fee and you’ve basically say, “I don’t pay for affiliate marketing. That’s not how it works.” Talk about that example and you know your convincing statement and looking at your data and what the outcome of that was.

Tony: Yeah. We don’t– we like don’t pay for Instagram posts or– and I might be wrong. I mean I just– I don’t really believe in it. You know, me and my sister talked about it and I’m going to pay somebody to use my product. It might sound kind of like pretentious or whatever but I want them to use it because they like it.

Shannon: Yeah. If it’s your brand that’s unique, it’s authentic to you.

Tony: I mean, at the end of the day, we’re a small family-owned business. We don’t have a board of directors telling us, hey, we got to sell this much or you know whatever like I’d rather– same reason why we’re not like selling out and going into grocery stores. We’d rather not be in grocery stores and sell the freshest product available. So, at the end of the day, that’s more on us because some people might want to sell just– I just don’t want to pay somebody to be promoting and just to get paid to do it. It just don’t sit well with me. And, I honestly believe that you can do better with just finding a bunch of people who really like your product.

Shannon: Well, and you mentioned that there’s a buddy of yours who basically said, “Hey, look, I want flat fee. This is what I charge.” and you convinced him to forego the upfront fee and to take the backend. Talk about what that looked like.

Tony: Yeah. Yeah. So, one of my friends who does a lot of affiliate marketing, he want to send an email blast and charges X amount of dollars. I’ve actually had this conversation just recently with a podcaster, is that a word? Podcaster? Somebody who does podcasts.

Shannon: It is now. Yeah.

Tony: All right. But– because she contacted me. She actually contacted me about asking if I’d like to do paid advertising on her podcast to help support podcast. I was like, you know, I’m not going to do, I couldn’t do that. But if you want to use a vanity code as an affiliate, for what you’re charging because it really wasn’t much. And it’s not really the fact of paying the money, it just– it’s more of a principle type of thing. If we start doing it then you open up the floodgates and it’s like you goes down on dirty road.

But you know I showed him and her both of them that “Hey, you could probably make more money doing affiliate marketing with us and promoting our product with either a clickable link or on your podcast using a discount code.” But my buddy who shoutout the email, he made almost double what he would have had we paid him a flat fee in commissions.

Shannon: Right.

Tony: So, now, with that, like we get a lot of solicitations likes doing email blasts regularly or promoting our product. At first I’d like just delete or dismiss them or be like no thanks, you know, whatever. If there was someone in that was it not spam just someone, I would always you know respond back to them but I’d be like, no. But then I started thinking about it and I was like, “Wait a minute, let me try and change their mind a little bit.”  And I started with my one buddy and then a few others and I’ve gotten quite a few of them to try it out and for the most cases, it works.

So, if you are a brand, definitely don’t close that door just talk to the person and be like you know, hey– and my biggest fear was like I don’t want to drop $4,000 or $5,000 and only make enough to just break-even or just you know, not break-even. But if we do like an affiliate connection here, we will see and it’s going to probably work out– if the numbers match up. It’s probably going to work on your advantage.

Now, for influencers, I would definitely say don’t close your mind to doing the affiliate route instead of just  paying for a post or a newsletter or Instagram pictures or a story or whatever it is. There are some really big name Instagram pages out there, really, really big name that charge like astronomical amounts of money that I have been, had come to me and ask us about it. I’m like we are way too small for that. I mean you’re talking like mega corporation type promotions. And people that have million dollar budgets for marketing and you know it’s just like– yeah, if you’ve got an unlimited budget for marketing, go ahead.

But yeah, just from an influencer standpoint and from a brand standpoint, I would definitely at least try it out. Because if you’re a blogger or a podcast guy and you want us to sponsor and we do try it out and you want to charge me $1000 episode but you ended up making two grand in commissions, what would– the two grand is more beneficial to you. So, I always tell her, Buddy, you know, try it out, if it doesn’t work, OK, cool. It didn’t work. But if it does, hey, you made out.

Best Advice for Companies Getting Started using Affiliate Marketing

Shannon: Well, we’re about to wrap up but I want to hit the last question and then we’ll take any Q and A’s from anybody who’s on the podcast or the webinar. What’s the best advice for companies getting into affiliate marketing? And what are some of those common mistakes you make? It’s big questions, so you can answer it as simply as you want. But best advice like this is going to be my best advice and here’s probably the most common mistake that I see a lot of new companies trying to do affiliate marketing.

Tony: Yeah. Best advice is really, we touched on it a little bit earlier but it’s really the most important, in my opinion, the start in your own community or wherever you’re at, start there and really saturate it. And do your best to get every influencer possible and expand from there. But don’t try and go in too many directions right away. Because you can only do so much with how many people you have worked and all those thing for you or if you’re doing it. So, start small and it will grow. And like I was saying earlier, you know, influencers in the same community when they see each other promoting the same things, it kind of snowballs from there.

Shannon: Right.

Most Common Mistakes for Companies Getting Started using Affiliate Marketing

Tony: So that’s definitely you know the most important thing right away. Biggest mistake I see people making is once they have a program up and running, and OK I got my software in my website. I’ve got 20 brand new affiliates. I’m going to keep focusing on getting more affiliates. If you just signup an affiliate or an ambassador or an influencer and you forget about them, chances are, nothing is going to happen six months down the road or three months down the road. So, it’s basically pay attention to your people. Don’t just be looking just to sign people up because you’re much better off having 20 really solid affiliates and influencers who promote your product to their circle than a 100 that aren’t really doing much.

Shannon: Yeah, the 80 – 20 rule does not apply here. It’s more like 2 – 98.

Tony: Exactly.

Shannon: It’s like 2% will bring in 98% of your sales and vice versa. We have a question from Ron, he says, “I assume that your products are not really expensive. If someone sends traffic to your Amazon listing, how much can they make?” Good decent question. It plays into what we talked about earlier is purchasing your product plus any other products the customer puchases will get the affiliate commission. But can you answer that question the best…

Tony: Yeah. I mean depending on the influencer, those pennies or those dollars add up. If it’s a smaller priced product say, it’s a $5 toy, a $5 toy. Your commissions are going to be smaller on that item than $100 item. But you’re probably going to be getting more sales on a cheaper item anyways. But even if you’re not, like we said earlier, people generally don’t go on Amazon and buy one thing, that’s like trying to go in a Target with your shopping list and not come out spending more than you plan, I’m going in with.

Shannon: Yeah. It’s economy of scale and a lot of these affiliates they’ve got, if not tens of thousands, they’ve got millions of followers, so then to promote a very, very cheap product and make a huge commission and they’re posting you know, if not a couple of times a day, multiple times a day you know to be able to get that.

Tony: Yeah.

Shannon: We’ve got a follow question about explain your sales to overseas markets. We can maybe follow-up with that after. There’s a couple more– it’s a little bit out of the scope but I do want to ask you the question.

Tony: We could definitely touch on international.

Shannon: Huh?

Tony: We could definitely touch on international.

Shannon: Yeah, we’re going to have to do a follow-up webinar just on international. We’ve talked about explaining to like Amazon, UK or making it feasible. But two quick questions, do you ever create coupon codes for your Amazon affiliates that you’ll pay them commission in addition to what Amazon pays them like the promo code or coupon code?

Tony: I have not. That’s actually a– I really have thought of doing that. I’m at the– while we’re recording this, write it down– no, I’ve never done that.

Shannon: Well, the follow-up to that is Amazon has recently introduced social landing pages which allows you to have a deal or coupon code that you can usually promote on social, have you used that at all within your codes?

Tony: I have not with affiliates. I’ve actually only used it one time and that was for I think around Christmas time, we had to use that. But it’s definitely, that’s something we have discussed and we’ll probably be doing that some probably in another month or two out.

Shannon: Yeah.

Tony: Yeah, I haven’t done it yet but…

Shannon: Well, the reason I mentioned it you know the potential is there that it basically because it’s a unique URL that people that are just in Amazon they won’t see that deal, they won’t see that coupon. Then it allows you to have somebody share with an affiliate and you can track the amount of sales that go through that landing page.

Tony: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And that’s another good thing how we’re talking earlier that if your affiliates are actually signed up to your specific affiliate program, you can reach out to them and say, hey, is anybody interested in doing this? Who has an Amazon Affiliate account?

Shannon: Yeah.

Tony: Who wants to do this? And yeah, that’s something– I’ve actually talked to a few of my affiliate friends, some of my friends are affiliates that have pretty big followings and we’re looking at doing something just kind of track and play around with what the differences are between Amazon sales and our website sales utilizing the same content.

Shannon: Interesting.

Tony: Yeah, we can actually send an email. The same exact email utilizing our website and Amazon with the same deal and see if there’s any difference.

Shannon: OK. Interesting. Well, I’m going to go ahead and post this in the comments both the webinar and on Facebook. But if you want to contact Tony for any follow-up, you can reach him at KasandrinosConsulting.com and basically you know, again, I think it’s absolutely huge benefit we’ve covered in Marketplace Seller Courses in course number four: Launching New Products. We’ve got some tips in there on how to go into Google and do searches to find those Amazon associates and Amazon affiliates. And as Tony mentioned, find ways to reach out to them, offer them a sample of the product and get that known because you’ve made a comment, you said, “I don’t care how big my social following is, I only care about the social following of my influencers and affiliates.”

Tony: Yeah. Yeah.

Shannon: That’s really true. Instead of me trying to reach one customer at a time with a Google ad you know cost-per-click or a Facebook ad you know one person at a time and they may not get it. If I can reach one person who’s an influencer affiliate that has their huge audience, they can reach tons of people at the same time plus they have added credibility that your Google ad will never have or your Facebook post will never have because it is put out by you. And this is put out by them and we talked about that sort of referral you know component previously. So, Tony, any last thoughts or word before we signoff here?

Tony: No. Just– just really quick on the international thing, the whole social media thing there’s no borders. So, I mean we got a lot of people like down in New Zealand, in Australia, in Europe, in Asia and that’s part of global economy and now, we’re all trying to get everywhere. So, as you expand and get out there, be a– you got to look for people to promote your product in those nations.

Shannon: Yeah, and I’m also going to put in a link your Amazon.com storefront it’s Amazon.com/shops/kasandrinos and you can see the olive oil that they have available. Again, I work with Ludwig Marketing Sales, did a copy on that.

Kasandrinos Consulting Contact Info

Tony, again, thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate it. Again, if you want to contact Tony, it’s KasandrinosConsulting.com. If you’d like more information on how to increase your Amazon sales, check us out at MarketplaceSellerCourses.com. Thanks everybody for joining us. We’ll send out a follow-up email once we’re done.

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