BUILDING YOUR TEAM OF AFFILIATES
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In this lesson, you will learn how to get started on building your team of affiliates in SFI.
CHOOSING UP SIDES
When I was a kid, the boys from our neighborhood would meet at the vacant lot on the corner every Sunday afternoon to play ball. The first thing we would do is choose two captains for the day, and the captains would choose up sides. The captains would take turns picking players for their team from the ragtag group of neighborhood kids who showed up that day. Often the outcome of the game for that day was predetermined by the choosing of sides, due to an uneven distribution of ages, sizes, and talents. Getting the right players on your team was very important to the outcome.
Team effort and healthy competition among opposing teams is the most natural of things for human beings. Cut a bunch of kids loose on a Sunday afternoon and that’s what they will most likely do: choose up teams and have a competitive game between the opposing teams. The games may be different in different parts of the world, but the activity of picking teams and playing some sort of competitive game is universal.
When you join the SFI affiliate program, you have two ways to advance your business:
1) Build your team of affiliates
2) Market products from the Website
While you can do both simultaneously, the question arises as to which of these two tasks should be given priority. The answer for SFI is to first focus on expanding your team of affiliates. Like the kids at the neighborhood vacant lot, most ventures naturally begin by picking your team. In SFI, like any venture, picking the right team can be the most important part of obtaining a successful outcome.
Picking your team might not be your first priority if you were solely responsible for training the affiliates you bring into your team. In SFI, the training is allocated to the Team Leaders and Group Leaders, who already have the experience and proven track record. Were that not the case, it would be necessary for you to gain experience in Internet marketing of the products before bringing in new affiliates who would depend on you for training. After all, no one makes any commissions until products are sold. But since experienced Team Leaders and Group Leaders are available to train your new affiliates, you can follow the natural order of things and focus first on building a great team of affiliates.
ONE BAD APPLE DOES NOT SPOIL THE BARREL
In many ventures, whether those ventures involve sports or business, picking one bad apple on your team can often cause problems and interfere with the overall success of the team. (The scrawniest kid with the thickest glasses was always the last one to be picked in our neighborhood ballgames.) The careful design of the SFI program, however, substantially eliminates this risk. SFI has “full compression” in its multitier pay plan. That is, there can be hundreds of inactive affiliates between you and the next member, and the next member in line will still be considered to be on your next level for purposes of the pay plan. Thus, while you definitely want good, motivated affiliates on your team, you do not have to worry about excluding the bad ones in the process of finding the good ones. This said, however, you want to make an effort to find and recruit good team players.
FINDING THE GOOD ONES
When you are first getting started in SFI, you will want to hand pick several good affiliates to start your team. This activity comes naturally and does not require a lot of technical training. Even if you know very little about Internet marketing, you can begin to succeed immediately by finding and recruiting good quality affiliates. The remainder of this lesson will outline the simple steps for you to follow in order to accomplish this task.
PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF THE ONES YOU WANT TO RECRUIT
As discussed in an earlier lesson, you should always focus on the perspective of your potential recruits. Put yourself in their shoes. Think like they will be thinking.
First, you should spend some time thinking about what qualities you want in your affiliates. What are the characteristics of the new affiliates that you would want on your team? You probably want people who enjoy a good challenge and are willing to become involved in new things and learn new ways to increase their income. You should want people who are capable of critical thinking, but also capable of taking practical, effective action. You also want to find some people who already know a good deal about Internet marketing. People who already have a good Website that draws substantial traffic would be great to have on your team. Ask yourself, “What would these people search for on the search engines when looking for new and better ways to make money on the Internet?” Come up with a list of words and phrases with which they would likely search.
I cannot offer you any example search words or phrases. In order for this to work, you have to come up with your own search terms. If I or anyone writing about Internet promotion to a large audience were to give a specific list of words with which you should search, several thousand people would wind up at the same Websites and those poor Webmasters would be inundated with queries. Originality is what makes this work. You have to be original and come up with your own search terms for this to work for any of you. This is your chance to use your own imagination and creativity to rise above the crowd by finding those choice spots to advertise. You do this by carefully thinking out the search terms your targeted recruits would likely use.
When you have come up with your list of search terms, go to the popular search engines (Yahoo!, AltaVista, WebCrawler, Google, etc.) and perform a search with the terms on your list. The sites that show up on the first three pages of your search engine results would likely be the sites also discovered by the people you want to be on your team. If these are personal sites, rather than large, corporate venture-capital type sites, the Webmasters of these sites themselves would be a great addition to your team! Thus, you want to inquire both about advertising on the site and recruiting the Webmaster as well.
Any time you start to contact someone over the Internet regarding a commercial matter, be very careful not to spam. Thus, you must be careful how you contact the Webmasters of the sites that turned up in your search. If a site in which you have become interested allows free postings such as classifieds or announcements, you have hit pay dirt—but read the rules for posting on the site very carefully before posting and follow the rules! The next thing you would look for is contact information for the Webmaster. If there is a phone number listed, you have also hit pay dirt. You can call the Webmaster on the telephone without any worries of a spam complaint. In your phone conversation with the Webmaster, explain that he or she has a Website you believe could help you recruit a team of affiliates for SFI. If you have an advertising budget, tell them that you would like to purchase some advertising on their site. (Don’t say this if you can not afford any advertising because you do not want to be misleading.) Explain further, however, that they can doubly profit from this if they will also join SFI. Tell them that they can join as an affiliate for free, and all of the recruits you obtain from advertising on their Website will also fall under them. Thus, they will profit twice from selling you some advertising.
If the Website on which you arrange to advertise this way is productive, the Webmaster will see all of the affiliates coming into the network and will soon get the idea. The Webmaster will likely start promoting on the site with his or her own affiliate number. Then you will not have to pay for advertising on that site anymore and yet it is still building your team.
If you cannot afford any paid advertising, you will have a somewhat more difficult task. Webmasters get very interested in speaking with someone who is offering to pay them for advertising on their Website. Most people who have worked to build a good Website and build good traffic to it have planned on making their money through paid advertising. On the other hand, they will not be terribly receptive to using space on their sites for an affiliate program with which they are not familiar. Nevertheless, a polite phone call in which you give them your Gateway URL for the affiliate program (www.YourGateway.com/YourSFIID/FREE/) and a brief mention that there are presently over 7 million affiliates, some of which are earning over $10,000 per month with this program, may well get their attention.
If there is not a phone number for the Webmaster on the Website, but only an e-mail address, you will have to be careful that your e-mail does not give the appearance of being spam. Remember that even if your message is technically not spam, a recipient who erroneously believes that it is spam may well report you anyway and cause big problems for you. All Webmasters who list their e-mail address on their Website get a lot of spam and are, consequently, quite annoyed by it. The reason that happens is that the people who harvest e-mail addresses for the spammers get those e-mail addresses with software which searches Web pages and grabs any e-mail addresses listed. Thus, anyone who has had a Web page with their e-mail address on it up for any length of time is already on these lists and is being bombarded with spam. Most of those spam messages begin with “I was looking at your Website . . .” In almost every case, it becomes immediately apparent that the spammer has never seen your Web page. They are clearly lying and that makes you mad right from the start. Thus, whenever you send e-mail to a Webmaster, you must make it clear from the beginning of the message that you have truly just visited their Website and are responding to the e-mail contact link you found there. You must make it clear that this is a single message (not bulk) sent only to that Webmaster. Something very important to realize is that you can not make these things clear simply by asserting them in the e-mail. Spam e-mails that Webmasters get daily boldly (albeit falsely) assert that they are not spam. Thus, you have to PROVE that you were just looking at the Webmaster’s Website by mentioning very specific things about their site right up front. Otherwise, you will not only lose their attention, but they will likely report you for spam.
Because you are responding to a Contact Us link on their Website with a single, non-bulk e-mail, you are not technically spamming them. By placing that link on their Website, they have given you permission to send them a one-time personal, non-bulk e-mail pertaining to their Website. And if they recognize your e-mail as being honest and sincere and recognize that you have indeed spent some time at their Website, they will welcome your correspondence. It is important that the subject heading and the first sentence of your e-mail reference something that could only be known from having seen the Website. Mentioning the domain name itself is not convincing because the spammers know that as well, but it does help to mention it. Mentioning the color scheme, the graphics, and some of the advertisers or information on the site will be convincing—if you are very accurate. The more you talk about the Website with specific and accurate information, the more the Webmaster will be intrigued by your e-mail. You need to be complimentary and not critical of the site, of course. People love compliments. Your e-mail should not sound like an ad, but should sound like personal correspondence from someone who became excited from visiting their Website. In your first e-mail, do not mention the SFI affiliate program by name, but rather make a general inquiry about advertising on their site for your business. (If you cannot afford paid advertising, just make a general inquiry as to whether they would be interested in an affiliate program that would work well on their site.) After they respond with interest, it is appropriate for you to reveal the nature of your business. As discussed earlier regarding the phone call, explain that the Webmaster can doubly profit from selling you advertising and becoming an affiliate. Add that that there is no charge or obligation for becoming an SFI affiliate.
With the process outlined in this lesson, anyone, regardless of their technical knowledge of Internet marketing, can begin immediately to build a successful team of SFI affiliates. By following the steps which have been outlined here, you can find appropriate Websites and, through free or paid advertising, place on these sites the SFI-approved banners or textual ads provided for this purpose. If you have a bit of luck, you will find a few Webmasters who will also join as SFI affiliates. Just like playing ball on the corner lot, I think you will find building your SFI team to come naturally and to be a lot of fun!
WHAT’S COMING NEXT
Our next lesson will touch on the basics of designing a Website that you can use as a doorway page to help build your SFI business.