Breaking The Ice On Affiliate Marketing with Matt McWilliams
Making your next Affiliate Promo the best ever.
Known as the “Affiliate Guy,” Matt McWilliams, Founder of MattMcWilliams.com, helps businesses make more money as an affiliate marketer, leverage affiliate relationships, and with your next product launch.
Learn more about how Matt McWilliams can transform your business using affiliates by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.
More from UpMyInfluence
Don’t forget to check out our other podcast, Authority Confidential, here.
UpMyInfluence is an Influence Agency dedicated to turning thoughtful entrepreneurs into media celebrities increasing their authority, influence and revenue. To learn how we can help YOU check out Josh’s free webinar.
Connect With Us
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
On with us right now. We've got Matt McWilliams and, Matt, you are known as the Affiliate Guy, you're a podcaster, you've got The Affiliate Guy Daily, and you are found on the web at MattMcWilliams.com. I hope it's all one word. You can't do domain names, multiple words like that, but there's no dashes or anything like that. It's Matt McWilliams.com. Thank you so much for joining us. We We're going to be talking about affiliate marketing. Now. Just kidding. We're going to be talking about penguins. I, of course, you're going to be, we're going to be talking about affiliate marketing. Matt, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having me, Josh. So what is your origin story of how you got into affiliate marketing? And then what gave you the audacity to say, you know what, I'm going to be an expert in affiliate marketing and teach other people how to be much more effective with their affiliate campaigns.
Gosh, I'll answer the second question first. Just because I'm a typical nonconformist. You know, what made me think that I would become, you know, arguably the world's leading expert was, I never really saw an option, you know, like, kind of everything I've ever done. My wife will comment this and there's a there's, like, anything that has a good side, there's a dark side to this, you know, anything I do I take to extremes, you know, and I was one of those things where I said, I'm gonna, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to be the best and I want to know everything. To know about it, I want to work with all the biggest names I want to work, I want to, you know, I want to be the most successful at it. I want to be the affiliate guy. There's actually a story to that name that was actually, for years, while I was known as the affiliate guy, people. That's what they knew before they knew me as the guy who ran these, you know, these big seven figure and eight figure launches and worked with all these impressive clients. My own personal platform was in the personal growth space. Because I thought that was the way you know, to have a bigger impact. Like really, if I teach affiliate marketing and how to run affiliate programs like how am I changing the world, right? When we finally decided to shift my platform to focus on affiliate marketing, the irony of that name was I had said for probably five years, I don't want to be known as the affiliate guy. I want to be known as something bigger. And so when we came up with a name for the show, the actual reason was it was kind of a almost like a kind of a hidden reminder to me every time I saw That name. Every time I you know talked about the podcast that actually is who I am and we can share some stories. I mean, there have been some amazing ways that I have impacted the world in a way through this but it really goes back to everything in in kind of this side of my life goes back to 2002 I was teaching golf schools. I had a Golf School with my dad and Pinehurst, North Carolina those of you who play golf you've all heard of Pinehurst you know, golf capital of the world. And we had a very successful Golf School but we wanted to ramp it up. Now. Here's the thing what you need to know. I'm the world's worst golf instructor. I was great. I was, you know, one of the top golfers you know NCAA Division One played professionally for a couple years. But I hate teaching golf to beginners and intermediate players like I'm actually pretty good with like my friends who were at a certain level. I just it wasn't my it wasn't my jam. And I always grown up joking with a friend of mine. We used to joke we were really good. We played together every day we said we don't want to be with One of those guys who plays golf growing up doesn't make it playing professionally and grows up to teach old ladies in purple sweaters how to play golf. That was our thing, no old ladies and purple sweaters, right? So we want to get more students, I get on this thing called Google AdWords back then you cannot replicate this now 10 cents a click. There was no opt in, you weren't sending people to a lead magnet, it was you came to my website and you either gave me $3,000 for a golf score, you left. And I converted about point 8% of people almost 1% of people into a $3,000 paying client like that $10 $12 acquisition. Again, you cannot replicate that today. So don't even go try. cost you $12 just to get a click in that market now. But we would convert these people and I remember we had this thing with with the payment thing that we had the time when everyone was called where it had a desktop application and it would ding every time we made a sale. And like two three times a day. You can do the math. I'm 22 years old at this time. Two three times a day during our peak season for about three months in a row. I'm hearing this $3,000 gain. Wow. And I had this weird like, conflicting feel like yes. And I made $9,000 oh crap that means I have to teach three people how to play golf. And I don't want to do this. And so one day we have six new students this is an $18,000 weekend for me.
Okay, I'm 22
trust me I was an idiot I had no idea what to do that kind of money
and I see this old lady 75 years old in the lavender sweater show up and you remember the old flip phones with like the point two megapixel camera on it you know? And I kind of went like that texted it to my friend that I grown up with and All I said was kill me now and Josh you you might know this a good female friend like rapper armor and you say Oh honey, I'm I'm here for you if you need to talk later. I'm here for you right? But a good male friend does what exactly what hunter did he responded back with haha sucks to be here. And that was the day that I realized I hated what I was doing so much. Not only was I never going to be good at my life is going to be miserable No matter how much money I made, but I loved the other side. I love the excitement of the marketing side. And that's kind of how I got into online marketing 17 years ago.
Okay, why affiliate marketing though?
So fast forward four years. Me in that friend Hunter, we had started a company selling leads to insurance agents. And we had, we started off with $10,000, we probably spent half of it on really stupid things. To start this company, we had no money, you know, we're down to like 5000 bucks. And we needed a way to bring in money before we spent money. So Google AdWords, Facebook ads, which didn't exist back then LinkedIn ads, and even a form of advertising. What do you do you pay you give them money in the hope that you make money now, if you're good at Facebook ads, you will make money but you're still shelling out money before you bring anything in. That's right. Still a risky venture, especially when you're starting out like that's the thing about Facebook ads not to, you know, bemoan Facebook ads, we do a lot of Facebook advertising. Now. We've always lost money for the first year of doing Facebook ads. And then we start making money in the second year, and the third year in the fourth year. We didn't have a year, we needed to make money, like that month, or we were just going to fold the business. And I heard about these people called the affiliates. And we were like, wait a minute, you get to make money and then pay them 30 days later. So check. It's infinitely scalable, because we can bring on more affiliates and we can run ads, yeah, that we get to expose to new markets, you know, maybe people who aren't in our niche, but are kind of on the periphery of our niche check. And it was like, this is like, Is this real? Like, do these people really exist? Can we really, really, this is the thing, you know, this is 2005 right? Like, nobody really heard of affiliate marketing back then. So started that fast. For two years later, we ran a 12 and a half million dollar a year affiliate program, largest privately held company in our niche that time. And that was kind of what set me on this adventure becoming, you know, or doing what I am today.
So since then you've been able to do affiliate campaigns for some pretty big names Lewis Howes, Ray Edwards, Jeff Goins. Gosh, you work at Shutterfly, Michael Hyatt Brian Tracy, to name a few. Zig Ziglar family. Okay, so if I haven't named somebody that the listener doesn't know, I don't know that you've been in the marketing world for very long. So who was your first big name client and how did you land that
first big name client, I landed him doing something that we actually teach people to do. So there's a reason why I love this story. It's because well, just don't tell the story. And I mean, you get what you want out of it. I'll just tell you that we can We make a lot of money teaching what I'm about to teach like the mechanics of this. So first big name client we got was a guy named Jeff Goins. And it was for his book, The Art of work. Actually, I'm, I think I'm in chapter 11. In the book, you know, like, my little bit of my backstory is in there, and some of that stuff and, and whatnot. And how we got him was, I had not yet really started my consulting business yet, I'd worked with some smaller clients I was still working full time with with another company. And, like leading up to this, but I left that company. And now I was working with a handful of clients doing some consulting. And Jeff and I both promoted Michael heights five days to your best year ever. So here's the strategy that we teach that I'll share with your audience that led to getting this big client. This was not the intention of this email, actually, it's kind of crazy how this works. Sometimes when you just do stuff like this. I didn't really know Jeff But I took the final leaderboard email that Michaels team sent out saying, Here are our top affiliates. Congratulations. I took that email, I replied to that email, but put in the people's email addresses. So everybody that was listed there, and I say Congratulations, congratulations, you know, who graduate like I was a super short email. Mm hmm. Two of the like, 12 people I reached out to became clients. Hmm. of the other 10 about eight of them are now friends. Of those 12 people, those 10 people that are now either friends like we've we've done partnerships together, actually, two of them, three of them. And then you throw in Michael for the, you know, for the people involved in that email became clients. Ray Edwards was another one down the roads. Lewis house was another one down the road. But Jeff, took that email. So what I did was I just replied and said Congratulations. Way to go. Awesome. You know, I don't remember what I said is just you just write something from the heart. Right? Right, right. But why do you do that? Well, number one, if you send a one off email to somebody that you don't really know, or maybe don't even know at all, like, I didn't know Lewis at all at that time. I didn't know Ray at all. At that time. I didn't know Don Miller. I didn't know Jeff Walker. I didn't know most of the people in the app. All right. It doesn't stand out in their inbox. But if you reply to an email, because we're all competitive, we're all following that leaderboard. We all want to read that email. And you reply to that, well, most people are on Gmail, right? What does it do? It threads it? It's almost like they have to see it. And nobody else does it. Part of the reason why I'm willing to share a secret like that, quite frankly, just I can teach people this stuff. And then I know like 90% of people won't even go out there and do it. And I don't know if it's because they're scared to or what or they just don't have the time they think they don't have the time that whole email took me five minutes, you know, so I sent that email Jeff replies back and says can you talk tomorrow Absolutely says, Hey, I got this book coming out. I'd love to, you know, can you run the launch for it? Yes, I can. But a week later, we talked and he said, I need to go to the publisher and give them a number. How many books Am I going to sell? And I said, 15,000 He's like, I can't tell him 15,000 his last book sold for. He's like, it's 10 on the high end, dude. I'm like, No, tell them 15,000 15,000 I guarantee you it will be 15,000 he said, Alright, then, you know, I don't know you super well, but I'm gonna trust you on this. And we're telling 15,000 we sold 22,000
Okay, so what gave you the confidence to feel like you could tell them 15,000 I didn't
know. I mean, I I I can. I can ballsy
Landscape a little bit, we have a we, at that time, we did not have this algorithm. We now have an algorithm where I can take your partners and I can if I know the size of their email list, I can take and plug it into this algorithm. Oh sure, no, I can take the size of their Facebook, their YouTube, their Twitter their Insta gram followings and spit that into a thing. And it spits out an estimated email list size. And we can I'm pretty accurate within about 10 12% with these things now, at that time, I kind of looked at the list of people that had already agreed to promote the list of people that I wanted to promote. And I was like, I think it'll be 15,000. But it was actually it was a stretch goal, to be quite honest. Yeah, the type of goal that I was 1,000% sure we could hit, but only if we did it, right. Mm hmm. And what that made me do is, quite frankly, my first client, I know how this industry works. It is exactly how it worked. Jeff led to Ray who led Yeah, led to Ray and Lewis. Those two led to working with Michael Hyatt, those two led to working I mean, Michael Hyatt was the one who actually I initially told Ziggler No, it was Michael who then reached out and said, Would you please work with them. I found You know, I vouch for them. They're amazing. All you know, Brian Tracy now working with a, you know, a company called the Gora and Rich schefren, who's one of the Oh, geez in the online marketing space. Yeah, an $8 billion company. You know, all of those led to that to the point where we have an email folder, no exaggeration, dice. There's over 800 people in there. We basically said no to Yeah. Because everybody wants to work with us now. Yeah. All leading back to that. Try frankly, you're right. It was a little bit of a ballsy move. Yeah, I didn't know for sure. But I knew that if I, if I got that first client, right. Then he then I knew not necessarily this exactly how it happened. But I knew that six months later, Jeff would be sitting at Michael hyatts dinner table with Michael Lewis and Don Miller, and other folks that you've all heard of. One of whom I'm talking to in about an hour and eight minutes, you know, about some stuff like I knew he'd be sitting at that table at some point. And I knew that my name was Come up would have to.
One thing I want to make sure is the person who's listening or conversation right now doesn't get the feeling that Oh, well Matt was just lucky because you created you created Well, yeah, but you created your own luck. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Now another thing I wanted to point out that you did, um, is that here's the reality if people don't throw away fan mail, and that's kind of what you did, you know, you're totally flattered their egos.
Yeah, no doubt about it. Um, I knew. I mean, I hope that I'm always hesitant to say things like this just because it makes me seem like very Machiavellian. And I think that can come across sometimes when I talk about you know, I read all the books, I mean, influenced by Robert Cialdini. I mean, this book right here. His one of his other books. Yes. I mean, you can tell this book is destroyed and highlighted. I've read it dozens of times, right. I know what I'm doing when I send that email and too, there is a genuine element of like, congratulations, you did well, I watch their campaign. And that is one thing I didn't mention was it's the the one complicated part of the email was, I would call out something specific they did, I would say, the face so it's not copy and paste, right. The Facebook Live that you did last week. I love the email you sent on Tuesday. I totally added that to my swipe file. Yeah. And yeah, I know what I'm doing. I'm flattering them sir. I'm developing a relationship and like I said, 10 of those 12 people are our friends. Now on some level, they're people that we text each other. You know, we go to each other's events. We have each other on you know, we're doing things like this together. And it really is that was the with other than other than with Jeff, who I talked to one whole time before. all nine of those other 10 were completely that was the initial reach out. Yes, they're more over the next Couple of years, of course, but that started like, that was that initial snowball that kind of got things rolling. And I always look at a part of it as I look at relationships I look at, we might call network but relationship building. I look at it kind of like local politics. If you look at who wins local political elections, it's usually the person with the highest name recognition.
Yeah, right. Right. And if
people that are running for school board, less than 2% of voters know what the issues are. Yeah. And they don't sway the election. It's actually there's two factors name recognition. And being basically being they're having workers at the at the pole. And I know this because I've run for local office, and that's exactly what determined you know how I did. And, and so it's that's why yard signs work in local elections, right? Yep. And so it's why it's so important to have those and relationship building is kind of the same way. If you You show up in their inbox. And then somebody says something. What happened when Jeff was at that table was most of the people that he brought my name up to didn't go Who? They're like, somewhere in there floating around. You know, was that the guy that replied to me on twitter last week? Yeah. No absolute like guy that promoted my book was that the guy that emailed me after Michael Hyatt can write, it's in there somewhere. And it's just that's how the world works. And I think the message that I always want to get across to people is when there's when there is one of those things, like that's how the world works.
Yeah. And here's the thing, and man, you didn't have to sit and you didn't have to sell in that first email either. I did. So what all you did was just send them a nice message. And then listen, here's the thing. Like, a lot of times I think as marketers, we think people are stupid, and we have to, you know, we have to beat them over the head with the message. So if some someone sends me a congratulations message, and we're like, well, who is this person? And if I look in their signal And I see that Matt McWilliams is known as the affiliate guy. I'm like, I want to learn more about that. And so if I find out what you need, or what you do, and I have a need there or again, is just top of mind, who do I know that understands affiliate marketing? Mike Williams does, because he's the affiliate guy. And that's, you know, people, people know how to use the internet. Like we can fight. And here's the thing like nobody, unless you're really trying hard, right? It's, it's, it's kind of hard not to share who you are in today's social media connected world, right? And so especially if you're a business for yourself, of course, it'll be really easy. Like you could do a Google search, like anyone listening to us right now could do a Google search for your name, and they could find everything about you. You could search for Josh Elledge, and you can find everything I've ever done. And if someone's interested, and they're like, Well, hey, this was nice to this person. I wonder who they are like, we always want to do that. And so again, another maskull template. Matt, one other question. There's two other questions I was hoping to ask you and we're not getting enough time just based on the format that we do the show. So a savings Angel. We ended up paying out over a million dollars in commissions. You know, affiliate marketing was just how we did things. It was wonderful for b2c, you know, it worked out fab fantastic. And I found out that, you know, about 70 plus percent of our Commission's went to my top 10 to 20. Is are those numbers pretty consistent?
They don't have to be. They really don't.
I've heard it said, you know, you know, the 8020 rule, right? The Pareto principle than in affiliate marketing. It's the 9010 rule. Yeah, I don't believe in it. And I've proven it wrong numerous times. If you build an army of small to medium sized affiliates, it doesn't have I don't know the statistics. I'm actually delivering a presentation next week where I shared the specific statistics But I can tell you right now roughly that when we like with Michael Hyatt you know multi seven figure launch the top. So I've heard many times that the top three makeup 90% and these are like the Guru's and the online marketing. His top three made up 14% of sales, his top 10 made up like 27% of sales is Tom 50 made up less than 50% of sales. If you build an army of smaller affiliates, these are people who might only be making 123 410 sales each. But you have 530 of those folks, like we have with my clients, you can do the math, if 530 people make an average of three sales a piece. It's a lot of sales, and it makes up more than 50%. So it doesn't have to be that way. And the beauty of that is that was his first launch and his second launch. Two of his top three didn't promote.
We lost 8% Hmm, excuse me, we lost 8% with Most people, when they lose two of their top three, they lose 50% sure what happened to my voice here?
Yeah, um, you know, Matt, while you're doing that in, we're just out of time right now. So we'll talk about wetting the appetite. So, again, you what you want to look for is The Affiliate Guy Daily. Matt, one other thing you've got on your website that I'm really interested in a free report that shows you how to find top affiliates 15 places to find top affiliate partners. And that is available at MattMcWilliams.com. It's right there in the sidebar, you give away a lot of great stuff, which again, I'm a big fan of, of, you know, just giving away what other people sell and just know that there's there's different ways that people can work with you. But But your individual time is it's it's gone a little scarce. It's hard to do, but you have a lot of other ways that people could join, you have a lot of products you have other. You've got a mastermind and that sort of thing. And so, Matt, again, I want to thank you So much for joining us and sharing. Yeah, sharing all this. And we'll have to have you again, because we didn't even get into a lot of the stuff I wanted to get into. So thank you so much. Thanks, buddy.
Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence.com slash guest. Now you got something out of this interview. Would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and texted to a friend or posted on the socials. If you do that, tag us with the hashtag up my influence. Each month, we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform, and you get crowned king or queen of that social media. What do you win? We're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans totally free. Now. Can you also hook us up now in your podcast player right now? Please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. And while you're at it, hit that subscribe button. You know why? Tomorrow, that's right, seven days a week, you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge. Let's connect on the socials. You'll find all the stuff we're doing up my influence.com Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.