Playing the Slots

If you are building an Internet marketing business, you will soon start to get requests from people asking you to promote something of theirs by sending an e-mail to your list.

Or perhaps you are on the other end of that transaction, asking successful Internet marketers to promote your book or event. And when they say no or ignore you, as most probably do, you become dismayed or even angry.

In this article, I want to increase your chances of convincing other online marketers to promote you or joint venture with you.

To begin with, you have to understand slots – and their monetary value.

A “slot” in Internet marketing is one of the finite number of opportunities during the year when the Internet marketer can send an e-mail to his list. I say “limited,” because you can’t send too many e-mails to your subscribers. If you do, you’ll annoy them. They’ll unsubscribe, and your valuable e-list will get smaller.

For those of us who publish our free e-zines monthly, twice a week is about the maximum e-mail frequency our subscribers tolerate from us. With two slots a week, that means we have approximately 100 slots a year.

Let’s say I gross $400,000 a year in my online marketing business. That means each slot is worth $4,000 in revenue.

If I take up one of those slots by sending an e-mail promoting something of yours for which I make no money (e.g., a free teleseminar), it costs me $4,000 in lost revenue. Even if you offer me an affiliate commission to sell one of your products to my list, I have to ask myself whether it’s going to make the $4,000 I need.

“Getting involved in a ‘win-win’ joint venture is the perfect way to add more to your bottom line.”

Yanik Silver

Often, the products people ask me to promote are priced too low… and the commission is too small… for me to give up a slot. And when I turn them down, they are disappointed or even offended.

TC sent me a review copy of his new book with a letter asking me to promote it to my list. It’s a paperback book with a $19.95 cover price… and TC was offering me a 20 percent commission.

That means my commission on each book sold would be about four bucks. So I’d have to sell 1,000 of them for it to be worth taking up a slot. And the chances of me selling 1,000 copies of someone else’s book are slim to nonexistent.

Okay. Let’s say you want to convince me… or another Internet marketer who has a list you want to reach… to promote something of yours to his subscribers. Here are the questions I would ask you… and the responses that would get me to consider your deal.

1. Who are you and how do I know you? If you subscribe to my online newsletter… or read my books… or we met at a seminar… or have a mutual acquaintance… say so. This is important, as I generally promote products only from people I know or have some connection with.

2. How would your product benefit my subscribers – i.e., how would they profit from its content? Answering this requires you to have a familiarity with my list, which you can easily get by subscribing to my free e-zine.

3. What is your product price and the affiliate commission? If the price is too low – less than $20 – my commission will be too low to make any money from it. I give a 50 percent affiliate commission on all my products – and I look for a 50 percent affiliate commission on products others ask me to promote.

The rule of thumb for pricing products sold via direct response – online and offline – is that the sales price should be at least 8 times the cost of goods. This formula allows you to give up 50 percent of the purchase price to an affiliate… and still collect 4 times your cost of goods on each unit sold. On extremely high-priced products… $1,000 or more… an affiliate commission of 25 percent is acceptable to most potential joint-venture partners, because it gives them $250 for each $1,000 unit sold.

One more thing: Before I would agree to a joint-venture deal with you, even if your responses to the above three questions are satisfactory, I will ask for a review copy of your product.

This is mandatory. When I promote your product to my subscribers, I am recommending it to them. And I can’t recommend something I haven’t seen.

As an entrepreneur looking for joint-venture partners online, you need to understand that, for most Internet marketers, their e-mail offers to their list are the primary way they make money and put food on the table. And the number of opportunities they have to make money by sending those e-mail offers is limited.

For an Internet marketer with 100 slots a year, each slot represents 1 percent of his gross annual income. Unless that online marketer is your best buddy, why would he give up 1 percent of his total income for the year to promote your book, event, or news… just because you think his subscribers should know about it?

Internet marketing is a serious game… and to get the players to joint venture with you, you have to propose a deal that’s profitable and beneficial to you both.

[Ed. Note: Bob Bly is a copywriting master and the author of over 70 books. If you want expert insights into the world of direct marketing, sign up for his free monthly newsletter, Direct Response Letter. Do so today and get over $100 in free bonuses.]