Strategy Overdrive’s Dee Braun delves into what makes Amy Reichert tick when it comes to affiliate marketing. With more than two years in the space, Amy offers a unique perspective into what has been “transformational” for her.
Amy Reichert: I feel like I had several lifetimes, other careers. I started off as a licensed private investigator, and I still have my license in California — 21006. Then I became a licensed pastor, and then when I left the ministry, I did social media, Facebook ads. Literally, just one day, my CEO said, “Hey Amy, you’d be a great affiliate manager,” and that’s how I got into this.
Strategy Overdrive: OK, being an affiliate JV manager for years and years myself, you have to take opportunities to make this job fun and rewarding. How do you do that?
Amy: So honestly, I was like, “What now? I don’t even know what an affiliate manager is.” I was learning all these acronyms and not crows and parameters and postbacks. I went out, and I bought a bunch of books, and basically, that did not give me any kind of feel for this business. I felt really awkward, just even emailing people. I feel like I’m very outgoing, and I felt like all of my emails to people were just kinda canned. Like they didn’t really know the real mean. And so, although mygreenfills, our business has doubled in the past year. We’ve doubled the size of our membership really when I sure it in this position, I was the very first affiliate manager. We were still kind of in startup mode. And I was like, “I got to figure this out. I have to be face to face with people that what’s gonna make my job fun. That’s what’s gonna make it rewarding.” Oh, I mean, life’s not terrible. I work remotely in San Diego, so life does not suck, right? I don’t get to go to a watercooler and chat it up about what happened on The Bachelor last night.
Strategy Overdrive: Which is a huge deal because we are so isolated by virtue of how we work. How do we stay out of our shell but still do our jobs?
Amy: For me, the “aha moment” was, “OK, this is a startup, and they don’t even have the budget to send me to conferences. And so I’m going to put my money where my mouth is, and I’m going to send myself to a conference.” I was basically betting on my own success because, at the end of the day, I think most affiliates, they have a base salary and a commission. And so, you know what, I am going to put my money where my mouth is. I’m going to ROI this by putting my own money. I’m going to invest in my own future and my own sanity because I need to be around people. And I made sure that I got out to Amber Spears’ events with the tour here.
I’m going to Las Vegas for Ryan [Alarid’s], affiliate manager happy hour; I went last year. That made a big difference having meaningful connections because now, when I’m emailing people, it’s not a canned response. It’s kinda like, “Hey Dee, how are the dogs doing? You know, how’s your son Christian doing? And Oh, you know, I also have a son named Christian.” It changes the whole landscape of what your day-to-day job looks like. When those people that you’re emailing are real flesh and blood people that you’ve met them in person. Traffic and Conversions was another big one. I’m here in San Diego. Traffic and Conversions, it’s right here in San Diego. Year one, I actually paid to go to the conference and sit in on all the workshops and went to a few parties … and made the most meaningful connections.
Strategy Overdrive: I’ll say that either it’s the affiliate manager for whatever reason, a) does not have the extra funds to do what you did, or b) has a lifestyle — 14 dogs, three raccoons, two squirrels, and two birds. That makes it very difficult to leave. But what other things … I want to know about you. I don’t want to hear about your offer. I don’t want to hear about the conversions, and we’ve got this, and this is the CPA. I’m like, “Tell me about you. Do you have kids? Where do you live? What makes your heart sing?” What just trips your trigger? The relationship starts building off of that …
Amy: Sure, you’re absolutely right. There’s always a new Mastermind to go to, but everybody else is going to, I mean, there were like events in Barcelona. I’m like, “Well, that’s not in the budget,” you know? I’d say for people that can’t go to as many events as they like or maybe can’t, you have to make yourself a real person rather than just continuing the ongoing email chain. Do you get a deal from start to finish? You can look at your inbox and go, “Wow, we email 50 times to get this deal sealed.” Somewhere in the very beginning, “Hey, let’s hop on a call.” I think that changes everything. At the end of the day, I want to work with people I like, know, and trust. That’s really who I want to work with. So even if your CPA isn’t $500, you know what, I like you or your product, let’s work together by picking up the phone.
Strategy Overdrive: How important do you think it is? Because a lot of us are remote workers. Probably the majority of us are remote workers. And you can get into this little cocoon — you have lots of electronic contact — but it doesn’t seem like you have a lot of human contact. So for your state of mind, your stress levels, your just emotional, mental health, these relationships, how important are they, and do they, do people become lifetime friends or is that just something that we say to make us sound like we’re pretty cool?
Amy: If I meet somebody at an event or if I connect with them over Zoom and I say they’re a friend, they’re a friend. I met Erin Smith in your group, and we hit it off so much. Never met in person. She said she wanted to come to San Diego for influencer 2019 in October. And I’m like, “Hey, stay with me.” I suppose there’s people anywhere that are not sincere, and they say, “Oh, I love you. You’re so great,” but they don’t really mean it. That’s not been my experience. For the most part, it’s genuine. And I think what really helps our industry is that it’s not competitive. That we all really do rely on each other.
Strategy Overdrive: OK, I’m a new affiliate manager, and I’ve never worked remotely before. What are my survival skills? What would you tell you the first day you started? Here’s what is the most important for longevity and healthy mind, emotion, all of it …
Amy: To be honest with you, I think I’m still a work in progress. I’m like, “Oh man, I need to like maybe take a lunch break,” I don’t take a lunch break. I just, I power through the entire day, and I don’t take a break. I would say that it’s pretty easy to like get up out of your chair and walk around, you know, whatever that means for you. Doing a couple of squats or jumping jacks or push-ups. I feel like I need to do some push-ups right now. You know what I’m saying? I’m a hypocrite. I’m giving advice, and I’m not following it, but maybe this is really important as a reminder.
Strategy Overdrive: I don’t care whether you’re dealing with the biggest dude in business or the newest, most doe-eyed newbie, they all have one thing in common — they’re human, and they’re not much different than me. If you forget that and you put people on a pedestal, or you shove them off to the side because you don’t think they matter, both are huge mistakes. Relationships lead to dollars. If you put the human being behind the offer first — I’m not saying ignore all the stuff we have to do — I’m just saying never lose sight of you’re dealing with a human being with real feelings, real family, real kids, real dogs, real everything. You connect at that level, and you try to stay connected at that level, the rest of it falls into place much, much more easily.
Amy: I agree.
Strategy Overdrive: How do you keep from getting in a rut? How do you keep from getting bored silly or so stressed out that you’re just like, “Screw this, I’m going to go work at McDonald’s.”
Amy: Working for a startup there’s really never a dull day. Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve actually worn a couple of different hats, and I feel like that satisfies the urge to really maybe do something different. I feel like there’s always been a challenge. For example, last year, we weren’t doing recips. It was just, “Amy, go get traffic,” right? OK, fine. Well, beginning of the year, our CEO said, “Hey, you know what? Let’s start doing recips.” And I literally felt like before, I had had one arm tied behind my back. And with the ability to actually send people traffic from our list, felt like, well now I can do business with both hands.
It’s really a love language for affiliate managers. It’s like, “Oh yeah, we’re going to give you an offer, and we know it’s going to do really well, but hey, by the way, what do you need? How can I serve you? How can I support you? How can I promote for you?” That’s been transformational. So that’s been really cool. What that has meant on the day-to-day, not be in a rut kind of thing is I’ve actually been in that process doing the copy and learning active campaign in getting those promotions out. Our in-house copywriter has got tons of other stuff to do. Our creative director has tons of other stuff to do, Our CMO. So being able to take that on, actually gives me a little bit of a challenge too. I feel like, well, I’m a half-ass copywriter, you know, when I started off, now I feel like I’m a quarter-ass one. So, it’s that sense of accomplishment.
Strategy Overdrive: So how do you keep, you’re so fricking high energy. … Is that just how you are naturally or do you just allow yourself to be excited? Because, I think, sometimes we tone ourselves down, so we fit into more of a cookie-cutter what we’re expected to be. So which is it for you?
Amy: Yeah, I’m not really good at self-censoring myself. I am basically what you see. I would say, though, when I first came into this space, and I started going to events, I actually did sell-censor more because I was intimidated. I’m like, “Wow,” being in a room with people that have been doing this for 20 years, you know. Or they’re running these big lists. Or they make millions of dollars and have a bunker under their house. Or they’re in five different masterminds. … I’ll never forget, like when I went through one of the first events. What I really love about these events is you can literally like walk up to somebody and start a conversation with them, and it’s not socially awkward. It’s like walking up to a random person to just start talking about affiliate marketing, they would think I was crazy. But at these events, you can just literally just walk up to somebody. But that takes a lot of chutzpah to do that, even though it’s socially acceptable. I had a plan in mind when I’d go to these things, I would find safe people in the room. I’d go, and I chat it up, and I would talk to somebody that I knew, and they were like my little home base. And that’d be like, “OK, now giving me the courage, I feel safe. Now I’m going to go to that other person I don’t even know and just spark a conversation.”
Strategy Overdrive: So, how do you do this online? How do we do this online? How do we create, foster, break into, take advantage of, make the most of group situations online?
Amy: Well, and that’s exactly it. I mean, just like my example of using a safe person, when I would branch off and just walk up to somebody I didn’t know like it’s going to be OK, right? They’re not going to bite my head off. I guess online it is a little bit different. You know, people can be mean snarky and unkind.
And I guess it is a little bit different online because let’s face it, I gave this example with social media. Would you walk into a room with a thousand people and scream on the top of your lungs? Half of the stuff that people post on a daily basis — wow. So online is a different form. So I would want to encourage people who are new to go online and ask questions and be humble and say, “Hey, I’m new. Can you help me?” It’s not that you’re making excuses where you’re trying to put yourself down, but helping other people know, “OK, they’re just starting off.” Then people come from a place that they genuinely want to help. Now that being said, not all Facebook groups for affiliate marketers are alike.
Also, even if you’re just starting to meet people and maybe you’ve had a conversation with somebody on Zoom or phone call, just say, “Hey, can I send you a Facebook request?” I really like that. And then as you start having those relationships and you get to see people online live their personal lives out and also their professional lives, right? That’s all kind of mixed in on Facebook. I think that enhances the community too. That’s what I found.
So starting off, yes, ask questions, but also reach out to people and just send the Facebook request. Maybe you don’t have the courage to post it in a group. Send a private message to somebody. We won’t bite your heads off.
Note: This is an edited version of the audio interview linked above.