Over the course of 2018, LinkMink has been helping Coach Catalyst grow their revenue by sharing it with their promotion partners.
Coach Catalyst helps fitness pros, nutritionists, life coaches, executive coaches and all other types of coaches change more lives while keeping their administrative overhead low. Their software helps coaches communicated with their clients, run challenges, provides customizable done-for-you content and much more.
At the end of 2016, Coach Catalyst was growing primarily through one-on-one sales. This was a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. They were looking into more scalable channels to expand their reach when they started considering an affiliate program. Kane, Coach Catalyst’s founder, described the humble beginnings of the affiliate program saying, “when I decided to start our program, we only had one affiliate at first. He was already a customer who loved our product and who had an audience.” And with that loyal customer, their program was born.
“At the beginning, the growth was very slow.” Kane elaborated, “we started talking to other influencers and they liked our product and wanted to refer to us. But for a long time, we only had one main affiliate.” Looking for a way to incentivize them, Kane decided to give a generous 20% of the recurring revenue from referred customers to his affiliates. This meant that his affiliates would earn a steady, recurring paycheck and be incentivized to refer long lasting, high paying customers to Coach Catalyst.
During the first year of the program, 2017, their affiliate program grew primarily through referrals from the first few affiliates. The program didn’t gain much traction until about halfway through the year. By the end of 2017, the affiliate program had earned $16,767.86 in referred revenue.
At the beginning of 2018, Kane decided to switch to LinkMink. After migrating over his existing program (about 25 affiliates and 100 referrals), Coach Catalyst’s program has continued to grow. The growth now, though, was at a much faster rate.
In 2018, the affiliate program revenue has grown by more than 500%. At the time of writing, Coach Catalyst’s affiliate program has 94 affiliates, 289 referrals and has generated $128,682.56 in referred revenue. Kane also went on to point out that this growth has come with much less involvement from himself. “Now I have affiliates sign up, get their link, and start promoting without any involvement from me.”
Currently, Coach Catalyst has two methods for continuing to acquire new affiliates. First, they put a strong emphasis on getting their current customers to refer the product. “Right when a new customer signs up, we incentivize them to become an affiliate. They’re excited about new software and want to share it with their friends.” Kane explained, “By putting the information right on the sidebar within the account, it has brought more attention to our affiliate program. We even added info to our on-boarding sequence for new customers.”
The second method for acquiring new customers is by treating their affiliate program similar to their normal sales process. “We seek out influencers in our industry who we think would be a good fit to promote our product. The fit is usually based on how much our product could be helpful to the audience of the potential affiliate. Then we reach out to them and find out if there’s mutual interest.” Kane pointed out that this is a very similar process to the early process of acquiring customers for Coach Catalyst.
It is very important to Coach Catalyst that anyone who joins their affiliate program actually believes in the product. Kane explained that potential affiliates aren’t always a current user since the product may not apply to their business. However, he did emphasize the importance of being a good fit with your affiliates. “We want all affiliates to be familiar with the product and understand who it can benefit from using it. We’re not interested in affiliates who are just looking for a quick payday and that’s it.”
The other, and often easier, way to grow an existing affiliate program is to help current affiliates do more promotion. As is typical with affiliate programs, the vast majority of Coach Catalyst’s referred revenue comes from the top few affiliates.
Like most successful affiliate programs, Coach Catalyst works with a few top affiliates individually to come up with promotion strategies. “Right now, it’s mostly been 1-on-1 but we’d like to give more direction to all our affiliates. We’re working on some new campaigns that should help. We have a few evergreen webinar and video series we’re getting close to publishing as well as more done-for-you resources that all our affiliates can use. We’ve found the more we can provide and make their life easier, the easier it is for them to refer new business our way – and everyone wins with that!”
“Before we found LinkMink, we built an in-house system to track referrals and pay our affiliates.” Kane went on to explain that their in-house system produced a lot of technical overhead and didn’t deliver the needed features. “Referral links only went to the signup page. We had to build new landing pages for every affiliate that signed up. Tracking didn’t always work and the affiliates had no visibility or reporting whatsoever.” When asked about the worst part of the processes before LinkMink Kane said, “Aside from the time our developer had to spend building, tweaking, and maintaining our system, I spent at least 3 hours every week just doing administrative tasks for the affiliate program. Now with LinkMink it’s less than an hour a month.”
Kane went on to explain that when they were looking for a solution for their affiliate program. The competitors that they were trying out were too complicated and too expensive. “LinkMink had the perfect set of features for us. Everything we needed with the simplicity that we wanted.”
The features that Kane was most excited about were the built-in affiliate dashboard and the ability for direct linking, auto approvals and auto-payouts.
At the end of my phone call with Kane, I asked him a few quick-fire questions about Coach Catalyst’s experience after using LinkMink to grow their revenue. The Q&A is below:
Q: How would you describe the impact of switching your affiliate program to LinkMink? Kane: “Went from a ton of headaches to set it and forget it.”
Q: How did the integration process go after you created your account? Kane: “It was a seamless transition. No break in the action. No lost tracking. One day we were on another program and the next we were on LinkMink” Kane said about the transition.
Q: In one sentence, how important is your affiliate program to the health of your business? Kane: “35%- 40% of our revenue.”
Q: How would you describe LinkMink if you were explaining it to a friend? Kane: “It is a simple way for us to thank people for referring our software.”
Q: What do you and your affiliates love about LinkMink? Kane: “Ease of use, reporting, and constant product improvements.”
Q: Is there anything else you want to add? Kane: “Continuing improvements have been a big deal for us. LinkMink has been constantly improving and adding features that make our program better.“
From idea to $128,682.56 in new referred revenue, Coach Catalyst has taken only about 2 years. And these numbers are only growing more and more quickly. They now have a scalable and consistent way to acquire new customers with very little time commitment. Here at LinkMink, we’re very excited to be a part of what Coach Catalyst is building.
We’re committed to helping companies grow their revenue using an affiliate program just like Coach Catalyst did. If you’re interested in starting an affiliate program we’d love to chat. Add your email below to schedule a quick chat or a full demo.