How to Rock Your First Affiliate Promotion: Keira Merkovsky Case Study

Affiliate Marketing

Your first affiliate promotion. It’s usually a time of confusion, experimentation, and more often than not, failure. But what if your very first affiliate promotion could actually be a huge success and open the door to even more success in the future? That’s what happened to today’s guest and we’re sharing exactly how she succeeded in her first affiliate promotion ever.

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How to Rock Your First Affiliate Promotion: Keira Merkovsky Case Study

Your first affiliate promotion. It’s usually a time of confusion, experimentation, and more often than not, failure. But what if your very first affiliate promotion could actually be a huge success and open the door to even more success in the future?

That’s what happened to today’s guest, and we’re sharing exactly how she succeeded in her very first affiliate promotion ever.

Hey, welcome back. And man, I’m excited about this episode because we’re talking about something we’ve really never talked about before.

Your very first affiliate promotion. Yeah, I mean, I’ve talked about how to get started, and I’ve shared the steps to do that, but we never really dove into, okay, how do we actually execute our very first affiliate promotion? As I said in the intro, first affiliate promotions are usually a little bit scary.

Most people don’t know what the heck they’re getting into. They’re confusing. What a swipe copy? When’s the webinar? How do I manage all of this? How do I do a promo calendar?

How many emails do I send? Like, I don’t know how to do anything. And usually, they’re failures. And that’s fine. That’s totally cool. Failure is a good thing.

We believe in that. We talk about failing fast as a company, trying new things, have a bias towards action. In school, getting a 65% is considered a failure.

You get an F, they don’t even give you an E. They skip E and give you an F. But in the real world, 65% is so much better, infinitely better than zero, that I would rather you fail than not take action at all.

So, yeah, first affiliate promotion usually fails, but they don’t have to be that way. And that’s what today’s episode is all about. A couple of years ago, I was coaching two of our clients in our your Affiliate Launch coach program, Jason and Cecilia Hilkey from Happily Family, and they had a summit coming up.

It was called the Happily Family Conference. I think the summit before, I think it did like, something like 20-25000 attendees, which is awesome. But Jason came to us and Cecilia, and they said, we need help.

We would like to scale this. We helped them get more than 100,000 attendees for their next conference. It was insane.

And this was in large part due to awesome affiliates that they worked with, like Keira Merkovsky. Keira is a family therapist. Like, she primarily coaches Moms on being a great moms, and dealing with the stress that can bring.

She’s built a good size audience, but not huge, and had a good following, but she’d never done an affiliate promotion before until this one. So she’s not like some internet marketer person doing like, okay, ‘Hey, person, with 200,000 people on your list, how did you make $50,000?’ ‘Well, I sent a couple of emails to my giant list.’

That’s not helpful. Right? So we’re going to talk about her very first affiliate promotion. Very first one. So how did it go? Like, how did it go with Keira?

We’re going to have to listen to my interview with her to find out. More importantly, you’re going to find out how she did it. There are tons of great lessons in this interview, not only for first-time affiliates but for anyone who wants to get back to the basics to increase their affiliate sales.

So let’s dive right into my interview with Keira Merkovsky.

Matt: Well, welcome, Keira.

Keira: Hi.Thanks for having me.

Matt: So I’m really excited about this today because we were just chatting before we came on here recording this, and you had no idea what the heck we were doing today, which is so cool. We’re going to talk about your this is your first-ever affiliate promotion, and you promoted Jason and Cecilia Hilkey’s. Happily. Family conference.

Jason and Cecilia are clients of ours, and I’m really excited about this because it’s so cool to get, like, a fresh perspective on things. Like, so many of our profiles, it’s like yeah, a lot of them, they share similar things, and they’re coming from a place of experience. I actually love that this is coming from a place of you had no idea what you were doing when you first started.

So got some cool stuff today for everybody. So tell us real quick, I mean, this was your first affiliate promotion. How long have you been building your platform before you did that?

Keira: Yeah, I started working with Cecilia and Jason, actually, in 2018, and they were helping me to learn the online world of business. That was in October of 2018, and I really didn’t start building the business until probably the middle of 2019, and then the conference was in January. So I’ve been doing my business in person for a little over ten years, but the online thing is rather new for me.

Matt: Okay, and who do you serve?

Keira: I serve mainly moms and parents in general, but mainly the audience tends to be moms of kids who are preschool or elementary-age kids. There’s a wider range, but that’s the majority of the audience.

Matt: Yeah. And so just like, in a general sense, I would imagine you’re talking about things like potty training. That would be, like, very early on, I guess.

Keira: Really…Yeah, that’d be a little earlier.

Matt: What do you talk about with your audience?

Keira: I guess I am a licensed mental health therapist. Yeah. And so in terms of the online business, I talk with them about parenting. And even deeper than that, it’s about emotional regulation and managing our own reactions and responses to our kids and then helping the kids to manage their own emotional reactions and responses as well, just to help people have a greater connection and just more enjoyable and effective lives. When you’re not ruled by your emotions, it’s a lot more enjoyable to live.

Matt: I can tell you. This is a side note that has been huge for me, just realizing that my kids don’t make a mess because they’re trying to make my life miserable.

It’s because they’re children. I don’t know if people are aware of this, but from about the age of like, one to twelve, they have no sense of what slobbery is. And I remember, like, I used to get so frustrated to Felley, and I just realized, you know what?

They don’t have a clue. Wow. Our son the other day, he’s four and a half, we had some chicken nuggets from the day before.

We’re driving home, he just decides to whip one out and start eating it. They didn’t been sitting in the car for 24 hours.

Keira: Oh My God.

Matt: It doesn’t occur to him that that’s literally, potentially deadly. It’s food, it’s there, let’s eat it and start realizing, okay, my children aren’t morons. Not taking it personally, maybe I’m the only one who’s ever felt that way, was really, really big for me.

This is a teaching moment, so I appreciate what you’re doing, and I’m looking forward to engaging more with your stuff. Even though I know your audience is typically moms, I know I can learn a lot.

So that said, you did this promotion. Talk a little bit about what attracted you to promoting this. I know you knew Jason and Cecilia, but was there something particular that you looked for in this promotion that said that’ll resonate with my audience?

Keira: Well, this was the first time I had been an affiliate, so I was really looking for any and all information that I could get in order to be successful with it.

And I really like to know how things work. I feel like everything is time or money. In essence, you can spend your time researching how to do things, or you can pay somebody who already knows how to do it to teach you.

For me, it was really enjoyable to have you tell me the ins and outs of things so that I didn’t have to go spend that time researching it and learning it on my own. And I really just wanted to know what to do and when just lay out a plan for me. And I felt like that was what you delivered, and it helped me have a better understanding of how I could be effective with the launch.

Matt: Awesome. So specifically, though, like, promoting this, you’re going to take this summit and share it with your audience. You’re promoting for the first time.

What was it about what they’re doing that’s going to resonate with my audience?

Keira: Yeah. Yes. Well, Jason and Cecilia, are changing the world by helping parents and empowering parents with tools and information to help them be the parents that they want to be. And that’s my heart and soul right there, is helping parents not only feel good about the journey and the job that they’re doing but to really enjoy the journey of parenting and thrive in it.

And I feel like when they have the tools to help them with parenting and help them deal with all the struggles that come with the internal struggles that come with parenting, that’s the success right there. So Jason and Cecilia focus on that, and I really wanted to deliver that to my audience.

Matt: Nice. Love that. So you mentioned you mentioned this training something that we do for our clients. We train their affiliates. What was your preconceived notion, but what was your like going into this? What was your view of how this was going to work from how you were going to promote it or any preconceived notions? I guess I can’t think of a better phrase. I’m going to run with that that you had about promoting things as an affiliate.

Keira: Honestly, I had no idea. So the only thing I could have come up with was post it on Facebook and Instagram and ask friends to share it. I knew email, obviously, is an option, but I didn’t necessarily know how to go about doing that in a way that would be well-received by my audience. Yeah. So Facebook and Instagram were my go-to prior to this.

Matt: Did you end up sending emails?

Keira: I did not actually end up sending emails for this particular launch. The reason being my email list was still pretty small at that point, and the fear of people jumping ship was pretty great, and of just wanted to dig in a little bit more and learn a bit more before I did the emails.

Matt: Sure. That’s a totally justifiable thing. I know when the list is small, seeing even a few people leave is like it really is. It’s like losing a pet.

Keira: It is.

Matt: It’s like, oh, 50 people left today. Whatever, you know? Yeah, exactly. Not as big of a deal.

So very cool. So, okay. Now, coming back to that, you mentioned the training that we did. We came on and we taught Jason affiliates basically how to promote. We gave them some strategies and some different tactics that they could use. And you were saying to me that you watched it and you learned a lot and you did some of the stuff, but you didn’t do all the stuff.

And of course, I shared, like, 18 things. It’s like pick and choose. Don’t do all of them. What was something I want to just park there for a minute? What was something that you did do that worked really well for you, that maybe you wouldn’t have thought to have done until that training?

Keira: In terms of that launch, I had taken some notes here.

Matt: Just for everybody watching. This was like five and a half months ago when I’m like, ‘Hey, remember?’ ‘No, I don’t.’

Keira: Right. Actually, the one thing that I do remember that I did do was the specific topics that you had given us. You’d given us an outline in terms of when to send things and different types of topics that we could use, like picking a speaker or talking about your talk, or I can’t remember all the things, but you really broke it down to things that were applicable to that conference.

And while I didn’t do that in email, I did do that on social media. So I followed that email platform, but I used social media. And for me, that was really helpful, giving me those different ideas and running with that.

Matt: So if you’re promoting a summit, what Kira was just sharing, if you’re promoting a summit, one of the best ways, because I don’t know if I said this on that training, but in a launch, when you’re promoting something that has, like, an ebook and then a video, one video, two videos, three, a webinar, there are different things. Like, I’m going to promote the ebook, and then I’m going to promote the video and then the other video, and then the webinar, and it gives you what we call ETMs excuses to mail, excuses to promote.

In a summit. It’s like, ‘The summit starts on the 20th.’ ‘The summit still starts on the 20th.’ ‘Did you hear the summit starts on the 20th?’ Like there’s nothing new.

So what we taught you and you did I love that you took that was you picked one speaker and focused on that speaker and what they’re going to talk about and a highlight about them. And then you picked a topic that was going to come up in the summit and you found different excuses to promote. So that’s awesome.

What’s one more thing that you did that worked really well for you in promoting this summit?

Keira: Honestly, I don’t think this was something we necessarily talked about, but in the training. But I did a lot of personal reach outs to people that I knew had influence with other people that were in my audience. Right?

People that are connected to me so I know a lot of people. So I would just send text messages or personal emails and let them know what was going on, and ask them to share. And they did. They shared with their audience either via email or social media. And that was one of the most successful tactics for me.

Matt: That is awesome. Yeah. So in the May 2020 backstage pass, everyone talked about that one on one reach outs and how powerful those can be. So go check that out. If you have access to that and if you don’t, reach out to us and we’ll get you access. So, Keira, I love that you did that.

That is something that a lot of people don’t do because they don’t see the big people doing that because they don’t have to. And they think maybe that they’re supposed to do what the big people do. But when you’re starting out and you’re scrappy and you’re small, a lot of that one on one reach outs can be very powerful.

So kudos for that. That’s awesome. Yeah, we teach anything about that in that training. I might have to add that actually credit will go to you, though, on that strategy. So I love that. So I’m actually going to star that there for future use, something we should definitely teach.

So what’s something that you maybe tried or that you did in this that maybe just didn’t go so well for you, that maybe you had an I don’t know, just didn’t go well in any whatever way it didn’t go well. I don’t even know what that way would be.

Keira: I don’t honestly know. I guess maybe my therapist’s mind tends to not focus on the things that didn’t go well. I honestly can’t think of anything. I just kind of went with it and was pushing through and I didn’t take anything personally in terms of if people didn’t respond when I did the one-on-one reach outs.

And I felt more confident putting myself out there on social media because it was a little bit more comfortable. So I don’t know of anything that didn’t go well. I thought all of the things that you did teach us really resonated with me and kind of opened my mind. And I did actually go back and use the email kind of layout that you had given us when I did the first online launch of my class. So I did circle back to that and found that really helpful.

Matt: Okay, we’re going to come back to that because I think that is really cool. That’s actually the third person we’ve had do one of these insider profiles that said what you just said, and I never really pressed him on it. So we’re going to come back to that.

So it sounds like in a way that this kind of helps you. You said something in there like you got past maybe a little bit of fear or uncomfortableness of reaching out and promoting. And it sounds like this just, I don’t know, opened up some stuff in you that allowed you to become better overall with your platform. Would you say that’s true or am I putting too much?

Keira: Yeah, absolutely. I’m definitely one that’s of the mindset that if you kind of lean into your fears, then that opens up doors. So I was really nervous about having it be my first affiliate launch and all of that, but I really took to heart the encouragement that you had given.

One of the things that you had said in that training was that you’re gifting something to these people, and when you gift things to them, it opens up doors and makes it easier for you to be able to sell to them later. So I kind of had that in the back of my mind when I was putting myself out there and reaching out on social media and one on one reach out.

Matt: So cool, so cool. I have a feeling that helped you in your launch, which we’ll talk about in a second. So as you were promoting, I’m just curious if you had any negative feedback from your audience at all.

Keira: No, I did not get any negative feedback and in fact, I got a lot of gratitude for sharing, which is not a surprise, but it’s always wonderful to hear.

Matt: Sure, that’s something we do hear stories occasionally of negative feedback from promoting something. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with the phrase critics math, but basically critics math says 1000 compliments plus one insult equals one insult. And I just wanted to ask that question. You didn’t have any, so you didn’t have to deal with it and I’m not trying to scare you. Eventually, you will.

Keira: Yes. And that’s okay. Cool.

Matt: So I was going to ask you how you dealt with it, but since you didn’t have any, we’re just going to celebrate that you didn’t have any. Right on. So let’s come back to how this set you up kind of for your launch. First of all, when was your launch?

Matt: It was in okay, what month? Are we in?

Keira: It was in March.

Matt: Okay, so two months later, roughly, what was the launch for?

Keira: It was for an online parenting class.

Matt: Okay, so how did the experience promoting something as an affiliate, you mentioned a specific thing that we’ll talk about, but how did that set you up for your own launch? Just from various standpoints?

Keira: I think the main thing is it had given me experience reaching out to people, as I said, social media and personal reach outs with some of those fears initially and those insecurities. And since I had gotten such feedback for sharing, that gave me more courage as well. And then when it came to my own launch, I was proud of what I was offering, and just like I was with Jason and Cecilia’s Summit, and so I was able to use that email strategy that you had given us, and I wasn’t as worried about people unsubscribing or having anything negative to say. So I don’t know if that answers your question.

Matt: Yeah, it does. I mean, a lot of it sounds like was the mindset.

Keira: Yes. There you go.

Matt: Okay, so was there a specific strategy, though, just from I’m going to just go pure marketing strategy you got either from something I taught in the training or just your own experience or watching Jason and Cecilia that helped you in your own promotion.

Keira: The biggest thing was thinking about having a plan in terms of the emails and having the topics be relevant to what people wanted to hear, but also selling the course. And so it wasn’t all about selling. It had valuable content in there with each of those emails, but also the frequency with which those emails were sent and then the follow-up on those.

Specifically, I know you had taught us in that training to go to the ones that email that hadn’t been opened and resent those and change certain tweaks, certain things in the subject line and then each paragraph. So that was very useful. And again, the outline of knowing when to send emails and not fearing the unsubscribes.

Matt: Yeah.

So I’m going to take a moment to teach that real quick since you touched on it. I had no intention of this, but I think it’s powerful, and maybe something I say will serve as a reminder for you. So the basic strategy there, guys, is to make sure that you are mailing your unopens.

Typically, if we’re talking about a summit, in this particular case, it’s all about the summit. You start promoting seven to ten days before the summit. And like we talked about, there’s not really a whole lot that changes.

You’re promoting the same thing. So you got to focus on who you mail to. You want to mail to those who haven’t opened or engaged with the content yet. And one of the easiest ways to do that is about two to four days later, sending the exact same email a second time. Then you don’t have to.

I know how hard it is to write an email. It takes me a half hour to write a good email, sometimes longer. That’s a lot of time. I don’t have a lot of time, so I take the same email.

But what you do is you tweak one little thing in the subject line and then one little thing in each paragraph. It can be as simple as changing the word awesome to amazing. It can be as simple as changing a period to an ellipse, changing a dash to a colon, or one change in each paragraph.

There is evidence to suggest you don’t have to change something in every paragraph, but we do just to be safe, because we don’t really know Gmail’s algorithm. And Gmail is like 70% of email now. And so you do that.

You send it. The reason you do that is it doesn’t thread the conversation. Most people thread their conversations in Gmail. I personally don’t, because it annoys the crap out of me. That’s a whole different story. And so, yeah, that’s how you can avoid that threading without having to rewrite the whole email.

Usually, we can tweak an email in 90 seconds, two minutes tops, and you get a whole new email for basically two minutes of time. So use that strategy, which is awesome, I think. Would I be right in saying that just the fact that you had promoted anything, whether it had been the summit or something else a couple of months before, definitely showed you that your audience wasn’t going to, like, revolt?

Would I be right in saying, and I know I’m right in saying this just like the mechanics of promoting something just make it a lot easier when it came to your own launch. Like having done it kind of like practice.

Keira: 100% right. ‘Done is better than perfect’ is one of the sayings that constantly goes through my mind when I’m doing this online business.

Because since it’s all new. Pretty much everything I do is a first-time sort of thing at this point. So the fact that I had done the launch with Jason and Cecilia had given me a boost of confidence.

It had given me that experience, and it absolutely made my own launch easier in that sense. And I’m getting ready to do another launch at the end of this month and just checking in on my level of fear about that or nervousness. It’s so much less than it was.

Yes. And so just getting things done and doing it and having that experience, as you said, it has so much value.

Matt: Yeah. And you’re promoting somebody else’s summit, so the risk was really low. You didn’t have to create a product. You didn’t have to oh, my audience didn’t like that.

You learned some stuff. That’s what we teach. It’s like, hey, go practice on other people’s stuff, not yours. Your course is your baby. It’s taking a decade-plus of knowledge and experience and putting it into an online course. Like, it’s literally your baby. And then if you don’t know how to market it, that can really suck. I love that you use this as a springboard.

So, Keira, last couple of questions here. If you could give somebody who’s kind of where you were back when Jason and Cecilia first approached you about promoting, they have a small list, a small following. They’re right where you were.

I mean, we’ll just say, like, December, what would you tell them?

Keira: I would say just jump in, just give it a try and see what happens, and learn. Take the good and leave the bad. Learn from the bad, and then let go and take the good and tweak it and move forward. Just get better and better. The more you do, the better you get. And the fear of what might happen doesn’t do you any good. It just holds you back. So jump in.

That’s what I would tell them.

Matt: Love it. Last question here. I know you had some people who signed up for Jason and Cecilia’s all-access pass, and you had some of your people go deeper with them. Have you heard from any of them? And if so, what’s been kind of the coolest story that you’ve heard so far?

Keira: Have I heard from any of the people that watched the summit that they did? Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Yes. I had close friends. I had a family. I had complete strangers. Reach out to me and thank me for sharing the summit and letting me know just specific stories about how it has been. Some of you have said life-changing for them because it shifted the way that they perceived their role as a parent.

Just that small shift, how that had a major impact on their relationship with their child. And I think just parents are hungry for information, and they were very grateful to have been given that summit and all the information that was in it. Yes, I had great feedback from it all around.

Matt: It’s really cool.

Keira: It really fed my fire or fueled the fire to make me want to continue serving parents and helping them to enjoy the journey.

Matt: I love that. It’s a beautiful thing when you can do something like that that serves you. Clearly, we all know the benefits of affiliate marketing. You get to make money without creating your product, and that’s great.

But you also were able to serve a lot of people and there’s a lot of families. I don’t know if you know Dana Abraham.

Keira: Yes.

Matt: I helped Dana out last fall with her launch. And yeah, I remember one of the things I’ve battled with over really over the last ten years is, does my work matter?

Is it really like doing anything of significance? Right? We all want to have significance I’ve kind of reached that point once I hit my thirty s, I was like, I’ve made enough money, I just want to have significance.

And I was like, I had this revelation about a week after her launch. She helps parents who are basically called ‘Calm the Chaos’, as you know, and you can imagine, the name pretty much explains what she does. And we had a bedtime.

It was one of those perfect bedtimes. The kids went to bed, we had a hug. It was a nice pace. The kids brushed their teeth, went to the bathroom, put them to bed. They said I love you one last time. It was like literally out of a movie, right? And I remember walking down the stairs. I got halfway down the stairs and this thought hit me. I was like, oh my gosh, that’s what most of our bedtimes are like.

This is like so cool. And then it hit me as I continued down the stairs, that we had helped some of her affiliates who previously had made like zero, one or two sales make 30, 40, 50 sales. And I was just doing the quick math.

I was like, well, if I help that person make an extra 35 sales, I was like, I helped her affiliates make an extra 200 sales. That’s potentially 200 families who tonight are having the same experience. I just had that three weeks ago. Their bedtime was like, somebody’s going to die. It was total chaos and they were having a peaceful back time. And I was like, I guess what I do matters.

That was like a cool revelation for me that I could have that kind of impact and it’s way down the line. I helped the affiliate who sold Dana’s product, who helped them, who is now helping their kids, and I was like, oh my gosh, that’s really cool. And that’s the beauty of affiliate marketing, is you’re able to help people that you won’t even be the one who helps them, it’ll be somebody else, but possibly even somebody else.

And it’s really cool. So here. I just want to thank you. I want to congratulate you and acknowledge you. I mean, it’s so cool that you decided to jump into my world, so to speak. I love this stuff.

You sleep and breathe it, and it’s just so cool to hear from somebody who’s new to it. Congratulations on your own launch, which is just awesome.

Keira: Thank you. Thank you. I really enjoyed the training that you did, and I enjoyed being here with you today, so I appreciate it. Thank you.

And so, for those watching who are moms and they’re interested in learning a little bit more about you, where can they find you, Keira?

Keira: You can go to my website, it’s just spelled out, and that’s probably the best place to find me. And then from there, you can connect with me on social media.

Matt: Awesome. Where at some point, she will promote an affiliate offer to you.

Keira: Looking forward to it.

Matt: Awesome. Well. Thank you, Keira.

Keira: Thank you, Matt.


So, as always, I would love to hear from you about your biggest takeaway from my conversation with Keira. Text me anytime and I’ll make sure to share these with Keira. By the way, I know she’d love to hear what you got from this interview. Text me at 260-217-4619. I would love to hear from you.

We got links to everything we talked about in the show notes. If you want to connect with Kira, we’ve got links to her Facebook and her sites. You can go check out her stuff if you’re like so many, you have kids and your mom and you want to be a better mom. Keira is the go-to person for that, at least that I know.

I’ve also got links for your affiliate launch, Coach, which is at your You can check out how to get involved with that and get the kind of result Jason and Cecilia got. We’re talking up nearly five times increase from a little bit over 20,000 to over 100,000 attendees. Those are the kind of results we get for our clients, Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi, we helped their team last year.

They did their biggest launch ever. Jeff Walker did his second biggest launch ever, his biggest one. And I think eleven or twelve years, those are the kinds of results we get for clients and so go check that out We’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. And lastly, make sure you hit subscribe because, in the next episode, we’re going to talk about how to promote challenges as an affiliate. Challenges are so freaking hot right now, and there’s a good reason for it.

Like, they’re easy to promote. They offer massive value to your audience. They convert insanely high. So we’re going to take a deep dive next week into why challenges work and share some of the strategies that we’ve got. We’ve run a couple of challenges. I say a couple, we’ve run like a dozen now ourselves.

And for clients, we’ve worked with the master of Challenges, Pedro Adao, and we’re going to talk about how to promote challenges. Max out those affiliate commissions when you’re promoting them, so make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss that episode. I’ll see you then.



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