Ultimate Guide to Creator Brand Deals: Monetization, Affiliate, and Pitfalls to Avoid with AppSumo Head of Marketing, Nick Christensen

Nick shares a step by step guide on how to land deals with big brands while having a small following, along with what brands are really looking for in influencers when creating partnerships.

About The Episode:

In this convo with Nick Christensen, we breakdown the secrets to using influencer and creator marketing to amplify sales and views. Nick shares insider strategies on how to maximize ROI, the importance of genuine partnerships, and how to forge lasting brand deals as a creator.

Today, we'll cover:
- How to negotiate influencer marketing deals during high-conversion periods like Black Friday.
- The critical factors influencers should consider when setting rates and approaching brand deals.
- Exploring the distinction between affiliate marketing and influencer roles, and how to navigate these.
- The effectiveness of outreach strategies for securing partnerships and the preference for commission-based models.
- Nick's journey at Appsumo and his tips for creators to connect with brands authentically.


IDEA #1: Building Long-term Brand Partnerships

Maximize the potential of a brand partnership by focusing on long-term relationships with them.

1. Fee Structures: Include a mix of flat fees and commissions during sales-heavy periods in your negotiating. This aligns interests, as creators are incentivized to drive sales while brands benefit from elevated performance (e.g., a creator increased earnings through commission alignment rather than taking a flat fee).

2. Prioritize Authentic Engagement: Genuine interaction over sheer follower numbers. As Nick would say, having 100 followers with 80 views and 20 comments is a lot more valuable than having 500k followers with fake comments and low views.

3. Strategic Outreach: Be proactive with brands through personalized outreach and providing value upfront is encouraged. By showcasing how they can represent a product or service, creators demonstrate commitment and potential for a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.

IDEA #2: Inbound vs. Outbound

There seems to be this idea that doing outbound as a content creator looking for sponsorship deals might look desperate. Not necessarily…

1. When Should Creators Do Outbound?: A lot of creators wait too long to start the outbound process thinking that their content is just going to be so good that the deals are going to be flowing to them or they might have this internal belief that they think that because they're doing outbound that they might seem desperate, but being proactive will most likely close more deals, you'd be surprised at how many responses you can get.

2. Mistakes to Avoid: It's crucial to avoid coming across as overly aggressive or solely transactional. Instead of bombarding potential partners with insane rates and impersonal pitches, try to understand the other party's objectives and propose tailored solutions.

3. Brand Synergy & Showcasing Value: Aim to collaborate with brands that align with your content style and audience preferences - it’s better for the long term and will ensure authenticity and higher performance. Also providing demonstrable examples of content close to what the brand needs is a huge plus when it comes to getting a deal done.


Build Relationships For The Long Term

By focusing on building authentic partnerships with brands that resonate with your content, creators set the stage for repeatable success rather than chasing one-off deals.

Establishing long-term relationships with select brands ensures a deeper connection with the creator's audience and leads to more effective campaigns.


00:00 Passionate about helping creators grow efficiently. Started ambassador program.
04:42 Monetize YouTube channel through brand outreach and outreach.
10:13 Avoid coming on too strong with rates.
11:22 Suggest specific approach, avoid standard email.
16:53 Appsumo's successful Black Friday marketing strategy.
18:21 Measuring marketing success with LTV to CAC.
22:13 Six-month trial period with potential for growth.
26:49 Build long-term partnerships with smaller companies.
29:09 Affiliate opportunities in SaaS for recurring revenue.
32:41 LinkedIn is the best marketing channel.

Expanding Influence with Strategic Partnerships: "We have an eight figure affiliate and influencer program that I started about five years ago. Started with really just referral marketing, expanded to affiliate, traditional affiliate marketing, and now kind of the final stage is what we call ambassador or influencer marketing."
— Nick Christensen [00:02:34 → 00:03:47]

Influencer Marketing Strategies: "Ten times out of ten, you're going to get a yes from brands, especially if the first three months are more of like a test and then invest where there's no skin off their back."
— Nick Christensen [00:07:56 → 00:08:04]

Influencer Marketing Pitfalls: "You just got to ten k subs, you're the king of YouTube and it's like, yo, I'm coming in with $15,000 per month fee, right? And it's an exaggeration of an example, but I've seen some insane rates being thrown out to where not only are you not trying to align with my goals, but the outreach is just so transactional."
— Nick Christensen [00:10:20 → 00:10:45]

Effective Marketing Outreach: "Don't send them some general pdf with some crazy numbers in it. Send them a real email and say, hey, I checked out castmagic or I checked out Appsumo and I loved this part of it, or I loved this tool. I would really love to promote this in this and this way."
— Nick Christensen [00:11:29 → 00:11:44]

The Importance of Genuine Engagement in Monetization: "Well, I'm looking for good engagement, not just views. I'm looking for real followers and real comments. Bots are huge on YouTube. All social media channels pumping up these creator channels to make it seem like they have these insane followings and insane engagement."
— Nick Christensen [00:14:08 → 00:14:25]

Evaluating Social Media Engagement: "One ratio that we use is a CPM based on the last ten videos, the views of the last ten videos, and then a ratio of follower to view to comment accounts, right? So it doesn't matter if you don't have a lot of followers or you don't have a lot of subs. If your sub to view count to comment ratio are really good, let's say you have 100 followers and you get 80 views on your videos and of those 80 views you get like 20 comments. That's a really good ratio, right? That means you have a great channel of people that are really engaged."
— Nick Christensen [00:14:37 → 00:15:13]

Maximizing Black Friday Earnings: "People are conditioned to buy during Black Friday. And so if I was a creator, I would go really hard on Black Friday, lowering my fee amount and increasing the commission amount of saying, I think if there's any time for me to do this and adjust my ratios, this is it."
— Nick Christensen [00:17:34 → 00:17:50]

Marketing Efficiency in the Digital Age: "LTV, to CAC is how we track all of our paid returns at Appsumo. The LTV, meaning the customer profit that I am getting from them. The CAC being how much I am paying to get that customer."
— Nick Christensen [00:18:38 → 00:18:49]

Negotiating Brand Deals: "And the first one month of it, I don't even want any fees, I just want commissions. And then after that, this is the CPM that we agree to. And it's so risk free on both sides because I have one month, which maybe a couple of videos, you're not really putting in a ton of work. But the upside is, if it works, the brand will be like, I want to invest in this creator, and you can sign a six month or a twelve month agreement with them at the CPM that you want."
— Nick Christensen [00:22:19 → 00:22:43]

Influencer Marketing Strategy: "At least three videos, preferably longer term partnerships, six to twelve months where you are basically an extension of their marketing team and paid on retainer."
— Nick Christensen [00:26:54 → 00:27:03]

Episode Transcript & Castmagic Chat

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