Does your business need an Affiliate Program?
An affiliate program is one way in which offline businesses can leverage the Internet for more sales. Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest and most commonly used business models for making money online. It can be used just as effectively by an offline business as it can by one online.
An affiliate program is a program in which a merchant lets other sellers promote his product for him. The sellers (who are referred to as affiliates) then receive a commission. For you as the merchant, an affiliate program gets you more sales and exposure for your products and services on the web.
Your Virtual Sales Force –
The greatest advantage to starting an affiliate program is that it gives you your own virtual sales force. Your affiliates create websites, blogs and online materials to promote your products or services. You only need to set up a minimal training program and resources, all of which can be automated. This means that there’s little managing on your part. This saves you a great deal of time on training and dealing with salespeople.
Getting an Affiliate Program Set up -
There are a few online tools that you need in order to get started. One is affiliate tracking software. This is a software program that keeps track of all sales and commissions for you. The affiliate program can run on autopilot without you having to crunch the numbers. The tracking software essentially manages the program for you.
Another software program that you need is an autoresponder. This is a program that manages your email list and sends out broadcast messages for you. It’s how you keep in touch with your affiliates. You can create and schedule messages, and the program sends them for you.
You’ll also need a page on your business website telling visitors about your affiliate program. It should tell them the details of how the program works and give them a form or link by which they can contact you. You can set up this page so that potential affiliates can sign up directly and get started promoting your products right away.
Most businesses also offer tools for their affiliates to use. This is completely up to you, but the idea is that the more you help the affiliates, the easier it’ll be for them to make money for you. Tools can include suggested keywords for search traffic, ready-made content, ad copy they can use, and anything else that would make selling your products simpler.
Doing the Math –
It’s important to take some time to set up your pricing and commission structure. Most affiliate programs offer a high commission to their affiliates as an incentive to get out there and sell. Online affiliate commissions are generally much higher than the commissions that offline salespeople get.
Joining an Affiliate Network –
An easy way to get affiliates to your program is to sign up for an affiliate network as a merchant. Networks like ClickBank and Commission Junction are a few sites where affiliates look for products to promote in their niches. These sites help you find affiliates, but also take a cut of the money. If you want lots of affiliates selling for you, using an affiliate network is a great way to do so with little administrative hassle.