Sunday, May 31, 2009

Create An Affiliate Program

If you sell your own products or services, and you want to leverage your marketing, you may want to consider creating your own affiliate program.

An affiliate program is where you allow others to sell your products in exchange for a commission. Affiliate program owners pay a commission based on visitors taking a specific action or making a purchase. How you choose to set up your affiliate program is up to you. There are plenty of scripts, as well as sites like Commission Junction and Linkshare to help you run and maintain your program.

The advantage of an affiliate program is that it will allow you to more easily increase your profits because you are expanding into markets you may not have considered. You also slash your marketing costs because the eventual burden of marketing falls on your affiliates, not you.

(Although you will need to do a lot of marketing in the beginning to let others know about your affiliate program, once you have a team of active affiliates, your focus shifts to working with affiliates, not marketing.)

If you do decide to start an affiliate program, you need a product line with multiple products. You want to have products at different prices, including low cost, medium cost, and high cost.

High cost products will more easily attract super affiliates if you offer a good commission. A few good super affiliates will make you a lot more money than hundreds of affiliates who aren't motivated.

Choose an affiliate management system to help you keep track of your affiliates and manage your affiliate program. Choose the most comprehensive program you can find; you want to choose a system that makes it easy to track affiliates, as well as provide your affiliates with marketing materials. Any tasks you are able to automate is a definite plus, i.e. autoresponders.

Although good affiliates will write their own marketing materials, you make it easier to get started if you have emails, ads, ebooks, and other stuff available. Freebies like ebooks or sample software are good choices to create because everyone loves free ebooks and software. This also allows your affiliates to introduce your potential customers to your products and give them a taste.

Once you have your affiliate program set up, submit it to the affiliate program directories to start getting affiliates. Add a link on all of the pages of your website to let visitors know you have an affiliate program.

Invest in your affiliate program by giving your affiliates plenty of marketing materials as well as support. This will make your affiliate program far more lucrative and increase your sales.

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