Once you have know about all the affiliate marketing programs, it’s time to get started with the process of how to do affiliate marketing i.e. how to set up affiliate program of your own. In this case you are the advertiser. An affiliate program is just like having your own army of sales persons to your website. Setting up an affiliate program can boost up your revenue. You get paid if referred visitors actually end of buying some products. It can also be CPC (Cost per click), CPL (Cost per lead), and CPS (Cost per sale) etc. You get a fixed amount of income as commission. Publishers only sign up into match making sites and wish to get selected by merchants. For advertisers it can be real boon as more and more customers will come and visit their traffic.
Amazon.com was one of the very first companies that started affiliate programs. Currently they have over 150,000 affiliates working for them. Amazon.com created their own software to run their affiliate program. There are two ways with which you can start your affiliate program. The first way is to have an organization or a network that takes care of nearly everything for you. Your network will handle all the functions such as recruitment and administrative functions such as checks, tracking, reporting etc. If you think that you are unable to handle your affiliate then you can always outsource them to such networks. Such kinds of networks are called as affiliate networks.
The second way is called as the in-house affiliate programming where you function and complete the entire task. You will have to buy a software program that could assist you in the process.
Here are the ladders which an advertiser needs to climb up to set up affiliate program.
i. Finding an Affiliate:
Finding an appropriate affiliate is the first task for any advertiser. There are several popular match-making websites which holds tons of databases for blogs to become affiliates. Such types of websites are called as Affiliate program directories. Websites and bloggers who wish to be affiliate sign up in this website. Companies and advertisers who want affiliates also sign up in here. Either of them can search to find each other. It is just like a bureau where you find your match. Here is a list of websites that can help you submit your program and find you affiliates:
ii. Choose Affiliate software:
You will need to track your affiliates with affiliate software which allows you know which affiliate has earned what amount of commission. These softwares keep an eye on affiliates and their websites to determine the traffic generated by each affiliate. Commissions are paid according to the results of these softwares. There a number of softwares available on Google with each one having mixed features. The key features to look out for while selecting an affiliate software are:
- Flexible payment options (advertiser must be able to select from CPC, CPL, CPS)
- Level/Rank groups to rank affiliates based on their performance.
- Unlimited collateral (e.g. text links, banners, text ads etc.)
- Anti-fraud checking options and solutions.
- No monthly fees.
iii. Make Resources Available:
You will need to create a good selection of banners for your affiliate’s website. Depending on the layout and color of their website, choose the most appropriate one. Also provide text links which have a higher click through rate than banners. As a product seller, always try to stand out from the crowd to attract top affiliates in the market. For this, offer your affiliates plenty of resources so that they can start up their promotion campaign quickly. Provide all the tools and assistance that can help your affiliates. Always remember that, as an advertiser, the more and more you help your affiliates promote your product, the more you increase your chance of greater sales.
iv. Commission Schedule:
It is very important to determine how much you pay out your affiliates for each action of their referred visitor (sale, lead/action, download). It should be attractive enough to make it worth an affiliate’s time to promote your brand over the other and also providing you sales. Do not make any kind of mistake in payments. This is one of the most important steps in the process to set up affiliate program.
Create a nice and comfortable relationship with your affiliates. They would like to know the people for whom they working. Provide them all the related information. Develop trust and try to be their confidant. This will help your ad to be place at a higher and a more viewable place on their site. Send a welcome email to your publishers and always reply to their emails and queries. Not all the affiliates can be treated equally. Identify and maintain a healthy relationship with your top affiliates to have healthy sales.
vi. Rewards & Promotions:
Once the ball starts rolling and you achieve healthy sales, consider rewarding your efficient affiliates. Give them gift hampers, vouchers and special coupons. Also promote your affiliates for all the good work they have done. These include an increase in commission for all products, bonuses for completing a sales target, multi-tier commission, and prizes.
Always ask for feedbacks from your affiliates. This helps you in finding the loopholes of your campaign. It also provides you chance to improve. Make time for your affiliates to communicate with them. Creating an online survey for your affiliates might be just another option.
Creating and maintaining a proper affiliate program is a difficult task, but not impossible. Just follow the above tips to rocket your sales through affiliate marketing.