The goal of having an information product or merchandise on your website is obviously to make sales and the more sales the better off you’ll be. To accomplish this goal you’ll need to get qualified traffic to your website. The most effective way to do that is by starting an Affiliate Program for your products and or services. Affiliates you vet and recruit will become an invaluable asset to your sites business. Affiliates are affiliates because they want to earn money and are eager to promote your product for you. The best part of the arrangement is you don’t have to pay them until they make money for you.
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Before you jump into a new affiliate program the first thing you should know without doubt is that the information or merchandise you have on site will actually sell. This is the number one critically important issue before embarking on your affiliate program! If you have a proven successful sales process on your website you can start the decision process of which affiliate program will work best for your website’s needs.
The first decision you will need to make is will you be running the affiliate program yourself on a script, if so your own script and server will track your websites affiliate sales and the amount owed for those affiliate sales. This can be time consuming as it is then your responsibility to go in and pay your affiliates when the commission is due. You will also need to decide which program or script you’d like to use to process payments to affiliates and manage your affiliate program. The problem with running it yourself is you don’t want to miss anything or pay out schedule. Sometimes affiliates work hard promoting and selling and never receive their commissions. You should always make sure that your affiliates are confident that this will never happen to them while they are an affiliate. This could lose you some exceptional affiliates.
Affiliate networks are generally preferable to running the affiliate program yourself because the affiliate network will generally do all the affiliate link tracking as well as affiliate recruiting for you and make your affiliate payments each month. The affiliate network charges you a small percentage for utilizing their service but you don’t have to worry about missed payments or any of the could happens.
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You have made the decision to start recruiting affiliates, now what? It would be a good idea to start with your existing customer base. You could send out an email or announce your program in your newsletter if you utilize one and provide the link where your existing users can sign up. After all if you have a base of visitors returning to your site they are obviously a fan already and would more than likely join your program and be happy to promote you.
There are also many different affiliate program directories where you can announce your affiliate program. If you don’t want to take the time to do all the directories at a minimum use this service called Affiliate Announce and be sure to stress the benefits to affiliates for signing up with your affiliate program.
You’ll want to stay involved with affiliate recruitment even if your using a affiliate network. The best most profitable affiliates will require a personal touch and not just anyone can recruit them into your program. These people are called Super Affiliates. These affiliates are the top producers of all affiliates and recruiting them can instantly increase your profits by leaps and bounds. Super affiliates are people who control search engines or are Ezine owners and have multiple thousands of subscribers. Many of them are webmasters who get hundreds of thousands of unique traffic to their sites daily, also don’t overlook marketers who generally own huge customer lists. Do a search and contact the first ten or so in the results. Expect to contact them more than once, be persistent but not annoying. Timing is everything!
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To get the best affiliates you want to stand out as much as possible from other merchants. Most Affiliates are inundated with different products in a wide variety of niches. It can be extremely difficult for you to stand out from all of the options available to potential affiliates. The best ways to differentiate yourself from many of the others is to offer your affiliates a wide variety of resources. Affiliates want to get their promotions of your product or service up and running as quickly and easily as possible. As an affiliate I can tell you that for an affiliate there is nothing more disappointing than finding a product or service to promote, getting excited about it then finding they didn’t bother to provide any tools other than a general home page link. The only option an affiliate has after that is to move on and promote someone else.
At a minimum you should offer a variety of graphic banners in various sizes to the affiliates. If applicable it can be really helpful to some affiliates to offer product or service articles. If the network provides for such allow affiliates to link to specific pages containing products or services. If you have a wide variety of products or services make a data feed available through the network.
You need to make it easy for your affiliates to promote your products and services. The goal here is sales after all.
You should also communicate with your affiliates on a regular basis. That would be the best way to find out what tools are working and what tools are not working for your affiliates. Make changes as required to improve sales tools.
Be sure to provide contact information to your affiliates, it shows that you are involved and a credible and experienced merchant. Especially important if you’re running your affiliate program through your own software script.