Imagine a sales force that worked entirely on commission, and a rather small commission at that, spending unpaid hours keeping your products in front of customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no significant commitment from you.
That’s what you get with a successful affiliate marketing program. Affiliate marketers put your ads on their websites, reaching populations that may be quite different from the population you’re already reaching.
Some affiliate work hard to promote their sites and your products, while others just add your link and forget about it. Either way, visitors may click through to your site and buy.
Affiliate marketers are generally paid a commission on their sales amounting to less than 10%, and they make nothing if they don’t sell your products. All you have to do is provide the links for them, keep track of their sales, and pay the commission.
There’s some technology involved, obviously. When someone clicks through from an affiliate site to your website and shops, your website has to record the transaction. A special link has to be constructed for your affiliates to put on their websites. Oyova can help you with these technical aspects of the plan.
Beyond the technical aspects, there are some things you can do to make your affiliate program successful.
Make your affiliate program clear and well organized. Your affiliates need to know exactly what they get, when, and under what circumstances. Consider any rules you migth want to enforce, such as not allowing affiliates to use domain names that would compete with yours, not implying that they are employed by you, and not changing the links you provide. Specify when and how you will pay, including the minimum commission for which you’ll cut a check. Spend some time figuring out the details of the offer before you invite anyone to take part, and try it out by invitation with a carefully chosen few to find the flaws before you make it public.
Choose your affiliate associates well. Since you don’t pay unless they have sales, you may figure you can let everyone try it out. However, having bold links to your site at poor quality websites won’t do you much good. Relevant sites with good content will perform best. Then, when those affiliates see success, they’ll encourage others to join as well. Remember that affiliate marketers are often hobbyists who own a website primarily to share their enthusiasm with fellow hobbyists. Fans of your business may get more satisfaction than you’d expect based on the amount of money they earn, so enthusiasm can be a good criterion for choosing your affiliate marketers.
Help your associates succeed. In addition to choosing sites that are more likely to do well, you can also help your associates to earn more by sharing tips on SEO (take them from this blog — we don’t mind) and product information they can use on their websites. Consider providing special links for them at the holidays and the occasional special offer, too. Keeping your affiliates interested in the process will pay off for you as well as increasing their earnings.
With a little care and nurturing, your virtual sales force can bring in a steady income for you.