Affiliate marketing is popular both with affiliates as well as companies who use affiliates to promote their products. Affiliates get an easy business model that they can have up and running in minutes, whereas companies get a large sales force that work purely on commission and require no initial outlay. If you are selling your own products online then you may consider starting an affiliate program to get more people promoting your website.
One of the first things you need to think about when starting your affiliate program is how you are going to do it - what affiliate program manager you are going to use? You may choose to go with a third party affiliate manager such as Clickbank.com, start your own in-house affiliate program with a script designed by your web developer or use a script you have either bought or got open source. All of these methods have their own specific advantages and disadvantages.
Third party affiliate managers such as Clickbank.com can really take the work out of running an affiliate program for you - many affiliates will sign up through their website and they will handle the payment processing and distribution. The disadvantage is that you have less control over the process and may also need to wait for your money.
In-house affiliate management scripts allow you all the control you could want but take longer to develop and can be more complicated to manage.
Bought scripts and open source scripts are a lot quicker to get up and running. The disadvantage of bought scripts is the price, whereas the disadvantage with free scripts is often the lack of features and ease of use.
Apart from your affiliate manager there are also a number of other things you want to consider when creating an affiliate program. What commission structure and amount are you going to offer? If you sell digital products then your commission percentage will usually be substantially higher than if you sell physical products. Some products and services lend themselves to a recurring commission structure whereas others do not. Think about what will benefit both you and your affiliate partner and motivate them to make more sales.
A good affiliate program usually provides their affiliates with useful tools that they can use to promote their program. These should include a variety of banner ads, email copies, and perhaps some other marketing materials.
You may also want to provide some training for your affiliates so that they learn both how to market your business as well as about your products and so improve in how they present the product to your customer. Think of your affiliates as staff and how you can improve their lives and productivity.
Affiliate marketing is beneficial both for the affiliate and the company. If you sell your own products then start an affiliate program to get more people selling for you and getting paid commission only. Provide them with the tools and training they need to succeed and work out a commission structure that will motivate them and decide which affiliate management tool is the best for your business.
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