Better guidelines for setting up and running an affiliate sales program
The key to a successful affiliate program is to give your affiliates as much incentive as possible to sell your product. The more free marketing materials you hand out, the less effort your affiliates will need to put in and the more likely they’ll be to promote you.
Here are six tips for making the publisher to affiliate relationship even better:
Communicate regularly. Affiliates are more likely to stay active in your program if they hear from you often. Send out a monthly email with news about your latest products or other offerings.
If you’re having an upcoming sale on a product, let your affiliates know in advance. One affiliate email that we got recently was from the maker of the WordPress Headway Theme. This week they are releasing a 2.0 version of the theme which is a free upgrade for anyone who is a subscriber to the theme and already gets regular updates. To their affiliates, they offer a Headway Affiliate Schedule, which gives a rundown of the promotions for this upcoming week.
Here are the different sections of that schedule:
- Monday, October 25th – Build up the excitement
- Tuesday, October 26th – Promote the discount coupon we will be announcing
- Wednesday, October 27th – Promote Headway and the discount coupon
- Thursday, October 28th – Continue to promote
- Friday, October 29th – Re-evaluate your weeks results
They even offer copy for email newsletters and promotions in addition to ideas for tweets and other social media efforts. If you make it easy for people to promote your product, they will.
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Initiate the relationship. You don’t have to wait for someone to find your site and its affiliate program. Go out in search of website publishers whose products you admire. Contact them directly and ask them to promote your site or other information products in return for a healthy percentage of the gross.
Offer a generous commission, especially for information products that carry high profit margins. Consider rewarding your best performers with additional perks such as complimentary membership to your site or admission to your seminars or tele-seminars. In the Headway example above, you’ll find that they raised the affiliate commission to 40% for this week, which gives people the incentive to really want to work for it.
Provide fool-proof affiliate text links. If you can make your affiliate program an easy-to-use, turn-key operation, you’ll garner more affiliates. Make several text links available to each new affiliate and make certain that each has a unique affiliate identifier. Test all links!
Provide attractive affiliate banner ads in a variety of sizes. Even if you only have minimal skills with Adobe Photoshop, you can create simple graphics for your affiliates to use on their sites. Again, this saves them time and makes your program look more professional and easy to use. If you’re not skilled in creating simple graphics and buttons, contract the job out to someone else.
Keep good records. Provide online tracking. The more you automate these functions, the better for you and your affiliates. Some membership website content management systems, such as MemberGate have this capability built-in. If you decide to join an affiliate program, Commission Junction is a popular service to check out.