Affiliate marketing can be a key strategy for selling products, especially online. At its most basic, affiliate marketing lets you turn anyone into a sales person for your business. You offer a commission for every product an affiliate sells for you. This strategy has become particularly popular as the number of websites and blogs have boomed. There are several software options that let you put up your products for sale and that provide accurate counts of sales made by affiliates.
One of the biggest benefits I’ve found with affiliate marketing is how far it can expand your reach. When I created an affiliate program for one of my products, it was reviewed and promoted by the largest site in my niche—reaching more than 100,000 people that I otherwise could not have marketed to.
If you're considering an affiliate marketing program, these ten tips that can help make your program a success.
1. Stay in touch with your affiliates
If you ignore your affiliates, they’ll ignore you. Sending out news about upcoming opportunities helps dramatically, but if you really want to make your program stand out, give some one-on-one attention to your affiliates.
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2. Create a guide for your affiliates
You’re probably not in a position to give away products to every person who signs up for your affiliate program and, even if all of your affiliates have your products, that isn’t going to transform each of them into a fantastic salesperson overnight. But if you can provide tips and guidelines about selling your product, you can help new affiliates get over the hump.
3. Give your affiliates lots of images
It’s become standard practice to provide affiliates with banners that can easily be added to a website, but other images are just as important. Most buyers look first for pictures of anything they’re considering purchasing, so making sure that your affiliates have plenty of images to work with can give them a huge boost.
4. Make it easy for your affiliates to hold their own promotions
The point of the program is to reach as many different audiences as quickly as possible—and make use of the expertise of the people already working with those audiences. Your affiliates are going to have ideas for promoting your products to their audiences and to make those ideas work.
5. Offer higher affiliate commissions
While there is almost certainly an upper limit on the affiliate commission you can offer, there’s probably some room to create tiers in what you offer your affiliates. For those affiliates who are particularly good at selling your products, there is little reason not to offer them a higher rate so that they can spend even more of their time on marketing your products.
6. Bundle products
For many products that you may sell, there are other products or services that they can be paired with. Some affiliates may look for opportunities to create their own joint ventures—bundling your products with other vendors' products—but the more chances to sell packages of your projects, the more opportunities you can offer your affiliates to reach wider.
7. Bring in a phenomenal affiliate manager
Hiring even a part-time specialist in affiliate programs can help you take your affiliates to the next level. An affiliate manager can make technical problems a thing of the past, as well as help you identify truly great ones and grow your program.
8. Learn about your affiliates
You can educate the rest of your affiliates about the techniques particularly successful sellers are using, as well as come up with specific ideas that are relevant to their websites, blogs or other places they promote your products.
9. Create a promotion calendar and share it with your affiliates
In every industry, there are certain opportunities that come up at different points of the year, when you can offer special promotions. Providing your affiliates with this sort of insight into your industry can make a real difference in your sales.
10. Make yourself available to affiliates
Your affiliates are going to have questions that you’ve never considered—as well as ideas that you want to hear about. If you just set up an affiliate program and leave it to run on autopilot, you won't hear neither questions nor ideas. It’s crucial to make sure that you’re accessible, at least by e-mail, to anyone who wants to follow up on your affiliate program.