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There are numerous benefits for your company when operating an affiliate program, includes increased sales, driving traffic to your site, generating qualified leads, as well as extending the reach of your brand.
So, there are number of reasons to have an affiliate program. Ultimately, since you’re working in pay for performance, you’re going to have lower costs for your acquisitions.
That said, affiliate marketing is not for everybody. There are some questions you should ask yourself to determine whether affiliate marketing makes sense for you and your business.
Is your product or service currently selling well for you? If your site recently launched, I’d encourage you to get it off the ground and work out the kinks before considering an affiliate program.
Also, look at your margins and determine if you’re going to be able to offer compensation that is competitive with other affiliate programs in your vertical. Some companies try to launch an affiliate program with a bare bones offer and then wonder why it never got off the ground.
Additionally, decide if you’re willing to invest in proper staffing. Either an in-house affiliate manager or outsourced to an agency. But don’t try to run an affiliate program on auto-pilot. It just doesn’t work.
Back to benefits of the affiliate program. It offers an efficient, scalable marketing network. You can build it out as you wish, whether it be a dozen affiliates or hundreds. But don’t obsess over the number of affiliates in your affiliate program.
Instead, concentrate on optimizing the performance of the affiliates already in your affiliate program.
An affiliate program also enables you to collect some measurable and predictable data on individual affiliates or the affiliate program as a whole. This will aid you in forecasting the future performance of the affiliate program.
Affiliate programs are somewhat risk free. Some people will try to sell the model as entirely risk free, but of course, there are some fixed costs involved. While affiliate marketing is more fiscally effective than a lot of other methods, it’s not without risk.
Having an affiliate program will also turn the focus of management more to the long term – establishing and maintaining relationships, rather than a quick fix like a media buy.
Finally, treat your affiliates as business partners, not rented mules, as some affiliate programs have done.
Keys to a beneficial affiliate program are activating, educating, and rewarding your affiliates.
Focus on making your affiliates and your business successful.
Using Google Alerts you can monitor announcements and opinions of merchants, so u can track trends and leverage breaking news.
Using Google Alerts to track what’s being said about your company and your competitors. It’s a great service for the price (free), but it’s limited to Google and delivered by email.
Google Alerts is very good online reputation monitoring tool.
Google scan hundreds of millions of content sources, including news, blogs, video, images, and forums for specified keywords.
You can try this out as an enhancement of your own reputation monitoring effort, as well as to keep an eye on competitors and merchants you promote as an affiliate.
There are WordPress plugins for banner ads rotation that enables affiliates to add and rotate banners in blogs without editing themes or monkeying with the codes.
I have been a user of OpenX to serve ads for quite some time, and I’m very happy with the OpenX hosted solution. But I’d say there are more bells and whistles than needed with OpenX for the average affiliate.
Using these plugin you can easily insert code and rotate ads, as well as tracking impressions and clicks.
1. Innovate before your competitor does. Do something different. Video, or audio or something!
2. Network with others in the affiliate community. You can learned so much from the top leaders in the industry, as well as exchanged ideas and negotiated higher commission payouts. You can also make many new friends that understand “what u do”.
3. work around the content you love. Then, to earn affiliate program revenue, test out and be patient.
4. Use the product or service yourself before recommending it to others. It makes you more credible and allows you to experience what it is like to be a consumer, instead of just a marketer.
5. Meet people. Affiliates are mostly solitary entrepreneurs whose ideas of social interaction are comments on a blog or forum. Go to conferences, join meet up groups and network. Always have business cards with you and a 30 second “elevator pitch” ready. Build business relationships because they will lead to great opportunities in the future. Nothing beats a handshake.
6. Always treat your affiliate business like a business and make the proper investments (as opposed to the “free source of money” attitude). I am also a huge proponent of “the niche you love”.
7. Affiliates have many directions they can be pulled in; to keep it simple I suggest focusing on niche products that you are passionate about.
8. Few affiliates are using video, so you should jump in and fill the void. Your computer probably has the software you need (Windows Movie Maker on PC and iMovie on Mac), so make videos with a digital camera, edit, upload and dominate your niche.
9. Do not get trapped in the echo chamber of affiliate blogs, newsletters, conferences, etc. You should read everything you can about affiliate marketing, but be sure to keep your own perspective and voice. In other words, don’t let yourself be constrained or convinced by the wisdom of the crowd because success comes from pushing the envelope.
10. One of the best things any affiliate can do is to always try new things, test new ideas, spend the time to learn not just how to implement new technologies, but how to integrate new ideas that will enhance their core business. However, it’s vitally important to know how long to spend on testing and trying new things and to know when NOT to test new things. The successful affiliate is adept at recognizing when something new is a true opportunity, and when it is simply a distraction that sucks time away from the vital core of their business.
11. Stay up-to-date- on the latest trends in Affiliate Marketing. In such an ever-changing industry it can be easy to get behind the 8 ball.
12. Resist the lure of the easy buck. The money usually doesn’t last, resulting in a cycle that can be tiring and unrewarding way to earn a living. If you find an earner, focus on it, reinvest, and see if you can turn it into something that will last for years.
13. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, use multiple streams of revenue sources on your sites, from newsletters to varying merchants.
14. Affiliates as a whole tend to have a reputation for solitude and secrecy, but nothing will help your success more than making real connections with people that speak the industry language, both at live events and in online message boards.