The concept of affiliate marketing has caught on and it is a great way of pushing your products or services to a larger audience without spending so much on marketing. Affiliate marketing has a way of increasing traffic on your site.
However, it is necessary to analyze your options in order to figure out the ideal method of management for the affiliate program. The program can be managed through a service, network or software. Perhaps to get a better picture of the management methods available let’s look into some of the different solutions available to merchants.
Custom software; basically, this management solution is a software specially designed or written to fit your affiliate marketing needs. All you have to do is to request for a software that will be hosted on your servers. However, this kind of service is costly, especially if your company doesn’t require specific applications. For an emerging firm, it is easier to work with third party solutions which might prove cheaper than the custom software solutions.
Affiliate networks; they are regarded as the most expensive among the solutions highly utilized in affiliate marketing. The networks typically offer affiliate management solutions by either charging a flat monthly fee or a percentage of sales made. This money is used in handling the sales transaction and handling commission payments.
One of the reasons the affiliate networks are expensive is because they offer great affiliate management solutions, once you sign up. Additionally, once you sign up in most of the affiliate networks, your offer will be made known to thousands of affiliates when it is made available on the network. Some of the networks are tied to a specific trade while others can host various kinds of trades.
Remotely hosted and third party software; the difference with the custom software is that you buy a software that is already scripted and use it in your own server or you can even hire the same services, hosted on the leasing company’s server.
Since your business is niche specific, the following discussion will elaborate further on what are the best solutions for such a business and how it can improve greatly through affiliate marketing.
Selling digital products such as software or eBooks
Well, if you are selling eBooks or software, one of the best affiliate management solutions for such a trade is Click Bank. Click Bank is a third party affiliate management solution that has built in affiliate networks/programs. The initial charge for joining Click Bank is a one off fee of $49.95 that caters for the set up, and then a $1.00 fee and 7.5 % of the sales on every order processed. The order fees are shared between you and the affiliate who referred the sale.
For more information about Click Bank Fees. With Click Bank+, you are ensured of a large network of affiliates who are ready to promote your products. Of course it comes with its shortcomings such as the inability to contact the members who will be promoting your product.
What about selling hard goods or services?
These kinds of merchants have a lot of options to choose from. Most merchants who deal with hard good and services might consider the Commission Junction.
Most importantly, because commission junction is the largest affiliate network. Nonetheless, signing up to the affiliate network is an expensive affair going up to thousands of dollars during the set up stage. In addition, you will pay an annual maintenance fee of $250.
However, the long term benefits of having your product being promoted by a lot of affiliates surpasses the initial costs. Click Bank also allows the sale of hard goods on its network. Click Bank is considered as a much cheaper option. The other type of affiliate management networks fit for hard goods and services include Performics, Pepperjam, Shareasale, and Linkshare.
With that said, there are other options available that you might also try out, especially among the remotely hosted and third party solutions such as My Affiliate program, Ultimate Affiliate program and wealthy affiliate –explained further in an earlier blog post. Let’s discuss how to make an affiliate website.
How to make an affiliate website
When it comes to creating an affiliate website it is important to involve an expert unless if you are conversant with HTML. There are a number of options that can be used for the website building process such as WordPress, due to little coding required, a large support community and adverts are easily integrated.
However, if you are a new entrant to website building, then Site Build It (SBI) is a great option the site costs $299 annually which includes hosting and domain name. The site takes you through the process of website building, with ideas on the right keywords for the search engines. The other option includes the Yahoo Site Builder,
It’s necessary to come up with a niche for your affiliate website, instead of cramming your website with all manner of products for promotion. When you target a specific niche, it gives the website a bit of authority among the audience in terms of the expertise and professionalism.
Once, you find the topic of discussion, you can now sign up your website with free sites such as Share-A-sale. In such a setting you will be making a percentage of the sale if the sale was made through your website.
It is necessary to conduct thorough research to ensure that the company you sign up for is legit. Other affiliate networks considered to be legit include Wealthy Affiliate, Commission junction, and Click Bank.
The sites need informative content for your audience, the content will be based on the products you are promoting. You can get articles freely over the internet as long as you give a link to the writer and an acknowledgement at the top of the article. Which doesn’t make sense because you want more visitors on your website.
Next up, you need to choose a domain name for your site. The domain name should coincide with your choice niche and it should be brief and easy to remember. In order, to maximize your site, you need to add Google Adsense –it will help you bring in traffic at your site, which is much needed. Lastly, you should incorporate all the other necessary features relevant for a functional website such as graphics and images.
If you didn’t make use of the Site Build It (SBI) then it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is great in increasing traffic to your website.
What exactly do you need in creating your own affiliate program?
The discussion above highlighted the key issues in starting an affiliate program and the affiliate website as well. Of course the website is a component of the larger affiliate program you will be setting up.
The website can be linked to an affiliate network or it can be the host for the other websites in your own affiliate program. So what do you need in creating an affiliate program?
We won’t discuss much on the affiliate software since we have discussed them earlier. The affiliate software can be sourced out for free or it can be custom built according to your specifications. However, it is necessary to reiterate that when you are working with the affiliate software, you will have to promote your business in order to find affiliates.
With the right budget, you can advertise your business with Google or you can partner with bloggers to help you in promoting your business. The affiliates will get a commission when products are sold, meaning they too will benefit from the business.
Some of the largest affiliate marketplaces include the above mentioned networks such as Commission junction and Click Bank. The affiliate marketplace is a good network to promote your product; however, it is a challenge for new entrants in the market since few people are willing to promote unknown products in the online marketing.
Therefore, the first affiliates who sign up in your program should be handled with much care to ensure that they help in growing your network.
The other hurdle in the large affiliate markets is the fact that competition is stiff. You can handle the competition through placing your products on websites with less competition.
The basics of a successful affiliate program
Obviously, if you wish to have a large number of affiliates sign up in your program, then you need to ensure that you create a useful product. The idea is to design a product with emphasis on design, which means proper use of visual effects and attractive product cover.
Furthermore, you need to create a professional landing page, conversion page or sales page with a design that is responsive to the audience. The affiliate pages can be integrated with Facebook and other relevant social media platforms.
Offer attractive compensation to your affiliates
It’s necessary to offer the affiliates a good enough compensation and at the right time because they play a crucial role in strengthening your program. If the affiliates are given maximum commission, they will be motivated to succeed.
Success is translated through more promotions subsequently increasing the number of affiliates and an overall successful affiliate program is established.
You should focus on developing a larger affiliate based on increasing the number of affiliates instead of money, especially in the early stages of the program.
You can even offer the affiliates a 100% commission in the early stages so that you can attract them to the program. Later on, the commission can be reduced to about 75% once the program picks up. The offer helps in increasing your affiliates in the long run.
There are a myriad of options that can be used in creating your own affiliate program. The option you settle on will be determined by your budget. For instance, if you have enough money, you can start with a software then scout for affiliates through advertisement. However, if you are short of funds you can partner with bloggers who will help promote your program and eventually increase affiliates. It is important to develop a creative and attractive product design that will interest the buyers.