How to Create an Affiliate Program
Affiliate marketing allows both large and small companies to increase their brand awareness by increasing their exposure to new audiences who may not have previously heard of them. Every business should plan to set up an affiliate program. If you have loyal, happy clients and you haven’t yet done this, that’s another profit leak you can easily plug.
Benefits of Affiliates
Affiliates build your reputation, spread the word about live events such as conferences and webinars, direct people to your packages and products, and make you more money.
All this while you’re busy making money directly with clients and customers.
Once you’ve set up your affiliate resources, there is comparatively little work you need to do. Your affiliates are busy selling your products and spreading your fame. You have to interact with them via email, social networking, your membership site, and blog, but much of these could be seen as “automated” too.
For example, if you write a post for your blog that shares a clever tip, having such a juicy bite of news will delight multiple affiliates, and send them busily taking action and sharing your post to please their own subscribers.
You invested perhaps a day, a morning, or even just ten minutes writing that tip or blog post that’s published. It can be read by countless people, by new affiliates, time and time again. It’s making money for you, as the saying goes, while you sleep, particularly if you included a call-to-action at the end of the post, such as telling the reader she can learn more by checking out your new book on Amazon or in your Products section.
The blog post is also something that keeps your affiliates feeling you are their perfect resource person for your field or niche. You give those tips and secrets to share, via blog posts and privately, via email, that no one else gives. Having these tips to share with their own subscribers or audience makes them look good and boosts their reputations too.
Done correctly, running an affiliate program creates win-win situations and increases profits and visibility all around. But you need to be aware there are potential leaks there, too.
Here’s how to prevent these leaks:
- Provide your affiliates with training. Don’t assume everyone knows how to be a super-affiliate. This training can include resources or sections telling affiliates what to do and what to avoid. Or give them tips on how to increase their affiliate commissions.
- Provide your affiliates with resources. For example, professionally designed graphics and banners, or special deals they can offer their own subscribers exclusively.
- Provide your affiliates with incentives. Make it worth their while to promote you but more than that, make it enjoyable. Make it fun, depending on the type of affiliates you attract. Use your incentives to keep them both engaged and enthusiastic
- Outsource content or resources you want to create for your affiliates if creating what they need doesn’t come easily to you or isn’t in your particular skillset
- Outsource affiliate management. If you build this into your business model planning, you can hire a VA who does have affiliate management in her skill set, or even hire an Affiliate Manager, if you have high-level programs you want to promote
- Automate affiliate management. You can choose to keep affiliate management simple, if you prefer, by automating it. You can do this through plugins on your website or in your membership site, or through scripts, you can install on your server, or by taking advantage of systems you already use that allow affiliate management.
Note that even if you automate your affiliate management process, you should still create unique and valuable affiliate resources and incentives and provide a way they can contact you or your affiliate manager.
One last important point about getting other people to sell you. Even if you choose not to create an affiliate program, at least ask people to share your articles, tips, news, and social posts.
Affiliate marketing provides the same chances for all companies, whether you are just starting out and have a tight budget, or a more mature brand looking for new methods of exposing your brand to a bigger audience.
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