Affiliate programs (also called Referral Programs or Partnership Programs) are essentially commission-based sales schemes.
Joining an affiliate program is a neat way to make money from your users. But just as you can join someone else's affiliate program, so you can set up your own program and invite webmasters to sign up. Here are my top 3 tips to succeed with your own affiliate program.
1. How to attract affiliates
One of the biggest fears new Affiliate managers have is in finding new affiliates. This fear is a stumbling block that stops many site owners from getting started with affiliate marketing. Interestingly, with a proper marketing strategy, getting affiliates may not be very difficult. Given below are some tips that may help in attracting new affiliates.
Find complimentary sites - "Complementary" sites are sites that sell products or services that compliment your offers. If you sell "gardening tools", a site that sells books on "gardening tips" would be a perfect affiliate.
Find content sites - There are many sites that do not sell any kind of product or service but are mainly content oriented sites. Such sites promote an idea, concept, study or belief. Content sites that are used as a resource for your target market are ideal affiliates.
Finally, there are several sites on the Internet dedicated to listing affiliate Programs. Get your program listed in these directories.
2. Classifying Affiliates for Better Management
The hardest part of administrating an Affiliate Program is deciding what your affiliates need to help make the sale. But, by carefully categorizing your affiliates, you can easily determine what their needs are and how to accurately meet them.
The first step is to pick at least three types of affiliate. Take a look at your affiliates and try to determine one outstanding characteristic that can easily be compared across the board and choose at least three types of the characteristic.
The Second Step is to determine the needs of each type. Each of your affiliate types will have different needs; some of their needs will overlap, but you should find a distinct difference in many of their needs. If you find that all of them have the same needs, go back to step one and re-think your types.
The Third Step involves the process of creating and compiling linking methods for each group of affiliates. Based on the needs you identified in Step two, create and compile linking methods for each type.
3. Safe Guarding Against Spam
Any time you run a program where your affiliates rely on other signups to generate profits, you will eventually have a problem with spam. One of your affiliates will inevitably get it into their head to blitz the Web with unwanted garbage.
When this happens you need to be ready to take action otherwise it will cost you! Your Internet company can boot you off your server and you can find yourself blacklisted. Not good for business. If you get an email from someone claiming they received spam with your URL, then take it as an early warning.
I am not advising you to immediately terminate the affiliate's account, but be sure to contact them to follow up on the complaint. Let your affiliate know you received a complaint and advise them to remove this person from their list.
If you only get one or two complaints, it's probably not spam, the complainants might simply have signed up for an email list and forgotten all about it. You will know when one of your affiliates is spamming, because you will get anywhere from 10 to 100 complaints in the same day all regarding the same URL.
The best thing to do in this case is to immediately terminate or disable the account of the affiliate URL that was spammed.
Running your own affiliate program can become an extrememly profitable venture for your business. You can recruit a HUGE sales force promoting your products for you, and ONLY pay them when you make a sale!