Author Archives: Chris Kahan

Why Start an Affiliate Marketing Program in 2020

In this increasingly competitive e-commerce climate, companies need a way to dramatically increase their odds of generating more leads, sales or even announcing their online presence. Launching an Affiliate Program is one of the ways to do just that.

In this 5-part series, we will cover tips and strategies around the following topics below:

  •           Starting an Affiliate Program
  •           How to find and recruit affiliates
  •           Keeping affiliates active in your Program.
  •           Best practices for managing your Affiliate Program.
  •           Launching your Affiliate Program
start an affiliate program

 

[ Part #1 :  Starting an Affiliate Program ]  

Why Affiliate Marketing?

Today over 80% of the brands we love and support use some type of affiliate marketing to buy more customers. And it’s not just the Fortune 500 companies, the mid-size, Mom & Pop’s and even the entrepreneur down the street, have successfully launched their own affiliate program.. or soon will.

According to Statista affiliate marketing spend has grown from $1.6 billion in 2010 to $5.4 billion in 2017 and is predicted to grow to over $8 billion in 2022.  

affiliate marketing spend analysis

If the numbers don’t get you out of your seat, here are some reasons why starting an Affiliate Program makes sense in today’s world.

  • Low Startup Cost: Starting a business can be expensive, an Affiliate Marketing program is a great way to start with little out of pocket expense.
  • Choose the Affiliates you want to work with based on your industry and experience
  • Grow into foreign markets with local affiliates
  • Collect valuable insights based on traffic your Affiliate Marketers bring to your website.

Do any of the scenarios below, apply to you?

  • Maybe your company is introducing a new product line and needs to expand their sales-force?
  • Does your store need to ramp up marketing efforts, in time for the busy season?
  • Are you an entrepreneur who wants to take your business from the basement to the boardroom?

To summarize; if you are selling your own products online or even offline, an Affiliate Marketing program is an effective way to increase brand awareness and scale your business.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

How it all works?

To understand ” How it all works” we are going to first take a step back and learn what Affiliate Marketing is and who the key players are in the process.

Affiliate marketing is defined as the process of promoting another party’s products or services on a commission basis.  

Affiliate marketing is also referred to as “Performance Marketing”. Why? Because how much the parties earn depends solely on the Affiliates’ Performance.

The Key Players

With affiliate marketing, Companies (known as Merchants or Advertisers) rely on marketing partners to promote their products in exchange for a commission based on each website visitor, sale, or lead, that the partner drives.

Affiliates (known as publishers) gives the Company access to an audience of customers they might not already have. Affiliates can be influencers on social media, bloggers, they may have a pod-cast or Youtube channel.

When a Consumer (also known as the Customer) purchase’s a product through the publisher’s “affiliate link”, the affiliate earns a commission for that sale.

Affiliate Recruitment and Management

Affiliate Recruitment  is all about being active in places where your affiliates are. Try promoting your Affiliate program in Affiliate forums, blogs, even your current customers. Remember a closed mouth goes hungry, as they say. 

Content is King . Provide your affiliates with as much pre-made promotional material as you can. Why? This makes the affiliates job easier to promote your products and services over other programs.  This includes Videos, Banners ,  Landing Pages, Email templates.

If you ask any affiliate manager, Communication is the the Key to running a successful affiliate program.  Just as if they were at your office. The more they learn and more they can earn, for your affiliate program and for themselves. 

Now that you have a basic understanding of “How it all works” and “Key Players” let’s see this in action!

Meet “Lloyd”

Lloyd sells bow ties. He has a Basic website and promotes his products through social media using social media. Since Louis is a “one-man show”, he as a lot on this plate. For example, he often forgets to post his latest bow-tie creation on social media. Above all, Louis is finding it more difficult to compete online and does not have added resources to spend on Social media Advertising.

Lloyd is the Merchant otherwise known as the “Advertiser”

Meet “Harry”

Harry is an active fashion blogger and happens to have an extensive Bow-tie tie collection. Harry has even bought a few from Lloyd’s web site. For Harry to support his bow-tie habit and grow the collection, he joined a few Affiliate programs to earn extra income as an affiliate marketer . Harry loves to Blog about fashion and as a result Harry can earn money as an Affiliate without keeping product inventories or handing customer support.

Harry is Affiliate otherwise known as the “Publisher”

Meet “Louis”

Louis is at home, looking for a new bow-tie to add to his collection. He follows Harry on Facebook, since they are both into bow-ties.

Louis in the Customer otherwise known as the “Consumer”

What if there was a way to “increase the odds” of connecting Lloyd, Harry, and Louis so that  everybody wins?

Affiliate Marketing Partnership

 

Bingo! If Lloyd had an Affiliate Marketing Program in place and Harry was an Affiliate in Lloyd’s program, there is a much higher chance Louis would have found Lloyd’s website through one of Harry’s Blogs or Ad’s on Social Media promoting Lloyd’s Bow-ties. 

Lets wrap this up, shall we? So,  Louis finds Harry’s latest Blog entry where he is reviewing the latest 5 Bow-ties for the season. Louis likes one of them and clicks on Harry’s Affiliate Link   Can you guess what happen’s next? 

Drum-roll please….

Lloyd has a New Customer! Harry receives a commission for this Affiliate Marketing efforts and Louis is strutting around town with a new Bow-tie.

You can chalk this up as a “Win” – “Win” – “Win”  

affiliate marketing on social media

In conclusion

As you can see Launching an Affiliate Program opens the door to a world of opportunity. Affiliate Marketing can provide anyone looking to start or already managing an online business the resources needed to grow quickly or get your business off the ground. It is cost effective and ensures you will not spend countless hours or waste money on expensive programs that don’t bring in the right buyers. Moreover, you develop connections to affiliates who can really help, as they already have the audience you are looking for.

Stay tuned for ( Part 2) of this series.

In (Part 2) of our series we will share Tips and Strategies on “How to Find and Recruit Affiliates” into your affiliate program.

Go ahead and subscribe to our Blog . You don’t want to miss it! 

Need Help ? 

Now its time for our shameless plug! Since 1999 iDevAffiliate has been the leading affiliate tracking software in its class. Our affiliate software installs in just minutes and easily integrates into your existing website. Contact us! We will be happy to assist.

Wishing you all the success in 2020 !

~ Your iDevAffiliate Family

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5 Great Ideas For Keeping Affiliates Actively Promoting

Ambition is similar to an untied balloon filled with air. While it looks impressive from a distance, unless you persist in exerting continuous pressure, that air will escape the balloon out the hole on the bottom. Much the same applies to your list of affiliate marketers as well. While a long list of affiliate marketing partners suggests that you have been active in your recruitment efforts, viewing them up close might suggest a wide variance in the level of motivation between each affiliate. To maximize your efforts therefore, you may want to consider ways in which you can create more active affiliate partners. These top five ways are a great way to breathe new life into your affiliate marketing program.

#1. Boosting Your Conversion Rate

increase affiliate participationIt is easy to believe that when customers arrive on your website that your wares will immediately impress them and they will be hard put to ignore your offerings if they have a brain in their head. That being said however, setting aside your hubris regarding your particular set of products and working to increase your website’s usability and conversion. By capitalizing on the organic traffic that is already visiting your site naturally, changes to your conversion rate is a proven boon for both your website as well as your affiliate partners. After all, it just makes sense. If an affiliate notes that their leads only go to your website to die, they will forgo the effort and just abandon your affiliate marketing scheme. By implementing strategies and tools aimed at boosting your conversion rates, you in turn improve on your reputation among your affiliates, and prove that you are as dedicated to their success.

#2. Building Strong Affiliate Marketing Relationships

build strong relationships with your affiliatesAn affiliate participates in your marketing program in the anticipation of making money from their efforts, and their motivation increases in direct proportion to the closeness in the relationship they forge with you and your efforts. By consistently providing them with new ways to strategies, tools, and ideas to promote their own websites, this level of interaction demonstrates that you are serious about their success. One of the best ways to guarantee this interaction is by maintaining a comprehensive tracking program, which gives your affiliate merchant a solid understanding of their marketing efforts. Behind the computer screen, real people are hoping to be successful with your affiliate marketing program, so you should reach out to them and communicate your desire to help them succeed whether through telephone calls, ongoing training, or support aimed at increasing their motivation and participation.

#3. Sales Promotions that Excite Affiliates

run promotions for your affiliatesOnce you begin talking with your affiliates and demonstrate your commitment to their success, you can further boost their motivation and performance with sales promotions that will leave no one in your network behind if they all participate. By including them in your sales promotions with detailed information and ongoing conversations, you inspire their trust in your program and help build their own motivation to participate in your outreach efforts. Communication is a critical component of any vibrant affiliate marketing program, and talking about great sales promotions is one of the prime ways you can engender the level of participation needed to ensure that everyone in the program reaches their financial goals.

#4. Doing the Heavy Lifting for Your Affiliate

affiliate marketingWe all know that not all affiliates are equal when it comes to motivational level. For instance, you may have over a thousand affiliate partners in your network, but only a small fraction of those will participate by placing your banner ad or writing a blog posting that highlights your company and its offerings. This strategy gives you artistic control of your message by offering to do the heavy lifting and writing the post yourself for dissemination. This is guaranteed to engender a response that leads to the posting of original content from a wide array of diverse and relevant traffic from a host of different affiliate websites. While you have to do the work of writing these posts, the increase in traffic and boosted interest illustrates that the hard work pays off over time by developing interesting content that points like a laser directly back to your product and services.

#5. Keep in Touch With Affiliate Newsletters

creating active affiliate participation

Not to burst your bubble, but the chances are pretty good that you are not the top consideration of your affiliate partners on any given day. That is natural because just like you, they have their own lives and responsibilities to contend with on their plates, so reminding them that you are still out there and working on their behalf is a great way to goose their memory of your affiliate marketing program. A well-crafted monthly newsletter puts your hard efforts in front of them to illustrate that while they might not be thinking about their financial future, you are continuing your efforts to move the bar upwards for your entire network.

Top 5 Techniques for Recruiting High Quality Affiliates

As an affiliate manager, you don’t need to be told that the lifeblood of your continued successful operation is found in the identification and location of high quality affiliates. Knowing that truth does not always translate into finding that high level of quality collaborators unfortunately, so itrecruiting affiliates is equally important that you concentrate your search in areas that lend themselves to delivering quality affiliates who are serious about sharing in what it takes to be successful.

Whereas these searches once upon a time were conducted within the registries of affiliate directories, these results don’t necessarily return positive results, and is closely akin to checking the bulletin board at the local Laundromat. Indeed, for the savvy affiliate manager, utilizing a targeted approach that delivers quality candidates means thinking outside of the box in terms of where to look for the talent you need to find.

#1. Newsletters

Leveraging the hard work that you have already accomplished, effective marketers have long understood the value of keeping in touch with their current customer base. Whether this takes the cast of monthly newsletters or targeted email offerings, you have a direct pipeline into a population that you know already values the products and services that you have to offer. Reaching out to this already, sympathetic audience is a great way to identify and locate high quality affiliate partners. When separating the wheat from the chaff in terms of finding high quality affiliates, harvesting from your current crop of customers is a fertile field to search.

#2. Organic Searches

Since it is always better to have quality affiliates come looking for you rather than you chasing down blind alleys in search of interested parties to join your program, you should optimize your existing landing pages to draw them to your site with targeted keywords that garner the attention of those most likely to want to join an affiliate program. After all, the best partnerships are with affiliates who are highly motivated self-starters, so they are already looking for your opportunity and your only task is to get their attention via organic search methods that they are already utilizing. By optimizing your site to electronically getting their attention, you will have a wide array of qualified candidates to join your affiliate program.

#3. Forum Announcements

affiliate recruiting in forums Speaking of motivated entrepreneurs in search of affiliate opportunities, affiliate forums are gathering points for likeminded businesspersons looking for chances to succeed in the exciting world of affiliate partnerships. Posting to these forum rooms, and becoming an active contributor to the page, exposes your products and affiliate opportunity to a host of motivated, would-be affiliates. Little has changed in the formula for business success, and effective networking efforts are the key to that success. What has changed is the ease in which you can reach out to one another on the World Wide Web, so leveraging an already plugged in population to network your affiliate opportunity is a no brainer.

#4. The Power of Social Media

The word is out, and apparently, social media is not just a mere passing fad. Whether updating your Twitter account or posting on FaceBook, every time you engage on social media is a chance to get information about your affiliate program to an eager public already looking at ways to get ahead, and the level of engagement on social media platforms guarantees the best chance of generating an online conversation about your unique affiliate opportunity. For best effects, using targeted keywords and Twitter hash tags aimed at garnering additional attention, along with the use of social media advertisements, can go along way towards boosting your affiliate marketing street cred.

where do i find affiliates

#5. Link up with Great Affiliates at LinkedIn

One of the better-kept secrets of LinkedIn is that it is far more than simply a site dedicated to networking and finding jobs within your chosen profession. In fact, the popular business site is also a great place to develop leads that result in outstanding affiliate partnerships. The relationships that develop allow for mutual promotion, and if you tailor a quality affiliate offer that is honest in its appeal, you will see a migration of potential affiliates drawn to your profile. In the same manner that you can keep an active online presence on your FaceBook account, LinkedIn has a newsfeed that you can post to in order to get people’s attention.


When it comes to recruiting high quality affiliates, your primary tasks are to first offer a quality affiliate program, and then to disperse your offer to those areas where motivated would-be affiliates are searching for quality affiliate programs just like the one you are offering. Whether via newsletters, social media, or through optimized SEO practices, you can easily attract quality of affiliates you need to succeed.

Finding the Ideal Affiliate Marketing Partner

When it comes to long-term internet marketing success, the term bandied about is “affiliate.” Like all generic terms however, understanding what to look for in an affiliate program is another matter all together, and exercising your due diligence is critical when selecting the ideal affiliate program for your business model. Towards that end, understanding what to look for, beyond high payouts, should include the company’s reputation, how long they have been in business, which products are a good fit for your business, and how they compare with companies that are hot right now in the affiliate market. Just as all franchise experiences are not the same, neither is every affiliate program the ideal fit for the business plan that you have in mind.

finding the right affiliate program

Due Diligence and Believing in what you are Selling

The first things I do when contemplating an affiliate relationship is I spend significant time analyzing the product offered. As such, I will always Google the prospective company that I am considering joining, along with reviews of their products, to get a feel for what people are saying about the quality and services offered. After all, your name will be associated with the product and as any successful salesperson will tell you, you have to believe in the product that you are selling if you hope to convince others to make a purchasing decision. Determine whether the proposed affiliate partner has a good reputation, a seamless customer service program, and reputable money back guarantees for unsatisfied customers. Finally, at the most basic level is this product or service one that you would use yourself or recommend to friends and loved ones?

Affiliate Management and the Importance of Reading the Small Printfinding the right affiliate program

As an affiliate marketing neophyte, you will want to make sure of the type of staff support you will receive if you join the team. Typically speaking, you should determine whether you will be afforded an affiliate manager, or an affiliate network will manage your account. Regardless of whom you will be working with as your affiliate partnership develops, you will want to find out how responsive they are to your questions and inquiries. Will you receive immediate results when you request assistance, or will you be left dangling 72 hours to a week following your outreach efforts? Also, while you need not get a law degree before parsing through the terms and conditions of the relationship, you should note what types of advertising they allowed, the lifespan of your affiliate cookie, and information regarding CAN-SPAM compliance and any chargeback procedures involved with company returns.

Training and Tools to Help Grow Your Business

training tools required to be a successful affiliate
Regardless of your business or professional career goals, ongoing training is the hallmark of the intrepid entrepreneur’s eventual success. For those unwilling to reinvent the wheel, after all the wheel is a pretty good design concept already, hitting the ground running as a new affiliate means getting a leg-up with comprehensive affiliate marketing training material. Video tutorials, an easy to navigate affiliate dashboard, and a reliable method to track your sales and trends are all aspects of the affiliate relationship that you will want to explore prior to committing to an ongoing partnership. Superior affiliate training and intuitive tools will make your affiliate marketing experience far more successful than you otherwise might experience, but that eventual success can be accomplished without having the growing pains associated with a poorly managed and supported affiliate program.

Show me the Money

While the overall experience is the key to long-term affiliate marketing success, your monetary recompense is of no small matter when parsing through your affiliate partnership options. Beyond comparing commission rates and payment schedules, make sure that you fully understand the payment threshold as well as how they plan on paying you and in what frequency. Again, due diligence in the form of online research of the company will alert you to any red flags as regards problems getting your money into your account.

make money as an affiliate
Your personality dictates the types of affiliate relationships that you want to explore, so make sure that your eventual choice is a good fit for your personal traits. Make sure that the product offered is an item that you would want to be associated with, and ensure that the company offering the product has a sterling commercial reputation.

Affiliate Marketing Tactics With No Website

If you want to venture into affiliate marketing, one of your goals – whether you own a website or not – is to build your email list. Statistics show that most people don’t buy the first time they come across a product, so it makes sense to gain your audience’s trust by sending them regular emails, interspersed with affiliate links they can click on to buy, so that voila! You get the dough from the sale.

email lists

The holy grail of affiliate marketing is building email lists

The usual method would be to own a website that draws traffic and collects email addresses by offering freebies, or newsletters, but this is not cast in stone.

The great news is that you don’t have to own a website to start collecting email addresses, but how on earth do you collect email addresses without an opt-in form on a website?

Easy! Simply create a landing page (this is simple enough even for affiliate marketing newbies) with Instapage or Unbounce, sign up for an autoresponder account with the likes of Mailchimp, Aweber, GetResponse, or any others (there are a whack-load out there and many are free), integrate the two, and Bob’s your uncle!

The trick is going to be how you get people to hand over their email addresses so that you can use your affiliate marketing skills to sell your products at a later date. You could offer free content in the form of an e-book, sample document, or a newsletter. Just think of something that will fit the needs of your target audience.

Now all you have to do, is point traffic towards that page because it’s not likely the page on its own is going to attract much traffic due its limited amount of content.

You can use these mediums to generate traffic to your landing page:

  1. Social media

Use Facebook and Twitter either to promote your landing page link in order to get email addresses so that you “catch” the visitor on a future date via the emails you send, or you can simply use your affiliate marketing product link to direct traffic to the vendor’s product site, and if they buy the product then and there, you get the commission from the sale.

social media important in affiliate marketing

Always remember to contribute value-added content to social media sites.

Whichever social media channel you use, remember to always contribute something that is of value to your audience. Remember, people are fast-paced nowadays. They are only going to click something if they think it’s going to benefit them.

  1. Hubpages

If you fancy yourself a good writer, you can always publish articles on Hubpages and provide links to your landing page. This is a great, free way of generating traffic to your landing page because Hubpages is ranked high on search engines and already gets a ton of traffic. What you need to know to be successful on Hubpages, is to provide quality content, good SEO headings and strategically placed keywords.

  1. Article submission sites

Just as you would use Hubpages, you can also use the major article submission sites, such as Ezine, GoArticles and InfoBarrel.

With affiliate marketing, there is always a way if you just have the will, with or without a website of your own.