Affiliates programs are also known as resellers programs or associates programs. The main idea of having your own affiliates programs is to allow thousands of net citizens to sell for you and to drive traffic to your site. They are like thousands of salesperson working for you for a commission (without a basic salary). You only pay them when they make sale and you have collected the money. In order to have an affiliates program, you need to have a mechanism to recruit them, sign them up, give them an id, track their sales, calculate their commission, and send them checks. You have to keep all accounting records as well as make it available for their checking. If your program is more than 1 tier, you have to keep track of your affiliate's affiliates and overriding commission as well. Phew ! looks like a lot of work.
A good affiliates program allow you to do several things, among them :
1. The ability to keep in contact with your affiliates.
In order for your affiliates to sell for you, you need to provide them with sufficient marketing materials to promote your product / site. These include sales letter, endorsement letters, banners in different sizes, link buttons in different sizes, e-zine articles they can run, sample of classified ads in different sizes and even trial copies of the products you sell.
The job of the affiliate is to PRE-SELL for you. Your letter is supposed to do the selling. If the customer is pitched once by your affiliate and pitched again by your sales site, you may have lost the trust and open-mindedness of the prospect. The idea is for your affiliate to create an open minded and ready to buy mind frame for your prospect before they click through to your site. In such circumstances, your conversion rate of prospect to customer is higher. You may need you educate your affiliates as such and set up the program that way. Ken Evoy runs a very successful affiliates program called the 5 Pillars. For a free copy on essential role of an affiliate, click on the book to the right.
Besides asking associates to sell for you, you may also join their associate programs and cross sell for each other. All of a sudden, you have so many products to sell (even though they are not your products). If you have a pool of customers who trust you, there will be many repeat sales. They rather buy from you if they have purchased from you before and have established some kind of relationship with you. For every sale, you will still make a sizable commission, normally at 50% of sales price.
Famous associate programs to check out:
Software you can use to start your own program :
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