But first, what is affiliate marketing? It’s essentially the payment of commission for the promotion and successful sales of products or services. You can make money affiliate marketing in two ways:
- By promoting and selling other people’s goods/services; or
- Offering an affiliate program to others to promote and sell your goods/services.
Not sure where to start with #2?
Once you’ve decided to offer an affiliate marketing program for your own products, start your campaign research with these steps:
1. Know what commissions are being paid for similar affiliate programs
You need to make it worth the while of your affiliate to promote your products/services but do not give away the baby with the bathwater. Be reasonable and offer incentives. You can make it more or less attractive by varying the commission payments and price of your products.
2. Engage affiliates with complimentary businesses
It’s a great idea to find and offer affiliate programs to businesses that offer complimentary products or services. For example, if you have a health food business, you may want to offer affiliate services to fitness instructors, lifestyle coaches and similar.
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Some aspects of affiliate marketing are regulated and you are responsible for your affiliates and how they market your products and services.
3. Understand your legal obligations
This includes what your affiliates advertise, promise and say. You need to ensure they are aware of their legal and business obligations. For this reason, you should have clear terms to cover such things as:
- An indemnity for the actions of your affiliates
- Affiliate terms for payment of commissions, including where customers request a refund
- Marketing of your product, (where to sell, pricing, discounts etc)
- Tracking of commissions
- Agreement to abide by consumer, spam and other regulations
It is vital to ensure affiliates do not damage your brand, reputation and invoke fines on your behalf while trying to assist your marketing efforts by promoting your products and services. Clear terms will help their understanding and protect you.
4. Have a great marketing plan and engaging content
The affiliate may be able to direct traffic to your website but if there is nothing keeping the customers there, you will lose the sale.
5. Find a good automated affiliate management tool/application
To make it both easy to manage and track, find a good application that sets up accounts and helps you to track and manage payments. Some shopping cart facilities come with this functionality built in. Alternatively, there are services like Jrox.com or iDevAffliate that you can integrate into your website.
One of the worst ways to ruin your brand and affiliate marketing program is not having a method for tracking links and commissions to be paid. You will quickly lose your affiliates and your reputation if you don’t pay commissions in one foul swoop. The automated tools avoid this issue and can make your admin life easier.
6. Be transparent about your affiliate relationships and commissions
Some countries, such as the US, require clear identification of your affiliations and any commission payments that are being received by your affiliates. In Australia is it more of a grey area requiring upfront honesty and best practice. To be on the safe side, be open and transparent about your commercial relationships and ensure your affiliate marketers are also.
If you are offering affiliate payments to your affiliate marketers who are marketing on your behalf, you should disclose this and ask your marketers to do the same.
So give it a try. An affiliate marketing program should be a fundamental part of marketing your business and, if done correctly, you will see some great results!
Do you have an affiliate marketing program? Have you noticed an impact on your sales?