In this post, I shall be talking about how to start a super successful affiliate program for beginners to earn more money in the affiliate marketing arena.
What is an affiliate program?
Whether you are having a product or service, an affiliate program is always a smart move to increase your sales and customer network.
In simple language, an affiliate program means recruiting sales partners known as ‘Affiliates’. They will place the affiliate links of your business on their social media platforms, websites, and blogs.
A viewer going through their platforms clicking on these links gets directed to your website. Whenever a purchase is made through these links you have to give the agreed commission to the affiliate.
Difference between Affiliate, Referrals, and Influencer
An affiliate is recruited by following fixed criteria while a referral can be any of your customers. They will refer your products to others through referral links and you have to give them rewards in terms of offers or cash back every time a purchase is made through these links.
Referrals are usually happy customers who have been satisfied with a product that they have purchased and would like to recommend that product to their friends and networks using word-of-mouth. The first rule of generating customer referrals is quite basic and that is to make your customers happy.
Influencers are social media personalities having a fan base. They recommend products within a niche on their videos and social media platforms. These influencers are paid under campaigns. Influencers and referrals are periodic whereas affiliates are your regular partners.
Recommended Related Article:
• Why Influencer Marketing is so effective and How to use it to your advantage?
• Influencer Marketing for effective branding content
How to start a successful affiliate program?
1. Set proper goals to keep you on track
The goals of your affiliate program will depend on your requirements. Consider these points before deciding the final goals for your affiliate programs:
- What type of audience do you need to connect with?
First of all, make a list of all the existing marketing programs and find out what is missing or what you really want to add. This will help you to find out the type of audience you need to get in touch with.
- What type of affiliates will suit your business?
You need to decide the niche and minimum traffic requirement on their platforms for recruiting an affiliate.
- Whether you want to start an affiliate program on your own or you are too busy to handle this?
If you are busy enough to handle everything on your own you can choose to work with affiliate networks. Many affiliate networks are available online like ShareASale, Rakuten, and Commission Junction. But if you want to take charge of every single thing an in-house affiliate program will be the best for you. I recommend LeadDyno. You can test it out for 30-Days Free and then after you will be charged $49 for the Starter Plan.
- Set the measurable monthly metrics for your programs like:
• Conversion rates (how many clicks are actually converting into sales)
• Average Order Value (AOV) driven to your business by affiliates
• Number of unique sales by affiliates
• The number of impressions, leads, and clicks by affiliates
2. Competitor Analysis
Before starting your affiliate program it is very crucial to analyze the existing affiliate programs of your competitors. It will help you find your current position in the market and set your goals more competitively. You can do it by following these simple steps:
- Choose 2-3 business competitors dealing with the same audience as you are.
- Check how they are tracking the success and making payments to their affiliates.
- Keep an eye on how they are recruiting their affiliates.
- Are they doing it on their own or through an affiliate network? It’s very important to know how they have designed the whole process.
- After digging into the required information you can go for SWOT analysis. It means finding out the Strength and Weaknesses of the affiliate program of your competitors. What opportunities you can grab from their weaknesses and what threat they can cause to your business with their strengths.
3. Deciding the Commission
Calculating the commission is the trickiest part of the affiliate program. It’s quite imperative to decide the commission realistically. Commissions should be profitable for your business and at the same time encouraging for your affiliates. Here are some basic tips:
- You can either pay a fixed amount or a percentage of sales. Generally, the percentage sale method is followed to avoid loss on low costing products.
- If you are a newbie and want to save every penny then you can start your affiliate program by offering credit points or discount coupons on your store.
- You can pay anywhere between 1-30% depending upon the revenue generated by each customer, generally, physical products generate less revenue than digital services.
- Paying per sale is always a better idea than paying per click or per lead.
- Consider revenue per customer and customer retention rate to decide the percentage commission for your affiliates.
- You can pay an extra reward to top affiliates bringing the highest revenues to make them more competitive about your program.
4. Finalizing the Program
After finalizing your commission it’s time to complete the final framework of your program like:
- How long the cookies be active for affiliates?
- Which marketing channel affiliates can use to promote links?
- What terms and conditions are you going to impose on your affiliates?
- Which affiliate network are you going to use?
- Are you going to hire an affiliate manager?
- How many affiliates do you want to hire at this point?
5. Finalizing the Affiliates
After creating the final framework of your affiliate program, it’s time to find out the best affiliates in your niche. If you are recruiting affiliates on your own consider these points while selecting the right affiliates for your business:
- Affiliates having platforms with quality content and enough traffic.
- Affiliates belonging to the niche related to your product and services.
- Affiliates having a grip on marketing concepts, it will be better if they are already selling something of their own.
- Affiliates with an influencing point of view which means the audience relies on their suggestion.
6. Recruiting and Training the Affiliates
After deciding the criteria for choosing your affiliates it’s time to spread the program on social media platforms to attract the eligible affiliates for your program. LinkedIn groups, email lists, Facebook pages, Instagram, and Pinterest will all be helpful for you.
Once you start getting applications you can scrutinize their platforms and accounts. It can be done either manually or through available software to avoid scammy ones. Scrutinizing software includes Everflow, LinkTrust, AffTrack, Hitpath, Voluum, etc.
Once you have recruited your affiliates, let them know about your terms and conditions. Sign an agreement to avoid any future dispute. Give them the required links, materials to start with, and a brief training about the vision and mission of your brand.
7. Tracking Performances
Even after rigorous planning, you may miss out on something. Therefore every affiliate program needs regular tracking to ensure the performance of affiliates and the success of your program. You can use an affiliate program tracking software to track the revenue, click, and leads generated by each affiliate.
Some trusted tracking software include Referral Rock, Post Affiliate Pro, Tune, Tapfiliate, and Kartra. Check measurable values like the amount of revenue, unique sales, and conversion rates to ensure whether the program is meeting the requirements or not. In case you are not getting the expected outcomes, modify it for getting maximum success.
All set to start an affiliate program for your business? It’s always better to have a quick revision. Check the competitor’s landscape, make the basic framework, recruit the best possible affiliates, and give that much-awaited hike to your sales graph.
Let me know your thoughts or suggestions in the comments below.
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My name is Sujoy Mukherji. I am an Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur & Professional Blogger. Founder of the Affiliate Hub Blog.