Marketing an Affiliate Program 101
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Marketing an Affiliate Program 101

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Free affiliate marketing e-book to help you to learn more about affiliate marketing and how it can grow your business.

Free affiliate marketing e-book to help you to learn more about affiliate marketing and how it can grow your business.

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  • 1. Table of ContentsIntroduction .......................................................................................................................3  Chapter One .....................................................................................................................4   What is Affiliate Marketing? ..........................................................................................4   The Basic Plan ..........................................................................................................4   Why an In-house Affiliate Program is Great ..............................................................5   Common Terms ............................................................................................................5  Chapter Two .....................................................................................................................8   Ways to Promote Your Affiliate Program ......................................................................8   Search Engine Jargon Clarified .................................................................................8   SEO, PPC and Affiliates ............................................................................................9   Strong Words on Affiliate Networks ...........................................................................9  Chapter Three ................................................................................................................11   Helping Affiliates with Business ..................................................................................11   Making Life Easier ...................................................................................................11   Be Sure to Individualize ...........................................................................................12   2
  • 2. IntroductionDo you have a website? If you answered yes to that question then you should know thatyou can actually generate income and far more profit if you incorporate an affiliateprogram into your site. This is among the most modern forms of marketing and it worksin a very simple way.You create a system that rewards affiliates for electronically encouraging valuable trafficto visit your website and/or make a purchase of some kind. There are many ways thataffiliate marketing can work, but fundamentally it is a wonderful way to reach anaudience that has a valid interest in what you offer, but which may not automatically findits way to your site.The classic example is the affiliate marketing done by Amazon.com. They have morethan five hundred thousand affiliates at the time of this writing and each of them will usetheir affiliate tools differently. The one similarity between them all, however, is that theyare all driving extremely valuable internet traffic back to the original merchant site! Thisis done without any further input on the part of Amazon.com, and they are paying onlysmall amounts for all of this fundamentally free traffic.You can do the same thing if you use affiliate marketing programs and choose the mostappropriate affiliates for your particular message, products, or site. This book is going towalk you through the basic details and explain the many reasons why you need toexplore affiliate marketing if you want to dramatically increase the size of your bottomline! 3
  • 3. Chapter OneWhat is Affiliate Marketing?The most basic possible answer to the question of “what is an affiliate program” is that itis a method for making far more money from your website than you had originallyintended. It works in the simplest ways possible, but you have to understand a fewthings before you can make it really “work” for your business.What do you need to know? Well, the fundamental structure and “flow” of affiliatemarketing is going to be the first thing to master.The Basic PlanYou create all of the content on your website…right? Within that content, you can createlinks to products available through your site, or from another site too.For example, let’s say that you are someone with an informational website aboutdahlias. These are flowers grown from special “tubers”, but you only make informationavailable about dahlias through your website.You decide to earn a bit of income by becoming an “affiliate” of a few businessesrelated to your subject. For exa mple, you become an Amazon.com affiliate in order toprofit off of any gardening books recommended through your site. You partner with afew dahlia selling companies to also make some money off of the sales of dahlia tubersthat begin from the links on your website as well.Nice, isn’t it? Now, what if you are the business at the other end of those links? Whatwe mean is what if you are Amazon or the dahlia tuber companies? If you are thesecompanies then it means you have an existing affiliate program, and THAT is what weare going to cover in this book. 4
  • 4. Why an In-house Affiliate Program is GreatWhat makes an affiliate program good for the business who offers it? After all, it meansyou will still have to deal with the more difficult work of handling and shipping items ifyou are a merchant site. It also means that you have to administrate that affiliateprogram too, doesn’t it?Yes, but it also means that you have the opportunity for dramatically increasing thetraffic to your website and earning a lot more in terms of sales or “conversions” ofvisitors into paying customers.Just consider that affiliate marketing provides two huge solutions: • It helps a content driven website to make income from all of its traffic • It helps merchant sites to get more people than ever to purchase products.They do so in the simplest of ways; they pay commissions to the affiliates for postinglinks that lead traffic back to their site. Some give commissions only if a purchase ismade, but some provide compensation only if the affiliate’s link is put to use. Naturally,this means that affiliate programs all work in different ways, but have the same generalresults.Common TermsThese results include the merchant, the affiliate, and the consumer using the Internet.The merchant, for this book, is your business and the affiliate is anyone with whom youcooperate and compensate for delivering traffic, or the consumer, to your site.You might do this through: • Pay per purchase agreements – This sends a commission to the affiliate at any time that a sale results from a consumer using their link to get to the merchant site. 5
  • 5. • Pay per lead – This is an affiliate program that provides compensation if a link from an affiliate’s page leads to a consumer providing their contact information (becoming a “lead). • Pay per click – This is the type of affiliate program that rewards an affiliate whenever a consumer clicks on the link embedded in the affiliate site.What is so interesting about the ways that affiliate programs are structured is that therecan be compensation based on a “one time” event, or things can continue indefinitelyinto the future if that benefits the merchant and the affiliate more. For instance, therecan be the: • Tier system – This allows the affiliate to profit from its own activities AND to profit from any activities generated by its “recruits”. For instance, the Amway company is famous for its multiple tiers of affiliates who are continually earning a small percentage of their own recruited affiliates’ sales. • Residual system – Yhis is an arrangement that permanently links a consumer to an affiliate. For instance, someone buys dahlia tubers through a link that you have embedded at your informational website (this is from our earlier example). If you remain an affiliate, you will continue to earn a small profit from all future purchases made by that consumer. This is also the sort of system used in subscription or service sites that have monthly fees associated with them.Before choosing the type of rewards and systems to use, you have to understand thatall affiliate programs that are successful tend to be so because they choose companies,affiliates, products, or sites that partner well with what they have to offer. Let’s go backto that dahlia site that we used as an example. This is not the sort of informational orcontent driven site that would find affiliates interested in dog food. They would be farbetter off if they chose to accept affiliate offers from fertilizer sites, flower seed sellers,etc. 6
  • 6. This takes us into the subject of the next chapter, which is “the best way to market anaffiliate program.” What does the type of affiliate have to do with promoting theprogram? Well, just consider some final terms that you will hear a lot when discussingmarketing of any kind – SEO and PPC marketing. These are the two chief ways toensure website success, but they are also directly related to properly marketing youraffiliate program. 7
  • 7. Chapter TwoWays to Promote Your Affiliate ProgramThough many business and website owners are aghast at the recent changes to theGoogle algorithm, known as the infamous “Panda” upgrade, these changes haven’treally negatively impacted well marketed affiliate programs. This is because a savvywebsite owner is going to market their affiliate options to a suitable set of candidatesthrough things like traditional SEO and PPC advertising, which are always going toreach the most suitable audience possible.Search Engine Jargon ClarifiedAre these terms a bit over your head? SEO means “Search Engine Optimization,” and itis usually viewed as an optimal method of affiliate program marketing because it createsthe most “organic” results possible. You will be making an ongoing and persistent effortto identify the appropriate keywords for your intended audience, and will then integratethese words and terms into the individual pages of the website.Doing this means that you will also spend time acquiring back links that are valid andvaluable to SEO and higher search engine results.PPC means “Pay Per Click” advertising and it is not organic at all. You simply purchasead space with the major search engines (currently Google Adwords is the biggest namein PPC ads) and they ensure that the ads you send them will appear on pages or resultsthat are directly related to them. When you do a lot of SEO and partner it with PPC ads,it is likely that your site will appear or “rank” highly in all search engine results. 8
  • 8. SEO, PPC and AffiliatesWhen you get good placement in relevant searches, you are going to also get attentionfrom those who work, or have sites, in related fields. If you ensure that you apply thissort of marketing specifically to your affiliate pages and information, it is also going toposition that information highly in search engine results.What does this mean? It means that as people who are looking for information orproducts directly relating to your site get their results, they are also going to see youraffiliate program!Naturally, one of the smartest ways to market the affiliate site is to advertise it directlyon your site too. Make sure that your web page design incorporates a very bold andclear link to the affiliate marketing area of the site and that the tags, headers, and textutilize the same keywords that function well within the SEO and advertisements.Strong Words on Affiliate NetworksWe also suggest that you checkout options for affiliate networks. These are basicallythe classic “middle men” who can manage almost all aspects of your affiliate program,even directing potential affiliates to your “door”.The way that they work varies widely, but the ones that seem to be the mostcomprehensive and useful will begin with recruiting pages that work like a directory.This means that a potential affiliate hoping to enhance a website can browse through anaffiliate network’s online directory of opportunities. The network can then handle theregistration process and begin tracking all of the activity done by that affiliate. Thenetwork will even be able to help the affiliates with such things a links and setting uptheir sites.What does this mean to you as the merchant? It means that you have to be willing togive the network a percentage of the profits from the affiliate program, but it cannot beoverlooked that a good network can save you a huge amount of time, money andhassle. 9
  • 9. Just consider that traditional affiliate marketing requires: • The ID number for the affiliate • A system of links that the affiliates can use without fail • A website that works with the links given to the affiliates, and which can include: o Specific product pages o Affiliates only storefronts o Special home pages o Regular pagesAll of these things will have to head to the merchant URL, which is going to have tohave some sort of program for managing when an affiliate link has sent a visitor to thesite. It will then have to ensure that the visitor is at the actual merchant site and use“cookies “of some kind to keep track of the affiliate-generated activities.The affiliate networks can do all of that, plus they tend to offer even more types ofmanagement options. They can often report on the number of “clicks” that an affiliate’slinks generated, track sales or enrollment that resulted from an affiliate’s various links,and even keep track of the total number of website visitors to an affiliate’s site whoviewed the merchant’s information. The networks are also great for reporting to themerchants the amount of money that an affiliate is due on a weekly or monthly basis.Are we strongly advocating networks? If you can afford setup fees, we believe thatthese are usually the simplest and most effective ways of administrating your affiliateprograms. 10
  • 10. Chapter ThreeHelping Affiliates with BusinessYou have done the SEO and PPC campaigns meant to give you a strong position in thesearch engine results. You have worked with some of the best affiliate networks in orderto appear in their directories and listings. You are also advertising your affiliate programdirectly through your website. This all means that you are probably getting someinquiries about affiliate opportunities, and now is the time to understand what YOU cando for the affiliates in order to help them to promote your site.Making Life EasierIf you want to do what the “big boys” do, it will mean providing your affiliates with theeasiest methods possible. This is done through the creation of a series of different linksand/or embeddable text boxes and more.For instance, the basic list of items would include: • Text Links – Give your affiliates the tools to incorporate very natural and readable text links. This means that you will provide the code that works like a hyperlink (turning black text into another color to distinguish it from the rest), but which doesn’t jump out from the page in a distracting way. This is one of the ways that many affiliates really like to promote your site because it is subtle and not commercial or flashy. • Search boxes – This is a very clever and contemporary tool because it is actually a search engine powered by your website. When a visitor searches the affiliate’s site for information or products, it is actually going to generate results and links from the merchant (YOUR) website. 11
  • 11. • Banners and Boxes – These are graphics that are “clickable” when the coding is embedded properly into the affiliate’s page. These are very appealing when they use an image of an item or the logo of a company. • Product Links – You can always streamline everything and provide the affiliate with a link that takes visitors directly to the product page for the item. • Registration Links – If you are seeking to acquire leads through your affiliates, it may be a wise idea to give them links that get all of the details after the consumer has clicked the very first link. • Storefront Links – These can be a bit of a high maintenance issue because you as the merchant have to ensure that the links are taking visitors to the most appropriate and up to date pages. Basically, they send visitors to a fabricated store page that is connected to the merchant site, but related directly to the affiliate products or information. • Shared Page Links – you may have seen these already and not known it. These are links that drive the visitor to a page that has an identical appearance to the merchant’s page, but which is actually run by the merchant site. This is a very common system for affiliate programs for products.Of course, you can always send all links directly to your website homepage as well. Thisis not the most direct approach because it means that some visitors have to navigate tothe area of interest or because it may not get as many leads as desired. If, however, theonly goal of the affiliate program is to get people to that homepage, it is perfectlyacceptable to create a single, universal link.Be Sure to IndividualizeRemember, however, that any and all links provided to your affiliates have to begenerated with their specific ID number and tracking information. This is the main 12
  • 12. reason that we have recommended the use of networks. They often generate all ofthese links upon the request of the affiliate, and cannot be incorrect or fail to function.What IS usually in your hands is the maintenance of the website and all of the pagesrelated to affiliate marketing and the information or products it is meant to promote. Ifyou keep things simple, however, it is likely that your affiliates will be able to use thenecessary links in a simple and straightforward manner.Soon, you will be creating or receiving the reports that you need to see the results of theaffiliate program and to determine just how much traffic and profit it has generated foryour site. Most merchants are astounded to see that they are capable of creating a fewhundred dollars per month almost immediately, and many also see four and five figuredigits very quickly! 13