Affiliate Program Primer
by Ed Osworth
Your Own Affiliate Program - The affordable and proven way to boost your Internet business.
If you have been on the web for over a month I'm sure you have heard about thousands of different "secrets" of succeeding in your marketing. Search engine positioning, direct Email, banners, ezines, secret formulas, emotional response headlines, and on and on.
The real "secret" isn't a secret at all. If you want to be successful - Just look at who is successful and copy them. Don't "reinvent the wheel" and don't accept as fact what you may hear (and purchase from) the army of Internet "experts" who may have never even made a dime online. Who is successful ? Amazon Books. Music Boulevard, CDNow, Corey Rudl (Internet Marketing Company), Barnes & Noble, and many other BIG successes all have one thing in common. Affiliate/associate Programs.
Unless you are brand new at online marketing, you're probably familiar with associate programs and how they work: The methods vary from program to program, but usually an associate is given a unique URL that links to a parent company's web site. The associate points traffic to that URL through banners, ezines, classifieds etc. and gets a commission from every sale that is generated from that unique website address. The parent handles the order fulfillment and cuts the associate commission checks.
Associate programs are great for both the parent and the affiliate. The parent gets an army of salespeople and the affiliate is free from having to develop and sell their own products. The affiliate can promote many different products on their website (or in their ezine) and receive a steady income.
ADVANTAGES OF YOUR OWN ASSOCIATE PROGRAM
1) Leverage: Let's face the facts, most of us can only bring so many visitors to our site. Every time you sign up an associate you essentially "clone" yourself and your marketing efforts. Your focus changes from promoting your product to promoting your program.
2) More sales. It's simple math. Every associate will have their own website and/or Email lists to promote to. The web is incomprehensibly huge and any advertising campaign is a proverbial "drop in the bucket" unless you have a huge advertising budget. Every associate site is one more site where folks can find your product. Their participation means that more keywords can lead to your product or service from the search
engines. This multiplies the chance you can make that sale.
3) Affordability: Setting up an associate program can be much less expensive than even a small advertising campaign. Mine cost me only $199 and an afternoon of setting it up. Once you set up a good program on your site - it does the work for you. Then instead of paying for advertising your product or service and keeping your fingers crossed that it pays off - you only have to pay for ACTUAL SALES.
TIPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE ASSOCIATE PROGRAM
If you start such a program make sure you have lots of tools for your associates to use. Banners, pre written text for promotional mentions, pre written classified ads, and an effective tested website they can use with secure ordering are a must. It is your responsibility to create good tools so that your associates can effectively promote, promote and promote.
Make sure your program offers on line stats so your affiliates can measure the success of their efforts and track their sales. Get a program that sends them an Email when a sale is made and contact your associates with new ideas regularly so they don't lose interest. Most associate programs fall flat in this area. Don't just sign them up and forget them. You are the team leader - help them succeed.
Most importantly - be generous with your commissions. Some programs are so miserly with their commissions I don't know why anyone signs up. I pay a 40% referral fee to my associates. After all, without their help there wouldn't have even been a sale! BTW: my program is at http://www.fsbotips.com/signup/
WHICH PROGRAM TO USE ?
I spent months evaluating and testing the different offerings out there before deciding on a program that I found to be head and shoulders above the rest. It's feature list is a veritable wish-list of what I wanted. These were thing I hoped to see in the affiliate programs I was involved in and didn't find in most.
This program offers both you and your associates live stats and commission reports and instant Email notification of sales. The associates each get their own static URL and directory so they can list the pages in the search engines and won't lose sales if visitors return later to buy. The affiliate's site is instantly created online in seconds after they fill out the form. It offers instant commission reports so, on check cutting day, I
just log on and print the report. At $199 it is the best marketing money I have ever spent.
It is called Your Own Associate Program and is straightforward enough that I was able to install it myself in an afternoon. And I do not have extensive CGI experience by any means. I HIGHLY recommend it to you, check it out at:
It has created over 150 associate websites for me with absolutely NO problems. And the support has been excellent.
Sometimes we get so involved looking for "secrets" that we miss what is right in front of us. Just look at what is working out there. Amazon was started on a shoestring and is now worth more than I can even imagine. How did they do it - it's no "secret" - it's an affiliate program.
Call us at 281-447-3460 or e-mail anytime with any questions or comments!