What if you weren’t the only person doing marketing for your business? Maybe not an entire staff of full-time marketing specialists, but someone with additional reach, a unique perspective, and their own followers, who could help you out with marketing efforts.
The Concept Behind Affiliate Marketing
You wouldn’t ask them to work for free, of course. You’d pay them a commission: a percentage based on the sales they bring to your site. The more they market, the more they get rewarded.
You, on the other hand, are free to work on your current strategies and continue building your business.
This is how affiliate marketing works in a nutshell. This popular method of leveraging marketing efforts through others has become standard operating procedure for many thriving eCommerce sites. Let’s take a look at how to easily set up an affiliate program for your website so that you can tap into new marketing resources very quickly.
A Brief Review of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a topic we have covered before, in discussions about how such programs work, and the benefits of including affiliate marketing in your overall sales strategy.
The overall concept of affiliate marketing is very attractive to many business owners. A third party, known as the affiliate, contracts with your business. They promote your business through their own outlets, and earn a commission on sales that occur through each affiliate’s own special referral link.
While the concept is pretty basic (the affiliate makes money from the traffic they drive to your site, and you benefit from an increase in traffic) there are still quite a few moving pieces that need to be examined regarding the process.
How will you track each referral link? In fact, how will you generate and activate the referral links? You’ll want to keep an eye on each affiliate to ensure they’re contributing to your business and fulfilling the specifications of your contract, too. When stacked upon your regular tasks of running your business, it may seem like more hassle than it’s worth.
The good news is that with careful management and setup, your website’s affiliate program doesn’t need to cause you any additional stress.
What Should I Know Before I Create an Affiliate Program?
Affiliate programs can accomplish many things, when done correctly.
The ultimate goal of an affiliate program is to engage the reach of another party, who may have access to followers and sites that you haven’t even considered. This can be, for example, a social media influencer, or a blogger. This method not only drives traffic to your site, but can increase conversions and brand awareness.
However, it’s not a one-stop cure for all that ails your business. While affiliate marketing is known for increasing traffic and having a decent return on investment, you will still be compensating the affiliate for the sales generated from their efforts. If you currently have a very small profit margin, for example, this might not be the wisest investment at this time.
There are also some niches in which affiliate programs are uncommon, which might hurt your efforts to launch an effective program. Take a look at other businesses in your niche to determine whether they’re currently using affiliate programs. You can do this by searching for terms like:
- affiliate programs
- affiliate marketing or simply
Accompanied by your area of expertise, eg “knitting affiliate programs” or “activewear affiliates”.
Every area of business has their own etiquette for affiliate programs, so take a look around before you get started. You’ll get a feel for what an adequate commission is, as well as any “dos and don’ts” that apply specifically to your industry.
How to Set Up an Affiliate Program
Once you’ve got a few ideas in mind, it’s time to put together your affiliate program. This is the part where you add in all the details that will make your program attractive.
The first thing you’ll need to do is choose an item for your affiliate to promote. While the main goal is to drive traffic to your site, your affiliate is likely to have more success saying “check out this amazing product from (brand)” than they will with “check out (brand)”.
The Overall Process in 5 Steps
You also may want to give affiliates a specific deal to provide to their audience, such as free shipping on orders over a certain amount, a first-time buyer discount, or a special discount code for those who learn about your website through affiliates.
Next, you’ll need to determine how you’ll compensate the affiliate. Percentage commissions are most popular, though some brands provide freebies to them. After all, you want the affiliate to be a brand ambassador, so having practical experience with what you’re selling is usually an important selling point.
Then the time has come to recruit your affiliates. There are many ways to do this. Some websites have a link to their affiliate program on the site itself, usually in an out-of-the-way place like the footer. You might also want to make announcements via social media and your email lists. Remember, you’re looking for enthusiastic marketers with their own reach.
Here below, you can find some marketers that can help you to promote your brand through your affiliate program:
Lastly, you’ll want to keep track of what your affiliates are doing. Not only will you want to track their sales via each one’s distinct referral link or affiliate code, but you’ll also want to pay attention to where they’re marketing and how successful they are in each endeavor.
You’ll need to be able to manage payouts for each affiliate, as well as a payout schedule. Any freebies, discounts, or special offers associated with each affiliate will need to be tracked and managed, as well.
Zero-Hassle Suggested Affiliate Program Platform for Your Business
Since there are so many moving parts to setting up, managing, and analyzing an affiliate program, many business owners prefer to use programs that can help them organize all of these details.
One suggested platform is GoAffPro (official website here), which offers integration with many eCommerce platforms, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, Prestashop, and Wix, just to name a few.
Affiliate marketing app for your eCommerce store
Best For: eCommerce websites who want to quickly implement an affiliate program
Features: Unlimited affiliates, unlimited sales, affiliate portal
Supported Platforms: 10+ platform, but manual and custom setup possible
Price Range: $0-$199/month
Getting started with GoAffPro is as simple as downloading the tool and entering the figures specific to your program, such as default and product-specific commissions.
From there, you’ll be able to generate referral links so you can easily track affiliate progress, as well as manage contracts and pay your affiliates through PayPal Payouts.
GoAffPro features a branded portal that your affiliates can use, which is listed under your domain so that your team never has to leave your website. They can sign in using Google or Facebook, as well. This all-in-one set up makes it easier for affiliates and business owners to be on – quite literally – the same page.
You’ll also have access to various analytics, which provide full metrics on sales, growth, and activity.
Affiliate programs may not be a good fit for every business, but they do offer the opportunity for growing traffic and increasing brand loyalty by leveraging the marketing efforts of an outside party. This third party, known as the affiliate, will ideally have access to resources you may not have considered, including their own followers.
There are plenty of things that need to be considered before you set up an affiliate program for your website, so take your time to do plenty of research on how such programs work within your niche.
Once you’ve got some goals, it’s time to settle on the details. Programs such as GoAffPro can help you stay organized and ensure your affiliates are paid out correctly and on time.
As you get started, remember that affiliates are not magical beings– you will likely see spikes in increased traffic. Be sure to keep your website tidy and your content compelling, and hopefully some of those spikes will become life-long brand followers.