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Copyright 2007

Affiliate Retailers

Affiliate marketing is a way of getting your business more exposure and more sales.

It is cost effective in that you only pay your 'sales force' when you actually make a sale through them; you don't have to pay them retainers or salaries. You can gain affiliates from many places and with diverse customer bases, so it can be effective marketing.

One of the first decisions you need to make is how much commission to give affiliates, and on what basis you will give it. For instance, will it be an amount per click or per sale? Will it be 5% or 10%? To determine this, consider your profit margins; if a 10% commission eats up all of your profits, it is not an effective strategy. Take into account the saleability of your products as well - if affiliates are likely to sell many items for you, a smaller commission will still appeal to them; big ticket items deserve a bigger commission.

The software that runs affiliate programs can be set to remember which affiliate sent a customer for longer than the first visit. Thus, you can give your affiliates commissions on subsequent visits and sales, too. A 60 or 90 day cookie (cookie is the code that remembers who came via what link) is common, but it can be much longer; obviously, affiliates are attracted by longer cookie times.

You will also need to consider tier systems. That is, will you reward people who recommend other affiliates to your program? And will it be a one-off reward or on ongoing one? Alternatively, you may wish to acknowledge those affiliates who generate the most sales

Are there some bonuses you are willing to give to your affiliates? Maybe a relevant ebook, a discount voucher for your site or a web site to operate from. Whilst this isn't necessary and many affiliate programs don't do such things, it is worth at least thinking about; look after your affiliates and they will be happier to recommend you to others.

In setting up an affiliate program, you can choose between running your own and joining an affiliate network. Joining a network will save you administrative time in establishing and maintaining your affiliates, but is likely to require a much larger initial cost. A share of commissions will have to go to the network as well, but you are likely to gain more affiliates through the network than by yourself.

If you don't use an affiliate network, you will also need to

  • determine how often you will pay affiliates< and by what method
  • decide on a minimum payment amount to minimise your expenses
  • establish some information for affiliates to help them. This can be newsletter or information on your site
  • ensure affiliates can access the statistics of their sales
  • determine if and how affiliates can deep link to particular items on your site (eg if you sell cds, an affiliate may wish to link to the classical section for his/her wind instrument site.)
  • set up a web page with all the affiliate information and a sign up form
  • have a system so that you can reply to each new affiliate as they sign up

In both cases, you will need to advertise the affiliate program on your site for your interested customers and prepare some banners and text links for affiliates to use.

Some affiliate networks in Australia and New Zealand to look at:





Commission Monster 

Check My Stats

(Note: these are given as a reference only. It is advised that you check each network thoroughly before making a decision.)

Running an affiliate program can be very beneficial to your business, but as there are expenses involved it is worth comparing it carefully to your current marketing strategies.

To set up your own affiliate program, take advantage of the free, 30 day trial of this easy-to-use software that had many other useful features as well.

For further information on affiliate programs, refer to the article, "Affiliate Selling"

To protect your affiliate links, or those of your affiliates, try Affiliate Defender from Save Time Online and Jimmy D Brown.

Tash Hughes is a Mum of two in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com





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