February 15, 2006Volume 5 Number 07 Issue 94
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Setting up Your Own Affiliate Program

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Setting up Your Own Affiliate Program

So what is Setting up Your Own Affiliate Program really all about? The following report includes some fascinating information about Setting up Your Own Affiliate Program – info you can use, not just the old stuff they used to tell you.

This article is the second of a two part series on setting up your own affiliate program. In addition to starting an affiliate program, you must manage it and keep track of it. The following information will show you how to Manage and Track your Affiliate Programs.

The key to any business is to promote your products and services to people who need them. Your affiliate business is no different. In order to earn commissions you must put your products in front of the people who need them. The beauty of marketing Affiliate Programs is that it is anybody’s ball game. This is the one place you can burrow deep into your own niche and stick it to the so-called 'big wigs'.

You may create your own Affiliate Program or you may promote other popular Affiliate Programs that are related to your product or service. The best way to manage and track Affiliate Programs is by creating your own Affiliate Program website. This is where you can list all your Affiliate Programs.

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Staying Organized

There are many affiliate networks that provide multiple Affiliate Programs and merchants. Keeping track of all Affiliate Programs in a single network is easy. You would generally be given one username and password as well as a single interface that controls all the programs. However, if you have many of your own Affiliate Programs or you promote several stand-alone Affiliate Programs from your website, the task of staying organized becomes a bit more complex.

There are many software programs available on the Internet that organize and keep track of all data associated with Affiliate Programs. Some of these are My Affiliate Program 2000 and Affiliate Assistant 1.0. These programs maintain databases pertaining to information about all your Affiliate Programs. A typical database would consist of the following fields :

  • Program Name
  • Date joined or created
  • Contact Name
  • URL
  • Email Address
  • ID
  • Password
  • 1st Tier Percent
  • 1st Tier Sale
  • 2nd Tier Percent
  • 2nd Tier Sale
  • Total Income
  • Additional comments

Once the program information has been entered, you can add information about individual sales made and cheques received. The program then keeps track of sales to date, amount collected and receivables. Besides, some of the advanced software programs also provide analysis and comparison tools for all Affiliate Programs. If you take the time to input collected data about clicks, sales, and page views, impressions, emails sent, etc. from your various campaigns and enter all of it into the program, it will show you:

  • Click to Sale Ratios
  • Impression to Sale Ratios
  • Amount Earned Per Impression
  • Amount Earned Per Click

Apart from these are a few other tips that might help you manage your Affiliate Programs.

  1. Always ensure that your website is up and running. On a Daily basis type your URL into your browser's address bar, refresh the page and find out. The danger in not knowing that your site is down comes when you are running a pay per click advertising campaign. The click costs add up whether your site is functional or not. If your site is down, you are paying for advertising, but no one is buying
  2. Check your statistics daily, maybe even twice a day. This will give you a better idea of your income trends and also highlight Affiliate Programs that bring your business. Visit the statistics interface for each network and individual affiliate partner and input your total revenues into any accounting software. Using such software frequently will also keep you informed as to whether certain checks have become overdue.
  3. Be prompt in answering any queries from affiliate partners or customers, especially when these are about your products or services. This probably means that the customer trusts your site and is thinking of buying your product.
  4. One of the main aspects of any Affiliate Program is residual income. You've got to make the most of each and every customer you receive. The best way to do this is by promoting Affiliate Programs that offer residual commission.
  5. This allows you to repeatedly get paid for work you do once. For example, if a visitor arrives at your site and purchases autoresponder services, newsletter subscriptions, ISP / hosting services, you will collect a portion of the monthly fees for as long as they remain a paying customer. Membership sites are a good way to collect residual commissions and are steadily growing in popularity. There are many Affiliate Programs that offer residual commission.
  6. A well placed recommendation at the end of an outgoing email can bring in extra sales. Target your audience, what are their specific needs? If you can offer them a product they need / want, often times the end result will be a sale.
  7. Finally, track all your affiliate links. The best way to accomplish this is by setting up tracking software for your affiliate links. There are a number of scripts that will do the job. Most tracking programs typically allow you to setup tracking links for any product you promote, telling you how many hits each product has received, and where the hits are coming from. A more detailed view of tracking and analysis is given in the section below.

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It is not enough to have a few banners and classified ads. You must provide as much help as possible for your associates if you want them to be successful. You should have tested and proven endorsements, testimonials, sig files, ezine ads, and other unique tools and techniques. You must also make yourself available, either through email or the phone, to help your affiliates implement these tools and to answer any questions they may have.

Whether you run your own or participate in an Affiliate Program, you must be able to determine what methods work best in a particular medium. For instance, which ezine ads work best and in what ezine; which banner ads produce the greatest clickthroughs and from which sites or banner exchanges; and where on your website is the most effective spot to include a testimonial.

Some Affiliate Programs, have implemented unique payment procedures to get affiliates their commission checks on a timely basis. Some of these procedures include: online electronic payment services, direct bank deposits and checks by fax. If you can solidify your payment procedures from the start, you will save yourself an administrative headache and more importantly, keep your affiliates happy and working to promote your program.

Knowing enough about Affiliates to make solid, informed choices cuts down on the fear factor. If you apply what you've just learned about Affiliates, you should have nothing to worry about.

This concludes my series on starting your own Affiliate Program. This information should be all you need to start, manage and track your own Affiliate Program.

Talk to you soon!

warmly,
Jim Green

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