If you happened to read Part 1 of Understanding Affiliate Marketing, than you are ready to learn about getting started with your own Affiliate program! If you haven't read Part 1 and are not sure exactly what Affiliate Marketing is, then we advise you to click the "Previous" button and check out Part 1 real quick! Don't worry, we will still be here when you are done!
First Things First...
The first decision to make is whether or not you want to utilize an Affiliate network, or house your own program. For small businesses, it is more common to utilize a network when first getting started with an Affiliate program. There are many affiliate programs out there. To name a few: ShareASale, CJ by Conversant, Rakuten LinkShare, ClickBank, and many more. To see the Top 20 Affiliate Program List of 2015, click here.
When deciding on an affiliate network, ensure that the network fits your budget while also being highly regarded by both affiliates and merchants.
Assign Someone to the Job
After you have chosen a network and completed the initial set up, simultaneously you will need to consider who will manage your program once it is implemented. It will be crucial to find a manager that can monitor your program, engage affiliates in your program and provide them with the right tools to be successful.
Gather Everything You May Need
So you've chosen the affiliate network you are going to implement and you found someone to help manage the program either with or for you. The next thing to consider is what types of things you will need to get started! If you run an eCommerce site, it will be important to create a product data feed that will link to all of the products you offer on your website.
Once you have determined and created a product data feed, you will also need creative! Some things to think about implementing in your program in terms of creative include:
While you have the bulk of set up completed for your Affiliate program, now all you need are some affiliates to get you started! Some Affiliate networks will allow you to choose how you would like to approve affiliates that apply to your program, but you can also do a little recruiting on your own end to build up your base. By being pro-active and reaching out to websites and contacting other known affiliates, you are able to reach an audience that might be interested in working with your affiliate program (it doesn't hurt to perhaps offer them a little incentive, either!).
Last Thing to Consider...
When you are initially getting started and are researching affiliate networks to join, it is likely that most networks will have an initial start-up cost or implementation fee. This should be considered when deciding on your budget and what you are willing and able to spend on an affiliate program. One of the last things to consider after you have completed implementation is your budget. Another portion of the budget that is important to consider is what commission percentage or other incentives you are willing and able to offer potential affiliates if they are successful in participating in your program. This will be important not only for your purposes, but also in terms of attracting and retaining affiliates to want to continue working with you.
Always Look for New Ways to Grow!
It is important to view your affiliate program as a mutual partnership. You as the Merchant should value your relationship with your affiliates and provide them with the tools to succeed in your program. There are plenty of ways to continue to engage your affiliates in your program. You can do your part to help your affiliates grow their own successes by doing a few of these things:
1. Send out a regular Affiliate Newsletter
2. Continuously update your text links
3. Always look for new creative banners to implement
4. Be a resource to your affiliates, if they need help with something in order to be successful, help them out!
5. Continue to seek ways to recruit and grow your group of affiliates
6. Talk with other professionals that also manage affiliate programs to continue to learn
Have you implemented an affiliate program? Share with us your success or advice on how you manage your program and engage your affiliates!
If you would like more information on how to become a RedShelf affiliate, click here!