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Affiliate Programs - Get Others Promote Your Online Business

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How To Get Thousands Of People
Actively Promote Your Business

Back to part 1

There are two ways you can set up your affiliate program.

Use Third Party Service

They manage all the details of your revenue sharing operations including affiliate sign-ups, approvals, tracking, reporting, and commission payments.

A huge advantage of using a third party is that it promotes your program for you. Also, they consolidate payouts (payouts from all merchants get lumped together into one large check), making it a favorite for affiliates.

Normally they charge you a percentage of each sale or a set up fee, or both.

Commission Junction: Launched in November, 1998. The largest affiliate management service. Depending on volume, transaction fees range from 15-25% of whatever commission you pay.

LinkShare: Another large network. It costs several thousand dollars to set up. LinkShare has attracted some big names, including Dell. You benefit from the publicity it generates.

There are free affiliate management services online such as ClickBank who will also process credit card payment for you. If you are selling downloadable products, ClickBank can be a good choice to set up a simple affiliate program quickly, easily and very cheaply. It has about 100,000 affiliates.

Purchase Your Own Affiliate Software

You purchase an affiliate software and install it in your server. The software will track affiliates and sales. Features you should look for include:

  • Sign up affiliates automatically
  • Track and display stats for affiliates in real-time
  • Work with shopping carts
  • Track orders
  • Track visitors who come back and buy at a later date and record the affiliate credit for that sale

A big advantage of using your own affiliate software is that you can also use it as ad tracking tools. Just assign a unique affiliate ID to each ad you place, you will be able to find out which ones are working and making money for you.

Another benefit is improved link popularity which is extremely important for search engine ranking today. Since all the affiliate links point directly to your web site if you use your own affiliate software, your link popularity will be much higher.

On the other hand, affiliate links managed by third party will point to that third party's site first then redirected to your site. Search engines normally don't follow the whole path and count it as inbound link to your site.

You will be surprised at how many people telling you one of the benefits of setting up affiliate program is link popularity but failed to mention this: affiliate program managed by third party won't increase your link popularity.

Here are some good affiliate software:

Ultimate Affiliate: Industry favorite, one of the most fully featured affiliate program scripts on the Internet. Possibly the only affiliate program software which reports affiliate statistics graphically.

My Affiliate Program: Feature packed affiliate program software. And the company is well known for its superb support.

AssocTrac: Good piece from famous Corey Rudl, founder of Internet Marketing Center. You don't just get the software installed. The package also includes a heap of advice on how to recruit affiliates from Corey. That's a huge bonus.

So which method should you choose? It really depends on your needs. Either way has pros and cons.

For example, do you need to use third party credit card processing service? If you do, the best choice is clear: ClickBank, since they do both and the affiliate service is free.

If you prefer your own merchant account and expect lots of affiliates to sign up for your program, you may want to purchase affiliate software. You will save money in the long run because you can be paying out thousands of dollars in affiliate management fees very quickly if you use Commission Junction.

If you just don't want the trouble of printing and mailing checks for your affiliates every month, obviously you have to go for third party services.

Whichever method you choose, the bottom line is, set up your affiliate program! It's a powerful and really cost effective way to market your products. In fact, I can't think of a better way to market your products or services with such a low risk! It is absolutely fantastic.

Back to part 1

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