Wednesday, August 1, 2007

get affiliate for you part #2

Setting up Your Own Affiliate Program (part two)
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
Managing and tracking 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

Staying Organized

There are many affiliate networks that provide multiple
affiliate programs and merchants. Keeping a 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

* Program Name
* Date joined or created
* Contact Name
* 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 checks 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* This allows you to repeatedly get paid for work you do
once. For example, if a visitor arrives at your site and
purchases auto responder 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.

* A well placed recommendation placed 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.

* 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.

* 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.

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.