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Two Sides to Affiliate Programs

Aug 17, 2007
Let us look at the various categories that apply to both merchant and affiliate.

First of all advertising is definitely required. The merchant's advertising is directed not only to the visitor to his site but also to the affiliates he wishes to recruit. He probably would have to spend more at the beginning but as he gains more affiliates he would be able to reduce that cost and let them bring in the buyers. Of course he has expenses that relate only to him and we will discuss those later.

The affiliate's needs to advertise also and his advertising will be the key to his success. Driving traffic to his affiliate links is as important as to his own website if he has one. He can use any means such as email marketing, using squeeze pages, forum advertising, etc. He can't just sit back and think it's going to be easy without putting in good effort.

Choosing your partner, so to speak, is another category. The merchant generally will accept anyone who signs up, gives his correct information such as email address, name and address and website. There are some who will check out that site, for instance, but generally this is not necessary. Having your own site shouldn't be a requirement (although it is
helpful) for the affiliate because it offers him a means to promote his affiliate campaign.

Now the affiliate has many requirements here. In choosing the product to promote he should have it fit with his marketing niche so if he does promote it on his website it fits in. He needs to research such things as:

1. Reliability of the product
2. Visitor interest. Is it something people are looking for? Just because the commission looks good it doesn't mean anyone wants to spend his money for it.
3. Testimonials. Are there some available, not just on the merchant"s site but perhaps in forums?
4. Buying the product himself. This will give him an excellent method to check it out first hand.
5. Is the price competitive? And would he be willing to pay it himself?
6. Number of affiliates and the sales ratio. Too many may may mean too much competition and too few may mean the product isn't saleable. But on the other hand it may be a sleeper that really pays off if he takes a chance.

In his evaluation of the affiliate program itself here are some of the questions he should address:

1. Affiliate program history. Is it well known and does it pay as promised?
2. Marketing tools available.?
3. Sign-up procedure. Does the site offer clear instructions,availability of support at any time and payment procedures, etc.?
4. Account details are available at any time?
5. Privacy and terms spelled out?
6. Is there a good tracking system?

The merchant, on the the other hand, does have research he needs to do before offering his products for sale.

1. What kind of expense will he have in establishing product? This will vary greatly, depending on the product itself. Does he make it or does he pay someone else to do it.
2. Who sets up his website? Can he do it himself or does he need to hire someone?
3. How does he do the payment processing? Does he handle it on site or does he use a payment processor such as Clickbank? Buyers generally will trust the payment processor better, especially if it is well known. It makes it easier for the merchant as he doesn't have to worry about the details. How are chargebacks going to be handled?
4.What kind of commission is he going to offer? Should it be a one time payment, is there residual income offered and does he offer payment for future sales? How will he best track visitors and sales?

Mistakes made on both sides, not necessarily the same ones.

1. Merchant sets commissions too low. Obviously won't attract many affiliates.
2. Sets commissions too high. His profit margin will obviously be squeezed. Site not adequately explaining the merchants program. This will end up having the support center overwhelmed with requests.
4. Setting up too high a minimum payment procedure.
5. The affiliate doesn't advertise sufficiently, then
blames the merchant for not having a good product.
6. The affiliate doesn't do the research necessary before he signs up.
7. Signing up for too many programs so he doesn't give enough promotion to any of them.
8. If he does promote several, he doesn't use an organizer of some type to help keep track of his advertising and commissions.

So each partner in the affiliate process has his own requirements and needs and yet aimilarities. It takes two to have a partnership and that's what it really is.
About the Author
Nancy Stetson. She uses the programs on her website to show the beginner on the internet how one can begin with no experience and little money. Visit her
at homebased-opportunities
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