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Starting an Affiliate Program: Plan Beforehand

Nov 29, 2007
There are many benefits to starting an affiliate program. It is a great source of passive income and you can enjoy increased sales as well. It is no wonder that you may be very eager to start your own affiliate program. However, before you dive right in, you need to put some careful thought and consideration into the process and make sure that you know just exactly what you are getting into with an affiliate program.

Affiliate programs have a pretty inexpensive and easy startup. Virtually anyone can start their own affiliate program; just click your mouse a few times and you're set. As easy as they may be to start, thought, they still require time and effort to make them a success. It takes time to build them. But, if you begin with a solid foundation, the ease of growing it to success will be increased even more.

The ease of starting an affiliate program, though, can lend itself to sloppy marketing practices. Many would be affiliates may be tempted to slap a few PLR articles together and call it an eBook just so that they can have a product for affiliates to sell. But in this business quality counts, especially if you want a successful program. If you are considering starting an affiliate program, slow down and take the necessary time and work that is needed to develop a good, high quality product. If a product is of poor quality, it will be difficult to recruit affiliates and the ones that you can recruit will have a very difficult time promoting it.

Once you have created your product, you should attempt to sell it yourself first. This will give you an idea of how well - or how poorly - your product will convert. Some affiliates will specifically look for products that have high conversion rates. If the conversion rate seems low, you may consider tweaking your product a little to increase the conversion rate. This may be the boost that your product needs.

Taking the time to sell your own product before you begin an affiliate program will also give you time to develop your ads, marketing strategy, articles and other tools that affiliates can use to increase the sale of your product once the program is opened to others.

Another way to strengthen your new affiliate program is to research the different types and details of other programs. Look at programs that are managed by the product owner and programs that have a designated affiliate manager. Review the advantages and disadvantages of programs that are run through companies such as Clickbank as well as programs where the owner installs a script on their own server. You can also research programs such as WahmCartcom and 1ShoppingCartcom. These programs help the owner set up a program that works best for not only them but also for their future affiliates.

As a product owner, you will also need to answer some questions before opening your shop:

* How much commission will your affiliates receive?
* What type of payment method will you put in place?
* Will there be multiple tiers that you will put in place to help you get more affiliates?

You should answer all of these questions before you start any type of affiliate program. If you don't, you or your manager may find that you are overwhelmed very quickly.

As a product owner you will also want to take the time to build an affiliate resource center. Fill it with training materials, promotional tools and tons of resources to empower your affiliates and help them succeed. Affiliate programs have a tendency to attract a wide range of affiliates with an equally wide range of affiliate marketing knowledge. This means that your program should not only cater to the seasoned marketers in your program, but to those who are new to the business as well.

Before you actually open you affiliate program to the general public, recruit a few super affiliates first. A good way to attract these super affiliates is to let them know that the program is only open to a limited number of people for a certain amount of time. Let them know that you are giving them a head start on promoting your product.

Planning ahead for your affiliate program allows you as the owner get an effective and efficient system in place. This way you can work out all of the bugs and have everything operating correctly before you open the doors and announce your new program.
About the Author
Robert Paul Williams is the Editor of Work At Home Business Website. Are You Promoting a Product or Service Online? Come Visit WAHBWS to Get Some Free and Low Cost Website Advertising Ideas.
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