Regardless of the type of website you operate, one of the keys to your success will be how well you promote your site. This is particularly the case for a website on which you are trying to conduct business and sell things to your customers. Of course, in order for someone to become a customer, they first have to find your website.
As you probably know, getting additional website traffic can take a lot of time and effort. If you’ve tried to promote your website before then you know that there’s only so much you can do on your own. To boost your promotional efforts you could always hire a sales or marketing person, but you might end up having to pay them even if the results they generate aren’t exactly what you had in mind. In order to make sure you’re only paying for results, you can set up an affiliate network.
An affiliate network is a way for website owners (generally referred to as “affiliates” or “publishers”) to allow anyone to drive prospective customers to their website, and pay the person driving that traffic only when those prospective customers become paying customers.
This is generally accomplished by providing each person who promotes your website (often referred to as an “affiliate marketer,” because they’re marketing the products of the affiliate) with a URL that they should send their referrals to. The URL contains a tracking ID that’s unique to that particular marketer, so for each new referral to your website you can tell exactly who sent that person. When a new referral makes a purchase, you then know to whom you should pay the pre-agreed fee or commission.
There are different ways to compensate the affiliate marketers who promote your website and its products. The most common options are to either pay a flat fee for the sale of a particular product, or to pay a percentage of the sales price.
If your business is one where you anticipate a significant amount of repeat customers, then you may wish to pay a higher commission to your affiliate marketers for that first sale they bring in. After all, even if you won’t make as much profit on the first sale, the greater value lies in having a customer that continues to purchase from you over time.
While it’s certainly possible to create and promote a new affiliate network specifically for your website (handling the actual payments can be particularly burdensome), you’re likely to have more success by joining an existing service that matches publishers and affiliate marketers. Not only will this save you a significant amount of time, it also puts you in the best position to find skilled affiliate marketers. Many affiliate marketers use their expertise to promote multiple websites or products. They are therefore more likely to want to have a single account and payment system for all of their affiliate marketing activities, rather than having to sign-up for separate accounts with each individual publisher. ClickBank (www.clickbank.com) is often a good choice for publishers new to affiliate marketing. ClickBank allows publishers to outsource the administration of the entire affiliate program.
When creating an affiliate network for your website, it’s important to take the right attitude towards your affiliate marketers. Don’t look at the commissions you pay them as a “necessary evil.” Instead, look at how they bring you new business (business that you quite possibly would not have gotten without their promotional efforts) without you having to spend a single minute of your valuable time.
I am freelance writer and web design consultant. I love to review software and tools that can help users increase their productivity.