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The Essence Of Affiliate Management
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If you have a product that you want to sell, whether it's an e-book, audio or video, it's usually a very wise idea to create an affiliate program around it.

If you have an affiliate program for your product, you will get a ton of traffic that you would not normally have received.

The reason is because a lot of people will promote your product for you when you're paying them a commission to do it!

Would you rather have 100 people buy your product from you? Or would you rather have 100 affiliates when each has a hundred people buying your product from them?

It's a no-brainer when there can be a better way to boost your income by leveraging on the combined efforts of hundreds of affiliates to sell for you. This demand for a better way creates a market for affiliate management software which makes the whole process of setting up, recording and releasing commissions so much more...well, manageable.

Without such a software, you would never have been able to get the amount of traffic and sales multiple promoters could give you, compared to achieving it all by yourself. It would have been impossible to 'promote' every customer into an affiliate automatically. Talk about missing out on an exponential effect on your financial bottomline!

Let's begin with explaining what an affiliate program is.

An affiliate program is a way to offer partners who are interested in promoting your product or service a share of the profits generated after they make a sale. Your affiliate partners are "commissioned salespeople" who will take your marketing message to their audience, convince them to buy from you, and then get paid a proportion of the profit they create for your business.

The advantages of having affiliates (or associates) build your business and help you with marketing is that you have no upfront expense to cover. Apart from setting up an infrastructure to manage affiliates and create marketing material for them to use, you pay nothing until after a sale has been made. Contrast this with conventional advertising where you pay first, and then hope you make enough sales to make back your investment. Another benefit is you can reach an audience through your affiliates which you otherwise wouldn't be able to by yourself. This multiplies your reach and can explode your sales and profits.

Unfortunately, despite the benefits, running an affiliate program is not as easy as it seems because the symbiosis or synergistic relationship between affiliates and merchants is not always and fully understood. The most successful programs are based on mutual respect, open dialogue, and proper recognition and reward for success.

The affiliate management software can only go so far with proper reporting of up-to-date statistics like number of impressions, click-throughs, leads, sales, 2nd-tier affiliates and others on a monthly and daily basis. But of course it wouldn't be called an affiliate management software if it can't process these data, so there are features that affiliate managers must look out for and diligently evaluate before they prepares to invest in a software. Affiliates would want to know what statistics are available so that they can determine how well they are succeeding.

On the managers' part, they are obliged to provide all the sales tools and material affiliates need to sell their products as effectively as possible. This is not easily done because:

1) they become lazy; and

2) they presume affiliates know what to do.

Affiliates must feel they are well equipped to sell the merchants' products because even if they have not reviewed the products themselves, only the merchants know their stuff best and how to present them to the audience in the best possible light.

Besides the standard affiliate link, the tools for online promotion include banner graphics, e-mail messages, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, a giveaway viral report, a review article, PLR articles, testimonials, one-time offer (OTO) page, forum signatures, press releases, popup HTML codings etc.

The truly successful affiliate managers are the ones who can respond and better still, pre-empt the kind of help affiliates typically ask for, thus providing an optimal level of support affiliates require, leading to every possible sales conversion whenever the opportunity arises.

Successful affiliate programs have dedicated personnel that work with the affiliates to ensure that they have the tools that they need, the reporting that is required, and to ensure that they are compensated fairly and in a timely fashion. Again these services are either provided to the affiliates by an individual or team that works directly for the merchant, or by an independent affiliate management company. Either solution is acceptable to affiliates providing that they receive the level of support that they require.

Providing that the affiliates are successful in delivering prospects to a merchant-customers that convert into paying customers-and they earn money, they will continue to promote them, and the more that they earn, the better the promotion is likely to be. Online affiliates have a set amount of "real estate" on their sites for promotion-they of course have to provide content to their visitors-and this is allocated to those merchants from whom they earn the best return. In return, the manager can reward better-performing affiliates according to the results they have achieved.

But bear in mind the reality is that 80%-90% of your affiliates will be inactive under normal circumstances. The Pareto principle also applies that 20% of your affiliates are likely to be responsible for 80% of the total sales.

To keep affiliates motivated, merchants should work with them to create incentive programs and special events that will provide them with opportunities for increased recognition and revenue; for example, increase affiliate commission for a certain time period. They should also take the time to communicate with them whenever possible to help them with their promotions. One method is to publish regular affiliates-only newsletters that contain their statistics for the week/month, affiliate marketing tips, product and promotion updates, interviews with successful affiliates etc. Your affiliates will never forget they joined your program.



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About the Author

Nelson Tan, Internet Mastery Center
Blk 539, Serangoon North Ave. 4, #03-37
Nerstrand, MN 55053
65-90271300

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