How to Set Up an Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs are some of the best partnership programs in business today. They don’t not have the pitfalls of traditional partnerships because each member (the merchant or the affiliate) owns his or her own business. They join together to make each other successful, but they are not bound to continue the relationship. It is just a “win-win” situation. Both parties benefit.

Setting up an Affiliate Program Can be Viewed as Going Two Different Directions

If you are setting up an affiliate program, you are either a merchant looking for someone to help promote your product, or you are a marketer looking to promote someone else’s product.

We will look at the more advanced program first: that of you being the merchant. If that does not interest you, scroll down to learn about tips for being an affiliate going the other direction.

Setting up a Program as a Merchant

When you set up an affiliate program as a merchant, you are looking for other people to promote your product.

What is involved in doing this?

1. You must have a product.

Duhh . . . , If you want someone to promote your product, you do have to have a product.

Some great training on how to develop an ebook and offer it for sale can be found at the Wealthy Affiliate Training Center. This resource by PotPieGirl can help you get started relatively quickly and easiliy. Of course, it is mainly designed for you to build and sell your own product. However, once you have a product, then you can consider offering it for affiliates to promote for you.

2. Decide How You Want to Pay Commissions

Will you pay for cicks? You will pay out so much to an affiliate who get someone to click on your product.

Will you pay for leads? In other words you pay your affiliate so much for every lead he or she sends to you.

Will you pay per sale? You pay a commission on every sale that is generated by one of your affiliates.

Probsbly the pay-per-sale is the option with which we are most familiar. You should pay at least 20 or 30 percent per sale. Many merchants pay much more–up to 75% of the sale price.

The higher commission you offer, the more affiliates you will attract to promote your product.

3. Find a Network with Which You Want to Work.

A network can help with many things like tracking sales and helping you pay the commissions to your affiliates. Clickbank,, and ShareASale Affiliate Network are some popular ones. There are many others. A list of those options can be found at Clickbank is very poplular because of its ease of use.

If you have something other than a digital product (like an ebook), you will have to explore options beyond Clickbank and those that specialize only in digital products.

When looking for a netwok, be sure to check out how much that option will cost you. Some of them can be quite expensive. Others are quite affordable.

4. Decide How Great a Commission to Offer

As we said earlier, you will probably attract more affiliates to help you if you offer a very good commission.

5. Provide Your Affiliates with Tools to Make Them Successful

You might want to provide bonus products. You could provide them with graphics or banners that they could put on their websites.

You could provide them with articles that you have already written that they could use in their ezines, etc.  Then you could include their affiliate link in your resource box for those articles. 

These are some things to consider when you want to become a merchant. As I mentioned earlier, Wealthy Affiliate provides some excellent training that can get you in a position to become a merchant.

So, we looked at setting up an affiliate program with you as the merchant. Now, we will look at setting up a program with you as the affiliate who will promote another person’s product

The Other Direction–You as an Affiliate for Someone Else

This is usually a very exciting prospect for people who are new at internet maketing. You can start making money quickly without having your own product. You do not have to provide support for the product that is sold. There are many other advantages too.

Actually, it is great because all you have to do is match up someone who wants to buy something with someone who has a product that will really help the person who wants to buy.

Here are the basic steps for setting up an affiliate program going this direction (the direction of you being an affiliate for someone else.)

1. Find Your Affiliate

(Your affiliate is the merchant, and the merchant’s affiliate is you!) As mentioned above, many networks like Clickbank, Pay Dot Com, or Share A Sale will have multiple products for which you can be an affiliate.

Part of your decision-making for finding an affiliate will be as to whether you want to be paid when someone clicks on an ad, whether you want to be paid for providing your merhand a lead, or whether you want to be paid a commission on the sale price.

Usually, at least in the beginning of affiliate marketing, you will pick a product for which you will be paid a commission on the sale. Again, some products pay better commissions than others. That is not your only consideration, however. You want to promote products that really provide good value to your potential customers. The best of both worlds is to find a great product that offers a great commission (anywhere from 50 to 75%).

2. Get Your Affiliate Link

This is the most important part of this process in some ways. You will not get paid unless there is a way for your merchant to know it was you who referred the customer to his product. Your unique affiliate link is his or her way of doing that tracking.

When someone clicks on your link, goes to your website, then goes to the merchant’s sales and orders a product, you will get a commision–provided they clicked through your affiliate link. (Later, you will learn about link cloakers. You still have to have your own affiliate link to have a link cloaker.) Wealthy Affiliate has such a link cloaker called “My Linker.” Many others, such as “viral url” and so forth, are available too.

Be sure to get your affiliate link, or none of the rest of this will matter!

3, Send Traffic to Your Affiliate

You will want to drive traffic to your merchant’s sales page in hopes that those you refer will invest in those wonderful products.

You can use free or paid methods to do this. Paid methods, such as pay-per-click advertising (PPC) drive good targeted traffic to your website that you can then refer to your merchant (or you can use “direct linking” to send the traffic directly to the merchant’s sales page, bypassing your own website. Most marketers, after they get started, do want to have their own websites because there are so many things you can do with your own website. Your own website can enhance the possibility of your prospect investing in themselves through procuring your merchant’s product.) Other paid methods are available too, but we won’t go into them right now.

Free methods of advertising make affiliate marketing attractive. One free method is called article marketing. You write articles that give good information on a topic related to the product you are promoting, and then you place a link in the “resourc box” or “bio box” that causes the reader to go to your website or your merchant’s site. (Some article directories do not allow “direct linking,” but there is a way around that if you are willing to invest in a domain name.)

Wealthy Affiliate provides hundreds of training resources that will help you learn how to an excellent job of utilizing both free and paid methods of advertising for your affiliate products. (You can check out my Wealthy Affiliate review on another page on this website.)

These are some of the basics of setting up an affiliate program–either as a merchant or as an affiliate marketer.

I wish you well as you continue on your marketing journey!

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  1. on March 11, 2011 at 9:51 am