Affiliate programs (also known as referral programs or partnership programs) provide a flood of traffic to your site for next to nothing.
When you implement an affiliate program on your site, you establish a 'pay for performance' relationship with those who sign up as your affiliate. The affiliate runs his or her own separate marketing campaign in order to advertise his unique affiliate url which tracks the visitors he sends to your site.
If a visitor makes a purchase, the affiliate is credited for the sale and receives a commission (a percentage of the sale).
You can see the power of this method immediately when you recognize that your affiliates essentially provide you with free advertising. You only pay when a sale is made. True, you do pay out a portion of your profits - but what you make back is far more than what you're spending.
Why? Because affiliates increase your site's visibility.
Even long after you've moved on to another project, another site...all of those affiliate links pointing to your site are still 'out there', spread across the web in articles, emails, e-books and affiliate web pages.
Broad exposure such as this brings you a steady stream of traffic and sales for months to come.
Think of it this way: you can sell 1,000 copies of a $79 product and keep the profits to yourself to the tune of $79,000 or you can enlist an army of affiliates who sell 3,000 copies of the same product for a 50% ($39.50) commission, and you net $118,500!
Setting up an affiliate program is not difficult. One of the easiest places to do it is over at Clickbank. Clickbank has an affiliate system built in and ready to go the moment your product is approved for sale.
Also, an added benefit of Clickbank is the "marketplace directory" model employed on site. All products sold through Clickbank appear in the marketplace organized by category. Active affiliate marketers know this and seek out new merchants in the marketplace on a regular basis.
If you're using a different payment processor, like Paypal for instance, you will need to purchase server-side scripts to run your own affiliate program and host it on your site.
Alternatively, you can try some of the newer solutions on the market such as 1shoppingcart.com, payloadz.com, tradebit.com, or paydotcom.com.
The above services are "all in one" automation solutions for selling and delivering digital goods like e-books.
Easy Affiliate Recruiting Tips:
1. Keep your site simple and uncluttered
Your visitors and your affiliates want to see a simple, easy to navigate layout.
Make the link to your affiliate information page visible and prominent. You don't want this buried. Potential affiliates will click away from your site if they don't see an obvious affiliate program within the first 10 seconds on your site.
Make sure you link to your affiliate information or sign up page on every page of your site.
2. Create an Affiliate Information Page
You need to give your potential affiliates access to more than just your sign-up form.
Create an informative page which details at least the following:
- Your product/service
- Your commission structure and payment method
- Terms and conditions of your affiliate program
Also, let your affiliates know what type of resources you provide for them. Banners? Text links? Pre-written copy? A list of keywords to target?
If you've got conversion data, share that as well. Let your affiliates know how many visitors to your sales page actually convert into customers.
3. Submit to Affiliate Directories
The easiest and least time consuming way to announce the arrival of your affiliate program is to use an announcement service like Affiliate Announce: http://www.affiliate-announce.com
Affiliate Announce will submit your affiliate program to all of the major affiliate directories. Have a look at their list of clients.
If for some reason you need to do this on the cheap (read: free), you'll have to do it manually by looking each directory up in a search engine and submitting one by one.
4. Recruit Webmasters
Look for sites with content that is relevant to yours. Contact the webmaster to find out if they are in need of additional advertising revenue and invite them to your affiliate program.
This can net you some super-affiliates. You'll also get extra recruits coming in via the webmaster's affiliate link.
5. Go to Affiliate's Hangouts
Visit message boards, forums or chatrooms devoted to affiliate marketers. You don't want to spam or blatantly recruit people, but you can take part in the discussion and have your affiliate program URL in your signature file at the bottom of every post.