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Expand Your Sales Force

    Establish an Online Affiliate Program

    Online marketing can quite effectively expand your sales force (and your sales!) with minimal cash outlay and greatly increased margins.

    Your business can literally explode online sales with a simple and easy to administer Affiliate Marketing program. Using one website to drive sales to another website is the basic concept employed in affiliate marketing, which is growing in favor among retailers everywhere who are looking for innovative ways to increase sales.

    Use an Affiliate Network

    Affiliate Networks are companies that match retailers and salespeople. They handle all the transaction flow in exchange for compensation from the transactions and the relationships. Affiliate Networks act as the intermediary between retailers (called Merchant Affiliate programs) and salespeople (called Publishers or Affiliates).

    Top Affiliate Networks coordinate hundreds, and even thousands of Merchant Affiliate programs, which are searchable by keyword in their extensive directories. Affiliates earn a sizable commission for each sale made through their own website. On their own websites, Affiliates often promote a wide variety of Merchant programs related to their core business and customer needs.

    Affiliate Network Services and Benefits

    For Merchants, Affiliate Network services and benefits may include:

    • instant tracking technology,
    • extensive reporting tools,
    • automated payment processing, and
    • access to a large base of resellers/Publishers.

    For Affiliates, services and benefits can include

    • simplifying the process of registering for one or more Merchant Affiliate programs, greatly reducing the administrative and record keeping burdens,
    • automated reporting tools, and
    • complete payment aggregation.

    Affiliate Network Costs

    Affiliates are generally able to join top Affiliate Networks for free, whereas there is generally a fee for Merchants to participate. Traditional Affiliate Networks might charge an initial setup fee and/or a recurring membership fee. It is also common for Affiliate Networks to charge merchants a percentage of the commissions paid to Affiliates.

    In the next post, we’ll go into more depth, identify top Affiliate Networks, and take a look at Affiliate Network compensation models.

    What Affiliate Marketing success stories can you share?

    Try Affiliate Marketing

    In the last post, we discussed Affiliate Marketing as an inexpensive way to increase your sales force and boost your revenues. Here, we’ll take a closer look at HOW those revenues are earned.

    Some Merchants run their own (i.e., in-house) affiliate programs using popular software while others use third-party services provided by intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates (see outsourced program management). Merchants can choose from two different types of affiliate management solutions: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks.

    Affiliate Marketing Compensation Methods

    As Affiliate Marketing has evolved, so have compensation models. The methods vary:

    As a retailer, or Merchant, this is quite attractive, because Affiliates are typically paid a commission for each sale. And when the Merchant uses an Affiliate Network, all the activity is tracked, payments are made, and reports are automated.