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Setting Up an Affiliate Marketing Program

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/30/2007 | Affiliate Programs
An affiliate marketing program is perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way of promoting your business through the internet.  Through an affiliate marketing program, you will not be working alone to promote your website, products and services to cybercitizens; your affiliates become your cyber sales force, bringing your business to the general publics attention and thereby generating a lot of sales for you.  And the best thing about this is the fact that you can choose to set up a program whereby your affiliates get paid only after they generate sales.

Affiliate Marketing Program:  Cost-Effective Marketing Solution

On the one hand, you get many affiliates promoting your business in their websites, posting banner ads for you in popular sites, sending marketing/prospecting emails to your target market, posting messages in forums and blogs with links pointing to your website, and doing many other things that can boost your popularity online, increase the visitors in your e-commerce website and, if your affiliates also do some pre-selling beforehand, improve your conversion rates.

On the other hand, you dont have to pay the affiliates anything for their marketing efforts unless such efforts yield revenues.  Your affiliate marketing program can be set up in such a way so that you only pay a referral commission to affiliates.  This means that you only pay an affiliate after his/her referral buys your product or avails of your services.

Naturally, the affiliate commissions must be generous.  This way, even if your affiliates dont earn from the visitors they direct to your website, the expectation of a big sales commission can keep them motivated to work hard at promoting your website.  Generous commissions, however, shouldnt daunt you.  You can easily work these into the price of your merchandise.

How to Set Up an Affiliate Marketing Program

First of all, you should promote your website to potential affiliate marketers.  You can do this by signing-up as an advertiser with advertising networks.  Such networks have a ready infrastructure in place (software, affiliates and websites) for promoting your business.

If you want to start small, then you can try setting up your in-house affiliate marketing program.  If you plan to do this, you will find the affiliate program software enormously helpful.  This software will fully automate all the tedious and repetitive tasks that you have to deal with when you run your own affiliate marketing program.

After setting up your affiliate program software in your site, you should start recruiting affiliates.  Become an active participant in forums and networks that affiliates frequent.  You should do some article marketing as well.  Once you have been able to recruit enough affiliates, give them your ads then wait for your site traffic and your conversion rates increase.