Being an affiliate retailer
by Tash Hughes of
marketing is a way of getting your business more
exposure and more sales.
It is cost
effective in that you only pay your Ďsales forceí
when you actually make a sale through them; you donít
have to pay them retainers or salaries. You can gain
affiliates from many places and with diverse customer
bases, so it can be effective marketing.
One of the first
decisions you need to make is how much commission to
give affiliates, and on what basis you will give it.
For instance, will it be an amount per click or per
sale? Will it be 5% or 10%? To determine this, consider
your profit margins; if a 10% commission eats up all of
your profits, it is not an effective strategy. Take into
account the saleability of your products as well Ė if
affiliates are likely to sell many items for you, a
smaller commission will still appeal to them; big ticket
items deserve a bigger commission.
that runs affiliate programs can be set to remember
which affiliate sent a customer for longer than the
first visit. Thus, you can give your affiliates
commissions on subsequent visits and sales, too. A
60 or 90 day cookie (cookie is the code that remembers
who came via what link) is common, but it can be much
longer; obviously, affiliates are attracted by longer
You will also
need to consider tier systems. That is, will you reward
people who recommend other affiliates to your program?
And will it be a one-off reward or on ongoing one?
Alternatively, you may wish to acknowledge those
affiliates who generate the most sales.
Are there some
bonuses you are willing to give to your affiliates?
Maybe a relevant ebook, a discount voucher for your site
or a web site to operate from. Whilst this isnít
necessary and many affiliates donít do such things, it
is worth at least thinking about; look after your
affiliates and they will be happier to recommend you to
In setting up an
affiliate program, you can choose between running
your own and joining an affiliate network. Joining a
network will save you administrative time in
establishing and maintaining your affiliates, but is
likely to require a much larger initial cost. A share of
commissions will have to go to the network as well, but
you are likely to gain more affiliates through the
network than by yourself.
If you donít use
an affiliate network, you will also need to
determine how often
you will pay affiliates
and by what method
decide on a minimum
payment amount to minimise your expenses
information for affiliates to help them. This can be a
newsletter or information on your site
ensure affiliates can
access the statistics of their sales
determine if and how
affiliates can deep link to particular items on your
site (eg if you sell cds, an affiliate may wish to link
to the classical section for his/her wind instrument
set up a web page with
all the affiliate information and a sign up form
have a system so that
you can reply to each new affiliate as they sign up
In both cases,
you will need to advertise the affiliate program on your
site for your interested customers and prepare some
banners and text links for affiliates to use.
networks in Australia and New Zealand to look at:
ClixGalore (not exclusively Australian merchants)
are given as a reference only. It is advised that you
check each network thoroughly before making a decision.)
affiliate program can be very beneficial to your
business, but as there are expenses involved it is worth
comparing it carefully to your current marketing
Tash Hughes is
the owner of
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your business writing problems! From letters to
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To protect your affiliate links,
or those of your affiliates, try
Save Time Online and Jimmy D Brown.