How to start affiliate marketing

How to start affiliate marketing

Let’s face it. Getting ranked organically on page #1 of Google these days is tougher than ever. Backlinks from legitimate authority sites that helped you last year rank well, are now penalizing you because of unnatural anchor text. Even following Google’s own guidelines these days is a minefield of convoluted information.

Therefore, one of the best strategies this year is to get started with an affiliate program. Here is some great information on affiliate marketing for beginners to advanced digital marketers.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

For those eager to learn affiliate marketing, an affiliate program is a program promoting your products on other people’s sites through banner ads and text ads. The ads are tracked by your system so that whenever someone from the affiliate’s site clicks on a banner which leads to your site and then makes a purchase, the affiliate is awarded a commission on the sale. Once you sign up affiliates, the process is fairly automated and most of your duty is to run commission reports once a month and pay them.

What are some benchmark expectations for an affiliate program?

All scenarios are unique, naturally a well oiled internet business should be generating revenue from direct visitors through a combination of advertising, organic search results and sponsorship listings first. But with a few months of hard work on an affiliate program, you will see it equal to or potentially outperform your direct website sales.

What is the best software to use for your own affiliate program?

Back a handful of years ago, we would have had to use a third party ASP service (application service provider) which would cost anywhere from thousands of dollars in setup and steep monthly fees to cheaper initial cost but they would take a hefty % of every sale.

Nowadays that has all changed. Since WordPress has become mainstream, there are literally hundreds of affiliate plugin options. The best hands down is WP Affiliate from the guys at Tips and Tricks HQ. It only costs $50 and includes lifetime updates and virtually unlimited sites. No monthly fees and no per transaction fees. You can see it in action on my printable mask affiliate program.

Also, what is amazing about this plugin is that you do not need to use it exclusively with their ecommerce plugin. It seamlessly integrates with most other popular ecommerce plugins like Woocommerce, eshop, WP Ecommerce etc.

What are standard banner ad sizes for affiliate banners?

Most sites have industry standard fixed spaces on either their header, footer sidebar or inline in posts for ads.  Designers toolbox provides a very useful table with examples to guide you here:

At very least, you will need the following:

468 x 60
728 x 90
250 x 250
160 x 600
and a few 125 x 125’s to get you started.

What else you should know about running your own affiliate program

Cookie Life – This refers to how long you track a visitor that comes from an affiliate site.  If you set your cookie life to 21 days, this means if someone comes to your site from an affiliate site, then returns at a later date to buy your product for up to 21 days after the initial visit, the affiliate will still earn the commission. 21 days is pretty standard for cookie life and is the default in WP Affiliate.

Commission % -Digital Products – it is pretty standard online to give 30-50% commission on digital products such as ebooks to big sites with 100k+ in monthly unique visitors. If you think that is too high then you might have a hard time attracting power affiliates. They will simply do the quick math to see that it is not worth sending their valuable visitors to your site if your product is priced less than $30. Remember, they are becoming sales people for you and promoting your product on a stage that would otherwise cost you thousands to get access to so don’t be greedy when selling digital books and the like.

Commission % – Memberships and monthly service subscriptions – This is a great business model for affiliate programs because you have a much larger lifetime value of your customer.  Therefore you can afford to give away a larger commission to gain the full value of the customer over a long period of time. Usually a commission should be the equivalent of the first months service or more.

Commission % – Physical Products –  Naturally this depends heavily on your manufacturing and production costs. If your producing low cost physical items, perhaps an affiliate model is not best for you unless your average customer bundles a number of products per average order.  If your product is over $100, then 10-15% commission is generous and will interest any number of affiliates of all sizes.

How do you promote your affiliate program and attract piles of power affiliates?

Well this is the million dollar question isn’t it. There are many online affiliate directories to submit to, but there is a real knack to selling the top sites on becoming affiliates. How to find them, approach them, pitch them and what to offer them will be the difference between success and wasting your time. I have many ways of doing this which I will teach you in person. Get in touch and let me help you build a kick butt affiliate program from start to finish!

Written by Mark Stoffels

Mark Stoffels is an accomplished internet marketing coach and entrepreneur with more than 10 years teaching hundreds of people how to become successful by creating automated online businesses. With his own niche sites reaching millions of organic visitors, Mark practices what he preaches.



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