I have been on all sides of the affiliate relationship. I am an affiliate for several companies which means I get a commission when people purchase through my affiliate links. I also have affiliate programs for my three ebooks, so I pay a commission to the bloggers who help me generate sales. And I also help clients by managing their existing affiliate programs and helping them begin new ones from scratch. Based on all this experience, I can offer these tips to help you get affiliates.
Make sure you have already done this list of Three Things to do Before you Start an Affiliate Program.
Link to Your Affiliate Signup on Your Website
Although you don’t have to be tacky about it, do include a link on your site to your affiliate program. How will people know about it otherwise? Don’t be afraid that weird people will sign up and somehow tarnish your reputation.
You can set up your affiliate program to require approval of each affiliate application. If you think that a particular applicant is not a good fit, simply decline the application. You are in full control.
Make the Terms Very Clear
Create a dedicated page on your site that outlines the most important facts about your affiliate program and leads readers to the signup page.
- affiliate commission
- length of cookie (generally 60-120 days)
- whether the first or last affiliate to refer the customer gets the commission
- payout threshold and dates
- method of payment
Offer a Generous Commission
Offer a commission that gives the affiliate an incentive to promote your products. Consider the cost of the products you sell when you assign either a flat amount or a percentage. Unless your item is very costly, a 10% commission is not very motivating. Get as close as you can to 30% commission. Be generous; don’t be afraid of issuing affiliate commissions. Those are sales you would not have made anyway! A stingy commission does nothing to promote your reputation or affiliate numbers.
Connect With Influencers in Your Niche
Just putting information on your site is not enough. You need to get the word out. Find the networkers of the niche you are trying to reach and share your affiliate program with them. Hangout where they gather online and personally invite them to join your affiliate program.
Enlist Top Affiliates to Recruit More
Once you identify your best performing affiliates, reach out to them. Thank them for their support. Ask them if they know of other bloggers who might be a good fit for your affiliate program. Consider offering these key affiliates a small portion of the sales for anyone they recruit. Most affiliate software will allow for tiered commissions.
Let Successful Affiliates Hold Promotions
Offer your best affiliates free products or gift cards to give their readers in giveaways. Although giveaways are a lot of work, they can also drive traffic, so bloggers generally appreciate the opportunity.
Besides giveaways, let your best affiliates offer their readers special discount codes. This will reward the affiliate, motivate her to drive more sales, and will reach a responsive audience with your product. Make these unique discounts, not the same old promotion you are holding site-wide but a special promotion just for the readers of that particular affiliate’s blog.
Because affiliate sales ebb and flow and often die off altogether, you need to continually get new sign ups for your program. This is not a one time event but an ongoing process of reaching out to influencers in the social media world. If you have questions about building your affiliate program, get in touch. I’d love to help.