Do you have a site, a good quality product, do you promote on social media and maybe even some advertising campaign, but sales are scarce? Perhaps, your resources are still not enough. Find out how to promote it!
In today’s guide I show you how to promote your site with an interesting system: create an affiliate program.
Let’s start with the concept of conversion rate, which is the percentage of people who make a purchase from a sales page.
According to several studies, the average conversion rate is 2.35%. In practice, out of one hundred people who visit your sales page, at least two complete the purchase.
This percentage, however, is only an average, a statistic, and you can certainly work to increase sales on your website in various ways, for example by improving your landing page, your own product or by developing targeted strategies and offers.
Affiliate programs come into play here: they are a great tool to increase the number of people who learn about your products.
If what you sell:
- it’s quality;
- responds to a real need or desire;
- has a price in line with how much people want to spend through affiliation you may be able to increase visits to your page and above all get more sales!
The affiliate programs are a great way to promote your site, even if it is a fairly complex strategy. We then continue one step at a time.
What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program requires that you pay a commission to one of your affiliates (that is, to those who recommend your product) whenever a customer buys thanks to his suggestion.
So, the system is actually very simple:
- an affiliate promotes your products;
- following that recommendation purchases are made by users;
- For each purchase, you pay the affiliate a commission (a fixed or a percentage on the sale).
This is the basic model. Percentage of commission and terms vary from program to program, but we’ll see later.
The affiliate programs are extremely popular on the web. The benefits you can derive from this vary depending on many factors, for example, the type of products you sell.
Want to find out why creating an affiliate program is a great idea? Then let’s move on!
Why create an affiliate program
As we saw in the introduction, the number of people who visit your site is important to generate a satisfactory number of sales.
Creating an affiliate program allows you to make your business known to a larger number of users, quite quickly. In fact, your affiliates have the same goal that is to sell your product. For this they will engage in promotional and advertising activities.
Not only that: an affiliate program also allows you to extend your field of action to people who are not strictly in your niche, but who have related interests.
For example, if you are a wedding photographer you could establish a partnership with a bridal gown workshop.
The main interest of the people who visit the atelier site is to buy a dress, but surely they could be interested in the services of a photographer for their wedding day.
Furthermore, users receive a recommendation from a person they already follow and appreciate. This is already a first guarantee on the quality of your product.
Finally, affiliate programs are a promotion strategy that has an excellent return on investment. In the initial phase, you will no doubt have to invest time and some resources to create the structure.
Once the program has started, however, you will pay commissions only against actual sales. You will therefore not find yourself in the position of making an investment “in the dark”.
Things to consider before creating an affiliate program
Are you ready for the challenge? Yes, because affiliate programs also have pitfalls and errors to avoid. But here we are, calm!
First of all, here are the steps to take before starting.
Margins and commissions
First, think carefully about the cost of your product and the commission you will offer to affiliates. In fact, you will need to make sure you maintain a sufficient profit margin even on purchases made by customers who arrived through a recommendation.
This is precisely the reason why affiliate programs have particular success on the web and in the world of digital products (such as graphics, infoproducts and WordPress themes). In fact, digital products do not cost per unit. Rather, those who sell them bear a cost only in the product creation phase.
In addition to minimal administrative costs, selling an ebook or selling ten thousand will have the same cost for those who wrote it.
In this case, the commission that can be offered to affiliates is very high. I happened to see several times programs that offered commissions equal to 70/80% of the cost of the product offered.
In cases like these, affiliates will obviously be very motivated to promote the site.
However, if you sell physical products, you will have to be very careful not to cut your edge too much.
Duration of the program for new customers
You will also need to decide for how long or how many purchases affiliates will be eligible to receive the commission. For example, you could offer a percentage of the sale only on the first purchase, on all purchases made by the customer in the first twelve months, or even forever!
Terms and conditions
The next step in creating a document that describes the terms and conditions of the affiliate program. Here, include information on how affiliates will receive payments, where links to your site may be published, which behaviors are prohibited and will therefore result in exclusion from the affiliate program, etc.
Contact potential affiliates
Create a list of people you would like to collaborate with and contact them. If you receive spontaneous requests, consider carefully whether to accept them.
Obviously, the goal is to aim to have more and more affiliates. At the same time, however, the sites that promote your products should be of quality and in line with the image of your business.
Therefore, avoid offering exorbitant commissions so as to make the link to your sales page out on every corner of the web.
This type of trick will also help you avoid Google penalties due to inbound links from sites, in fact, of low quality.
Organized to manage administrative tasks
Before starting the affiliate program, think about whether you will be able to manage all the administrative tasks that will arise (this will certainly help you with the tools that I will present below). For example, you will have to approve payments to affiliates, offer support, and so on.
Test and collect feedback on the product
Finally, be sure to repeatedly test the product and, if possible, also offer affiliates a free trial. If they know it better, they will also know what the characteristics that actually enhance it are and therefore it will be easier for them to promote it.
At the same time, they can offer you valuable feedback. Also, you won’t run the risk of working with affiliates who don’t really appreciate what you sell.
Tools to implement the affiliate program
There are many software to create the structure you will need to implement the affiliate program. Broadly speaking, you will need a program that generates unique links for each affiliate and tracks traffic and conversions (for a period of time of your choice).
In this guide I propose you two WordPress plugins, one premium and one free. Both tools allow you to manage your affiliate program directly from the WordPress Dashboard, without having to rely on external sites.
1) AffiliateWP (Premium plugin)
It is installed directly on WordPress and offers a complete platform for monitoring and managing affiliate links.
AffiliateWP allows you to create a program registration screen, generate reports (also filtered by individual affiliate) and monitor traffic and conversions in real time.
In addition, affiliates can also independently access a screen with their earnings report.
AffiliateWP is translation-ready and is compatible with all major WordPress eCommerce plugins. Among these: WooCommerce, JigoShop and, of course, Easy Digital Downloads.
This plugin is really great but it’s not free. The price starts at $ 99 per year for a single site (with support and updates).
Some features (for example, the “forever” commissions, of which I spoke earlier and payment to affiliates via PayPal) are available as extensions only for those who subscribe to the Professional ($ 249) and Ultimate ($ 499) plans. Before buying, I recommend checking out the AffiliateWP add-ons.
2) Affiliates Manager (free plugin)
Affiliates Manager is a plugin that has gained some success in the industry. It has many options and useful features to develop an affiliate program, including:
- affiliates can register, generate their own unique url and monitor sales independently;
- allows you to have an unlimited number of affiliates;
- you can offer a commission with a fixed amount or percentage;
- you can create banners and personalized links;
- it is compatible with many eCommerce tools, including WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads;
- you can pay all affiliates using PayPal, with a single click;
Keep the affiliate program
Creating the structure for the program and entering into agreements with affiliates is only the first step in an effective affiliate program.
You will have to continuously monitor sales and keep an eye on whether your conversion rate (which we talked about at the beginning of the article) is actually increasing.
It is also useful to check which are the affiliates that allow you to sell more and from which you are not getting great results.
Plus, you’ll need to make sure everyone has the right tools to better promote your product.
Here is how you can manage affiliates and make sure you maximize their work.
First of all, keep in touch with them. You could create a list within your newsletter program, like MailChimp.
Send them regular newsletters, in which you can include suggestions, product news, special offers, even dedicated and already perfectly configured banners that they can simply enter on their website.
In addition, offer them a dedicated support service: always be available to advise them and answer their questions.
Finally, make sure all payments are processed correctly. There is nothing worse than an affiliate program with non-functioning payments!
We have reached the end of the guide: I hope you have found interesting ideas to promote your site.
Obviously, creating and managing an affiliate program requires work but, if exploited to the full, it is certainly a really powerful marketing tool.
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