Managing Your Affiliate Program: Software Systems vs. Network SystemsWritten by Keller Flynn
There are numerous aspects to starting an affiliate program. You've got to do all kinds of research and footwork to get ball rolling, and work doesn't stop there. Assuming that you've already done your research, found a great product, and enrolled several affiliates, you've now got to decide on how to run and manage your program. There is a long standing debate on whether it is better to use a pre-set network management program or your own software based program.
The benefits of a network based program basically come down to this: With a network based program, you don't have to do a lot of work. You sign up with a network program, and network system basically runs your whole system for you. It runs your sales tracking, your affiliate communication, and your commission structure. Network systems even promise to bring in new affiliates for you. You just sit back and watch cash flow in. Sounds great right? Great if you don't have a lot of time, or great if you're involved in several other ventures, but if you're counting on your one program to really work for you, using a network management system is selling yourself short.
Now I'm not saying that using a network system is bad, a network can be really helpful for someone who's short on time. I'm just saying that if you have time and energy to manage your own program you should do so. As with any other business, when someone offers to do something for you, they generally want something in return. Network management systems are no different. In exchange for their services, they will expect a percentage of your commissions, and with reigns taken out of your hands, they also will effectively have control of your affiliate relationships.
How To Get People To Click Your Affiliate LinksWritten by Keller Flynn
I was just having lunch with a friend of mine who is working on a new affiliate program. She seemed very excited about it, and as we ate our delicious cold lobster salad she gave me all details. I began asking her a few questions, and as creme brulee arrived she admitted that she's been a little disappointed with her sales. "It doesn't make sense," she groaned to me over her latte, "It's not like I'm trying to sell long underwear in Bahamas. I'm offering hottest widget of moment for 10% less than anyone else on web, and I've already linked my site to several affiliates, but no one's buying. What am I doing wrong?"
We went over basics: good product, good price, good web site, good affiliates. "It's got to be something," I said, "what's your linking strategy?" She told me that she was using three different banners, and assured me that they looked really nice. "They're probably great," I assured her, "but fact is, no matter how nice they are, they're still banners."
So what's wrong with banners? Nothing really, except that they've become a little too common and people have started to ignore them. If you do use banners, you've got to make sure they're eye-catching and professional. Try using rotating banners as a nice improvement on basic. These banners download alternate images from a group each time page is accessed, making ad look a little different each time. Use rotating pictures of different products you offer. This is a nice effect which might grab attention of a repeat visitor who ignored you first time.
Another effective link is customer testimonial. Take a quote from a satisfied customer and use it as a sales tool. Ask someone who's been pleased with your business if you can quote something nice they said, or just ask them to make a statement. Set it in an attractive font with your url link at bottom and have your affiliates place it on their page. People will be more inclined to read about someone else's experience than they would be to read an ad, and you'll get more business.