When used properly, affiliate, or referral, programs are fabulous:
- for you (the host if you will),
- for your affiliates — after all, they get to share a great resource AND get paid for it — and
- for your new client who may not have been exposed to your wonderful info otherwise.
So knowing that affiliate programs are “so fabulous”, why aren’t more people using them to their fullest advantage?
Quite simply, affiliate programs are vastly underutilized as most business owners don’t know how to properly leverage an affiliate, or referral, program.
First, there’s setting it up in the shopping cart or acquiring one through another online gateway — it’s not the most user intuitive process out there and most business owners don’t take the time to learn it properly or make it easy for their affiliates to use.
Second, as affiliate sales start rolling in, you’re thrilled/excited even. And then it happens, the day you’re supposed to pay your affiliate commissions and you find they’re in the thousands of dollars and you don’t have that cash “on hand”.
Let me take a moment to say that having affiliate commissions in the thousands of dollars is not necessarily a bad thing.
It can mean you’re reaching clients who would have never heard of you/your product if not for your affiliates and so your sales are up, up, up (good thing).
It can also mean that you’re relying a bit too much on your affiliates to do your marketing for you and you’re not using enough different media on your own (not-so-good thing as you’re likely paying more for affiliate commission than you would for increased marketing).
You know which category you fall into. 🙂
Business owners who have high affiliate sales must (and I don’t use this word lightly) be sure to set aside the affiliate commissions as the sales are made and revenue comes in so that you’re not surprised when the “bill comes due”.
The worst thing you can do is make your affiliates wait for their commissions — it sends a message that you don’t value them (even if you do).
So what SHOULD you be doing for your affiliate program?
- Provide your affiliates with cut-and-paste email language, Twitter/Facebook posts, etc. so it’s as easy as possible for them to promote you and your product/service
- Speaking of “pay day”, most affiliate programs pay affiliates on the paydate after the sale is made (if yours is different, let your affiliates know up front, such as in the case of waiting for an event to occur) so no one’s surprised
- And to continue with “pay day” items, if you offer your affiliates a choice about how they get paid (check or PayPal, for example), respect their choice and
- If you’re paying through PayPal, avoid using the e-check option as your affiliates will have to wait an additional 2-15 days in order to access their funds
Set aside the funds for your affiliates so when “pay day” comes, you have the cash ready to go
Most of the above deal with paying your affiliates and there’s a reason:
Once you’ve gone through the work of finding them, signing them up and teaching them how to represent you, the last thing you want to do is mess up the payment part.
Make It Real: My Request to You
If you don’t yet have an affiliate program, PERFECT, as you’ll avoid making the above mistakes which so many have done before you and can get started on the right foot. 🙂
And if you do have an affiliate program, let me share some things I’m in the process of implementing for my affiliates with the hopes of inspiring you to greater heights for your own:
- Sending out a hardcopy resource kit (I’ve accepted that the shopping cart confuses many and want to make it SUPER easy)
- Hosting quarterly contests for affiliates
- Making commissions recurring on recurring/continuity programs so that we all benefit
So what can you do TODAY to create, or increase the effectiveness of, your affiliate program?
And if you’re interested in joining my program, click here to sign up. 🙂