What are the insider secrets that allow some coaches and consultants to set up great affiliate programs? Is it having great joint venture partners? Is it special ninja marketing techniques? Is it a BIG list?
All of those things help. But it’s not enough.
Most people think it’s the technology used – the affiliate program software. They think if they just pick the right software and set it up, 90% of the work is done. No, that’s not it either.
Insider Secret #1 – The Technology is the Easy Part
I’ll let you in on a little secret most webmasters don’t want you to know. Most of you reading this can set up an affiliate program yourself just by following the instructions in the documentation manual. Sure it will take you a while, but it’s not that hard.
The real question you need to ask yourself is, “Which affiliate software program is the right one for MY business.”
And before you can answer that question, you’ll need the next insider secret.
Insider Secret #2 – You MUST Start with a Plan
There are two areas most people mess up when setting up their affiliate program:
1) They don’t start with a well thought out plan.
2) They don’t promote their affiliate program effectively. (See Insider Secret #3 and #4 below.)
Start with creating a winning plan for your affiliate program. Once this is in place, you’ll have a blueprint for everything else, and you’ll make your life so much easier.
Here are just some of the questions you want to answer before you set up any affiliate program:
- Do you really need a formal affiliate program?
- Who will you recruit for affiliates? List both specific people and types of people you want as affiliates.
- How will you recruit your affiliates?
- How will you motivate affiliates to promote your programs or products?
- How many different affiliate programs will you need? You may need more than one so you can offer different commissions on different products.
- Will you pay out one-tier or two-tier commissions? Know which one is better for your business. There are all kinds of ways to use this to increase sales.
- Do you have the skills and time to manage it yourself or will you need an affiliate manager? And if you need a manager, can you find one? Great affiliate managers are like rare diamonds: hard to find and very expensive, but well worth it.
- Are you aware of FTC advertising rules and do you have the legal documents in place to protect yourself? New FTC rules went into effect December 2009 and changed the way affiliates can legally promote your services and programs. You don’t want to be held liable if they break the rules.
- Does your affiliate program need to work with any other software or shopping cart system? For instance, do you need to integrate with 1ShoppingCart, WishList Member plugin, WordPress, PayPal, ClickBank, etc. If so, this will narrow down your options for which affiliate program you can use. In some cases, you may only have one option.
- What promotion and educational materials will you create?
Which leads us to the next Insider Secret…
Insider Secret #3 – Create Easy to Use Promotional Materials
Promotional materials can include:
- banner images
- social media posting
- and more…
It is anything you use to recruit affiliates, welcome them to your program, educate them about your affiliate programs and FTC advertising rules, and provide them with whatever they need to promote your products and programs.
You can create just a few to get started, or you can really go all-out and create something in all of the categories.
The key here is that you need to have these materials ready when you launch and promote your affiliate program. Your affiliates won’t show up just because you announce your program. You’ll need to entice them – show them how easy and profitable it will be for them to sell your programs.
And having readily available promotional materials will help them do that.
Insider Secret #4 – Promote Your Affiliate Program
This means you implement your plan for recruitment. If you’ve created your plan, set up the affiliate program software, and written the promotional materials, this phase is where you’ll see tremendous results for your efforts.
During promotion, you’ll be contacting possible affiliates, educating them on what you have to offer, and explaining how they can get involved. You’ll motivate them with “done for you” marketing materials, commissions, and bonuses or contests.
1) Setting up an affiliate program can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. So don’t make it harder than it has to be.
2) Start on a small scale with just a dozen affiliates (or less) and a couple of promotional materials, like suggested emails and Twitter tweets for them to send.
3) You’re probably already familiar with affiliate programs because you have several affiliate links that you promote. Now take time to get familiar with how affiliate programs work from the perspective of the person who owns the program. Once you’re comfortable knowing what needs to be done, you can easily expand your affiliate program.
4) Get a consultant or affiliate manager to help you, even if you plan to do most of it yourself. You’ll need to make a lot of decisions in the planning, set up, and creation of your marketing materials. You need someone who can quickly guide you step-by-step through the process so you don’t get stuck or make costly mistakes.
Ready to set up your affiliate program? I’d love to help you create a great program for your coaching or consulting business. I have several programs and packages available, including options for integration with 1ShoppingCart, ClickBank, WordPress, WishList Member plugin, PayPal, and more.