Everything You Need To Know About Affiliate Programs - For Merchants & Affiliates
What Is An Affiliate Program
An affiliate program is, in layman terms, a program that is being set up by the product merchant to invite marketers (also known as affiliates, or sometimes also known as associates) to come in and promote products that the merchants have.
And whenever the affiliate has successfully referred a sale (in that he/she manages to get someone to purchase products from the merchant's site), they will be paid a certain percentage of commissions (usually the amount of commissions the affiliate will receive is calculated based on the total sales that is generated).
Why Did Merchants Offer Affiliate Programs?
The reason why these merchants setup affiliate programs is because, if they simply try to sell their products themselves, they will not be able to reach as huge a customer base compared to inviting other marketers to come in and promote the products for them.
And besides, these merchants only need to pay whenever an affiliate manage to refer a sale for the product.
The Advantages Of Having Affiliate Programs
This is a win-win situation here for both the marketer, and the merchant in that - For the merchant, it gives them the ability to have their product reach out to a wider audience, and thereby being able to generate even more sales for their products. For the affiliate, they can benefit from these affiliate programs in that they can start making money (sometimes even generate a substantial income) without having their own products.
On top of that, all the affiliate needs to do is to connect prospective customers (people whom they think will be interested in the product) with the merchant. They need not worry about product fulfillment, or after-sales support (as all these are handled by the merchant).
What Is Required To Setup An Affiliate Program
There are a few things that you need to ensure, as a merchant, are present in your affiliate program so as to entice marketers to want to sign up (and start promoting your products)
Proper Tracking System - You want to have a proper tracking system in place so that you will be able to identify which affiliates have referred a sale, so that you will be able to pay them commissions accordingly.
Affiliate Resources - The easier you make it for affiliates to promote your product, the more likely they will do it. Some resources you can have include a few versions of product graphics (which affiliates can put on their websites, or on advertisements), banner graphics, as well as some resources that they can use - Such as articles relating to the products that you have, which affiliates can put on their websites.
Readily Available Support - As a merchant, you should also ensure that help is given to the affiliates whenever they need. You need to set up a proper help desk system so that affiliates, whenever they have any questions, can post them. And you, as a merchant, need to make sure that questions posted are being responded to as soon as possible (usually within 24-hours, if not, 48-hours).