Leveraging Affiliate Marketing to Increase Sales for your Online Business

Looking to start up an affiliate program to help grow your online business? Creating a powerful network of promoters can extend your promotional reach and help place your products in front of more customers.

To help you decide if this form of marketing right for you, we chatted with Radhika Roy, Affiliate Program Manager here at Volusion. Check out her insights below as she helps navigates the waters of Affiliate Marketing, discussing your most pressing questions.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based model where businesses reward affiliates (website owners) for traffic that they bring to their online store. Traditionally, affiliates will place banners or text links on their site, which track any sales or leads that are referred to your online business.

As a business owner, creating and managing an affiliate program is a great way to grow brand awareness while increasing revenue at a low overhead cost.

If you’re new to affiliate marketing or would like to learn more, I’d suggest joining an affiliate forum to learn tips and best practices on affiliate marketing.  Here are a few that I recommend:

How do I set up my own affiliate program?

There are a few different options when setting up your own affiliate program. You can choose to set your program up in-house or with a third-party network. If you’re a Volusion storeowner, you have access to a five-tier built-in affiliate program where you can easily create banners and text links that affiliates can download to their site. Each affiliate will have a unique identifier that’s associated with their account so you‘ll know which affiliate brought in a sale.

Creating assets for your affiliates is just the first step in setting up your program. There are a few other aspects to consider:

Using a network, such as Commission Junction or Linkshare is another option in setting up your affiliate program. By signing up with a network, your program is accessible to affiliates within these networks. Joining a network does require more upfront and recurring costs (as well as some development work), but is a great option if you have the budget.

 

Once I have an Affiliate Program set up, how do I recruit affiliates to join my program?

This is the million-dollar question. Once you have a program set up, whether it’s in-house or through a network, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing your due diligence to find relevant affiliates to join and promote your products. Keep in mind that accepting any and all affiliates to your program isn’t always better – typically, 20% of your affiliates will bring in 80% of your sales, so accepting relevant bloggers or website owners to your program will increase the quality of sales coming to your business. For example, if you’re selling cosmetics, partnering with a blog about off-road vehicles wouldn’t make much sense. Instead, you want to affiliate with sites that have a similar audience. In this example, a cosmetic blogger would be much more relevant and would more likely refer business to your site.

Once your program is set up, there are a few different tools you can use to recruit affiliates to your program.

When evaluating a potential affiliate site, look at how active the website or blog owner is about updating their site.  If they have a blog, always look at how often they post content and if this content is being shared via social media channels. This is a good way to gauge their involvement, as well as their following.  Using a tool like Compete will also give you some insight on how often their site is being visited on an average basis.  More engagement on an affiliate site, equals more sales for you!

How can I incentivize my affiliates to continue promoting my products and services?

Most affiliates are promoting a variety of different products and services. As a business owner, it’s important to keep your affiliates engaged with your company by giving them the tools and resources to be successful.

Affiliates are similar to an outside salesperson that are selling and promoting your products. Get them excited about your business with unique offers that allow them to easily promote your product.

 

Now you have all the tools to create and manage a successful affiliate program! With a little hard work, you’ll be on your way to spreading the word and growing your online business.

Have more questions or comments for Radhika? Feel free to leave them in the comments sections below and she’ll be more than happy to get back with you.

Happy Selling!

 

 

Radhika Roy is Volusion’s Affiliate Program Manager, in which she uses her knowledge of affiliate marketing to recruit and facilitate the activities of Volusion Affiliate Partners.

She joined the Volusion team in 2008 as an Ecommerce Consultant, which helped her gain a strong understanding of the Volusion product, brand and customer base. Radhika is also a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Economics.

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