Ecommerce stores are all the rage now, with every product creator setting up their own store to sell products online. But getting other people to share your products with others is not that easy. That is, unless you give them an incentive to do so.
Starting your own affiliate program is the best way to give your visitors more reasons to recommend your products to their friends, family and social media network. In this article, we will learn tips on starting your own affiliate program to boost traffic and sales to your website.
7 tips for starting your own affiliate program
1. Make sure your product will sell
If you’ve developed a product that you want to sell, say a line of essential oils, or homemade cosmetics, you need to make sure that they will sell online. Assuming that you already have your own website and store, you should capture the emails from your visitors with a great offer.
Some examples of attractive offers for your website visitors are discount coupons and free samples. If you find a lot of takers for your offer, it’s very likely that your products will sell.
Another way to find out if your product will sell is by asking your subscribers for feedback. Listen to their suggestions carefully and incorporate any useful ones into your product development and promotion strategy.
2. Optimize your website and store
The easiest way to create a website and ecommerce store is by using WordPress as your CMS and Woocommerce for your ecommerce store. The biggest advantage of doing this is that it is free. Of course, if you want to improve or extend functionality, you can get a WordPress developer to do it for you.
If you have a store that sells clothing or T-shirts, the WP Easy Shopping WordPress plugin is a great way to add a shopping cart to your WordPress site with just a few clicks.
Your ecommerce storefront needs to be optimized for search engines in order to leverage the opportunity to get found in Google when customers search for your products. To optimize your Woocommerce site, you can use a plugin like the Yoast Woocommerce SEO plugin. It has a number of functionalities and will help your products get shared on Pinterest as Rich Pins.
3. Use an affiliate program plugin
There are lots of affiliate program plugins that can help you set up your own affiliate program on your WordPress store. But the one we recommend is the Ecommerce Affiliate WordPress plugin from WPeka, because it allows you to create referrals, tracking visits and sales via affiliate links and handle commission payouts as well.
You can add any number of affiliates and make available text and image ads to them to promote your products and your store. Your affiliates should be able to login and to their affiliate account and easily access details like ad codes and commissions and this plugin helps you do that. The referrals and payout details are also available here, so you can offer complete transparency to your affiliates.
4. Create ads for your affiliates to use
Once you’ve created your affiliate program, that doesn’t mean your work is done. You need to create ads that your affiliates can use to recommend your product to their audience. Banner ads work great for bloggers, while email write-ups work well for affiliate marketers with big mailing lists.
Make sure you create banner ads of different sizes so that your affiliates can choose one that fits their blog or website. Write a number of email promotions with catchy headlines and test which ones work best your own subscribers so that you can give your affiliates the most effective promotions to use.
5. Promote your affiliate program
You need to promote your affiliate program and get a large number of affiliates to sign up and start promoting your products.
Some ways you can promote your affiliate program are:
• Promote your program on your website
Most product sellers choose to link to their affiliate program at the bottom of their websites where it’s very hard to find. If you want your website visitors to join your program and promote your products, you need to make it easy for them to find.
Use a prominent banner on your site that invites visitors to share your products and earn money. It’s the easiest way to start getting signups and you may find that your happy customers are the ones that are most likely want to share their find.
• Get listed on affiliate program directories
One of the best ways to get your affiliate program found by potential partners is by listing it on affiliate program directories. Make sure you list your program in the appropriate category. It can make all the difference between being found or forgotten.
For instance, if you sell essential oils, make sure you list them in the health and wellness category, so that health bloggers can promote them to their health-conscious readers. You’ll find a list of the top affiliate program directories here.
• Start a blogger outreach program
Another way to promote your affiliate program is by reaching out to bloggers looking to monetize their blogs. This is a more targeted and effective way to promote your program because it helps you reach out to the right people and monitor your results better.
To get influential bloggers to join your program you can even offer them a higher commission rate than your other affiliates and give them exclusive promotional materials. You can also send them free samples and ask them to write reviews of your products on their blog.
• Reach out to influencers on social media
Influencer marketing is a goldmine for social sellers, but it’s not easy. Influencers are quite picky about what they promote, so you need to establish a relationship with them and perhaps send them a few samples of your products to try before they will be willing to promote them to their large follower base.
If, however, you do manage to do this and get even a few influencers to try and promote your products, it can help your sales and word-of-mouth marketing like no other strategy can.
6. Keep your affiliates happy
Affiliate marketers are not known for their loyalty. They are quite likely to jump to promoting a new product that offers better commissions or creatives.
A great way to keep your affiliates happy so that they continue to promote your products is to hold affiliate contests. This promotes competition between affiliates and can help you get a bunch of sales during lean periods.
But to make this work, you need to offer attractive incentives. Free gadgets, higher commissions or cash rewards are some incentives that you can offer affiliates who get the most sales.
7. Be open and transparent
Affiliate marketers are remarkably sensitive to product sellers who are not completely open and transparent about their sales and commissions.
If you are dishonest or don’t pay your affiliates on time, it will become apparent very quickly, and when your affiliates see that your sales are not benefiting them, they will jump ship and start promoting other products.
You will also get bad reviews on sites that review affiliate programs and your affiliate program will fail. Product sellers that are open, transparent and pay their affiliates on time are the ones that will attract the best affiliate marketers, so aspire to be one of them.
Starting your own affiliate program and managing afterwards is not an easy task. You have to really work hard to get the required number of sales to generate profit out if. So, just stay strong.
If you don’t want to start your own affiliate marketing program, you might wan to look at others affiliate programs to promote on your site.
Did you find these tips useful in starting your own affiliate program? Do let us know in the comments below.