3 Questions to Start Your Affiliate Marketing Program

Unless your business has been operating under a rock rather than in the online world, you have likely already seen affiliate marketing cropping up around the Internet, and for good reason. Successful affiliate marketing plans can increase sales and brand awareness with relatively low upfront cost.

The system is actually rather simple, with affiliates guiding consumers to the company’s website for certain products or purchases. When done correctly, the increase in sales can be notable.

Before diving headfirst into the world of affiliate sales, your business needs a solid program with expectations for all parties clearly laid out. Still new to affiliate marketing? Answer these questions first:

  • Will I pay per sale, click or lead? Is your business’s main goal to bring visitors to your website (click), to purchase a specific product (sale) or to purchase any number of other products on the website (lead)? This objective needs to be known before you can determine how to compensate affiliates.
  • Do my affiliates have the tools they need? An established following on a blog or website and an Internet connection will not cut it here. In order to get any clicks on a provided link, affiliates need polished copy, high-quality images and sometimes even a sample product that they can demonstrate to their followers.
  • How will this fit in with other marketing tools? In general, affiliate marketing should not replace other marketing avenues. Instead, use it as a complementary tool to already established forms of marketing, such as targeted ads, newsletters and social media accounts.

These base questions can help begin to shape a successful affiliate marketing strategy. While this is far from everything that needs to be addressed, answers to these basic questions can serve as the frame while the rest of the program is constructed.

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