18 Buckets of Money: Affiliate Programs
For many people, once they launch a website, they do so thinking that “Ok, now the money will just come rolling in.” Depending
upon the business, they may just do very well. But, having spent the best part of the last 20 years working with websites, I can tell
you that more often than not, it takes a bit of time. Unfortunately, for many businesses (web or otherwise) the number one reason for
failure is under-capitalization. Thus, making money right off the bat serves the long term vision of the business best of all. Because I
wanted my customers to do well (and therefore be able to pay their bill), I looked for ways to create alternative revenue streams,
while the core business would grow in the time they needed. Over a period of time, I was able to discover eighteen of what became
known as the “Buckets of Money”. This is column two in an eighteen column series… so with that said, on with the show.
Column two is on the subject of Affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are arrangements in which an online merchant Web site pays
affiliate Web sites a commission to send them traffic. These affiliate Web sites post links to the merchant site and are paid according
to a particular agreement. This agreement is usually based on the number of people the affiliate sends to the merchant’s site, or the
number of people they send who buy something or perform some other action. Some arrangements pay according to the number of
people who visit the page containing their merchant site’s banner advertisement. Basically, if a link on an affiliate site brings the
merchant site traffic or money, the merchant site pays the affiliate site according to their agreement. Recruiting affiliates is an excellent
way to sell products online, but it can also be a cheap and effective marketing strategy; it’s a good way to get the word out about your
In order to make the most of an Affiliate Program, you need to ask yourself a couple of important questions:
- Who is my audience? You want to know this, for your own business of course, but now add to that, because knowing will let you know what types of affiliates you may want to employ. Then ask yourself…
- What types of offerings are out there? I found a resource that I have used: www.associateprograms.com/directory/ Compare their list, to your audience and some prospects will emerge. Look into them, and their competition. Finally ask…
- Does this other company, have an offering that my audience will find valuable? If you do not think it will, then DO NOT go into business with them. You MAY see a few dollars now, but you will most likely find a mutually non-beneficial relationship. If on the other hand, you think your audience will find value, then give strong consideration!
Once you have made the decision to have one or more (and yes, you can actually have more than one!) affiliate programs in place
you owe it to yourself to keep a very close eye on the program, and its value; both to you and your affiliate partner. It is, after all, a
situation in which if things are not working well for either party, it will not last for long. You need to keep your eyes open. You also
need to check with your partner to be sure things are working well for them. Check with your audience to see if they also find a big
upside. If they do not, you may want to try to modify the program, even if the money is rolling in. After all, you do want to have this
be a long term win… don’t you?
Stay tuned, the next time we are together, we will get to a look into Subscriptions!