A merchant affiliate program is an essential part of an ecommerce business no matter what the size. If you are the owner of a small online store, you can still apply it to get massive amounts of traffic and sales. Learn to harness the power of an affiliate program and you can grow your business exponentially. Big name retailers have been using this method for years to build a successful business and brand. It is now easier than ever for you to do the same.
A merchant affiliate program is not only one of the most effective marketing tools you can have, it is also one of the least expensive. Unlike traditional advertisement where you have to pay up front not knowing whether or not it will actually help your business, with an affiliate program you don’t pay a dime unless you see results. It is literally like having an entire sales force doing all the hard work for you and rewarding them with a commission if they help you make a sale. The benefits of using an affiliate program software are enormous. Affiliates promote your links which help to increase your traffic which then increases your sales. As a result of all of the backlinks your affiliates are spreading throughout the web, your site will get better search engine ranking which will then organically help you get even more traffic and sales.
You must first make sure your ecommerce solution comes with a built-in fully integrated affiliate program software. Once you have that all set up with the commission structure and everything, you can begin to look for the right affiliates to help promote your site. How a merchant affiliate program works is someone registers and gives you their information to join your program. Then they are able to publish your text links, image links and banner ads on their websites, blogs and forums throughout the internet. The important thing for you to keep in mind is you have to select people you think will be able to help you the most, ideally someone who owns a website with relevant information or in the same niche. It is also your job to warn your affiliates against spamming, because ultimately they are putting your reputation on the line. The best way to get more targeted affiliates to want to help promote your site is to provide them with all the tools they need to make their life easier. Have professionally written sales letters, text links, images links and banner ads ready for them to just copy and use wherever they please. Send them new alerts of seasonal or promotional discounts to remind them that they are your affiliates, because a large number of people who join fail to do anything. The key is to stay on top of your affiliates and be proactive in order to get them to do what they need to do efficiently.
There are a number of features to look for when selecting an ecommerce solution that provides an affiliate program software. Here is a list of what they must be able to do:
– Be fully automated
– Track affiliate referrals and sales
– Calculate commissions
– Record and report payments
– Have an easy signup process
– Allow you to set up commission structure
– Provide an admin area for your affiliates
– Have recurring payouts
– Provide auto generated affiliate links
– Have mailing functions to contact affiliates
– Store cookies
– Have fraud protection
There is more to having a successful merchant affiliate program than to just have it set up on your ecommerce site. You must actively promote the program in order to get the scalability you need to have a big team of affiliates hard at work for you. Make sure you submit details of your program to affiliate directories and networks. If you place it in the right category, you will be able to attract targeted affiliates. Another good way to get the right people to join is to actively search for them. Check out discussion forums, websites and blogs that are related to your products and contact people you think will be a good fit. Do a search of your direct competitors and find out which sites are actively promoting them. Then contact the webmasters and introduce your store and affiliate program. Last but not least, don’t overlook the importance of on page SEO. Select relevant keywords describing your products and merchant affiliate program and make sure to use it throughout your affiliate sign up page. Good SEO will help you attract people specifically looking to promote your type of products.