Create Your Own Affiliate Program

If you have a product that you want to sell, you can greatly increase your sales by letting others do the selling for you. By creating an affiliate program,

  • hundreds or thousands of web sites can be selling your product rather than just one,
  • affiliated web sites will advertise your products on their site in return for a percentage of each sale they generate,
  • and you only have to pay out when you get results.

If you want to find out more about joining affiliate programs on the net to earn money, check out our affiliate program page.

Our advice to those starting affiliate programs is to pay the affiliates as high a commission as you can afford to give. If you pay affiliates generously you will get a large number of sites to join your affiliate program, and those that join will have greater incentive to plug your product in earnest. Also keep in mind that you don’t even have to make a profit on affiliate sales for the affiliate program to be a success. Affiliate programs create not only revenue, they are a great source of advertising for your product. You only pay affiliates for the direct sales they produce. However, a great many indirect sales may also result from the affiliate programs, as satisfied customers who bought your product through an affiliate may in return encourage others to visit your site directly.

There are a number of ways to set up an affiliate program. One is to work directly with one of the big affiliate companies, of which we have found cj.com to be the best. To have Commission Junction handle your affiliate program you’ll have to pay an $1295 setup fee (one time fee) as well as paying them 30% of each sale that you pay an affiliates. Therefore, if you sell a product worth $100 and give your affiliates $25 for making the sale, you’ll also have to give Commission Junction $5. The advantages of Commission Junction are:

  • They will handle all aspects of maintaining the affiliate program for you.
  • CJ helps you recruit members to the program
  • CJ provides you with all the necessary technology.
  • Navigation and use of the site for your affiliates is much easier than most and includes some advanced services such as “smart zone” banner rotation.

Shareasale.com is a bit less expensive, with a $150 setup fee, minimum deposit of $50, and 20% fee on affiliate commissions. They also include processing the checks for your affiliates, which your affiliates will like.

ClickBank is an even less expensive start up with a $49.95 activation fee, and a $1 + 7.5% fee per sale. This account is open to those who are digital merchants; web businesses that deliver unique products and services over the Internet itself (via web pages, files, or email). ClickBank will:

  • Enable real-time sales of your digital goods or services.
  • Provide international fraud screening by ccScan®.
  • Handle all customer billing, billing inquiries, and bank inquiries.
  • Process all of your sales volume. We have no sales caps.
  • Connect you to our network of over 80,000 active affiliates.
  • Provide you and your affiliates with real-time sales reporting.
  • Send you and your affiliates a paycheck twice each month.
  • Process Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Eurocard, and Visa-Debit, MasterCard-Debit, and Novus cards.

clickXchange.com affiliate network is a network with more opportunity to have an affiliate program which pays per lead. They charge no setup fee to advertisers, and affiliates join for free.  There are also pay per sales options, but many affiliates know this network as the place to go to still get pay per lead programs. Remember, you get what you pay for!

Another initially much cheaper method is to buy affiliate software specifically designed for the task. We have found a few quality software packages that can handle this, Kowabunga,Cybertrakker and AssocTrac and Groundbreak.com. All are powerful programs which will allow you to use any number of different ways to track your affiliate sales, or to use several of these methods in combination. The price differences at least partially reflect the total service package, not just the purchase of the program software.

Our favorite of these is Kowabunga, as they are a combination of a straight software solution and a 3rd party tracking solution. They also have created a network for finding affiliates, much like the CJ or shareasale sites, but they don’t charge a commission on sales.

If all the price tags seem too high, try mals-e.com for a free affiliate tracking service. You must use Mals’ shopping cart, since the affiliate tracking is built into it to avoid abuse.

Once you’ve set up your affiliate program, it is important to list it in various directories so that webmasters seeking to advertise affiliate programs can find you. We find this list to be very helpful at Affliate Manager.net. They also have a lot of other interesting and important information for those building their own affiliate programs.