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Should I use an affiliates marketing program?

Should I use an affiliates marketing program?

An affiliate marketing program is a way to get people to sell your stuff for you! For example, if you have an online shop selling cosmetics, a cosmetics information site would link to some of your products. If a customer clicks on that link on their site and buys from you, the site that put up the link would receive a commission. It's a way to encourage others to promote and sell your goods. Commissions vary, some affiliate programs pay over 50% for digital goods, a 2% - 20% affiliate commission is more common for physical goods.

The benefits of running an affiliate program go beyond increasing sales. Having a large number of affiliates linking to you increases your ranking in search engines such as Google which interprets a link to you site as a vote of confidence in your sites. It's also a form of free marketing - someone else is getting your name out there.

There are some downsides to affiliates marketing programs
So is it all good? There are some downsides to affiliates marketing programs. The most basic one is managing the program. Some shopping carts such as Actinic or Agora Cart offer a built in affiliates program. Features of the affiliates program varies between shopping carts, but they should all allow you to calculate which of your affiliates made which sales. However, there will inevitably be questions from affiliates to deal with, and time maintaining key relationships.

Some merchants have problems with their affiliates spamming or doing other dubious marketing practices, which will ultimately reflect on you despite you not being responsible for it, so you need to be careful with your terms & agreements as well as policing your affiliates. You also need to make sure the margins on your products are enough to be able to offer an attractive enough commission to attract affiliates.

Companies such as BFast offer solutions to help you manage more complex affiliates program.

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