Special Report: Affiliate Marketing
An In-house Solution
Developing an in-house program requires the resources to establish and maintain relationships with multiple affiliate partners. This includes:
- seeking out affiliate partners;
- developing a commission structure and contract for each affiliate;
- designing and hosting creative;
- tracking affiliate results;
- paying each affiliate;
- engaging in affiliate support, (i.e., answering questions about your program, offering technical support for affiliates having trouble accessing your creative); and
- communicating with each affiliate to develop an effective relationship.
As with any aspect of your marketing plan, these activities require time and resources. If the resources aren’t available to you, an affiliate marketing network may offer an alternative.
Affiliate Marketing Networks
Such a network is comprised of a marketplace and technology service providers that enable you to push creative and offers to affiliate Web sites. Commission Junction, LinkShare and Performics are examples of affiliate marketing networks.
Typically, the networks manage the monthly payment of affiliates, allowing you to write one check to the network. Tax forms for affiliates that earn more than $600 annually also are often handled by the network.
The networks can host your creative; they’ll serve as central repositories where affiliates can update your ads on their own sites. Some networks also offer creative services, assisting in the creation of ads if you need it.
When you join a network, affiliates that are a part of it can see what products you offer, as well as the commission you pay, and apply to become an affiliate on your behalf. Some networks allow you to be invisible to affiliates if you choose, effectively putting you in charge of finding affiliates to add to your program. Once you review and accept an affiliate, and it agrees to your terms and conditions, the affiliate can begin placing your creative on its site.