What Is An Affiliate/Referral Program, and Should Your Resume Business Have One?
As a business owner, your focus will always be squarely pointed at answering one key question: How can I effectively generate a steady stream of customers without spending big money on advertising and other promotional activities?
Answering this question can in part be answered by adding an affiliate/referral program to your business.
An affiliate program allows you to expand your market reach and increase business revenue while providing you with an established network that will help you survive those lean months of operating your business.
Every affiliate program has 3 members: merchant, affiliate, and buyer.
The merchant would be you: a resume writer seeking new business … and willing to pay for it.
The affiliate could be anyone. A stay-at-home mom or dad, a large corporation, another small business owner (a resume writer, for example), or a mom-and-pop operation that is looking to promote your products for a profit.
The buyer is a customer. The ultimate goal for both the merchant and the affiliate.
Simply put, the affiliate provides the leads that the merchant transitions to sales.
The merchant pays a bounty to the affiliate for this. Affiliate programs that involve service businesses like ours generally pay around 15%, though there are some businesses outside the resume writing industry that pay upwards of 50% to affiliates. Some pay even more.
Beyond the obvious win-win for the merchant and the affiliate, it’s also a score for the buyer, as he was pointed in the direction of services he/she was seeking.
Advanced Affiliate/Referral Program
When setting up an affiliate program, you can go simple, using custom URLs with source tracking and sending prospects to a specific landing page that’s designated for a specific affiliate.
This isn’t the ideal program, however, as affiliates prefer promoting programs where sales can’t be lost by wandering prospects. For example, let’s say a prospect goes from the affiliate’s website to your specific landing page you designed for the affiliate.
Who says the prospect is going to stay there, and not wander to other parts of your website, possibly buying from another page on your site? The prospect could decide to call you, therefore completely bypassing the affiliate’s specially designed purchase page.
When not using cookies or more advanced tracking measures, the affiliate could lose potential sales.
Let’s Take a Look @ Affiliate Tracking Software
There are a few software options out there that can quickly [not necessarily cheaply] allow you to incorporate an affiliate program into just about any website.
Some options include:
iDevAffiliate is noted as having the top-selling affiliate tracking software on the market, being offered since 1999.
The company offers a Cloud edition for a $39 monthly fee in addition to self-hosted Standard, Platinum, and Black editions. [Click here for about IDevAffiliate more information]
AffiliateWP is actually a WordPress plug-in that enables you to add affiliate capacity to your WP-built site. Competitively priced at $99 for 3 site licenses and $199 for those who want the additional pro-add-ons the company offers.
Competitively priced at $99 for 3 site licenses and $199 for those who want the additional pro-add-ons the company offers.
Note these fees are charged on a yearly basis, so this is a cost-effective alternative for resume businesses who aren’t quite certain on how an affiliate program will fit into their businesses.
LeadDynamo is a hosted affiliate program that provides you with customizable pages that will have you up-and-running within no time.
Another affordable option, LeadDynamo is affordable at $49/month for websites with less than 3,000 unique visitors per month — and bumps to $59 or $79 per month for sites with larger traffic levels.
A turn-off to this software, in my opinion, is that as your business grows, your affiliate software costs grow. I prefer fixed-costs options for software such as this.
Amenities with these services are phenomenal for merchants and affiliates (called advertisers).
Both services enable merchants to offer per-click and/or per-sale affiliate programs, which is highly attractive to some business owners.
Per-click models are favored by some affiliates who want cumulative profits from clicks, rather than waiting on one big sale, while others prefer only a pre-sale program.
Other Affiliate Program Solutions
- eJunkie (digital products)
Want To Draw Attention To Your Affiliate Program?
Promoting an affiliate program becomes just as crucial to the marketing plan as linking strategies and search engine placement. Serving as a conduit for more business, ensure every affiliate site knows about your program.
An affiliate program becomes another facet of your resume business that’s marketable. You can attract prospective affiliates using your online networks on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Although not as popular, and possibly not as effective, the Internet contains a fair number of affiliate directories that enable you to submit your newly established affiliate program.
For affiliate directories, be prepared to provide a title, description, proposed percentage of the sale, and the number of current affiliates. Search for directories by using keywords such as submit+affiliate program or add+affiliate at your favorite search engine.
Here are a few affiliate directories to get you started:
Another way of drawing attention to your new affiliate program is by adding a preset tagline or snippet of text that you insert into your outgoing emails to B2B contacts.
Advanced Online Training
I recommended that you sign up and learn the ins/outs of being an affiliate, so you better understand what will draw and keep affiliate partners to your affiliate program. One of my favorite affiliate training programs is Affilorama.com.