What is a Referral Program (aka Affiliate Program), and Should Your Resume Business Have One?
As a business owner, your focus will be pointed to answering this question: How can I generate a steady stream of customers without spending big money on advertising and other promotional activities?
In this post, we talk about why you should be using affiliate marketing in your business.
We’ll help you determine if your resume business should have this program.
And we’ve included 10+ affiliate automation software that resume businesses can use to automate marketing activities and create high-converting sales.
Why You Should Have an Affiliate Program
An affiliate program allows you to expand your market reach and increase business revenue while providing you with an established network to help you survive lean revenue months.
The biggest benefit of an affiliate program is that you don’t need to pay any fees until a sale is made.
This is very cost-effective for many resume writers with more time than money.
3 Parties Involved in These Affiliate Relationships
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 looking to promote your writing services 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 (you) nurture through lead nurturing best practices, which include building trust, delivering value, engaging, and so on.
The merchant pays a fee to the affiliate for originating the lead and setting in motion the subsequent sale.
Typical Fees You Can Expect to Payout
Merchants pay various referral fees because not all affiliates and prospect audiences are equal.
In general, affiliate programs for services like ours pay around 15%.
Some businesses outside the resume writing industry pay up to 50% to affiliates. And, yes, some outliers pay more than that.
Beyond the obvious win-win for the merchant and the affiliate, the buyer benefits because he/she was pointed in the direction of services being sought.
When would you want to pay affiliates beyond the typical 15%?
There are many reasons for having more than one payout structure for affiliates.
For example, paying a higher fee is appropriate for affiliates who deliver better pools of prospects.
Conversions also play a key role. At times, select affiliates do a better job of “warming up” prospects, making them buy easier and faster. For these affiliates, having a higher reward system keeps them happy, well-compensated, and referring.
Should Your Resume Business Have One?
Expanding your reach using different marketing strategies will encourage continued success as your business grows.
Time commitment is the biggest caveat to setting up and managing a referral program.
As the merchant, you must provide affiliates with great content, banners, and email copy. Time is also needed to learn about additional topics that go along with affiliate marketing.
Other considerations for optimizing your affiliate program include:
- Best practices for getting clicks
- Writing eye-catching content
- Choosing your marketing message
- Deciding on calls-to-action
- Creating landing pages that convert clicks to sales
- Developing lead nurture campaigns
However, once the heavy lifting is done, refining your messaging and conducting maintenance to your program is all that’s required.
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 designated for a specific affiliate.
However, this isn’t ideal, 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 the specific landing page you designed for the affiliate.
Who says the prospect will 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.
The affiliate could lose potential sales when not using cookies or more advanced tracking measures.
Let’s Take a Look @ Affiliate Tracking Software
A few software options can quickly [not necessarily cheaply] allow you to incorporate an affiliate program into your website.
Some options include:
AffiliateWP is a WordPress plug-in that enables you to add affiliate capacity to your WP-built site. Priced at $149 annually for 1 site and $199 for 3 sites, AffiliateWP is an affordable alternative.
AffiliateWP is a cost-effective alternative for resume businesses who need time setting up and leveraging an affiliate program in their businesses.
LeadDynamo is a hosted affiliate program that provides 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.
In our opinion, a turn-off to this software is that as your business grows, your affiliate software costs grow. We prefer fixed-cost options for software such as this.
For a sophisticated service that provides advanced real-time tracking of clicks, leads, and purchases, consider cj.com.
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
- Linkshare.com (now Rakuten)
- e-Junkie.com (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. Ensure that every affiliate knows about your program as a conduit for more business.
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 many affiliate directories that will list 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 using keywords such as submit+affiliate+program or add+affiliate.
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
We recommended that you sign up and learn the ins/outs of being an affiliate to better understand what attracts and retains affiliate partners. One of our favorite affiliate training programs is Affilorama.com.