Should You Let Affiliate Marketers Sell Your Products?

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If you have created great products that you are looking to sell online, you may have thought about using affiliate marketers to sell your products. Using this marketing method certainly has its appeal. You don’t have to write tomes of content to market your products. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on pay per click marketing. You don’t have to figure out how to drive traffic to your sales pages.

Before you commit to making your products available through affiliate marketers, though, there are a few things that you should think about. This article will help you determine if selling your products through affiliate marketers is right for you and your business.

First, you should realize that you will be giving up a significant portion of your profits to the affiliate marketers that are driving traffic to your sales pages. The percentage of revenues that you will need to pay to affiliate marketers differs depending upon the types of products you are selling, and the caliber of affiliate marketers you want to attract.

If you are selling tangible products, such as books, cookware, yoga mats, or ceremonial swords, you will usually need to pay a commission of 10 to 20% of sales to your affiliates. These commissions can represent a significant portion of your total revenues, especially when you consider that you still have to pay for manufacturing, shipping, and product returns.

If you are selling electronic products, such as software, ebooks, or website subscriptions, you won’t have to worry about paying for manufacturing or shipping, because there are virtually no shipping costs, and no production costs beyond the initial development of the products.

However, affiliate marketers are accustomed to receiving commissions of 40%, 50%, or even 75% for promoting and selling these products. So if you are selling a $40 ebook, you may only realize a profit of $10 after your affiliate commissions have been paid, not counting the minimal costs associated with maintaining your sales website.

Second, you should think about how widely you want to spread your advertising. Once you make your product available to affiliate marketers, you have very limited control over where and how your products are marketed. Some larger companies have means of checking up on affiliate marketers to find out how there products are being marketed, but even the most sophisticated methods are only moderately effective.

If you have a high end product that creates a sense of luxury for your buyers, affiliate marketing may not be the best way of promoting your products. You don’t want your product to be advertised on just any website – certainly, there are certain types of websites that would not cast your products in a favorable light. Even on the internet, you have to maintain your business’s image, and this is more easily done if you keep your advertising in house.

On the other hand, if you have inexpensive products that you would like to make readily available to a wide base of internet consumers, affiliate marketing can work quite well for generating a high volume of sales.

Third, you should evaluate how much time and money you want to spend tracking affiliate sales and writing out commission checks. If you only plan on accepting a handful of affiliate marketers to promote your products, this may not be a big deal. A simple software program can help you keep affiliate IDs straight, so you can determine which affiliate marketer should be credited for each sale. If you plan on using hundreds of affiliates to sell your products, though, this can quickly become a very burdensome task.

If you do want to accept a high number of affiliate marketers, you might want to use a site such as Clickbank to handle tracking and payment functions for you. Clickbank charges you a flat free per product, but in the long run, it can be well worth this fee to have someone else handling these tasks.

Finally, you should consider how much time you have to spend evaluating and accepting affiliate marketers to promote your products. Essentially, you have two options when recruiting affiliate marketers. You can either accept every affiliate marketer that applies for your program, or you can conduct a thorough review of every applicant to make sure that they are a good fit for your program.

If you accept every marketer that applies for your program, you won’t have to spend much (if any) time reviewing your affiliate marketers’ websites and selling history. However, you will likely find that only 2 or 3 percent of the people who apply to your program have the motivation and skills necessary to effectively market your products. Most people that apply for your program will never get around to setting up dedicated websites, writing pay per click ads, or crafting the content necessary to generate interest for your products and drive traffic to your sales pages.

If you conduct a thorough review of every applicant, you will spend significantly more time on your affiliate marketing efforts, but you will likely find more qualified marketers to sell your products. This is especially true if you make this known to potential internet marketers up front. If you ask affiliate marketers for website addresses, verifiable sales figures, and professional references on your affiliate application page, you will immediately weed out those people who are not really serious about marketing your products. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have the time to review websites and verify sales numbers, or you will quickly generate a backlog of work while your own sales figures suffer.

So before you start signing up affiliate marketers to promote your products, take the time to evaluate whether an affiliate model is truly right for you and your business.

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