Hello again! I’m on a mission to catch up on this 30 Day Blog Challenge! The topic for Day 18 is ‘Building a Trustworthy Affiliate Team to Sell your Products for You’.

For those of you who don’t know about Affiliate Marketing, believe me when I say that thousands of products sold online have ‘affiliate programs’ (also known as ‘referral programs’ or ‘partner programs’) in which the person selling the product or service pays a commission to the people who refer their customers when they click ‘Buy Now!’ and purchase it.

It’s all quite clever and tracked via a unique link which you are given as an affiliate partner. You can include this link in your email newsletters or blog posts when you’re raving to your customer base about this persons product or service and if any of your customers click on it and actually end up purchasing it, its all be tracked back to you via this unique link.

Commissions can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on the product or service and the commission percentages from about 5% to 80%. Affiliates are generally paid monthly by PayPal and some online entrepreneurs earn a very tidy regular income from this type of marketing. Some make a business out of blogging and promoting other peoples products!

Sounds easy right? Sure, but it’s not really. How many links do you click on and end up purchasing the product? Not that many I’m sure. Most of us are pretty distrusting of what’s for sale online especially if it’s not a well known reputable brand/website doing the selling. Sometimes you may check out a few resources and reviews first before you end up going direct if you do decide to purchase after all. It’s harder and harder to sell to people online and it takes real active, yet non-pushy, marketing on your part to refer your own customers onto products that aren’t yours. It also involves having built up an enormous amount of trust and credibility with your customer base first.

It pays to choose your products wisely and the number one rule would be that you actually use the product yourself and you can’t do without it, or at the very least you’ve tried it, otherwise it makes it harder to genuinely rave about it or share all the special features with your audience. If you make the wrong decision about a product or service to promote you could lose all credibility with your customers in a flash, it’s just not worth taking the risk. So there is definite investment on your part in terms of using the product and promoting it regularly for this to pay off.

If you do it well it can be very powerful because people buy based on recommendations from people they trust and on peer influence. If people in your community start to purchase and then thank you for the referral publicly  then soon you’ll find more in your community will want to purchase it.

As a business owner wanting to sell my own products and services I will definitely consider using affiliate marketing to promote my products. Even though I don’t know exactly what my offerings are yet, I know that I will eventually have coaching/consulting service, online tutorials, books and maybe even CD’s/DVD’s to promote and having an affiliate program will really allow me more reach into my partners’ customer base. Not to mention the fact that it’s far more powerful having other people promoting your offerings rather than relying solely on self promotion – it’s more credible.

So what does my dream sales team look like and how will I ensure they help me build my business?

My dream team of affiliate partners will include entrepreneurs who I respect and have worked with in the areas of branding, design, web design and social media marketing as well as self development and self growth areas which my audience will be interested in. People whose values and beliefs align with mine will make up the core team. I will also approach women’s business clubs and affiliations in New Zealand to reach my target market for some of my products and I’d offer to speak at their events and gatherings to promote the product and offer the club a commission for sales made from their group.

I’ll help my affiliates to help me by making it really easy to promote my product by providing all the information they’ll need, the marketing content, badges, buy now images, tweet messages etc so they don’t need to take a whole lot of time to put the promotions together.

I’ll also offer generous commissions, especially to begin with, because I know through others experience and learnings that the benefits far outweigh what you might think I’d be losing in profit. Profit is not the only factor here, the customers are even more important. I can gain more customers and followers for future product launches and by providing a product that they love I increase the chances that they will buy from me again – this is priceless.

So what do you think about the power of affiliate marketing? Is it something you will consider using in your venture?

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