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How To Create Your Simple Affiliate Program For Free

By: Keller Flynn

Keller Flynn offers the full spectrum of tools, ideas and action steps needed to create and run a successful affiliate program. Reach him at keller@affiliatedirector.com or 801-328-9006. Get his Extra Money Newsletter athttp://www.AffiliateDirector.com to learn more about how you can profit from the affiliate boom.

Has anyone said they like your product or service?  Put them to work selling for you with your own affiliate program.  Did a new customer say she learned about you from someone else?  Find the person that made the referral and pay them a commission to spread the word about you as a member of your affiliate program.

But don't affiliate programs require expensive software and accounting systems?  Not necessarily.  Here are some simple free ways to create an affiliate program.  For many small businesses and one-person operations, these no-cost options are actually more effective than high-priced systems.

I'll let you in on the affiliate world's embarrassing secret: Most programs don't make much money.  They either can't get many people to sign up or the members don't make many sales.  While affiliate programs can make tons of money for you, most don't.

Hey, it's like everything else in business.  There is no free lunch.  You have to know what you're doing and put some work into making your program a success.

It pays to start small.  Here are two free methods you can start today:

  1. Do you sell a service?  We often have businesses that sell our DrNunley writing service to their customers.  The business gets the order, collects the customer's money, then places the order with us.  We deliver the order to the business and they send it to the customer.  Because our rates are low, the business can usually charge a higher rate and keep the difference.

    Of all the things we've tried, including expensive affiliate software, this method works the best.  It probably accounts for 20 percent of our sales.

    The key is to enlist businesses that have lots of customers and want to provide a broad selection of services for them.  They outsource the work to you.  You can get dozens of orders and thousands in revenue in no time using this method.

  2. Here's a dirt simple way to track sales for a product (or a service.)  Many shopping carts let you put a tracking code in the HTML for the order button.  Create a different sales page for each of your affiliates, each with their own tracking code.

    Here's how it works.  Let's say we set the tracking code as "kflynn."  When a customer clicks the order button, "kflynn" will show up on the order form.  The business immediately sees the order came from Keller Flynn's order page and I get a check for the commission.

    This system will get to be a complicated mess if you have hundreds of orders coming in each day. But that kind of size may not be your goal.  Your sales can zoom even if you have just a few dedicated folks who really work their sales page.

It's a good idea to create a web page that lays out your rules and policies.  This can also be an email you send to new members. Take a look at our rules form for ideas at drnunley.com/affiliates.htm  Click on the link "Click here to get started" and you go to the rules and policies page.  The member has to approve the policy page before they can go on to the sign-up form.

When your affiliate program starts to grow, you may want to outsource the work of running it to one of the many affiliate software companies.  We use affordable MyAffiliateProgram.com with great results.  SimpleAffiliate.com has a very low-cost system that gives most small businesses everything they need.

Remember that affiliate systems don't need to be high priced or complicated to work.  "Simple" often encourages you to be more involved with your members.  Simple sells.


© Copyright 2001, Keller Flyn.

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