Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

3 Easy Steps to Building Your Affiliate Program

photo credit: Hikaru Kazushime

Building your affiliate program doesn’t have to be tiresome or stressful. In fact, most of it comes down to common sense, a bit of elbow grease (you know, harnessing your GoogleFu!), and understanding what you need to build it. In this article I am going to show you my tried and true methods of ensuring that you get your affiliate program constructed properly from the ground up. So grab that pad and pen, take notes, and start your checklist!

Step 1: The Foundation

The foundation of building your affiliate program means having the basics in place. The basics of your affiliate program are:

  • Your products and/or programs with descriptions – Keep these short and to the point with great calls to action and keywords that attract!
  • Your rates of commission (set a default of 25% if you are unsure, you can always raise from there!) – Twenty-five percent is “standard” and is absolutely fair for doing the work for you! Plus, your affiliates will appreciate the generosity!
  • Your graphics (banners) the affiliate community can use to distribute their affiliate links – Keep these banners small and clean, don’t use too many words or pictures. Make it simple and make it catchy! If you don’t know how to make a graphic or have no experience, it is always suggested that you either hire someone to do so (and ContemporaryVA has those people that can help you!) or look for banner generators on the internet. One of the better ones can be found by going to:
  • Your swipe copy and any content you want to make available for your affiliates (this means general e-mails that your affiliate community can send out when promoting you!)

Step 2: The Structure

So now that you’ve collected all of your materials and have them ready to go, it’s time to choose WHERE you want to run your affiliate program from, and there are many options! You can have as much or as little control over your affiliate programs as you desire, but make sure you understand that each CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is different and does different things. Here are two that we recommend:

  • InfusionSoft – An all around amazing system that lets you detail and organize it all. From here you can customize your affiliate program. You can have individual affiliate links, you can create reports to track the actions of your affiliates, even build an affiliate resources page. You can choose to host your affiliate sign ups either remotely or via an InfusionSoft web form, you have control over the design and concept, and so much more.
  • 1ShoppingCart – 1ShoppingCart allows you to do a variety of things like create and manage an unlimited amount of affiliates, customize your affiliate portal, offer multiple tiers of commission, and manage resources. It even allows you to pay your affiliates via PayPal.
  • If these don’t work for you, don’t be afraid to get out there and research!

Once you choose, you are then ready to build it up!

Step 3: The Build Up

Depending upon the system you are using, what you can do will vary. Design it so that it looks in line with your own color scheme or message. Make sure that you have clearly defined terms and conditions laid out complete with how people can promote you and the commission rates. Always give your affiliates a contact for someone that will be in charge of answering their affiliate questions. Have a “central” place where you have stored all of your “go to” affiliate information so that you have it at your fingertips. ( I recommend DropBox or SugarSync) Once you are done building, then it’s time to announce it via your website, social media, and through your newsletters! And don’t forget, you can always have you friendly, neighborhood virtual assistant manage the whole thing for you!


Posted on April 24th, 2012 by Oriana Ballard, Virtual Assistant

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