How to run an effective affiliate program for Magento sites.
Why Affiliate marketing?
Magento is today’s one of the top open source e-commerce software which is used by thousands of online stores across the world with 6,795 sites, a 20% share of eCommerce stores found. Along with the growth of Magento, there is a trend that is gradually taking the lead in marketing industry – Affiliate marketing. In US, Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion marketing channel, which comprises more than 200,000 businesses and individuals while in UK, over 60% of the online blogs are using affiliate offers in order to get in some revenue.
Tools to run Affiliate program
There are many ways to run an affiliate program for your Magento site. You may run your affiliate program via a 3rd party affiliate network, however, most of these networks will require you to pay monthly fee and you can’t fully control your affiliate programs but must depend on their system. Integrating an extension seems to be a better choice especially when there are some really good Affiliate extensions already available in the market. The first released and most rated Magento extension is Affiliate+ (http://www.magestore.com/magento-affiliate-plus-extension.html) developed by Magestore.com (according to the popularity score in Magento Connect- The Magento extension Marketplace). It has full functions to run a basic affiliate program and also provide many plugins to meet the special needs of some stores.
How to run effective Affiliate program
Affiliates refer friends through emails, social networks
If you want your customers to be your affiliates, this is the best way. Imagine a satisfied customers refers your products to their email lists and their Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you can gain up to 100 more customers. Your affiliates may have hundreds of contacts from multiple email boxes (Gmail, Yahoo), thus remember to create an easy way for them to import those contacts. Besides, let the affiliates view the clicks that they get: how many clicks to email, how many clicks from Facebook…
Function “Refer friend” of Affiliate+
Affiliate via coupon code
This method is quite new but seems to be effective for many stores. Each affiliate has a unique coupon code that he can share to his friends. Who purchase using this code will receive discount, and the affiliate gets commission. Conversion rate of this method is higher than others since customers have more encouragement to make purchase. You may not want to spend too much money on giving discount for all of your products, so think of setting up a campaign just for a specific product (e.g. a new released one).
Function “Affiliate via coupon” of Affiliate+
Affiliate via Banner
If you’re selling clothes, why don’t you get a Fashion Blogger to be your affiliate? Provide well-designed banners with your store’s information so that your affiliates can easily post to their blogs or websites. They can take advantage of frequent visitors and earn commission without putting a lot of effort. For store-owners, it’s a cost effective marketing alternative that will payout only when there is a tangible sale.
You should prepare a good selection of banners to fit most of blogs, websites. Ideally, banners are designed in color neutral (e.g. white background) to cover your bases. It is also a good idea to provide common sizes from big to small e.g. 468×60, 120×600, 200×200, 125×125 etc.
Function “Affiliate via Banner” of Affiliate+
Affiliate via widget
Widget can display a list of your products, so it gives the readers more information than other methods. Best seller products are recommended to put in widget since there’s only a limited space on website for placing widget.
Function “Affiliate via Widget” of Affiliate+
Affiliate Pay per lead
You can pay affiliates for a successful invitation people to register at your store. This is good for new stores who aim to expand the customer email list.
Affiliate Tier commission
Use this method when you want to grow your affiliate network first. First affiliate refers a link and gets a friend sign up to become affiliate. When the second affiliate succeeds in selling a product, both him and the first affiliate can get commission.
Affiliate marketing without doubt will be the most popular trend in the ecommerce world next few years. For anyone who is looking for a way to increase sales and traffic to their site in a short time, I believe Affiliate program is right up your alley.