Checklist Before You Launch Your Affiliate Program – By Deborah Carney

by Colleen on September 21, 2011

Let’s take a look at some elements and see if they are on your site. The same things that make your site affiliate friendly will also increase your conversions. Customers need to trust you and your site before they will buy from you.

Affiliates know what drives a customer to make a purchase and they know what needs to be on your site before they will promote your products or services.

Both affiliates and customers want to know who you are. Private WhoIs details send up red flags for both shoppers and affiliates looking to promote you. Customers want to know who is behind the website and who is getting their details and sensitive information. They also want to know their information is secure and will look for the lock in the browser window that shows you have a secure certificate.

Next shoppers and affiliates will look for certain pages on your site. They want to see an About Us page with information about your company, some history about how and why you got started, and what the differentiation is between you and your competitors. You need a clearly defined Returns Policy. If your products aren’t returnable, you need to state that. If they are, detail how to return and what restrictions there are.

Something else that shoppers look for is your shipping policy and choices. The shipping costs need to be clear before you get to the checkout. Customer service and contact information needs to be clear and easy to find on your site.

Shoppers want to know how you are going to use their data, so you need a Privacy Policy to detail who you share info with, what do you share, who has access, whether you have a third party newsletter service, third party tools like a cart recovery service.

One subject that affiliates are adamant about is “leaks” on websites. If you are selling products from your site, your number one rule should be to keep your customers on the site until they make a purchase.

So, no links to other sites; no AdSense, links to your products on Amazon or eBay, or other affiliate links. These links make your site look unprofessional and like you don’t trust your own products to be what people are looking to purchase.

If you have a number for people to call during the purchase process, you need a way to track the affiliate that sent the shopper that made that call.

Product pages need to have a clear call to action, with sharp, professional product images. Write product descriptions like you are explaining your product to someone over the phone.

Also, make sure you have a clear and easy checkout process without distractions. Your customer is ready to give you their money, so make that as easy as possible.

Once you check all these site elements, you are ready to get started with an affiliate program.

Deborah Carney offers training via podcasts and is the Affiliate Summit Forum admin for

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