As with any marketing endeavor, your affiliate marketing program requires a budget.
While it is true that in comparison with the majority of other types of online advertising, affiliate marketing generally requires a significantly smaller budget, it does require one.
So what investment is required to get an affiliate program rolling?
Below you will find a basic breakdown of expenditure points that you want to be aware of right from the outset. Whether you decide to tackle these tasks in-house, or not, there is an outsourced option for each.
At the outset, you will have to pay for the platform on which your affiliate program will be run. There will essentially be two options: going with an affiliate network, or with affiliate program tracking/management software. On the budgeting level, you need to know that you will either be charged some setup fees, or have a choice of one-time, monthly or other periodical fees, depending on what platform you go with.
You will want to put together a creative inventory for your program. These will be your banners, text links, and possibly Flash and video creatives. Out of all of these options, the creation of text links is simplest. As far as graphics and video go, you may have to hire someone to do this for you. If so, this will be an additional investment.
Product Data Feed
If you are an online retailer, you will want to supply your affiliates with a detailed product feed. If, on the other hand, you will be using your affiliate program to generate leads, you’ll want to experiment with different landing pages. Depending on your in-house capabilities, this may tack on additional costs for programming, or web-design and possible conversion optimization fees.
Most importantly, you will have to have someone manage your affiliate program, from its announcement and recruitment of first affiliates on through the ongoing policing of affiliate compliance with your program’s rules, activation of stagnant affiliates, keeping the program fresh and attractive, and other responsibilities that we will look at in further chapters.
Non-management is not an option. You may either have one of your in-house staff handle this, or hire an outsourced affiliate program manager to work on your program.
The sum total of all of the above four expenditure points can vary anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. In the past I have launched programs with as little as a $300 investment to as much as $9,000 on others. As mentioned above, much will depend on your or your company’s own involvement in the affiliate program’s setup, launch and management.
Geno Prussakov is an international speaker, book author, blogger, affiliate marketing consultant and program manager.
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