A Simple Secret for Making More Affiliate Sales

Stacy Karacostas
By: Stacy Karacostas | December 20th, 2011

Do you have an affiliate program yet?

If not, you should. And if you already do – or you regularly promote other entrepreneurs as an affiliate – then today’s article has a simple yet powerful tip to make your efforts more effective.

But let me backup here and make sure we’re on the same page…

In case you aren’t familiar with affiliate programs; they’re basically a simple way for others to refer prospects your way online and get credit for it. And they’re great for small businesses.

Typically, you set up an affiliate program using your shopping cart or other online tool. And you make sure to include a set affiliate commission (basically a referral fee) of either a dollar amount or a percentage of the price for anything you’re trying to promote.

Then you invite people to join who know, like and trust you and would be willing to promote your stuff to their community. Each person who joins gets their own, unique affiliate link. This lets you track who sends you each new client or customer so you can pay them their fee.

Once you have a few affiliates, it’s time to promote your products, events and/or services via your new affiliate partners. That means you’re going to put together emails, Facebook posts, tweets, ezine blurbs and more for them to use.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky…

In order for an affiliate program to be successful, the affiliate link included in each promo needs to send prospects directly to the page for that product, event or service. NOT to a generic products or events page, or worse to your home page. Do this and you WILL lose sales.

The problem is, every affiliate is automatically issued their own affiliate link via the system. And that link goes to one Website page and one page only.

So what do you do when you want your affiliates to send prospects directly to a specific page for a new product, service or event (Or when you want to promote a new product as an affiliate, but you only have the one link)?

You could set up separate affiliate programs for each item. But that’s a huge pain on your side. Plus then affiliates have to sign up to promote each one. Uggh.

Instead, here’s a cool little trick to customize affiliate links I learned years ago from my VA Erin Blaskie…

All you need to do is add this little piece to the end of the affiliate link (be sure to include the landing page URL): &u=www.URLHERE.com

So let’s say the generic affiliate link is:

http://www.myshoppingcart.com/app/?af=651317

But you want the link used to promote your new book, “Buy It Now” from buyitnow.com. In that case you simply copy and paste &u=www.buyitnow.com to the end of the affiliate link like so.

http://www.shoppingcart.com/app/?af=651317&u=www.buyitnow.com

Make sure there are no spaces between the original link and the bit you just added and it should work like a charm. Of course, be sure to test it before you use it yourself, and advise your affiliates to do the same. Then shorten it using a service like bit.ly or tinyurl.com for ease of use.

Simple. Effective. And sure to increase your affiliate-based sales.

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About the Author: Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas, founder of SuccessStream Sales & Marketing Solutions, specializes in taking the stress, struggle and confusion out of growing your small business. She's the author of the 2-page marketing plan workbook Putting Your Business on the Road to Success, and The Small Business Website Bible. Stacy also writes the fun and informative Marketing Junkie blog and Bright Ideas weekly newsletter. For more practical, business-building wisdom help yourself to a copy of her free report The 7 Deadliest Small Business Marketing Sins... Are You Guilty?



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