In this post I want to discuss affiliate marketing and how establishing an eBook affiliate program can boost your sales instantly without incurring additional cost to your business.
But before doing so, the following are the previous posts of this series. I highly recommend you read these, unless you already have an eBook that you are selling online.
Establishing an eBook affiliate program is one of my favorite ways to leverage an existing asset (your eBook) to generate more sales revenues. The beauty of this process is that it is simple to understand, easy to implement and absolutely free thanks to the existing affiliate directories and affiliate marketing platforms that are built specifically for this purpose.
An affiliate program is where you have others promoting your product in exchange for a commission on every sale. Unlike advertising expense which is a sunk cost regardless of how many products you sell (or if you don’t sell any), you don’t pay anything if no sales are generated. When you set up an eBook affiliate program, you are instantly giving your eBook a chance to get more exposure because you now have several others promoting your eBook in addition to your own efforts. It’s like building your own army of sales associates for free.
The more commission you offer, the more you will find affiliates flocking to promote your eBook. This approach is especially effective because your affiliates do not need to have their own product, but can still make money by promoting and selling yours. The more money they make, the more you make, therefore they have every incentive to do well promoting your product.
If you are selling your eBooks on eBook stores online such as Amazon, they have an affiliate program (called Amazon Associates) where others can sign up and sell any product listed on Amazon. If you are selling your eBook on your own website or blog through ClickBank, a platform I discussed in my post on how to create an eBook, they too have an in-built affiliate program with an army of affiliates waiting to promote the next big product / eBook.
As a vendor (the person selling the product), you sign up with an affiliate program (let’s just assume ClickBank in this case) and list your product (in this case an eBook) for sale. ClickBank will then generate a unique affiliate link that you can provide to your affiliates (those who will help you sell your product).
You affiliates will then promote your product by marketing the affiliate link on their social media networks, websites and other means. Each month, the affiliate program platform (ClickBank) will send you a report showing all the sales generated by your affiliates as well as the related accounting (the dollars and cents).
The good thing about setting up an affiliate program this way is that you don’t have to worry about tracking, reconciling, accounting or any tax matters. The affiliate platform, in this case ClickBank, does all that for you. All you do is sit back and collect checks from ClickBank, who deducts all the affiliate commissions from your sales and sends you the remaining payment. ClickBank also ensures that your affiliates are paid timely and accurately. Isn’t that neat?
You do not have to go through an existing affiliate platform like ClickBank. You can certainly establish your own eBook affiliate program. However, there is a lot of work involved in not only setting up the program, but also in the ongoing maintenance, not to mention the administration burden as you will have to do all the tasks that ClicBank does as mentioned above.
The first thing you need to do after signing up with an affiliate program platform is determine how much commission you want to award your affiliates. Generally the higher the better, but then again a 75% commission on a $10 product equates to only $7.50. As you can imagine, both the percentage and gross dollars will be evaluated by your potential affiliates when they decide to promote your eBook.
Research the Internet to see what your competitors are offering. If none of your competitors have affiliate programs, a $7.50 payout per sale may work for an affiliate marketer in your industry who otherwise may not have a choice.
Another angle is to consider whether there are inherent monetization opportunities within your eBook such as affiliate links. If so, you may want to give away as much of your sales proceeds in commissions if you anticipate generating your own affiliate commission income on the back-end when your customers / readers click on your affiliate links embedded in the eBooks and make a purchase.
There is no right or wrong answer. Getting pricing exactly right is almost always a matter or trial and error. Regardless, making the offer as enticing as possible behooves your business objectives. Your affiliates will have their own network over which they have an influence, likely one that you do not have access to.
Many today have their own FaceBook and / or Twitter following. Many of those are really large networks. Many have their own websites, blogs and massive email newsletter lists to which they can market.
Don’t worry giving away 75% of a sale and keeping only 25%. That is 25% you wouldn’t have had otherwise if it wasn’t for the affiliate who marketed and sold it for you. The sooner you come to terms with this the more success you will have over the long term.
Once you have determined the amount of commission you want to give, spend as much time as possible explaining how the program works to your potential affiliates. One way to do this is by providing a link just for your affiliates on your eBook sales page. By clicking this link, potential affiliates can learn more about your offer and various other details you’d like to share.
Here is an example of how this link looks like on one of my eBook sales pages. Go ahead and click on the image to head over to the actual page where you can see the information I have included.
On this affiliate page, you want to emphasize the value of your product and how your affiliates can easily sell it because of what it offers. You want to provide your affiliates with as much guidance and help as possible to succeed. The more they succeed, the more you will.
Create some banner ads or marketing language that they can take from this page and use in their marketing efforts. The easier you make it for them to promote your eBook, and the more help and resources you provide them, chances are the more enthusiastic they will be in promoting your eBook.
To take things even further, you can offer special incentives and prizes to your top X affiliates. I have done this on two of my higher price point products and this promotion works like a charm, particularly if you are offering a prize of high value such as in Apple iPad.
And although I have not done this personally for my affiliates, several vendors whose products and services I successfully promote as an affiliate have sent me all sorts of thank you cards and presents especially over the holidays. I received several wine and fruit baskets just this past Christmas.
Although this article specifically referred to an eBook affiliate program, the broader idea applies to any product or service. For example, in the financial industry, stock brokers get a commission when they sell a stock or mutual fund because they are affiliated with those particular securities. Similarly, affiliate programs online work in the same way. Affiliates get a commission each time they sell a product or service they are affiliated with.
The lesson here is to take care of your affiliates and they will take care of you. Look at this process as an opportunity to build relationships with people in your industry who you can call upon in the future when you release your next product or service.
So there you have it, another post in our series on publishing and selling an eBook successfully. I hope you found this information valuable and actionable. In my next post of this series, I will discuss how to write an effective sales page to sell your eBook.
Readers: What are your thoughts on establishing an eBook affiliate program? Are there other tips and strategies I failed to discuss that you’d like to bring up? Do you have any questions or concerns pertaining to this topic?