Part 1 of my affiliate program write up highlighted the pros and cons of starting your own affiliate program. In my second part I’ll go over the best affiliate program solutions. I’m only going to highlight the programs/software that have been around awhile and have a proven track record.
The first solution is affiliate program software which is any software you download and host on your own server. My favorite one out of the bunch is iDevAffiliate. They’ve been around for almost a decade and many major companies use their software. Another good one is Post Affiliate Pro although they’ve really been pushing their monthly service lately.
The “pros” of going with affiliate program software
- Usually a 1 time fee so the lifetime cost is often lower than monthly solutions
- Full control of the program terms, data displayed and payments
- Since you own the affiliate program, you can set how much you want to pay affiliates (some hosted solutions have minimum percentages) and you can sometimes pay more since there are no middleman fees.
- It’s hosted on your server (unless you pay for a hosted option) so installation and updates have to be done by your staff unless you pay for that also.
- Any problems have to be dealt with externally through a support ticket which can take up time depending on the issue.
- Promoting your affiliate program and finding affiliates is your responsibility. If you’re clueless to this matter, it might be difficult and time consuming.
The other solution is hosted affiliate programs meaning another company runs the program and you pay them a monthly or annual service fee. This is a little different depending on if you’re selling physical goods (clothing,dvd’s, etc) or electronic goods/services (downloadable audio, memberships, ebooks, downloadable video, etc).
For physical goods recommend Shareasale and Commission Junction
The “pros” of hosted solutions
- They handle all the technical issues on their end
- Affiliate networks have thousands of affiliates ready to promote your products
- Because you’re paying them a percentage, many affiliate networks will have other tools to maximize your sales. For example Shareasale and Commission Junction both have free “store building” software.
- You generally pay monthly so your lifetime costs can be higher than buying affiliate software
- Less control over your affiliate program and terms
- Some affiliate networks have sales minimums and payment processor limitations
At the end of the day, my vote goes to having a hosted solution. It might be a little more expensive in the long run but the amount of time it frees up by not having to worry about software bugs, upgrades and hunting down good affiliates is easily worth the monthly fee in most cases.
One additional note for affiliate solutions is that there is a newer program out there called Rapid Action Profits. It’s an affiliate software but the catch is there is a large affiliate network available through RAPBank. The format is a little different in that affiliates and yourself are paid instantly via Paypal when sales occur. Many affiliates like the instant payment style so Rapid Action Profits been gaining a lot of popularity this year. Worth looking into! Thanks for reading.