With the increasing popularity of internet marketing, more and more entrepreneurs are beginning to realize the power of affiliate programs.

Affiliate programs are generally time taking to create but well worth it as implementing an affiliate program that allows affiliates to sell your product or service could very well mean a massive boost in sales.

Understand how it works

Affiliates are essentially your sales representatives. They promote your product or service in exchange for a commission on every sale they make. While you offer a substantial commission, you will still make considerably more money than you would if you promoted your product or service alone.

Identify the specifics

Once you’ve decided that an affiliate program is right for your business, you must identify the specifics by answering such questions as:

How much commission will you offer your affiliates? How will you find affiliate partners? Independent advertising? Online forums and message boards?

How will you keep track of your affiliate sales? Will you purchase tracking software or rely on a company to keep track of the sales for you?

Find affiliate partners

Now that you’ve determined how much commission you’re going to offer and how you are going to keep track of sales, you’re ready to find potential affiliate partners. Finding affiliate partners doesn’t have to be difficult. You can advertise for affiliate marketers by using:

Your signature line when you’re on forums and message boards Pay-per-click advertising, Article marketing (blog, company’s website)

You can also find affiliates by word-of-mouth. Talk to people and spread the word that you are enlisting affiliates to sell your product or service.

Provide your affiliates with marketing material

Your goal is to increase your sales and that means making it easy for your affiliates to promote and sell your product or service. Provide your affiliates with such marketing materials as a pre-written sales letter and a Web site template. Offer ongoing support for your affiliates

If your affiliates have questions or need help, offer them ongoing support. Remember, the better you treat your affiliates, the harder they are going to work to sell your product or service.

Keep in touch

Part of treating your affiliates well is keeping in touch with them. Send out frequent emails to update them as to new products and services you are offering and whether sales are high or low. You can also offer advice for how to succeed at affiliate marketing and provide tips gleaned from your own experiences in business.

Pay your affiliates promptly

Your affiliate program’s success largely depends upon your reputation. If you treat your affiliates well and pay them promptly, people are going to want to work with you. If you send payments late or have to be hassled to pay your people, you’re going to have unhappy affiliates and word is going to spread that you are not someone with whom people should work.

Always be recruiting

Whether you have a few successful affiliate marketers working for you or several dozen, continually work to find new people. You never know when your most successful people will move on to something different.