Affiliate Marketing as a Powerful Marketing Tool for Hosting Providers
If you deal with web hosting reselling you might have thought of different solutions that would bring you more clients while spending less funds to attract them. If you did, you must have definitely considered affiliate marketing as one of the most appropriate tools. Well, it really is, if you analyze the way it works. The thing is that this client attraction strategy requires minimum of preliminary investments. Whether you are going to place your advertising banners on some popular relevant websites or run a Google Adwords campaign, it means you will give out your money for a chance to attract more customers or partners. But what if your company cannot afford such investments that don’t grant 100% results while your service is really worth being promoted? That’s where affiliate marketing can help – you cooperate with partners, who help you promote your company and reward them for bringing you signups. A nice and promising strategy, isn’t it? Let us take a closer look.
How Affiliate Marketing Works in Web Hosting
Those who deal with web hosting usually call it an affiliate or partner program. To put it simple – hosting providers grant their affiliates rewards (commissions) for sales made by clients they refer. Affiliates may link their websites to the website of a hosting provider by placing special affiliate banners or hyperlinking URLs in some text adverts, testimonials or reviews, referring their visitors to you this way. As far as you can see it works the same way banner placement does, but you needn’t pay upfront. Of course it is vital to stay tuned and control all those referred sales and those who helped make them. And it’s rather easy to do that – you simply need to get some affiliate tracking software and integrate it into your billing system. This is going to let you know a) which sale was made; b) who made this sale and c) which affiliate referred it.
Such software usually has a full set of tools, so it will help you not only define the lucky affiliate, but also set a commission rate that is going to be his or her reward and set payout interval and minimal withdrawal sum. Additionally those systems usually support multi-level commissions, performance bonuses and other helpful tools. Another advantage of those systems is their client side that allows affiliates check their accounts and stay updated on their status – if they have any pending commissions, if they reached their withdrawal minimum or another level, etc. Finally, some types of affiliate software allow uploading banners and creating links, binding them to the ID of the specific affiliate, making tracking easier.
When a prospect client clicks the affiliate link the affiliate software tracks the date, the IP address of the referral and places the cookie of the page where they were referred from. The IP address and the cookie are tracked by the software database along with the name of the affiliate of affiliate ID. When the client finally buys some hosting package, the software will check the current data and match it with the data in the database. This allows identifying the affiliate who will be rewarded the commission.
This customer attraction strategy looks really simple and profitable – you give away a certain amount of a sure made sale as a commission, showing your appreciation and stimulating your affiliate to help you make more sales. Level or performance rewards system is going to work as a great stimulating factor and may significantly increase both the signups and common interest to your service, even if you have a few relevant and dedicated affiliates.
Organizing Your Affiliate Program
Being a hosting provider you should always be attentive to your clients. If you run an affiliate program, you are also attentive to your partners. No, your partners should not obligatory be your clients. Although a happy customer of yours may be the best advertisement for your business, there are many owners of well-visited relevant or just popular websites. And it doesn’t actually matter if they are hosted with you or not – don’t lose them. If they are interested in cooperation with you, welcome them to join your program – you will be surprised with the number of sale they may make.
Talking about attention and care we can’t leave policies unmentioned. Yes, no matter how simple your affiliate program is or looks like, you need to have everything confirmed and approved by a policy, better followed by Terms and Conditions. Such minor issues like sales made from a different IP address or after cookies removal may look pretty harmless… unless your affiliate demands to pay him or her this untracked (or unreal) commission. Policies may also be useful if your have a minimal withdrawal point and/or make delayed payouts (advisable method, so that you shouldn’t accept commissions for orders that were cancelled with refund).
According to the proverb – honesty is the best policy, so apart from creating papers you should also confirm them by your actions. Monitor sales and commissions, check their status and don’t ignore any complaints or support requests of your affiliates. If you prove yourself as a trusted hosting provider and reliable partner, you are likely to get tier affiliates – your affiliates will attract other people to become your partners.
If you run your hosting company and you feel like lacking signups – give it a try – start your affiliate program and watch new clients and new partners becoming a part of your business. If you are a blogger or an administrator of a busy forum or just an owner of an interesting and popular website who feels like making some more money with a trusted host – join affiliate program at Sitevalley.com.
Updated commissions and new payout system coming in 2011.