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How to Use Affiliate Marketing for an Actual Product - not an E-product


I have a line of hair products. People who try the products love them, and we've been successful selling the products online since we introduced them in February.

Our focus until now has been selling online and through salons and beauty supply stores. Then the idea hit me to try affiliate marketing. I'm thinking of offering the many people who have already tried and liked our products a commission on any sales they make and on sales of people they bring in as sales reps. There would be no membership or start-up fees. This would be just commissioned-based sales. These sales reps would each have a unique link so that when an order comes in from someone they sourced, that sales rep would get the credit. There would be five levels of commissions, and the payout structure could get very lucrative for the sales reps.

How would I set-up something like this online? Are there software programs that would help me manage this? Are there other ways to leverage affiliate marketing to build my product sales?

Thanks for any and all help!


Linda Buquet

Hi Donn,

I may need to answer a couple questions or make a couple points at a time and then come back for more.

1) Customers don't typically make very good affiliates and typically won't sell much product. I know it makes sense that someone that has used and loves your product could promote it, but if they don't know how to market online they will only make a couple sales to friends at most.

Example: We managed a spiritual growth type affiliate program for awhile that was AMAZING. One of the managers decided to find a bunch of spiritual growth sites including some super HIGH traffic spiritual GURU sites that had a huge following of loyal fans. Sales were pretty much zip. Even high traffic sites arent necessarily good at moving product if they don't know how to market. My guess is most of your customers would not even have sites.

2) ONLY 2 LEVELS - Don't do 5 levels of pay. That's considered MLM which has a really bad reputation in the affiliate industry. The most you want to do with an affiliate program is 2 levels with most of the money weighted toward personal sales and just a little for 2nd tier referrals.

The STRONG affiliates, the ones that can really move product for you - most will only sell direct so will want the highest direct commission you can give instead of having part of payout to 4 other tiers. The customers you recruit may think it's cool to get some friends selling for them but few sales will come this way. The big sales will come from pro affiliates.

I'd definately get testimonials from all happy customers

Supposedly only about 10% of the poplulation thinks they can sell anything. You might approach it in the sense of a bonus for a referal link and not an affiliate program

Paydotcom handles physical products and just today announced a single link available to sell all products in a group selected by the vendor