Friday, September 15, 2006

Why Merchants Encourage Affiliate Marketing Programs

by Ruth Brown

More and more merchants, big and small, are introducing their own versions of affiliate marketing programs in e-commerce community every day simply because it allows them to earn more!

One of the biggest appeals of affiliate marketing for merchants is the savings they gain since they no longer have to carry out their own online advertising and promotion. The savings incurred by merchants who have gained a well-established presence and success in the affiliate marketing program is such that some of them barely conduct any promotional activity to generate of more sales. Although this does not weaken their current sales in the online business, they fail to exploit the full potential of generating more revenues for their online business and their affiliates by taking advantage of after-sales marketing strategies.

Therefore, a merchant must still conduct some form of advertising regardless if he has an effective affiliate marketing program, and hundreds of affiliates conducting the promotions for him. The merchant must look into making a second or even a third sale to the customers he has acquired. Such practice is generally called after-sales/back-end marketing. Extending and modifying the practice of after-sales marketing to the Internet can complement affiliate marketing.

Here are some ways that a merchant or even an affiliate can perform after-sales marketing:

Newsletters – Whether through email or sent through snail mail, these publications are perfect avenues to introduce other products to past clients on your mailing list. These other products can be support or complimentary products of the original your sold or a totally different one. Therefore, in the merchant’s affiliate website, there should be a part where the customer is asked whether he would like to receive free newsletters from the online company. If the customer clicks yes, then this customer is taken to another web page where he can enter his email or mailing address. When the client agrees, make sure to inform him that his name will never be sold or provided to another party.

Thank You Letters – Send your client a thank you letter for patronizing the merchant’s products as a form of business courtesy. However, in the body of the letter, be sure to include other products that you promote in which the client may have an interest in the future.

Customer Satisfaction Emails – Aside from the original thank you letter, you can send a follow up email a month after the product purchase to inquire if the client is satisfied with the product he bought. Aside from the fact that the email positively shows the affiliate’s concern for the client, the opportunity also provides an avenue to mention other available products and services.

Customers Only Webpage – Integrating a webpage for clients only in your website where online support and discussions among other users of the products can be maintained is another marketing opportunity. The webpage can include links and banners for other related or complimentary products.

Exploiting after-sales marketing strategies and realizing its benefits are relatively easier since the client has already given his trust after the initial purchase.

Ruth Brown is a full time internet marketer. To learn more about affiliate marketing and wealth-generating strategies that work, you can visit her site at: affiliatemarketingnews.net/

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