Want to Start An Affiliate Program? This is The Book for You

Have you ever thought about launching an affiliate program to enable others to sell your products or capture leads for you online?  If so, you’ll want to check out Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day.

Evgenii “Geno” Prussakov (@eprussakov on Twitter)  has written a book that is ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs who’ve thought about setting up an affiliate program, but don’t know where to start.  Geno walks you step by step through researching, launching, managing and growing your affiliate program.

One Hour Per Day Format

Affiliate Program ManagementIf you are not familiar with the “Hour a Day” book series by Sybex (part of Wiley Publishing), they’re really just like they  sound.  The books are structured so that you get compact lessons you can learn in one hour a day or less.

For Affiliate Program Management, if you consumed just one lesson per day, Monday through Friday, it would take you 4  and 1/2 months to get through all the daily lessons.  Of course, there’s nothing to prevent you from moving through it faster.  You easily can consume multiple lessons each day, as I did.  Lessons are just 2 to 10 pages each, with screenshots included.  But the one-hour-per-day learning format allows you to pace yourself if you wish.

What This Book Covers

The better question would be:  “what doesn’t this book cover?”  There’s not much about starting and running an affiliate program it doesn’t touch on.  It is a comprehensive overview.  The book covers:

  • terminology used in affiliate marketing
  • marketing channels and types of affiliates
  • various payment models
  • how to do competitive research
  • tracking and reporting options, including the use of cookies to track payments
  • data feeds, coupons and plugins
  • creating banner ads for your affiliates to use (including 10 mistakes to avoid)
  • launching the affiliate program
  • recruiting affiliates
  • communications plans for affiliates
  • how to motivate affiliates
  • dealing with problems:  parasitic adware/toolbars, trademark violators and copyright theft
  • how to analyze and optimize your program, using techniques such as split testing and alternative compensation models

For those who are advanced in affiliate program management, you might find some of the chapters too elementary and hunger for more detail.  But those at the introductory and intermediate levels will appreciate the breadth of this overview.  It truly gives you a well-rounded view of the affiliate world, in one book.

A few areas are missing.  For instance, there isn’t much about recent tax grabs by individual states against companies that sell through affiliates.  However, the law is ever-shifting and changes from day to day.  A book would soon be outdated.  If you want to stay up to date in this area, you really need to follow Geno’s blog where he publishes the latest changes in tax laws affecting affiliate programs.

What I Liked Best

My favorite sections are the sections on “mistakes to avoid” and ideas.  There are 10 Mistakes to Avoid with Banner Ads; 15 Mistakes Committed by Merchants; and 25 Affiliate Program Management Mistakes.  I also liked the bonus section on ideas for promoting your affiliate program.

Who is Geno Prussakov?

Those in the affiliate marketing industry need no introduction of Geno.  He’s been involved in online marketing for a dozen years.  And he’s  successfully launched and/or managed over 50 affiliate programs, many for  household-name brands such as Forbes and Hallmark. He was born in Moldova when it was part of the Soviet Union.  Today he lives and works in Virginia where he is pursuing his doctorate.

I met Geno a few years ago at an Affiliate Summit, and interviewed him about affiliate programs.  We kept up contact via email and Twitter.  So I was delighted to have the chance to review Geno’s book this past winter before it went to print and give a blurb for it.

Who This Book is For

This is not a book for publishers of websites who want to sign up for others’ affiliate programs.  If you’re looking to make money on your website by including affiliate links, keep looking.

This book approaches affiliate sales from the other side.  It’s for those who have something to sell and want to recruit affiliates to sell it for them.  Affiliate Program Management is especially good for:

  • entrepreneurs who sell information products and want to recruit others to sell for them
  • small businesses selling online that want to expand their online sales cost effectively on a pay-for-performance basis
  • marketers in any size company who are new to affiliate programs and need to get up to speed

Marketing managers with experience in affiliate program management can use the book as a refresher. You advanced people may pick up a few tips here and there — although you won’t get as much from the book as newbies, because the book is not really intended for the advanced.

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, I definitely recommend this book.  It will save you time and make your affiliate program more effective.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.