Affiliate marketing is a key to online business success. And, if you’re like me, it seems like everyone understands what it is…except you.
I know that Kartra allows you to manage your affiliates and Joint Ventures (JVs) but, before I could even explore this feature, I wanted to get to the bottom of who an affiliate is and what a JV means.
An affiliate is simply a middleman who helps you sell your product for a commission. Think of them as a broker for your product. When a broker sells a house, they take a 3-6% commission from the sale. They do not own the product but are merely promoting the product and bring leads to the product to close the deal; when successful, they earn a commission. The owner keeps the majority of the sale value, but the broker (affiliate) takes a cut. An affiliate can do this for your business, whether it’s a service or a physical product they’re helping you sell.
A Joint Venture, on the other hand, is when two companies or people work together, pooling resources, to promote each other’s products or promote one’s product to the other’s list to increase both their bottom lines. Often times, the businesses are related but non-competing, such as a fitness coach promoting a nutrition brand and vice-versa. However JVs can also be one person using an exceptionally large list of leads to help the other’s business grow through promoting a product or service.
As I mentioned above, Kartra allows you to manage your affiliates by tracking their sales, returns, payouts, etc. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Kartra also allows you to become an affiliate for other products and brands and promote them for a profit.
Allow Your Affiliates
I decided to explore the Affiliate Manager first, as it’s most relevant to my art business.
To allow affiliates to promote my product, I needed to give them permission in the product setup section of Kartra. I had to think back to my very first exploration of Kartra when I uploaded my first original art pieces and added them to my Kartra store. In the product setup, there are a few different sections, one of them being affiliates. Here you have the option to either allow affiliate programs on checkout or disallow it.
Allowing this means that, when an affiliate sends someone your way through a unique link and the customer make a purchase, the affiliate gets paid a commission. I clicked allow on my screen, and a payment commission form appeared. I got to choose what percentage of my sale my affiliates would make. My painting is $500 so if someone refers a client who purchases that painting, my affiliate will get 10% (which is $50).
I have the option to add commission tiers as well. This means that if an affiliate refers an exceptional amount of business, they can be added to a sort of VIP tier where they make a higher commission percentage.
Next, there was the option to allow or deny an affiliate program on opt-in. This means that if an affiliate sends someone my way and they don’t buy anything but they opt-in on one of my forms, such as a commission request or my email subscription, the affiliate will get a fixed flat fee.
Note: You will need to go into each individual product and allow affiliates for that product if you want them to able to promote it. You can allow affiliates to promote one product, but not others.
Set Your Settings
Once I had allowed affiliates on all my products, it was time for me to set up my requirements for them. To go to the manager, navigate to “Products” in the main left navigation, and click on affiliates up at the top.
From there, I had the option to choose “Affiliates,” “Settings,” or “Payment history.” The Affiliates tab allows me to see which affiliate referred what, how much they’ve earned, how much is due to them and how much has been paid out already.
The Payment History tab is similar, except it gives dates of payments, how much they were paid, the payment method, etc. Think of it like your bank statement, only for your affiliates. At this point in time, I have no active affiliates so those two tabs were empty.
The third tab, Settings, lets me decide how I will run my affiliate program. I can decide to automatically accept affiliates or manually approve them before their affiliate link becomes active. It lets me decide if I want to manually allow instant payments to certain, trusted affiliates or all affiliates. I was also able to decide if I wanted a minimum amount of referred sales before payment or not (I chose no minimum).
As I got further into my settings, I realized how important it was to fill this out before letting any new affiliate in. In fact, I recommend setting up your affiliate settings before you allow it on your product(s), which is something I didn’t do.
I got to decide if an affiliate link allows my affiliates to receive credit on just the product they referred or site-wide. For me, this means that if they referred someone to my gorilla painting, but that person bought an elephant painting, what I decided would impact whether that affiliate got paid.
I also had to decide if I want to hold payments until an affiliate submits a W9 or W8BEN form (I do) and if they have to agree to a mandatory terms and conditions. Even if you have all their forms, I’d recommend not paying out affiliate commissions until their money-back guarantee is over, in case a customer requests a refund.
Note: It’s always helpful to have terms and conditions so you have a legal agreement between your company and your affiliates that outlines acceptable behavior and other guidelines. You can find generic terms and conditions forms online that you can then further customize for your brand.
Lastly, I was given the option to require affiliates to fill in a questionnaire before they could be approved. I thought this was important because it allows me to 1) know if these affiliates are serious, and, 2) decide if they know enough about my field (art) to be promoting it.
Kartra allowed me to ask multiple-answer questions, single-answer questions, short answer questions and long-answer questions. You can have as many questions as you’d like but I went with two multiple choice and one short answer (I don’t want to spend ages reviewing each affiliate).
Once I finished this, my settings were complete. Now, I just had to wait for the affiliate applications to roll in.
Head to the Market, Promote, Get Paid and Analyze
The flip side of managing affiliates is becoming one yourself. Kartra gives you this option too. To get there, I clicked “My Affiliate Promos” at the very bottom of the main navigation on the left.
From there, I was brought to a screen that gave me four options: Marketplace, Promotions, Analytics and Payments.
The first one, Marketplace, allows you to browse through the Kartra Marketplace, select your niche, compare commissions, earnings per click, conversion rates and sales funnels. I quickly browsed through the Marketplace and saw products for every niche possible, such as acne medication, tea, blog templates, image consultation and more. I realized I could sort these by category to narrow down to what I was interested in, which made finding a good fit for me much simpler.
Note: If you’ve chosen to list your product publicly in the Marketplace during your product setup, it will show up here.
The next tab under “My Affiliate Promos” is Promotions. Here you can view the products you’ve approved to promote as an affiliate, as well as the sales you’ve made and your commissions on those sales. For example, had I decided to apply to be an affiliate for the acne medication and got approved, that would now show up under my Promotions.
As an affiliate, you receive a link that sends people to the product you’re promoting. When someone checks out, you earn a commission. The link you will use to refer people to the products you’re promoting can be found under the Promotions tab.
The third tab under “My Affiliate Promos” is Analytics. This section allows you to view various types of data related to being an affiliate, such as affiliate sales analytics, JV broker sales analytics and transaction analytics. In here you can track your sales, as well as information on your buyers. At this point in time, I hadn’t made any affiliate sales, so I didn’t have any analytics to track. However, once I have a few sales on my track record, the analytics can help me (or you) understand how I’m doing and that information can help me further target leads for products in the future.
The final tab is Payments. Here I was able to set up my “payment settings,” such as the method I’d like the be paid (PayPal, check, bank wire), and upload my tax documentation. I also had the option to verify my profile through phone or Facebook. Due to security reasons, some vendors might only approve affiliate requests from users with verified profiles, so I went ahead and verified through my cell phone.
Under the Payments tab, you can also track your earnings. Kartra allows you to get month-by-month earning reports that you can download in CSV format. For an in-depth tutorial on how to setup your affiliate program, check out this tutorial.
Bring in the cha-ching:
Not only have I cracked the marketing jargon on what affiliates and JVs are, I also configured my affiliate settings, both from a managerial and personal affiliate viewpoint, enabled some of my products to be promoted, and found products I was interested in promoting myself.
I encourage you to utilize both these tools to increase sales on your current products and use your leads list to make commissions off of other products you find cool and unique. Before you know it, your income will be spiking without a spike in your workload.
Follow me into the next post as I craft a membership portal using Kartra.