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Grow your revenue with an Affiliate Program

By Lia / May 30th, 2019

Your biggest marketing asset can be your own customer base - people trust advice from family and friends who have actually used your services more than anyone else. So given that, one of the best ways to grow your business is often by offering an affiliate program that incentivises your own customers to promote your brand and services.

If you're not yet leveraging the power of your own customers to promote your brand, just look at the statistics below:
  • 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know - Nielsen
  • People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend - Nielsen
  • 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. - Nielsen
  • 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products - making these recommendations the information source ranked highest for trustworthiness. - Nielsen
  • Referred customers have a 25% higher lifetime value than their non-referred peers. - Wharton
  • They have 20% higher annual average order values. - Wharton
  • They are four to five times more likely to refer new customers. - Wharton
WHMCS Affiliate System Features
The WHMCS Affiliate System enables you to provide a platform for your customers to advocate your brand and also earn incentives from every new customer they refer. It fully automates your referral program and comes with features allowing you to customise your program to suit your business needs.

WHMCS generates a unique link that affiliates can use on their website. When a visitor follows this link they will be taken to your website and a cookie saved on their computer. If the visitor then places an order for a product/service with the cookie present (it lasts for 90 days by default) the client who referred the user earns a commission.

Below are some of the Affiliate System features you can configure:

Affiliate Earning Percentage - This is the default recurring commission that all customers will earn. If this field is set to 5, then your affiliate will earn 5% of each invoice their referred customer pays you. The commission can be overridden on a product and customer level so that different commissions can be offered for higher margin products and your best-performing affiliates.

Affiliate Commission Delay- Helps you to protect against paying for commissions for fraudulent orders or customers who cancel within the first few days or weeks of their service with you, very useful if you offer a money back guarantee for example to protect against paying commissions for refunded orders.

Affiliate Bonus Deposit - Allowing you to offer an initial bonus incentive when a customer first joins your affiliate program so that their balance doesn't start from zero, and they can reach their first payout sooner, giving them more reasons to take part.

Upgrade Behaviour - If a referred client upgrades/downgrades their product then commissions the affiliate receives in future will also be adjusted to match the price of the new product. Commission payments already earned will be unaffected.

To set up Affiliates System, go to Setup > General Settings and then select the Affiliates tab. From here you can set the initial bonus deposit amount, the minimum withdrawal level, the payout delay and the percentage to payout.
Referral Tracking
All referral traffic is logged and recorded to give you insights into where your affiliates are referring customers from and the rate of referrals over time. This allows you to identify trends and patterns, as-well as see where affiliates are promoting your brand.
Making Withdrawals/ Paying Commissions
Requesting payment and transferring earnings to a customers credit balance is also made easy with WHMCS.

When an affiliate's commission balance reaches the minimum payout amount that you define, a withdrawal request button appears within the affiliates management page. This allows affiliates to submit a withdrawal request on demand, which you can then review and process within the WHMCS admin area. Withdrawal options include payment via payment gateways but also automatic transfer to a users credit balance to be used against future invoices with you.

The WHMCS affiliate system keeps a full transaction history of commissions and withdrawals giving you access to a full and complete audit trail should you ever need it.

To learn more about setting up and using the Affiliates System, visit the Affiliates System documentation.
Tips on Launching your Affiliate Program
Once you have your affiliate program set up and configured within WHMCS it's time to promote it. Below are some tips for how to start an Affiliate Program that's actually successful:

1. Make the promotion as interesting as possible and even be willing to offer a bonus when customers first join the program. Another way you can motivate customers to join is by offering free branded merchandise or exclusive special discounts.

2. Create an automated email marketing campaign specific to promoting the program and follow up with a reminder. WHMCS has an integration with MailChimp you can use for your automated email promotion campaign and welcome email as soon as a new customer signs up.

3. Promote your affiliate program on your social media, community and other digital channels. You can add a 'Become an Affiliate' link on pages of your website, newsletter or after a customer closes a support ticket.

4. Create ready-made promotional materials - such as website and social media banners - that your customers can use to promote your brand immediately.

Having your customers promote your brand is the best marketing asset you could have. WHMCS makes it easy for you to create, launch and automate your referral program. If you are not leveraging Affiliate Systems yet we encourage you to look into this growth channel and turn your customers into your brand advocates.

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