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Are you looking to recruit new, high-quality affiliates to your network? Alternately, perhaps you're struggling to make your program stand out among some of the bigger, higher-paying programs dominating the industry.
A pay-per-lead affiliate program might be your solution. Ultimately, your commission is what draws affiliates to your program. But the ability to build a more customized commission structure makes the pay-per-lead model a popular choice among affiliate program owners.
In this post, we'll look closer at what a pay-per-lead affiliate program is, and help you decide whether this model is right for your business. If so, we'll walk you through the steps on how to start your own with Easy Affiliate!
An Introduction to Pay-Per-Lead Affiliate Programs
A pay-per-lead program is a performance-based commission model, where affiliates are paid for referring potential customers. This differs from the traditional pay-per-sale commission structure, where an affiliate receives their payout once a sale is completed.
With a pay-per-lead model, you have options. You might decide to pay affiliates simply for bringing traffic to your site, or you might only pay affiliates for qualifying leads.
A qualified lead is a visitor who performs a specific action on your site, such as signing up for a free trial, opting into a mailing list, or creating an account.
There are plenty of examples of successful pay-per-lead affiliate programs, such as Grammarly, Semrush, and Skillshare. However, this technique that can be just as beneficial to small and mid-sized businesses.
Deciding Whether a Pay-Per-Lead Affiliate Program is Right for You
As a business owner, pay-per-lead programs offer you complete flexibility when building out your commission structure. You can define exactly what a “lead” is for your business, whether that's a visit to a certain page or a sign-up to your email list.
You can also offer secondary payouts once a sale has been made. For example, Semrush offers affiliates commissions on signups, leads, and subscription sales:
In comparison with pay-per-sale models, pay-per-lead programs typically pay less. Depending on what you ask affiliates to do, commissions can be as low as $0.01 per lead, which means reduced costs.
However, you should also expect your affiliates to generate more leads than they would sales, because it's easier to persuade visitors to complete actions than make purchases. This means that costs can quickly add up, especially if your requirements are minimal (for example, a simple page view).
The main disadvantage associated with pay-per-lead affiliate programs is that you'll pay for at least some leads that don't convert. For startups or companies with fluctuating sales, that fact might outweigh the benefits of this type of program.
Therefore, we would recommend a pay-per-lead affiliate program for businesses and affiliates with content geared toward the early stages of the sales funnel.
This might mean that your audience is less likely to immediately convert, but may become followers and even customers at a later date.
How to Start a Pay-Per-Lead Affiliate Program (In 3 Steps)
To launch your own pay-per-lead affiliate program, you'll want to find a WordPress affiliate tool to integrate with your website. For example, our own Easy Affiliate plugin is designed to make the creation and management of affiliate programs as simple as possible.
Below, we'll show you how to pair it with Formidable Forms to access unlimited ways of generating new leads.
Step 1: Install and Connect the Necessary Plugins
First, you'll want to install and activate both Easy Affiliate and Formidable Forms on your WordPress website. Once you've done that, you can link them together.
To do this, head to Easy Affiliate in the sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. Select Settings, and then navigate to the eCommerce tab:
You'll need to turn the Formidable integration on, by sliding the bar to the right. Remember to click on the Update Options button below to save your changes.
After that, you can start setting up your affiliate program. Exactly how you do this is up to you, but we'd suggest starting by configuring your settings, creating key pages, and most importantly setting your commission rate.
Step 2: Create a Lead Generation Form
Once your program is set up, you're ready to build a basic lead generation form. To do this, go to Formidable > Forms > Add New in your dashboard. You have the option to choose a blank slate or select a template. The basic order form is a great option if you're looking to keep things simple.
Once you've selected your form, you'll be taken to the editing interface. You can design the form itself however you like. It should be designed to generate the kind of lead you want (for example, you might build an email sign-up form).
When you're done, make sure to go to the Settings tab and scroll down to the Easy Affiliate section:
To enable commissions, check the box at the top of the screen.
Step 3: Make Your Program Pay-Per-Lead
In this case, ‘pay per lead' means that you'll pay your affiliates each time this form is submitted by a new lead they've referred. To set this up, you'll need to place a hidden field anywhere on your form (visitors won't see this).
Then, divide the commission you want to pay out by the default commission rate for your program. For example, if you want to pay $5 per lead and your commission rate is 10%, this would give you 50. Enter that number into your Hidden field box.
Next, navigate back to the Settings tab, and scroll back down to the Easy Affiliate section. Under the Payment Amount drop-down menu, select Hidden:
Click on Update to save changes. You've now created a basic pay-per-lead affiliate form for your program. You can add the form to your site, and affiliates can start to earn commissions by directing their audiences to fill it out.
A pay-per-lead affiliate program can be a great way to spread the word about your business. It's an attractive model for potential affiliates, yet still more cost-effective than most forms of advertising.
By following these 3 key steps, you'll be well on your way to setting up your own pay-per-lead program:
- Install and activate the Easy Affiliate and Formidable Forms plugins.
- Create a lead generation form.
- Make your program pay per lead.
Do you have any other questions about pay-per-lead affiliate programs? Let us know in the comments section!
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