Will it help to promote your product if you pay an affiliate? That’s a question we’ll discuss right here.

It’s common for those who own products to ask themselves whether paying an affiliate is a good idea. In general, it is – but that doesn’t always apply, so it’s important to be aware of what the exceptions are.

There’s a limit to how much you can do alone to bring people to your site. You can create backlinks and write articles, but you don’t have unlimited time to do that. You can’t use an infinite amount of pay per click resources, either. There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to make a lot more sales if your product is being promoted by a group of affiliates. It sounds like a no-brainer, and indeed it is – although you should only pay affiliates if they’re not simply replacing sales you could make on your own.

It’s important to understand the difference between digital and physical products. Every extra chocolate chip cookie you sell is also an extra cookie you’ve had to buy. In the digital world, you can make a million products for the same cost as one. That means that there are tasty, low hanging fruit to be had. You’d surely want to pay affiliates to get the benefits of that extra promotion.

There’s another plus: customer retention. Provided that you’ve set up your product line in the correct manner, you can hang on to customers for life. For example, you can give your affiliate three-quarters of the original purchase price, but that’s the end of your expenditure. You don’t have to pay the affiliate any more after that – but you can carry on marketing to your customer.

Most affiliate marketers, the ones who don’t wash out, are pretty impressive in their specialty areas. Some of these can write you articles that start pre-selling before your new customers even look at your page. Others are experts in how to convert site traffic into hard sales by using pay per click methods. Other specialties include classified ads, forum marketing, and video marketing.

So, it often makes sense to pay affiliate marketers. But always? No, not always. Here’s why.

Let’s say you have an email list set up with 1,000 responsive people, and you’re planning on selling 100 units of an item. There’s not much point in paying affiliates here, since you can sell all your stock yourself and hang on to all your income.

It can also be a bad idea to use affiliates if you need the product to be marketed and advertised in a very particular way. Once you let affiliate marketers in on the act, you’ll inevitably start to lose a little of your control. For example, your reputation could be damaged if a marketer starts spamming a classified site or safe list.

Even so, these down sides are usually outweighed by the benefits. That’s why most product owners like to use affiliates.

PayDotCom is one option, though it’s been less successful than its promoters envisaged. That’s mostly because it’s been beaten in the marketplace by Clickbank, which is the most popular digital marketing affiliate program.

Another option is to run your affiliate program by using a script. Two scripts which have affiliate-paying abilities are Rapid Action Profits and the $7 Script.