Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 10 years and 120 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.
Affiliate marketing is an awesome opportunity for those who are self-motivated. Brand your affiliate program as the best out there for your industry. In my mind, affiliate marketing is the retail distribution channel of the virtual world. I sometime wish I fell into the self-motivated category more often to create a fleet of affiliate sites for myself, but I stay with the security of bein’ a SEO consultant. The affiliate realm has really become an entity onto itself, and takes dedication to stay up to date with changes. Understand how affiliates work.
I recently had a former client who had set up an affiliate program with Shareasale write and ask how he could more actively promote his affiliate program. Again, it made me realize that a program will only be as successful as it’s affiliates, and the pareto principle definitely comes into play (meaning 90% of your sales will come from 10% of your people). If your program doesn’t stand out, you won’t be remarkable. Attracting the right people and keeping them motivated is critical to the success of an affiliate marketing program. Creating working relationships with good synergy is key as well. If you sell peanut butter, partner with a site that sells jelly. Make it EASY for those around you to make money, and they will often try to reciprocate. Work with your affiliates to get rankings and sales.
Affiliates mostly want:
Higher percentages, more incentives and tools
I dunno, if I had the more money question answered, I wouldn’t be sittin’ here addin’ away to my impending carpal tunnel. EARN. WORK. PAY. ENJOY. Make a healthy percentage for everyone involved, and everyone remains happy. Always be the most attractive affiliate program in your industry, and cut deals with folks. Add additional percentage points to help keep your best affiliates happy (they will also be the sharpest, most savvy, and most demanding).
Better conversion rates
Focus your site efforts on retaining sales for your affiliates. Help your best affiliates to retain the most sales with special perks. Split test things on your site to make it more effective. Work hard to improve your perceived credibility. Talk to your customers.
Don’t try doin’ stuff that deceives people. Sell a fair product at a fair price. Promise and deliver good customer service.
Take your 800 number down, make it small, or give affiliates an extension or special code. Keep non-trackable sales to a minimum. This will help your affiliates, but also your bottom line by knowing what you are spending on advertising expenses for what level of return. Learn about the issues with parasiteware and encryption of affiliate id’s and don’t let your program be exploited.
Tools and cooperation to ease their job
Study other affiliate programs. Datafeeds, page creators, hosting, specials generators, and more can all be useful to affiliates. Create things that will assist your affiliates. SE’s are more and more critical of affiliate sites, so help your affiliates to be more SEO-friendly.
Affiliate Manager Tools
- Industry conferences – these are the best tool at your disposal. Create personal relationships with your affiliates, or just learn from other affiliates and managers in other fields
- Revenue Magazine – Pay attention to what’s going on, what’s working well for others, and emulate it.
- Affiliate Announce – Get your name out there, and let folks know about your program, this is a good way to start doin’ that
- Linda’s list o’ links
- E-mail and Instant Messenger are your friends. New methods of communicating are nice for new media marketing. New who to call on, how often, and for what. Build your network of trusted folks who can help you get questions answered and problems solved.
- Improve your program – If you have an existing program, start another that offers a little higher percentage that passes link popularity
- Research the scripts available at the various software directories. Find something that works and get a good programmer to customize for your cause.
- Look for “your keywords + forum”, “your keywords + advertising” with the combination tool (yes, I keep plugging this tool because I use it constantly myself)
- Affiliate Marketing Today – Haiko De Poel 4 p.m. Tuesdays, or catch the podcasts – Definitely a guy worth listenin’ to in the affiliate space.
Affiliate Networks and Software
- Commission Junction
- Link Share
- More affiliate networks
- For finding affiliate merchants, you may also try a combination tool searching for “your keywords + affiliate” or “your keyword 2 + affiliate program”, etc. This is sometimes a way to find those great affiliate programs.
- Other program directories
- Affiliate Clicks software
- Cookieless Affiliate Tracking
- FusionQuest Software *thanks Linda
Top Reads for affiliate managers:
- Affiliate commissions for 800 #’s at sitepoint
- Merchant requests advice from affiliates
- Losing affiliate commissions to a merchant’s 800#
- Best affiliate programs – what makes them attractive
- What do affiliates want? *great read
- Hiring an affiliate manager – from a guy who would know.
- Successful affiliate marketing for merchants
- Affiliate manager pay scale
- Thread to watch – favorite affiliate software – hopefully there’ll be some more folks weighin’ in their opinions (and suggestions), as there already been some fantastic answers (very insightful constructive criticism) attempting to talk me out of the original question.
Some of my favorite affiliate information sites:
- Superaff – Terry is an affiliate well worth payin’ attention to.
- Linda B 5 star programs
- Affiliate marketing WSO
- A Best Web
- Drastic Tactics
- Go learn at the Affiliate marketing summit
There’s two things I’ve always found in the top affiliates I’ve met.
- They like to be independant and highly value their time.
- They like to make money working smarter not harder.
Help them do both and you’ll always have a successful program.