Disappointed w/ Affilate Marketing results. Driving about 5-10% of our monthly sales isn't bad, but it comes from just 3-4 out of 500 signed up.
What's the problem with the other 496.
No Content. Content is king and in our program it's a winner. It seems also that Google is weeding out coupon code affilate sites. Yea!
|Have you ever had disappointing AM experience? |
Sure. In a couple of cases, I was cheated outright. (The merchants simply didn't pay, even when their own statistics showed that I was owed a fair-sized chunk of money.)
More often, the disappointment has come from a mismatch between what the affiliate program has been selling and what my audience has wanted. It takes time and experience to learn what works and what doesn't, in terms of both (1) selecting affiliate partners and (2) integrating them into the site.
Disclaimer: My comments apply to editorial "content sites," where the affiliate typically needs to make affiliate programs work with an existing target audience. Someone creating a pure-play affiliate site is likely to have different opportunities (such as a having a blank slate going in) and different challenges (e.g., attracting traffic).
Tons of affiliates, but only a select few ever make an effort, roughly 1% even get the link up (never mind conversions).
|always create a focused landing page that promotes a single product. Anything else you put on there is a reason for a visitor not to buy. |
Despite it's shortcomings, this is one of the reasons CB continues to produce results for a number of affiliates. With most of the vendors on CB, a visitor sent there via an affiliate link simply has to make a "Yes" or "No" purchase decision. Focus.
|Ok, here is a small list of good signs. Of course this is not written in stone. |
1. A link to their aff program on their home page. ..
If I offer a hot-selling product and a good affiliate program and you're my affiliate, do you really want me
1. Inviting, on my home page, other affiliates to come in and compete with you?
2. Customers with computer savvy to join my affiliate program to purchase my product at a discount, eliminating your commission. (Assuming I don't have other controls to prevent this)
Farmboy - What is CB?
Clickbank, I believe.
And I'm beginning to see some ClickBank products appear on Google AdSense's new Referral Products area.
Based on the landing pages I'm seeing for other Referral Products, I won't be surprised to see the CB products converting better than the non-CB products.
On this thread and others, some have said that banner ads aren't as effective. Some have said (if I understand their posts correctly) that each page should have just one ad for one affiliate merchant.
In other threads, people have mentioned running CJ along with Adsense on the same pages. IOW, multiple ads per page.
I don't expect any successful marketers to give their hard-earned secrets away for free on an internet forum.
But I'd certainly be interested to hear opinions on pages loaded with advertising verus pages that promote just one merchant.
I'm still in the construction phase of a new site, so opinions about number of ads will affect my design decisions.
Thanks for any replies.
Some of the big issues I've shared with major affiliates privately, is the ongoing "push and pull" between effective independance and partnering.
Most of the concerns relate to managing these points:
- Lack of focused affiliate management communication
- Lack of respect for affiliate's technical needs e.g. a change internally may effect the downstream affiliate adversely via an XML feed
- Conflict of interest by direct selling against affiliate channels and methods e.g. a loyalty program discount
- product interfaces
- product choices for sale
If those folks I've spoken to want to turn things around, we would need to address these types of issues with the affiliate partner.
It was interesting to hear one affiliate claiming that 80% of business came from the top 4 or 20% of partners. You'd think that the support would be better in those circumstances.
Which foot is the shoe on?
Many affilates think that the merchants should provide them with more support.....
Ever thought that many merchants are looking at their affiliates for guidance?
Tip 1: Never, ever, assume your merchant knows more about the marketplace than you. You should actually know more about the marketplace than them.....that is why they are paying you! If their knowedge is greater than yours...you will become worthless to them!
Tip 2: Don't be shy. You need to sell to your merchant the way you sell to your (their) customers. Sell your merchant on the fact that you can do better than them...and prove it with numbers!
Tip 3: Ditch all merchants that are "hopeless cases". You really should have seen those merchants before getting into bed with them.....but, once in a while we all make mistakes....when we do....drop them like hot stones!
Tip 4: Once you have a small collection of good merchants....milk them! Don't worry about things like dealing with their competitors......make the most of those things! Sign up with all their competitors.....then make your favorite merchant pay for exclusivity for your services.
Tip 5: Always remember that you are their sales person. You should be their cash-cow. You should be so important to them that there is no way they are going to ignore you. In some circumstances a succussful affiliate can be more important to a merchant than their own chairman of the board......don't underestimate your importance if you are delivering the goods!
Learn everything there is to know about any potential merchant's marketplace before you even consider getting into it.
I'm looking at the cruise industry right now. I think it is easily worth 300K per year as an affiliate....but, I'm not totally sold on it yet, there are lots of obsticles to overcome and I need answers to those before I put my big toe in the first inch of water!
It will probably take me at least 12 months more of research into the cruise industry before I even attempt to contact a merchant. I have to know more about that industry than them, I need to see angles they can't/haven't....I need to see ways to generate revenue they have never considered!
Tip 6: Do your research!
There is a lot of money in AM......but, it doesn't come easily.....you have to learn to be more expert in the marketplace than those that are currently considered the best.
Any potential AM is not only battling with the merchants, they are also battling with other AM's that might put in more effort! You will only win if you are prepared to give it your all.....and that has a cost also!
We also need to remember that there are affiliates, maybe even some reading this thread, that willingly do things that frustrate merchants - ignoring terms, rules, copyright law, etc.
That makes it harder on the rest of us.
percentage - I agree with almost everything you said but when I read that a super heavy weight in travel got stiffed by a merchant it makes a small fry like me who is building momentum stop and re-think the issue.
I'm not asking the merchant to do the work for me but I do need help at start-up. Just a few 'what works and what doesn't' tips. In any other business that has distributors or manufacturer's representatives the principal trains them how to promote the product. The most advice that I get is "use the highest EPC or best converting ads and crank up PPC".
On homework, there are huge amounts of data on the demographics of the travel industry and you can indeed become an expert in certain segments. (Since I'm in the cruise biz I should jokingly tell you there is no money there.)
|But I'd certainly be interested to hear opinions on pages loaded with advertising verus pages that promote just one merchant. |
To some extent, it probably depends on what kind of site you have. If you have a travel site about Elbonia, for example, you might have an Elbonian Hotels affiliate link on every page, along with an AdSense ad unit and a display ad. But you ight also have dedicated pages for specific affiliate products or services, with navigation "partner links" pointing to those pages.
I used to link directly to affiliate partners from my "partner links," and in a few cases, I still do. But in other cases, I link to a page about that affiliate partner and its offering, because that gives me more flexibility. (For example, if Widgetco Rent-a-Car decides to offer a doggie companion with every car rental, I can add a "Free cur with every car!" headline to [mysite.com...]
Best way to avoid disappointment is to keep expectations low! My results were poor at first and now they're modest. I'm not making a living or getting rich of aff sales, but it's a nice supplement to my advertising income. My advice is to keep trying new things and eventually you may hit on one that works.
|7. Have direct product links or data feed. (not just links to home page) |
I make most of my affiliate money by having a picture of the most related product right on my pages. So if the article is about 'flying widgets' I have the cover of 2 or 3 flying widget books pointing to the exact page where the book (0r other item like flying widget making supplies) can be found.
That takes a lot more work than just having general links to the company. As was mentioned above, it's my job to sell the product and finding exactly what the visitor is interested in based on what topic he or she is looking at then sending them directly to the products they might want to buy is the best way to get sales.
Cruises are tough dude. I would think YPN or adsense would be ideal (if you can get YPN that would be best)
Problem with YPN: it allow to participate US residents only. Does anybody knows when it will be international?
I have been an affiliate marketing expert since 2000.
Having ben on both sides of the fence, I can say that affiliate marketing CAN be dissapointing if both the merchants and affiliates don't give each other FULL SUPPORT.
Affiliate: YOU know YOUR site and YOUR visitors better then any one else. It is YOUR job to get them to CLICK on the advertisement that will lead to the merchant.
Notice I didn't say "the ads from the merchants".
When ever I act as the affiliate I make my own ads, get them approved and place them on my site. Usually, the ads I make are text with some pictures of the products.
MOST Banners don't work. FOR GOD SAKES DON'T USE THEM!
MERCHANTS: ASK YOUR AFFILIATES WHAT THEY WANT!
Write content for them to use.
Make rich media banners.
GIVE THEM WHAT NEED TO MAKE SALES.
Most important of all though, make sure the traffic the affiliates send you converts. Otherwise you are screwed.
If my convertion rate is very low I offer a small cpc as well.
[edited by: eljefe3 at 6:33 am (utc) on April 30, 2007]
[edit reason] no sigs or email addresses please [/edit]
Im a successfull affiliate consumer and provider(more success in providing than consuming, but its all relative i guess).
Here is what i see as the top mistakes that my affiliates do:
1) Do not promote/target the product properly
2) Dont have enough traffic
3) Dont have enought traffic
4) Did i say dont have enough traffic?
At the end of the day, if you're only receiving 100-1000 visitors a day you cannot expect any income. 90% of my affiliates are low traffic websites making a sale now and then, while the remaining 10% are providing 95% of my revenue.
Here is what I beleive has contribute to my success as an provider:
1. Together with the affilate registration confirmation we provide a detailed review of how we suggest the affilaite program should be implemented. You would be suprise how many webmasters with successfull websites dont have a clue about marketing (specially forum owners).
2. Assign personal affiliate account representatives to the premiere affilates.
3. Followup on them (both regular and premiere accounts) until they get they have implemented the program successfully and are generating revenue (according to their traffic)
4. Provide a brilliant customer service.
All this keeps the affiliate motivated and the affiliate stays instead of trying something else...
Just my 2 cents
|At the end of the day, if you're only receiving 100-1000 visitors a day you cannot expect any income. 90% of my affiliates are low traffic websites making a sale now and then, while the remaining 10% are providing 95% of my revenue. |
It really depends. If you have a site that sells and doesn't just post somewhat related banners on content pages & brings people in on keywords that indicate they are ready to buy and your site gets 1,000 visitors a day, that site can pull in 100K+ a year. That's only $0.27 per visitor.
In some areas 1000 visits a day = $2500+ for an affiliate. This is why the merchants are paying $5+ per click for these terms.
The traffic is relative. In some niches im sure few visitors is enough. But in general big bucks = big traffic
[quote]I have been an affiliate marketing expert since 2000.
MOST Banners don't work. FOR GOD SAKES DON'T USE THEM!
The numbers that CJ shows on their Get Links pages with various banners and links seems to give the impression that banners do work, at least for some sites. I've also noticed that a large number text-only ads often outperform the banners, which seems to support what you are saying.
The traffic is relative. In some niches im sure few visitors is enough. But in general big bucks = big traffic
The most $$ I have seen is around $7,000 a day from 2000 visits in one area. But in general, for me at least, traffic is meaningless unless it is the right traffic -anyone can get traffic on like webmaster stuff, games, free anything, downloads, videos, pictures, etc....
|The most $$ I have seen is around $7,000 a day from 2000 visits in one area. But in general, for me at least, traffic is meaningless unless it is the right traffic -anyone can get traffic on like webmaster stuff, games, free anything, downloads, videos, pictures, etc.... |
I agree, thats why my #1 mistake affiliates do is "Do not promote/target the product properly". You need to know what kind of traffic you are receiving in order to promote/target the product properly.
IMHO I find that certain companies pay differently for the SAME promotion (depending on the affiliate network youre with).
For example: One company pays $28 for every Blockbuster Online lead while another is paying $50 for the SAME exact lead.... same program same product same everything....
Sometime it is a good idea to check if your products are being offered by a different affiliate network in order to maximize profits.
In my example, the profit would be almost double just by picking the right affiliate network.
QUESTION: is there a resource on the web that compared the networks?
[edited by: eljefe3 at 10:44 pm (utc) on May 3, 2007]
I think the problem that people have with AM is thinking that it is so very different to anything else. 20 years ago, I placed ads in newspapers for unsecured loans. I took phone calls and completed forms by hand, then submitted them to a loan company with my agency number. Now you can do the same job with a site and some scripts. The success rate is determined by how well you attract customers, just as it was back then! The Internet has provided a global market that is open 24/7 but the 'problem' is getting 'seen'. Affiliate Marketing should really be thought of as Advertising marketing, then people would make more progress. Example: Car Insurance. Sheilas Wheels pays 75 pounds to affilates for each customer. It doesn't take many of those to quit your day job. Just my observations.
I'm actually a Sheila's Wheels affiliate. I'm not promoting them actively due to the die-hard competition in PPC for insurance products in the UK. I think the massive commissions are probably offset a lot for PPC affiliates promoting insurance, so the margins are probably not as high as they look at first glance. SEO's are in the money though.
Hey, everyone interested and actively keeping the thread alive,
Just wanted to say how I am impressed the thread is catching the interest of many of webmasters world visitors and I think there is still much to be said about AM.
[edited by: John_Blake at 1:26 pm (utc) on May 4, 2007]
Hello everyone. I am very much a noob in the AM world. I have gathered a lot of information and inspiration from this thread, so thanks to everyone for contributing!
I have a question, though. Is it possible to get started in this business with limited or no budget? I am a web site developer and have a server that hosts my sites, so I have access to create and host as many pages as I want. But I do not have the budget to run a PPC campaign. I have tried the PPC thing in the past a few times and have never made enough to cover the costs. So you could put me in the "failed at first and almost gave up" category.
My goal isn't to get rich quick. I would like to work at this awhile and see if I can start earning up to $1000/month. That would help me out greatly. Do you guys think this is possible with a little hard work?
Cabobrian, don't give up on PPC! It might take several tries (it did for me), but PPC is an easy way to get started and once you find something that works well, it can really take off. I think PPC is your fastest way to $1000/month.
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