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Should I outsource my affiliate program?

or am I capable of doing it by myself, 1 person.

     
10:59 am on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hello Webmasterworld

With an already hefty lift of % from CJ, and then the 4 digit fees + % shares affiliate recruitment/management company charges, are they well worth the money, 2 months down the road, 6 months down the road, then 1 year down the road?

Any of you that runs an Ecommerce store, that passes over all your affiliate management to an established company?

I'm looking for advice on the Pros and Cons of stepping on this, as there won't be turning back once I place my bucks in.

Would me, myself and I, be able to grow my own network and match that of a company, eventually?

And if not, what tips/advice can you offer me on this? What stuff should I ask for in the contract and stuff?

Urban

11:02 am on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Placing an affiliate program with a network isn't the same as managing the program (and recruiting). Are you already signed with CJ, or just thinking about it?
11:13 am on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hello Marcia,

I am already signed up, and is considering to let affiliate managers/companies to help us recruit/promote our program.

However if given time, and let's say I hire 2 greenhorns (not many knows about the robes of AM, not even me) and train them to recruit, will I be able to have an impact on our affiliate program?

Or is the $X,#*$! money well worth spent with the company, along with their % sales?

What would readers of this thread do, with your company's affiliate management process?

11:19 am on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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>>let's say I hire 2 greenhorns

Rather than 2 greenhorns, you'd be better off getting someone in-house with some savvy to manage the program and the PPC (if they have the background). Personally, in your place I'd at least get some initial consulting for the program launch from a seasoned OPM (outsourced program manager).

11:29 am on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Okay, it's probably because I am not confident enough with my own products, to cover up the monthly cost of the OPM.

If I were to do this alone, I would:

0) Have a proper affiliate tracking backend system integrated with our existing e-commerce platform
1) Copywrite an honest, down to earth, softsell company description and mission.
2) Match, or top the average % commission values of similar products on the marketplace.
3) Hire an affiliate PR firm to send out PR releases.
4) Submit to the 100+ trusted affiliate program directories of our program (some paid some free).
5) Announce the program on affiliate forums (I think this is paid as well?)

Simple in concept, but I'm not too sure if it's efficient...

12:01 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We've used a fairly well known affiliate company for the last year or so. We've been happy with their performance and management of the campaign, but they do cost money with a percentage of the commission we pay plus a monthly management fee. So we see quite a chunk of our earnings being paid back out.

However, the bigger picture for us is that it does generate new customers to which we can then upsell etc.

The downside, apart from costs, is the lack of communication direct with affiliate. We have to go through the affiliate company. This makes it a little awkward.

We've now developed our own in-house and are due to launch shortly. it will be hard a work, but we think in the long run it will prove to have been the correct move.

1:51 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Webboy will you be slowly shifting all your affiliates inhouse? How long would that process be, at a rough estimate? And will your affiliates resent the move from the affiliate company to your inhouse program?
1:55 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You can still communicate with affiliates, it depends on the network.
2:01 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm just hoping that I'm doing the right move with the investment. This budget could have used it for our SEO linkbuild purpose. I'll report back in a few months with my thoughts and tips!
2:25 pm on Feb 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ours is a slightly different situation than an overall shift from outsourcing to moving inhouse. We're hoping to build our own in-house program and contact database using our existing customer base. It has been around in a restricted form for a while and has had some success.

I doubt there will be to many people move from our out-sourced program to the internal program to be honest. However, we are fortunate that most of the sale from the outsourced program only come from a handful of very good affiliates. It is more complex than I am making it sound, but we are giving ourselves a good few months to build up our own program before possibly parting company with the out sourced program. I say possibly because what they offer isn't bad, it's just that we spend so much ... but remember, because of the affiliate model, even although we spend a lot, we are earning more. So there is still profit from the process.

In terms of the comment above about some progams allowing contact with affiliates, I do know this. Ours doesn't, so our choice was either to go through the signup process with another outsource or really focus on developing our own.

4:42 am on Feb 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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urbanzen, an OPM can answer many of your questions. If your products are well branded and you are converting sales it may be time to add an affiliate program. On the other hand, if you are and do not know your conversion then you are just throwing money away if you launch an affiliate program. An OPM should be on a rev share so that their success is tied to their efforts.
5:54 am on Feb 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Chuck, the OP already has a program signed with CJ, but it sounds like there are some second thoughts.

urbanzen, since you've already made a sizable investment with CJ, it's fruitless to just let the program lie fallow, unless you're already getting sign-ups from people who are active the only ones who count for pulling sales, or at least sending you some traffic.

4:06 am on Feb 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thank you very much for all your comments everyone.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, that can one person alone, if given time, can develop an affiliate program just as well as an OPM/firm. But then the point is moot, as my time is better spent on training my staff on other venues of marketing within my niche, and let an expert truely handle the program.

Urban

7:16 pm on Feb 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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can one person alone, if given time, develop an affiliate program just as well as an OPM/firm

yes.

my time is better spent on .... other venues

yes

herein lies a problem of having only 24 hours in a day.