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Need advise to run affiliate marketing

beginer, third party, offline sales, affiliate networks

12:45 pm on Nov 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am a new person in affiliate marketing world, I am learning, will appreciate your help. We have few of clients relating with softwares, who already have their own in house affiliate program. Now I see following things:

A) There are many many third party affiliate networks like CJ, linkshare, clickbank etc:
- Affiliates/publishers search there, so I think the clients should be there
- Some of the publishers will search for our clients and will directly come to our website because of these 3rd party affiliate networks
- They ask you to put a code, do they ask advance money too?

B) There are publishers who aren't a part of networks, whom we can contact directly.
- We can go for commission on offline sales

How do you manage your affiliate programs, where can I learn more about it, I have following queries:

1) Since we are selling online, is it wise to give CPL?
2) How to bring CPS into action?
3) How many networks should I join?
4) How to find right publishers...

All ad-wises are welcome :) Thanks
8:58 pm on Nov 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

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many third party affiliate networks ... How many networks should I join?

Join as many as feasible. Do a lot of testing. Some will perform better than others, so I recommend a lot of testing, even A/B testing on pages with different networks.

There are OPMs out there (outsourced program managers), you might look around and chat with them.
4:29 am on Nov 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi Pankaj

I'm an affiliate and deal mostly with software so I can maybe offer some advice. If you're talking about CPL and offline you're possibly referring to Enterprise level software, is that correct?

Enterprise software is a very difficult one since very few affiliates promote these programs effectively at this stage, mostly because of the high degree of specialist knowledge needed and also because the sales are often completed offline, leaving no trackability. Of course the CPL model would help there since the affiliate only needs to get the potential customer's name to you.
From past experience I'm not sure you'll have a whole lot of luck getting a lot of affiliates for Enterprise level stuff. It's tough and there are few of them so you'd be better off searching for and contacting sites individually if they look like they may fit your client's profile as opposed to joining multiple networks.

If you're talking about B2C and small business as target customers then the CPA model is great. The best networks for software are the Digital River sites (One Network Direct etc) due to their specialisation in software and CJ due to the wide reach of affiliates. You'll still need to put in a lot of work as affiliates can tend to think of you as just another affiliate program manager. We often see as many as 5 or 6 different people/companies managing a single program each year so it will take a while to build up trust.

I'd say there's no reason to join more than 2 additional programs to start with, specially if there's an in-house one too. Most affiliates will belong to at least CJ and most top software affiliates are part of Digital River too.

Some of the software companies offer me CPL, mostly for free trials referred. I have seen CPL offers for other referrals too but I don't tend to get that many of those. I do (rightly or wrongly) have a bit of a negative association with CPL as many of the merchants I have spoken to seem to have had bad experiences with fraud by that method.

Make sure you keep in regular contact with your affiliate base either by monthly email or even better by personal email to your top 20-30 affiliates each month.

Create special offers for your affiliates monthly if possible, it's a great reason to send them an email and the more they hear from you the more they will trust you.

Don't go overboard on the creative, you don't need 100 banners to make a program good. A few well thought out and updated banners will do just fine along with text links to all the products you're promoting.

Make sure you answer affiliates queries quickly and get them what they need in time. Many of the programs I deal with just couldn't be bothered to help and only get in touch when they're asking to have a better promotional spot on the site. I promote products of people that I work closely with more often than just because it's a best seller. Of course the product has to be at least a fair seller to get on my list.

To get wide promotion contact all the coupon sites and let them know where you program is, what sort of offers you can do for them and of course a bit about your software and the benefits. Then start looking around for software-only affiliate sites and contact them too.
It's a very time consuming process as we tend to get a thousand emails a day from various merchants but make a list of who has responded, who has not and try again in a month or two with a slightly different email to those that did not reply. To those that did reply, check that they have uploaded your products and send a reminder email a month or so later if they did not.

Also, offer prizes of free software, cash, bonuses on a regular basis to try to get those affiliates that have pushed a few sales to push even more or to get new affiliates started.
2:23 am on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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(Pankaj is in our team) One of the main query was:

1) How are you dealing with all third party affiliate networks, are you registered on more than 5 and how are you managing it?

2) Do you run your own affiliate application (which apps do you prefer, or is it custom build)

3) How do go ahead with products which are only sold offline or after few email exchange. I will like to avoid CPL, CPC or CPM ... will go for CPS.

Aji Issac
12:23 pm on Nov 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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As a personal opinion, I'd recommend Tradedoubler, or if you wish, try and create your own affiliate program.

A home grown solution is alot of work, and misses the publicity that affiliate networks give you, but you do get to control the Link-Juice from the affiliate networks.

We created a home grown affiliate program for [freebiesms.co.uk...]

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