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We joined ABW, "announced" our program - nothing. Nobody cares. Posted in affiliate directories... nothing.
We've had about 65 affiliates signup in the 3 months we've been running the program. 2 sales - both from the same affiliate, and that was because he bought keywords with out website name. So he got some former customers that were just looking for our site.
So basically ZERO real affiliate sales in 3 months.
I'm so frustrated I'm ready to throw in the towel with affiliate marketing.
Email is likely to come across as spam. Pick up the phone.
Then think life over carefully.
While SAS is popular among some, I've never really done much with it because the EPCs seem low across the board, it often looks like merchants are low on funds in the accounts and the more popular merchants often seem to be on CJ or LinkShare.
Programs I get serious about involve building sites, buying PPC advertising, getting into industry directories, getting PR and rankings etc.
Most companies that start aff programs don't realize what it takes to make a good aff site and think the process simple to the point where I hear many aff managers comment about how we do very little and should be happy with the low commission rate.
Play the whole scenario through. Pretend your an aff in a particular keyword space, make an educated guess as to how many sales are likely and what it would take to get a site up and running to get those sales. Then do the math and see if it is worth the effort.
If you cannot spot scenarios where you could make enough commissions to make yourself happy, others will not be happy either.
As an experienced aff marketer I have gotten pretty good at checking out various product lines and judging my revenue potential in short order. The aff programs I do not sign up for are those I really do not think are worth the effort.
Raise your payout.
[edited by: eljefe3 at 8:16 am (utc) on Feb. 15, 2006]
Building a program up even on a good but small network like SAS still takes pro-active recruiting efforts on your part. If you sit back and 'hope' the good ones find you and get active - they won't. Some top affiliates are on SAS but they are hard to find and you need to have the right stuff.
You don't say what type of site you have but if you have multiple products - GOOD SAS affiliates really like datafeeds so get one. Also it's really important on SAS to be on auto-deposit as top affs have been burned by merchants that didn't keep funds in their account.
I don't do management any more, only promotion - I refer people out for management to the best company based on their needs and budgets.
Hope this helps and best of luck!
[edited by: eljefe3 at 8:18 am (utc) on Feb. 15, 2006]
Our commission is in line with what our competitors offer.
It's not just the details of the agreement either. Affiliates have to guess which sites will actually succeed in converting clicks to sales. The difference in profitability from merchant to merchant is far higher than the difference in program details (e.g. a 10% commission vs 15%).
Just ask for a straightforward assessment. You're trying to learn here. Ask several. Don't argue with them or disagree, just thank them.
Also strongly agree with the advice to use the phone. I'd be unlikely to participate in some kind of email survey. Too much like work.
[edited by: jomaxx at 6:24 pm (utc) on Feb. 14, 2006]
You have to make it worthwhile for people to switch.
*Phone numbers, if the site has them I call them. If the rep does not ask for a "code" or a way to track how I came to call I would not join.
*Cookie duration, how long is the duration of yours?
*Other bleeders, anything on the site that could bleed my refferal. Links to other sites,etc..
*AM, is the AM interactive? Do they try to help? Do they treat you like you only put up a link so be quite?
*AM, do I recognize the AM in charge? If so was he/she good or bad at their job?
*Payouts, I lookup the program and research from forum posts if they pay on time.
These are jsut a few thZAt I could think of.
Also, you might consider that maybe you are not with the right program. You mentioned that everyone seems to love Sharesale and it seems that you chose them based on this.
Did you do any research on networks before picking one?
I'm always shocked by the number of program sponsors who expect me to waste my time digging into every little corner of their sites trying to find answers to simple questions.
Where is the affiliate agreement? What strictures are place on my marketing? What's the payout? How often? Minimum? How do you track sales? Cookie duration? My customer? Or is it a one-shot? What are the linking options? Do you have a feed? Product photos? What are your customer service policies? Etc, etc.
Especially irksome are the folks who expect affiliates to "sign up" before divulging any information. I'm gone without looking at their offers.
<added>That "bail out of 95%" above simply refers to the programs I don't even start seriously investigating because of the problems I noted. I probably only deeply investigate 1 in 20.</added>
Yeah, payout rate vs. ppc prices, cookie duration, readily accessible information about the program (Is PPC allowed? Incentivizing? Newsletters?) -- all that is important, but when it comes down to it, it's whether or not the program will convert.
At least for me. :-)