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Most of my experience is as an affiliate. I've been in nearly every industry and with nearly every network under the sun. Recently, however, I was asked to manage an affiliate program from the merchant side. It's been a while...
You'd think it'd be a snap, I mean I know how to find programs, make 'em make money, etc., I should be able to promote a program pretty easy, right? For the most part that's true, but not entirely.
One of our recent joins got me thinking. He has NO site. He promotes programs through PPC engines. It sounds like a fine line to tread, but he makes it make money. A lot of affiliates think that putting up great content and banners linking to related products is enough - just a few figure out ways to actually drive sales.
I know there are a lot of people/sites/potential affiliates out there who think of new ways, and work hard to push sales to the programs they're a part of. So my question is where?
The big networks are obvious to bring in volume. The affiliate resource sites/directories can bring in a few. Emailing sites you'd like to have as affiliates works, but is slow. But where do you hit those fine few that really get it, the ones that work hard, push sales and get the fat commissions? Where do you find the ones who have figured it out and aren't looking for new programs anymore...?
Thanks in advance!
Lets see if we can start over here.
First, thanks everyone for the restraint in posting urls to "email me" or the latest greatest viral marketing scheme.
From what I've seen of the folks running successful affiliate programs, there is one thing that works: reward the hell out of those that produce. Keep giving them encouragement to go upscale and all out.
How many of us have joined an affiliate program and had moderate results, but zero real encouragement to go all out. You get to a basic level and realize you've tapped everything out here and it's time to let the system work while you move on. A well run affiliate program, can id those people and offer them some more to peak their interest. Quota bonuses are critical.
Combined with earlier posts in this thread, and some truly exceptional sticky mail, I've got a tonne of great advice today!
Woz, I'll try... It's funny, a lot of this I saw as an affiliate, but just now see from the other side.
Those that can produce are well worth whatever extra energy/commissions you can afford.
The 80 20 rule doesn't apply. The percent that actually produce are much lower.
Your competitor's affiliates are either happy with your competitor or not. In either case they can be swayed, but it's not an easy proposition to sway a happy affiliate, so try your weaker competitors first.
Top search results in competitive niches are often top earning affiliates of other merchants.
Top earning affiliates may want you to prove yourself and your program before they get involved.
Top earning affiliates are well equiped to compare programs. Give them all the info you have available. The selling point for them could be commission, conversion, report quality and flexibility, responsiveness, tier structure, etc. The bit you leave out is the bit that may cost you an affiliate.
Program management is a marketable skill in today's economy... ;)
Sorry, there was a lot more info than I've captured here.