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First off i have to say these forums are really interesting and extremely helpful.
I am responsible for a new affiliate scheme which is properly setup with cookie tracking etc.. and i am trying to attract as many affiliate partners as possible. So far I have trawled google, dmoz & msn for high ranking sites and have sent a personal email to each of them. I have setup resource pages with extra ways for affiliates to promote us such as newsletters, email signature links and so on.
I have a decent response rate to all this but I want to keep building more affiliates. The site isnt exactly put together by the greatest designer (not me!) but apparently its 'not to be altered' so this may put people off.
Is there anymore i can do? what are your suggestions?
Im learning the internet marketing side of things, and this forum is a great place to learn :)
Without looking at anything else, I'd say the first thing you need to do is get words like "Scheme" out of your vocabulary. True, by the definition of the word, that's what you're working on, but for the last couple of decades, anyway, the word has changed to something usually associated with "scam" or worse.
Beyond that, there are lots of specialized directories out there and getting listed will be key. Looks like Nick's gotten you started on that. There are also lots of Afiliate Program forums out there - find those, and post something. Most will let you post a link, some may require you to let an Admin have a look before you can post a link, but either way, it'll be worth it.
Also, at this early level, you're going to want to spend at least half of your energies (if not more) on getting people to get "recruitment links" up. Sure, you want the product links up because that's where you make the money, but as a webmaster I can say - if I see a site with products listed, I'm not very likely to see if I can possibly add them to my product line on my site - unless they are VERY unique. But, I will often check out a program if there's a link somewhere saying that I CAN add the line to my site. It doesn't mean I WILL, but it gets me to have a quick look and consider possibilities and potential.
Often times "smart" marketers will do specialized searches to try to located affiliate program that offer products related to there website topic. A search string such as:
"blue widgets" + "affiliate program"
will only bring up results with "blue widgets" and "affiliate programs on the page. Sometimes you will find sites that do not offer an affiliate program for blue widgets but often times you will.
I have done this myself in searching for good affiate niches and it has worked very well. Why don't you spin this method around and look for sites that already have pages up that are closely related to your product (like searching through dmoz as you mentioned) and continue to send the emails.
Make sure that your page that describes your affilaite program will pull in visitors searching for just your type of program.
When you start out marketing a website it is like trying to get that snowball rolling down the hill. It starts with a lot of hard work but soon the snowball will be rolling on it's own with little resistance. Figure you will need to build for atleast three months before you get "the ball rolling".
I think "scheme" has different connotations between the U.S. and the U.K. In the U.S., it tends to mean scam. In the U.K. it seems to be used more like the word plan. I've seen the word scheme in used in a number of advertisements in the U.K.
For an example, check out:
National Gardens Scheme - Gardens Open for Charity [ngs.org.uk]
"The National Gardens Scheme has been opening fine gardens to the public to raise money for charity for 75 years. So, in this anniversary year it is timely to look back at how the Scheme began..."
If you have a U.K. based affiliate program, you may want to avoid the word "scheme" if you are trying to attract U.S. based marketers.
For a really, really funny site on marketing campaigns that lost something in the translation, see:
Nothing Sucks Like An Electrolux
Sample marketing faux pas:
"It takes a strong man to make tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."
We haven't seen a lot come through the affiliate directories or our 2nd tier program, but haven't really pushed those hard. I'd love advice on how to best work those. :)
Whatever you do, I think your best bet is tracking down and recruiting professional affiliates, the ones that already make their living selling products like yours. They truely and sincerely rock!
The desire is to go for the masses, but the few pay the bills...