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Merchants: How Does Your Cost-Per-Sale Affiliate Program Stack Up?

In parallel to developing my own products and promoting CPA offers, I’ve been promoting CPS (Cost-Per-Sale) offers since 2006.

I’ve been looking into doing more of such programs recently and have set up some sites which will be trafficked via SEO and social-based traffic. There will be more such sites being launched further down the pipeline.

Which the affiliate can do everything possible to bring the traffic over and pre-sell the product, it just feels that some merchants are going out of their way to sabotage their own success.

Here’s some examples:

  • Failing to benchmark your affiliate program: Whatever you may think, your affiliate program does not exist in isolation. Most diligent affiliates will compare affiliate programs across the variety of product providers, especially if it’s a commodity items like a beauty product, computer equipment or a musical instrument. Offering a 5% commission on the sale value when your competitors are offering a 10% or 15% payout makes you uncompetitive. There are some exceptions, where if you are the only merchant offering a particular product or your prices are low enough that the majority of buyers would buy through you, rather than another merchant.
  • Failing to offer appropriate affiliate tools: If you have 1,000 products in your inventory, whether books, music or movies, isn’t it silly to give a link to your root domain? Don’t you think it makes more sense to provide product-specific links, or even better, the ability to deep link to any page within your website? This gives affiliates the option to use creative marketing techniques.
  • Offering invalid URLs, expired coupon codes, failing to give what you’re supposed to give: If you claim to give product specific links, having that link (complete with a “productID=” field) go to the root domain is a “FAIL” in my book. Even worse is having the link go to a 404 page. What were you thinking? Same goes with giving coupon codes which have expired, exceeded the number of uses. Ditto for failing to reply to email, or if you’re away, failing to set up an “away” message or give an alternative contact.

There are probably some of the sins that’ve been irritating as I’ve been putting together campaigns. The cardinal sin that some merchants are making is failing to realize that you’ll probably never get a second chance to make a first impression once you’ve lost your affiliates for good.

If that’s the case, why’re you even offering an affiliate program?

PS: I’m documenting a couple of sites I’ve been working on at David Ford’s PPV Playbook forum. If you’re not a member yet, be sure to check out the PPV Playbook discount code too.

7 comments on Merchants: How Does Your Cost-Per-Sale Affiliate Program Stack Up?

  1. Singapore online shopping mall
    September 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm (4 years ago)

    If like me you hate to wander around the street and purchase goods store by store then you are saved by the online shopping mall. You don’t actually need to walk to the store, but it does allow you to shop in your house!

  2. imKazu
    September 9, 2010 at 1:20 am (4 years ago)

    the way I see it, these CPS companies usually have a wider range of marketing to worry about (tv, magazine, shops, billboards, etc), v.s. say a dating site campaign where i bet 90% of sales/marketing are done online.

    I see this slowly changing though as more shops are turning towards online to generate sales (i.e. the number of companies listed on CJ for an example)

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    January 3, 2011 at 5:27 am (4 years ago)

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