They say that first impressions are made within seconds of meeting someone face-to-face. You take a look at them, get a sense of the vibe they’re sending out and make a snap decision whether they’re a potential friend, partner or you might just decide to write them off entirely.
It’s the same with affiliate programs.
I was looking at developing a new niche and found one with multiple spikes in search volume and transactions multiple times a year. The incumbent had a decent affiliate program though their affiliate management leave much to be desired and training resources? Forget about it.
The problem is that it’s a niche with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of items within the space. Coupled with the fact that these are items that constantly need to be replaced and the consumers have to buy their products from somewhere and it’s not hard to imagine a longterm business resulting from this.
The sad thing is that the other merchants in the space didn’t provide deep links. I was looking for product-specific links because the competition (search results) for some of these terms were in the thousands. So what do you do if the merchant only provides links to their root domain? You could move on, though there aren’t many merchants in this space.
It’d be an unwise thing to link to their root domain via an affiliate link, then expect the lead to somehow figure out that they need to type the product name into the search engine, then click on a result.
If I were one of the users, I’d want to type the product name into the search engine and find a direct link to the product and if the price was right, buy it immediately.
If merchants don’t get the affiliate picture, it’d be smarter to hire an experienced affiliate manager or have an outsourced program manager (OPM) on at least a six month engagement (ideally longer) to get things working. Else you’re just wasting your time, and more significantly, the affiliates.
PS: You might notice that I’ve not mentioned video tools or XML datafeeds, especially with a catalog that contains more than 100,000 items. If you can’t get the basics right, there’s no point trying to run before you can crawl.