If you’ve taken the path I suggested to create your own product/service and have a product in hand, you might be wondering what to do next.
The first and most common option is to promote your own offer – via PPC, social media, media buys, contextual/PPV traffic. In particular, I’ve recently met some affiliate who are pretty experienced when it comes to PPC and PPV, but they’re increasingly going the SEO/social bookmarking route and are getting very satisfactory ROI on their efforts.
Another option is to recruit others to promote your product (ie affiliate marketing). It used to be your primary options were to list it at Clickbank, Paydotcom, both of which cost about $49.95 to set up, or a site like e-junkie. Or you could list it on one of the big networks like Commission Junction (CJ), ShareASale, Linkshare – incurring potentially substantial setup/listing/operating fees in the process. You could also buy one of those $50 affiliate management scripts or another option is to sign up for a 2Checkout e-commerce account (which includes autoresponders, affiliate management modules, but lacks a merchant account). You could also buy a high-end standalone hosted package like John Delavera’s JVM2/Fantasos or similar packages which generally cost $2,000 and upwards.
I’ve tried most of these options and haven’t got the results I was looking for. The full featured self-hosted script frequently took a week or more to setup and required a heavy commitment to maintaining the systems, while many of the cheap options just lacked critical tracking features for affiliates, such as pixel placement, postback and API support – essentially affiliates would be marketing into an analytics blackhole. This is certainly not a pro-affiliate move.
So having decided to eat my own dogfood and applying the product creation strategies to one of the new projects I’m working on, I’m evaluating 2 affiliate management platforms which are new to me.
The first is HasOffers, a web-based web2.0-ish affiliate/CPA network solution which the now defunct TriFoxMedia used to run on. It’s gaining popularity as a few CPA networks have decided to migrate from DirectTrack to HasOffers. Definitely an improvement in my view. HasOffers has several tiers of services from hosted, self-hosted to managed solutions. The free version gives you 10,000 clicks a month and the next tier up gives you 250,000 clicks at about $100 per month. HasOffers has a similar set of shareholders as the owner of Tatto Media. As the owners already operate a CPA network, it’s not hard to see why HasOffers has support for affiliates to place their own pixels and access comprehensive campaign stats.
The other options is JROX Affiliate Manager, it’s free up to 50 affiliates and has no limitation on the number of clicks. The analytics and pixel support are not as comprehensive as HasOffers’, and you’ll have to contribute a fair amount of elbow grease to set it up and keep it running. Then again, your running costs will likely be lower too.
My strategy is to recruit a group of top affiliates, who’re focused in the niche my products are in and work with them closely to increase sales for my product. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need thousands of affiliates in your program to make it work (been there, done that). You need just a handful of top affiliates to see your product sales fly.
For more info:
- HasOffers affiliate management platform
- JROX affiliate manager
- Internet Marketing Cookbook March 2010 update: Product Creation for Lead Gen and Income