Archive of ‘affiliate marketing’ category
Affiliate Summit is the biggest tradeshow/conference of it’s kind specific to the affiliate marketing industry.
Although there’re 2 shows: Affiliate Summit West (in Las Vegas), held early in the year (usually Jan) and Affiliate Summit East (usually in New York, but it does move around sometimes), I’d recommend going to the Vegas show if it’s your first time, or you want to get the most leverage for your buck.
The reason? More people go for the Vegas show, the parties are crazier, the networking can help bring your business to the next level.
The next Affiliate Summit, which happens to be Affiliate Summit West 2011, will be held from Jan 9-11 at Wynn in Las Vegas. The last couple of ASWs were held at the Rio, which is off the Vegas strip, though it has a nice spaces for the conference/tradeshow. The Wynn is a newer and fancy place and I’m sure networks will be booking up suites to host affiliates.
There’re 4 classes of passes – Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond (in ascending order of benefits and costs). So if you’re new to this, which should you choose?
Silver: This is the basic pass and the key features are access to the meet market and trade show. You won’t have access to the conferences, except the keynotes. So if you get this, you will either: a) have arranged all your face-to-face sessions and networking meetings ahead of time
b) have prepped to go visit the Grand Canyon, or go eating and shopping during the day
c) sleeping during the day, so you can go to all the parties which start about 8-ish and go on all night
Gold: New affiliate and need to bone up on your knowledge? The Gold pass will give you access to most of the Sunday conference sessions which will give you ideas on setting up and optimizing your campaigns. You also get access to the tradeshow and some video recordings of conference sessions. If you want to attend the Monday and Tuesday conference sessions you’ll need to get a platinum pass.
Platinum: Like the Gold pass above, but gives you access to the Monday and Tuesday sessions too.
Diamond: Same as the Platinum pass, and you get DVDs of the recorded sessions. I did a rough count of the amount of time the conference sessions would add up to. It’s going to be more than 40 hours of video according to my estimates. For what you’d be paying for a Diamond pass, you probably couldn’t get any kind of “coaching” program at other “Make Money Online” conferences. I’m fairly confident you could make back 10 times what you pay for a Diamond pass, but only if you take action after watching the videos.
Regardless of which pass you choose, there’s opportunity to make contacts and pick up tips and techniques to grow your affiliate business and this is the one conference I’ve been attending for the last 4 years (and having spoken at 3 of those conferences).
As a bonus for my readers, I’ve got a discount code that gives you 10% off any category of pass.
To use it:
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.
Update: to get a discount code for PPV Playbook, click here: PPV Playbook discount code (Limited quantities).
To get a discount on the monthly subscription at PPV Playbook, click on the “more” link below to access the PPV Playbook discount code/PPV Playbook promotion code:
I’ve probably had this conversation multiple times over the last month: Why aren’t I more actively using PPV in my marketing campaigns now?
I think the answer is philosophical.
The type of traffic you use and marketing offers, campaigns you plan and implement are an extension of your approach to Internet Marketing and in the broader picture, business.
I favor social traffic, organic search traffic and branded/word-of-mouth traffic more because I like long-term, consistent businesses that generate similar forms of revenue.
I think PPV is very suited for CPA traffic, especially for short form leading generation. I’ve not excluded being more aggressive with PPV, especially once I have some opt-in forms with a pre-sell email sequence behind it. But for now, I’m building out those sales funnels.
It may seem strange that I’d recommend David Ford’s PPV Playbook, since the perception is that it’s all focused on PPV.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find the media buy, ppc and usefully for me, the SEO and social media sections (with some great strategies and ideas by Stefanie Hutson).
Be sure to check it out.
And if you’d like a promo code, drop me an email. (the email is stored on my other computer…).
EDIT: Click here to get the access code.
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.
Some affiliate managers might not confess to it, but when it comes to dealing with affiliates, more than half of them are noobs.
The turnover in the affiliate marketing industry is high, whether you’re talking about networks, affiliate managers or affiliate marketers.
From the affiliate side, it seems like a constant merry-go-round at some networks (particularly the struggling ones) with a new affiliate manager assigned to my accounts every 2-3 months. Maybe they’re having difficulty hitting their monthly or quarterly quotas? I don’t know, but their experience or lack of it shows especially when new affiliate managers inherit the accounts for the AM who left.
Here’s a typical bone-headed intro email.
“Hi, how are you doing? I’m your new affiliate manager/strategist/consultant/partner. What type of offers do you promote? What traffic types do you use? How long have you been in the industry?”
These are danger signs, especially if you’re getting these emails.
Firstly, unless the affiliate is operating under the radar/underground, or one of those super-secretive Israeli affiliates operating with mossad-like secrecy, it’s not too difficult to find their footprints, whether on an affiliate forum like WickedFire or ABestWeb. From their postings you should be able to tell whether they’re noobs or experienced affiliates. You should be able to check out their posts to look at the types of questions they’re asking to get a gauge of their experience level and possibly traffic promotion strategies too.
Many will also have an online presence, whether it’s listed on AffBuzz, else you should be able to find their WordPress blog, Twitter or Facebook account. Failing which, you could talk to your regular group of affiliates to see if they know who the “new guy” or girl is. I know it’s probably easier to send a mass email (personalizing the recipient name), but that’s as good as throwing your list of prospects at the wall and hoping that something sticks.
I’m not going to say that going through a list of 200-300 affiliates that you’ve been handed is easy, especially since the bulk of them might be inactive. But if you’re going to make this more than just a 2-3 month gig, getting by on your $2,000/month base salary, then you need to do a little investment. In this case, it’s not even any cash out of your own pocket (although the better AMs do invest in researching their affiliates), just a little time and company time at that.
It’s time to break out your Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet and do a little affiliate human resources management. Based on your preliminary research, give each affiliate a rating. I like to give them either a A/B/C grade or 1/2/3. Your choice.
You need at least 50 prospects in the A/B basket to make any decent overriding off their efforts, since you might only get 10% of them active.
Once you’ve got your 50 producers, in your next column is where you list some the background information, such as where they’re based, what type of traffic promotion they use, what types of offers they like.
It’s always weird for me that so few affiliate managers are willing to invest something like $67 bucks a month to sign up for a membership at sites like David Ford’s PPV Playbook. You have new and experienced affiliates who’re learning marketing techniques, applying them and building their affiliate income to $100/day and in some cases much more than that.
Then you only have 1-2 network owners who’re active in there and I believe there’ve been less than 3 affiliate managers, including EWA’s Ryan Eagle and GetAds’ Josh Todd, that I’ve seen on there.
So let’s take a stock-take:
- Hundreds of active affiliates on a paid forum, which prequalifies them as high value leads
- Experienced marketers like David Ford, Mr Green and other less high profile affiliates doing walkthroughs of campaigns, including keywords, URL targets, offers. Basically everything
- Few affiliate managers to recruit these affiliates
If you are an affiliate manager or network owner, is this short-sightedness not to invest $67/month to pick up a few good producers?
The slogan “It takes money to make money” applies here.
If you’re an affiliate, you’ll pick up a thing or two at PPV Playbook too.