Over the course of a week, I receive emails with the same questions multiple times, regarding getting started with affiliate marketing.
While promoting ebooks or digital products is one of the first options that new marketers will choose to follow, especially if they’ve bought the same ebook themselves, it can be a fairly difficult tasks to compete against other new and experienced marketers who have the same idea.
Focusing on lead generation or CPA affiliate marketing (cost per action) can be an alternative to entering pay-per-sale affiliate marketing.
I’ve compiled a list of the CPA networks I’ve worked with in a new section “Affiliate Marketing Review” which I’ll be updating when necessary.
If you’ve other questions regarding CPA marketing, or affiliate marketing, you can post them in the comments below.
Market Leverage ranks as one of the networks which effectively uses its marketing and branding budget to devastating effect. By contrast, I work with several networks with great affiliates managers, and one corp comm/PR person who isn’t really empowered to do much and/or doesn’t have any real budget to work with.
As networks see affiliate acquisition as part of the affiliate management success formula, doubtless there’ll be more resources channeled towards building a quality affiliate base.
I appreciated Market Leverage’s Digital Media Relations specialist Debby Phillips arranging a discussion with Market Leverage’s founder and CEO Mike Jenkins.
Mike’s certainly savvier than the average network owner (who’s typically a successful affiliate marketer turned network owner). Conducting some research, I’ve found that Mike has been involved in the business management aspects for a number of pretty large listed firms too.
I especially like how he’s constructed a holistic business ecosystem under his PrecisionPlayMedia group – with 3 components – DigitalLeads (an in-house offer production/packaging subsidiary), Market Leverage (the CPA network arm) and InboxBeyond (an email publishing arm) – which is how the top tier CPA networks structure their business.
During the discussion, we also touched on, but haven’t fully resolved the issue of whether the community-building /relationship-building approaches of social marketing via blogs,video will eventually clash head-on with the current incarnation of affiliate marketing, with the mostly shorter emphasis on one-off lead acquisition payout.
It’ll also be interesting to track Market Leverage’s upcoming announcements in the next 2-3 months.
I just had a great discussion with Market Leverage founder and CEO Mike Jenkins about developments in the affiliate marketing industry.
Market Leverage is taking the lead when it comes to relationship building and branding with measures like it’s care package campaign to the top affiliate bloggers, and initiatives like Market Leverage TV. Kudos to Mike and his team for getting on the radar with innovative social marketing strategies.
In the course of our discussion, I was wondering — Will affiliate marketing come to blows with social marketing and social media?
From my discussion with affiliate managers, it seems that the majority of affiliate marketers are only interested in the one-time pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale commission structures. Ask them about revenue share or continuity (eg: subscription/membership) type payouts and they aren’t as keen.
With some bizop offers paying out $100-120 per lead or sale, this could trigger the “quick cash” impulse among some affiliates.
On the other hand, savvy merchants and advertisers would’ve grasped the subtleties of lead generation, building up an leads database and reselling the data or marketing offers to that database, and in many scenarios employing both techniques.
In this case, rev share, especially for a CPA-based network will be a moot point.
This is the business model for “affiliate marketing 1.0” if you want to apply a label to it.
With social marketing and its technologies like video, social networking, blogging, forums, etc, the emphasis is on building the relationship, forming a community, focusing on the long-term – pretty much a complete opposite to “affiliate marketing 1.0”.
Sure you could just take the tech aspects of social media – the viral marketing, the video and audio which massively increase conversions and leave the relationship benefits at the door. But does that strip social marketing of some of its inherent benefits? Do merely become an updated version of “social engineering” as practised by Kevin Mitnick and others?
It’ll be interesting to see how these initiatives pan out.
Tune in to the Friday Podcast tomorrow to check out the interview with Market Leverage founder Mike Jenkins.
There’s a pretty active discussion on Jeremy Palmer’s Quit Your Day Job forums about whether its better to be an affiliate or a merchant. (I’m paraphrasing the intent somewhat).
I’d expand it to encompass taking on a network role in the merchant-affiliate equation too.
I don’t think any of the roles are necessarily “better”, because all the parts help to complete the system.
Trying to come to the conclusion that one is “better” than the other is like saying a car engine is more important than the tires. In that case, take off one of the tires and try driving off.
I’ve had the opportunity to take up roles in all 3 positions, and its been an educational experience.
I identify with the points several of the affiliates raised about not having to deal with customers, refunds, frustration, etc. At the same time too, once you have several products development cycles and product launches under your belt, and you create systems to deal with not only problems, but solutions at enhancing your business competitiveness, you bring your business to a new level.
I personally like being in the product owner/merchant role, because (more…)
One of the issues that has been bothering me since I started out as an affiliate has been “why do affiliate and CPA networks pay out such miserable recurring payouts for sub-affiliates”?
If you’ve checked into an affiliate or CPA network control panel, you’ll typically see a “Super Affiliate” or “sub-affiliate recruitment” link with payouts ranging from about 1% to 2% of commissions generated and if you’re lucky, you’ll sometimes see 5% or 10%.
At those levels, is there any real incentive to go out and recruit affiliates/publishers for your network, aside from wanting to build goodwill and possibly a couple of bucks for a nice Friday night dinner?
I understand that margins can be pretty thin, especially since a number of CPA networks are the ultimate traffic arbitragers – they “buy” traffic from you at $1-$1.50 per zip/email submit lead, and attempt to upsell them into an affiliate offer or merchant-direct offer on the backend.
Granted, I haven’t seen the financials of one of these networks yet, but I’m wondering that if you are already relying on affiliates to generate your sales…why not go the extra mile and incentivize them to go out and recruit more affiliates for you? Especially with a decent payout. (we’re not even considering networks which pay you $3 or $5 to recruit an affiliate…).
But I think the game of getting top affiliates is like going out on a fishing boat. You cast your nets and get a whole bunch of prospective affiliates, but you won’t know who’ll be a top performer until you haul in your catch and sort everyone out.
On that basis, the less-skilled affiliates will weed themselves out and a higher payout won’t matter anyway. On the other hand, a better performing affiliate will be motivated to go out and get results.