Author Archives: Darren Cipriano

Communication Is Key to Effective Affiliate Relationships

Too often, affiliates sign up, add a page to their website or a mini-site dedicated to your product or service, and then sit back and wait to see if sales happen. Good communication provides a foundation for stronger, more productive affiliate relationships.

affiliate communication

Scheduled Communication

At the most basic level, you must provide your affiliates with the information they need to participate fully in your program. This includes clear instructions for making use of the platform and the product details they’ll need to make sales.

Typically, you’ll communicate this through:

  • an onboarding email or call;
  • a platform demo or video;
  • product literature; and/or
  • product demos.

Many busy affiliate members stop there, but those initial steps provide only the bare foundation for effective communication. Additional scheduled communications that help strengthen relationships and facilitate strong performance include regular newsletters and scheduled check-in calls.

Affiliate Newsletters

affiliate newsletters

Regular affiliate newsletters do more than just provide an opportunity to touch base on a regular basis. Email newsletters allow you to quickly and effectively communicate information about product changes, sales and special promotions, tips for increasing sales and special affiliate opportunities and incentives. How often you send newsletters will depend upon the nature of your affiliate relationships and your products or services. Groupon affiliates receive multiple emails each week, while companies with more static product lines may find weekly newsletters sufficient. The key is to ensure that each newsletter contains useful information.

Scheduled Calls

scheduling calls with your affiliatesScheduled calls with your affiliates provide an opportunity to find out what they need from you in order to deliver their best efforts. An affiliate who isn’t happy with some aspect of the program or lacks information may become lackluster and not reach out, so a scheduled call allows you to ask questions and prevent problems.

In addition, scheduled calls allow you to learn from your affiliates. They’re interacting with prospects, so they may have valuable information about how your products are perceived, which techniques or content are most effective, and what obstacles to closing they’re encountering.

Schedule calls frequently enough to gather information in a timely manner but not so frequently that they burden the affiliate or your affiliate manager. A call after the first 30 days of participation and then quarterly thereafter may strike the right balance.

Two-Way Communication

Phone calls aren’t the only way to gather useful information from your affiliates. Additional methods include:

  • surveys;
  • comment opportunities within your platform; or
  • a bonus or other incentive for the best tips submitted.

Finally, make sure that your affiliates have a human being to contact. Strong affiliate programs are built on relationships. They won’t be loyal to a website or a platform, but they’ll build a relationship with the person they see as the face of your program.

Motivate Affiliates to Improve Your Bottom Line

Affiliate relationships have the potential to significantly increase your revenue streams. But when your affiliates are passive, you both lose. Fortunately, good communication and a little creativity allow you to jump-start your affiliates and keep them motivated to keep productivity high.motivate your affiliates

Here Are A Few Strategies To Help You Motivate Affiliates

Create a Tiered or Bonus-Added Commission Structure

In a straight commission arrangement, each new sale adds a small, predictable amount to the affiliate’s check. The motivation to push for that extra $20 commission on the next sale may be limited. However, if there’s a reward for reaching certain thresholds, the affiliate has an incentive to maintain a consistent push. Consider creating different thresholds for different affiliate tiers, so that each has an incentive to stretch further than the norm but can still see a bonus or extra commission within reach.

Create Competition Among Affiliatescompetition

Rewarding the best performing affiliates can have the same impact as a bonus or tiered commission structure, but be sure to define “best performing” in a way that makes every affiliate a contender. If you award a prize based on the most sales or the highest number of leads in a given period, smaller affiliates will know they aren’t in the running and won’t be motivated to participate. Instead, set a goal such as “greatest percentage increase versus the prior period.”

Incentivize Education

Affiliates who are more familiar with and conversant about your products and services will do a better job of selling them. In addition to incentivizing leads and/or sales, give your affiliates a reason to learn more about your offerings. One way to do this is to create a competition in which affiliates can win prizes for exploring your website and answering questions about your business and the products or services you’re selling.

Provide the Right Tools

Motivating affiliates also means removing obstacles. To ensure the greatest participation possible, make sure that your affiliates have clear instructions, easy access to all of the information they need, and the right platform to allow them to smoothly conduct business with you.settings

It’s easy to complain about lackluster affiliates, but it’s up to you to make the most of your affiliate program. Be proactive in giving affiliates a reason to push a little harder each month and make it as easy as possible for them to focus on sales and pass those prospects or customers along to you.

5 Sources You Might Not Be Using To Find Affiliates

Every online marketer that has been doing Internet marketing for any period of time knows you need affiliates as part of your marketing strategy. Now the big question is.. where do I find affiliates? You want quality affiliates that are self-starters and able to convey why they promote your products as well as how they work. Here are five places to find affiliates that you may not be using.

1. Social Networks

You’re already on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networks. Why not look for good affiliates there?  Personal contacts on your social networks are more likely to create comments, ask intelligent questions about the launch or product, and most of all, they will have a trust factor with you.

Resources: http://www.facebook.com | http://www.twitter.com | http://plus.google.com

2. Work at Home Mom Forums

If you want a group of motivated affiliates, try any of the numerous work-at-home mom or parent forums. There are usually places to put free or moderately priced advertisements. These potential affiliates are balancing being a stay-at-home parent along with working. Many are looking for additional opportunities to earn extra income.

Resources: http://www.wahm.com | http://www.hbwm.com/ | http://www.internetbasedmoms.com/

3. Make a Pinterest Board for Recruiting Affiliates

If you haven’t explored Pinterest, it’s a great way to get opportunities out there. A case study by Boticca showed Pinterest clicks resulted in 10% sales, over Facebook’s 7%. Create a board and call it “Opportunities” or “Make Money from Home” and write what the opportunity is, don’t be vague. You get 500 characters. Also, there are a ton of boards you can join that accept posts from board members. The idea is to get your affiliate opportunities in front of the people most likely to click.

Resource: http://www.pinterest.com/

4. LinkedIn is Good for Finding Affiliates

Most people think that LinkedIn is just for networking and finding jobs. It’s actually a great place to meet people seeking affiliate opportunities. When you join, be sure to fill out your information completely. If you know someone has specific skills, and you are comfortable vouching that “Scott is a great affiliate marketer” or “Sarah has killer blog promotion skills”, chances are they will promote you back and increase your star power on LinkedIn. There is a news feed that you can post on, and just like Facebook, make every offering for affiliates a quality one, and you’ll attract quality affiliates.

Resource: http://www.linkedin.com/

5. Craigslist is Still Valid

Craigslist is still a good place to find great affiliates. There are numerous people seeking opportunities every single day. When you place an ad on Craigslist, be real about what the opportunity entails. If you already have a landing page, link to it. You can place a few ads in a few cities, just make sure each ad is unique.  Be a good member and you’ll find good potential affiliates to promote your products there.

Resource: http://www.craigslist.org/

Top 5 Reasons You Should Be Running an Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs are commission-based operations run by a business, whereby affiliates are paid for selling products, services or leads. Whether your business is a small individually-run site or a large company, here are some great reasons you should have an affiliate program for your business:

1. Expand Your Sales ForceExpand your sales force with affiliate tracking software
An affiliate program can extend the sales force by using a commission-based model. Having an affiliate program and using affiliate software is just like adding extra members to any existing sales team you may already have. For a small or average-sized business this can open up the possibility of greatly increasing the manpower available to direct traffic to your site while for larger businesses starting an affiliate program it’s just the next obvious step in modern expansion. It’s one way to increase your stake in the market without having to physically hire more staff. Many times existing customers will choose to join an affiliate program and this makes for a great resource – they are likely already familiar with your product and will take their own steps to promote it.

2. Pay For Performance – You Only Have To Pay For Sales Delivered
pay for performance with affiliate softwareThis is one of the big positive points of affiliate marketing. As a business owner you want to get the most out of your money whether you’re a small, medium or large company and so paying based on performance is the optimal choice. You decide what you’re going to pay affiliates by coming up with a Cost Per Action (CPA) and affiliates only receive the CPA once they’ve achieved the goals you have set out for them.

3. Affiliate Programs Are Low Cost and High Rewardpay for performance
Affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways there is to get your business or product out there. For instance if you are a small business in search of more subscribers and potential customers, a pay-per-lead program would be the perfect fit while for an average-sized or bigger business sales can be increased by paying out for each individual item sold. You can find the perfect motivation for affiliates and a great profit margin for the business. For a larger business the low expense of starting an affiliate program is rewarded by the opening of new online markets.

4. Affiliate Software Simplifies the Whole Process
It’s easy to download the correct affiliate software for the initial set-up and monitoring of a program. This software allows you to host the program and customize it to meet your requirements. Affiliate software lets you choose your payment options and rank affiliates based on performance while affiliate tracking software lets you keep an eye on said performance so that you can track sales, commission and profit.

Consider iDevAffiliate

5. Cutting Out The Middle-Man Saves Moneyaffiliate software
Going through an affiliate network can be expensive. Combined with the use of affiliate tracking software, the creation and monitoring of your very own affiliate program is a more affordable alternative to using a third party to facilitate the operation. It also means you get to keep all profits and if you run an efficient affiliate program you will soon see the benefits of choosing to keep the program in-house. If you run a small business, it is easy to set up a program by yourself using the software, all you have to do is keep an eye on it from time to time and with the right software a larger business can delegate the task to the administrative staff.

So there we have it, just some of the key reasons any business should use affiliate software to set up their own program. As online marketing continues to advance, creating your own affiliate program is a wise choice to ensure your business continues to grow and sales continue to rise. With such a reasonable start-up cost and ease of use, it’s the smart choice for savvy businesses.

Preparing your affiliate program for the holiday season

With the holiday’s right around the corner, this means a lot of consumer buying and a lot of affiliate groundwork. For affiliate marketers, that means there is a lot to prepare for in the upcoming weeks. While this may be the busiest time of the year, it most likely is the most profitable time of the year. They don’t call it Black Friday for nothing, right? So roll up your sleeves, grab an energy drink, and be primed for the chaos with these tips for the upcoming season!

Getting started early is probably one of the best ways to capitalize on your marketing efforts. Have a game plan, determine which major holiday will affect your business, and establish holiday promotions beforehand. Keeping last minute shoppers in mind, be sure to clarify shipping deadlines and publish them as soon as you can. Perhaps encourage every shopper to make a purchase by including a gift with purchase as well.

seasonal marketing

Know in advance what the holiday trends are this season. Every year, consumers rush to find those highly sought after items. Google trends is a great place to search so you can take advantage of the hype. However, don’t let the latest trends be the center of your attention; promote other non-traditional gift ideas. What are gift options you would like that are unique? Spa days, magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, charity donations, and sponsoring a child are some great examples.

Holiday services are another way to take advantage of the holiday season. Gift wrapping, specialty food delivery, or even creating your own holiday card or video can be a very successful way to boost your profits, yet making life easier on your shoppers.

Outside of the products you are selling, take advantage of the exclusive opportunities available for affiliate marketers with every day items. If consumers are shopping for gifts, they most likely need other items to go with their purchase: gift wrap, seasonal cards, and ribbon to name a few.

Maximize your profits with other holiday promotions such as gift certificates, buyer rewards for regular customers, and pre-ordering incentives. As a side note, free shipping is a preferred advertising strategy according to consumers. Create gift themed baskets and find ways to upsell to shoppers. If consumers are purchasing a Kuerig coffee maker, pair it with gourmet coffee and other related items.

The holidays are a perfect time for your affiliate marketing business to be successful. Planning ahead and having a strategy for the holiday buying seasons sets you up for victory. Every penny counts, so let your success be your gift this year.

How To Attract and Retain Affiliates

Affiliate marketing isn’t the same way it was a decade ago when there was a lot less competition and wider margins. Now it’s harder than ever to create an affiliate program that people want to promote, and it can also be very costly. With that said, throwing an affiliate program up for your web sites or online store simply won’t cut it. You need to get out there, recruit affiliates, keep them happy and offer them what others aren’t.

In this post we are going to break down some of the most important ways for an affiliate program to attract and retain affiliate marketers. With so many ad networks and revenue generation methods out there, it’s now harder than ever to keep affiliates active and happy. Follow the methods below and you will see long term success with not only your affiliate program in general, but also motivation, drive and attention from your affiliates.

Be Active in Recruiting and Treat Affiliates Like People, Not Numbers

As an affiliate marketer for over 15 years, I can tell you that there is nothing worse to veteran affiliate marketers than getting treated like a number, especially when you can push more volume than the average affiliate. Ad networks and affiliate program managers need to take the time to cater to their top affiliates and make them feel wanted. Instead of sending out automated and mass mailings to all of your affiliates with your latest ad copy and top performing offers, take the time to send individual emails out, be personable and make yourself available.

Reward Active Affiliates with Bonuses & Prizes

One incentive that many networks find work well is they offer monthly tier bonuses or contests for their affiliates. Some affiliate marketers prefer cash prizes, while others will strive to earn enough rewards points to get free bonus prizes such as gaming systems, gift cards, sports tickets or even bigger prizes. The prizes and rewards offered through your affiliate program will vary, but in the end it’s just another way of rewarding your top and most active affiliates. Also don’t forget to create prize and rewards amounts for your smaller affiliates. Just because they aren’t pushing as much volume as the bigger players, you still want them to feel appreciated and have a chance at winning your contests or taking part in affiliate promotions.

Affiliate Managers Need to Make Themselves Available At All Times

A growing trend in the world of affiliate marketing is that your contacts need to be able almost 24 hours a day. With many affiliate networks and programs, the affiliate manager is making a commission or bonus based off the performance of their affiliate’s marketing efforts. Since most affiliate marketers are running ad campaigns 24 hours a day, being able to get in contact with their affiliate manager is extremely important. If not by instant messenger chat, skype or email, top affiliates should have a direct phone line for their affiliates, and all other affiliates in a network or program should at least have a email support system with a max contact delay of 12 hours.

Cater to Your Affiliates: Custom Ad Copy, Payment Methods and Higher Payouts

Years ago, if you joined an affiliate program you would have access to a few banners and text links that you could promote their web site with. No many networks and affiliate programs have their own in house design team and can offers affiliates exclusive landing pages, ad copies and whatever else they need. With so many different advertising methods out there such as Facebook ads, media buying, non-traditional banner sizes and pop unders, it’s important to offer affiliates the ability to run as many ad copies as they need.

The same holds true for your affiliate payouts. Most networks and affiliate programs are offering payments through check, paypal, ACH and wire transfers. In the past, most networks focused on only sending out checks, but most affiliate programs offer at least check and paypal payment methods. Speaking of payments, being able to pay your top affiliates a higher commission based on their performance is also key. Many networks will promise the highest payouts, and if you can’t beat another competitor’s payouts and conversions in the same niche, it will be tough to keep your affiliates happy.

In the End, It’s All About Your Affiliates

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to entice and cater affiliates to join your affiliate program. It doesn’t matter if you decide to go with an affiliate network, custom solution or even the iDevAffiliate platform, what matters is how you treat your affiliates and create a program that works for them. Your affiliate program is only as good as the product that is being promote. Take care of your affiliates and make sure that you continually focus your efforts on increasing overall conversions on your site and landing pages.