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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    What do affiliates REALLY want?
    This is only my second post..so if I do something wrong please let me know! I am getting ready to do an official launch of my merchant program..but wanted to get feedback first from actual affiliates...

    I am doing 5%-10% commissions based on speccific products...with a potential to earn up to 15% after meeting a certain $$ goal....these are based on actual sales.....

    Payout is monthly at $50 via check or paypal....

    180 day cookie tracking

    one tier only

    Program is managed in house......

    Is the program being managed in house going to a be a problem with potential affiliates?

    I wanted to do a $50 minimum payout--but is that too high? An average sale in my store is $125.00.....so it would not be that hard to get to $50 fairly quickly....

    Do affiliates WANT datafeeds?!?! I kind of grasp this concept...but it is still new...would love to know if this would help "sell" the program....

    What other features are important to affiliates that will help them WANT to promote the program?

    Once I finalize everything I will be posting to the program announcement thread but want to get all my ducks in a row first....I am reading as much as I can here and am learning a ton...but there is so much!

    Thanks everyone for any feedback and suggestions on creating a progrma affiliates WANT to be a part of!!!!!

    Jill
    Last edited by jill8026; May 26th, 2008 at 08:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Hi Jill!

    Many affiliates do want datafeeds. Yes, that will definitely help sell the program.

    If you are not going to be using one of the networks, I'd recommend considering a lower payout like $25. Maybe other affiliates would go for a higher payout of $50? I don't know, I guess it depends on the specifics of your program, and since I don't know the specifics I am speaking in generalities.

    Best of luck to you!

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Here's what I want:

    - A well known merchant brand with a solid reputation and track record
    - Datafeeds that are updated daily
    - Products that fit my site

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks guys...I appreciate the feedback...so i guess a datafeed is a must have...I will research into what is the best way to do that...I am not familiar with datafeeds outside of what I upload to google....

    Also...I am not a well known merchant unfortuantely...but it is my goal!!! But I do have solid reputation and 3 years of online business......that was one of the things I was worried about....it seems like a lot of affiliates only want the "big guys" which is why I am researching everything...

    And as far as the payout....maybe I will consider lowering it if it might help!!!!!

    Also, is there any really big advantage to using a network...the reason we decided to just do it in house was b/c we wanted to be able to pay the affiliates a bit more....some of our products have tight margins and to pay a shareasale or someone would force us to have even smaller commissions....but if there are advantages I am not aware of I would love to hear them......

    Thanks so much....I really appreciate your time!!!

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Well building your brand will come with time and superior customer support. You might also want to add feeds to Pricegrabber, Shopping.com and Shopzilla to build brand awareness through merchant reviews. Just don't consider affiliates as a brand building channel.

    And I have to agree with Amy. If you're going to run an in-house program you'll need a much lower payment threshold. $50 might be fine for a network like SAS or CJ because we can combine earnings from numerous merchants to reach the threshold. When its only a single merchant with an in-house program that's another story. I say $25 or lower.

    As far as generating your datafeed, it's very much like you do for Google. You'll just need to adapt that system to generate different feeds for each distribution channel.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Smile
    Thanks scott...that clears up the payment threshold issue...I will revamp that ASAP....i do have inclusions on shopping.com and am working on the others as well....I am an established business with over 3k customers....I just completely revamped the site, branding and domain name to establish a better identity....I know we will be a leader in the industry......we have lots of exciting things going on to set us apart! So I am definitely using the affiliate program to get us a name so to speak....we are just ready to get to the next level and could use some extra help getting the word out!

    Thanks for all the feedback.......

    And just to clarify....do affiliates prefer those programs as opposed to in-house....will i lose potentially great affiliates b/c of this choice?

  7. #7
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I suggest you start with an experience Affiliate Manager like the ones that post in these forums regularly. It will be a lot easier for you and the affiliates.


  8. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Hello, jill8026,

    If your "Homepage" shows the site you are talking about, unfortunately it is a niche in which I would not now have interest, but as far as the features of an affiliate program in which I would have interest, I would absolutely need the availability of individual product links for every product you offer, both as text and image links. They do not have to be provided so long as there is a system or link generator available so that affiliates may build their own links. As far as the images are concerned, both standard size and thumbnail sizes are good to have, but uniformity in size between different product images is vital.

    When a product goes out-of-stock, and a link to that product is clicked, the landing paget must show that the product is out-of-stock or no longer available, and must not redirect to the homepage or go to a "not found" page.

    Reporting should be as close to real time as possible, and show what products were sold.

    Having your datefeed available in Golden Can and/or Popshops would also be a great plus for your program.

    Prompt email response to notices of problems that arise and to other questions is also very helpful and appreciated.

    These are a few of the major features that I look for in affiliate programs. To answer your overriding question - as much of this is provided by an affiliate network, having these features will go a long way in making your in-house program successful. That plus reliability and timely payments.

    Good luck with your endeavor.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager
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    OK...if I do decide to go with a program like CJ or Share A Sale or LS...is there one that is preferred?!?!?!?! I may do both..in-house and out....i have just read a few threads where it seems like in-house prgrams are not really preferred.....thanks to EVERYONE...this has been a huge help.....

  10. #10
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jill8026
    OK...if I do decide to go with a program like CJ or Share A Sale or LS...is there one that is preferred?!?!?!?!......
    I would certainly suggest ShareASale. But for a more "independent" view, you might want to look at this thread...
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=103086

    Then go back through that section of the forum and look at previous years also.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks Beachy!!!! That was an interesting thread....

    One more question for you guys.....I just read a thread about someone who recently ended their affiliate program because it did not seem to work for them with SAS.....so my question how often does a merchant NOT be successful....and does it ever happen that a merchant DOES NOT successfully obtain affiliates.....I would hate to sign up for a program only to find out that no one wants me?!?!? I know there is not magic involved and it is all hard work...just want to be realistic....I have not been able to find anything about success rates for the lesser known merchants that are running programs....or extrememly niche merchants.....

    I signed up for a SAS account...just need to push that last button....can anyone convince me to do it?!?!?!?!?

  12. #12
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jill8026
    I signed up for a SAS account...just need to push that last button....can anyone convince me to do it?!?!?!?!?
    Just do it. Over time they seem to have the highest praise level here.


  13. #13
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jill8026

    I signed up for a SAS account...just need to push that last button....can anyone convince me to do it?!?!?!?!?
    Don't press the button if you expect to magically get sales as soon as you sign up. But if you are willing to work to make it successful then go right ahead.

    You are off to a great start by joining in on this forum and asking questions.

    But personally I love Shareasale and I could do well with your products as I am going to replace a merchant who sells similar items due to their shady practices.

    So here are my tips-

    You have a toll free number on your site. That's fine but you need to add phone tracking which is easy if you use Shareasale. Here's more of my opinion on that

    Make sure you have a datafeed and are using popshops and goldencan.

    I see you have Live Support, make sure you aren't overwriting affiliate cookies with that. If you plan to do so then let people know up front so they can choose whether or not to promote you.

    I don't see any leaks so far but make sure to keep your site leak free. What's a leak?

    Good luck.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager
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    THANK YOU!!! These responses are just so helpful.....I have read about the phone issues so I know to tackle that thru shareasale.....honestly, we DO NOT take orders over the phone anyway...most people contact me with questions about the ordering process b/c our stuff is so custom.....contact is normally made while they are viewing a product so I do not see that as a big problem

    ..same with livesupport.....but what is meant by "overwriting affiliate cookies with that".....I have not read too much on this issue...so I want to make sure all my ducks are in a row....

    And one thing I have learned is there is no MAGIC button....I am a hard worker..and have worked my butt off to get the business to where it is....and will continue to do so...I am passionate about what I do so my heart and soul is in it...

    Thanks to everyone who has responded....when I do launch this I will now it is 100% ready to go thanks to the support here!! And I wont launch until it is 100% ready to roll!!!!

  15. #15
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jill8026

    ..same with livesupport.....but what is meant by "overwriting affiliate cookies with that".....I have not read too much on this issue...so I want to make sure all my ducks are in a row....
    • Customer goes to my site and clicks to yours.


    • Customer sees Livechat and asks a question.


    • Livechat support helps and says "click through my link to save 10%" or something similar to get them to click through another link so that the affiliate doesn't get commission. Example: Personal Creations (Note: It's still TBD if their Livechat credits affiliates but since I never received a response when I emailed them, I am putting them on my shady list until further notice)


    • Customer clicks through Livechat and then the cookies that were set when customer clicked from my site go bye bye.

  16. #16
    Affiliate Manager
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    Gotcha...never though about that, but have never had that occur on a chat. I have never had anyone be redirected in a chat....I only get maybe 3-4 chats a month and that is from about 3,000 unique visitors a month....so I would not imagine that would be a big issue....but is there a workaround for that that will put an affiliate at ease...I like being completely accessible to consumers and hate losing that...especially since we are growing right now....but I will pull the chat if it something that makes potential affiliates uncomfortable....and obviously the phone will be taken care of...

    ...what a help this has been.....

  17. #17
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, Livechat is fine...it's only a problem when merchants (or sales consultants) redirect the customers to set a different cookie.

    From what you've described, I doubt it will be a problem. But I just wanted to put that out there for reference.

  18. #18
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Read through this list of affiliate friendly policies. Tons of things that merchants can do to give affiliates what they really want.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProWebAddict
    • Customer goes to my site and clicks to yours.


    • Customer sees Livechat and asks a question.


    • Livechat support helps and says "click through my link to save 10%" or something similar to get them to click through another link so that the affiliate doesn't get commission. Example: Personal Creations (Note: It's still TBD if their Livechat credits affiliates but since I never received a response when I emailed them, I am putting them on my shady list until further notice)


    • Customer clicks through Livechat and then the cookies that were set when customer clicked from my site go bye bye.

    Great understanding..... very well said.
    They are just worried about traffic and people using those products.

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