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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Red face Leads to a free service handicapped because it is free?
    I'm challenged that without the ability to discount, promo, or give away something, affiliates don't have a special offer or hot deal to promote.

    Am I handicapped, as a merchant, because I'm trying to generate leads for a free service? If so, any suggestions as to how or what to promote related to the service?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Free - a handicap? Who the, what the?

    Pricing is a sales tool of the value proposition, if the service is a real value it will sell - even if it's free, maybe even more
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    A lot depends on how you're trying to generate leads. You can be generating thousands of worthless leads or you can be generating leads that have been "presold".

    Too much depends on how you're trying to generate leads to give a significant answer. If you are a merchant you are obviously trying to sell something.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager
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    @haiko most definitely. All things being equal, if i can promote X which is free or Y which you can get for free through me (regularly $29). Which is more compelling?

    @2busy no merchant considerations; that is, not selling something. This is a free web service. Nothing sold on the backend, no premium services or upgrades. What do you mean presold? I mean, I get the concept but what type of affiliate publisher presells leads?

  5. #5
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pobrien9
    I mean, I get the concept but what type of affiliate publisher presells leads?
    The problem with "free" is that sometimes people assume that it isn't worth anything to begin with. They think that it's free because you can't sell it or that's it's limited or crippled in some way.
    Quote Originally Posted by pobrien9
    All things being equal, if i can promote X which is free or Y which you can get for free through me (regularly $29). Which is more compelling?
    Most people would rather have product Y. They perceive a value and think they're getting something for nothing. With product X, their perception would be that it obviously isn't worth as much.

    To you and me it's the same thing; "A free Application" or "A $29.95 Application At No Cost". To the typical consumer there's a world of difference.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  6. #6
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    I really don't think that I understand the "real question" that you're asking here.

    There are many factors that impact the results of any "leads" program -- including the product or service offered, the price or cost (short-term and long-term), the amount of information requested, and the apparent trustworthiness of the site that a consumer sees when filling in a lead form.

    One huge problem with "lead" programs is that it can be incredibly difficult to exclude fraudulent activity by unethical affiliates. There are organized teams of people who fabricate fake leads using publicly-available information (web sites, blogs, facebook pages, phone directories, etc.), to earn undeserved fees for the leads.

  7. #7
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    Okay, I've just read your post in the "Introductions" thread, which makes it clear that you are offering a "free online bookkeeping service." This definitely raises a lot of issues.

    If you offer a "lead-based" affiliate program, the first question must be "what is a lead?" Will you pay for every user who "registers?" Or will you pay only for users who enter specific company or financial data into the system? Or will you only pay for "persistent users," those who continue to use your service for 30 or 60 days?

    Whatever criteria you use, you will absolutely face an onslaught of criminals seeking to steal your money by fabricating leads. Some of these criminals are very clever -- they'll hire people or create robots to generate any kind of activity you require to qualify the "lead."

    There are also some very serious privacy and data-sharing issues here, which are essentially "trust issues." I suppose some folks will trust a big, established company like Intuit (Quicken Online) or Microsoft (Live) with their sensitive financial data. Getting folks to trust you is a very different matter, and I don't think your site comes even remotely close to creating the required level of trust.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    You got all the concerns nailed, I'm wrestling with those (and frankly, I'm curious what people think of LinkShare's closed lead-gen network). Short answer is that beacons are set to require use before a lead is counted. I'd love other suggestions.

    My question though is more specific to the fact that it is free and how to appeal to potential affiliates. We'll get around consumer concerns of security and trust (in fact, conversion rate is high) so the free vs. 'deal on a the service which normally costs' isn't the issue from the standpoint of closing new customers. The issue is how I get publishers to promote it when there is no deal or promotion associated with it. It isn't the consumer questioning the fact that it is free but the affiliate who has nothing to promote other than the service itself.

    I'm trying to figure out what might appeal more to publishers. For example
    - Not banners; this lends itself more to blog posts and newsletters where folks can talk about the service
    - Tiered incentives; $5 per and kickers for quantity
    - Come up with something just to give it away?

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