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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    November 21st, 2009
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    5
    Newbie Alert! Feature Question.
    Hi All!

    Just joined SAS as a Merchant and really looking forward to building some great relationships. I am a merchant that views affiliates as the key, critical piece for us to gain leadership position in our market.

    I have read through as many threads as I could before my eyes started to water :-) to learn as much asap. Just to set my orientation properly, can you kindly give me some feedback?

    In a perfect world, what would be the *most* important feature from a Merchant that would attract you to the merchant and make you happy with the merchant's program? Not looking for a list, just the one most important feature in your opinion. For example, datafeed, extensive creative choices, etc.

    Thanks everyone. Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday.

  2. #2
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    November 19th, 2006
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    The Windy City
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    4,140
    To me, the most important thing is a site that converts. That may seem obvious, but if your site isn't already converting visitors into customers than all the affiliates in the world won't help. Too many merchants think that all they need to make sales is more traffic and affiliates will take care of that. The truth of the matter is that few affiliates will continue to send traffic to a site that has a consistently low conversion rate.

    View your site like a customer would. Is navigation easy and intuitive? Are products easy to find and product descriptions clear? Look at your competition, are your prices competitive? What do they offer that you don't? Go through your order process. Is it clear? Are there any barriers to a visitor purchasing, like forcing them to create an account before they can place an order? Have you provided enough payment options? Do you offer discounts in the form of coupons? If not, make sure that there isn't a coupon box on our checkout page (actually coupons are a whole other issue)?

    Also make sure that you include these in your reading: Merchant Best Practices Forum and most importantly Affiliate Friendly Policies.

    I'm sure there are plenty more thoughts that I've missed, but don't worry, there's never a shortage of opinions around here. Good luck with your program and don't forget to make a program announcement here on ABW.

    -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

  3. #3
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Unfortunately it is impossible to boil it down to just one feature. Running a quality program and attracting good, ethical affiliates is the culmination of many actions. Running a clean program that is free from parasites and leaks is the start. Add tools that affiliates need and want; this varies between affiliates but make sure you have clean well organized data feed and a variety of links and graphics. Since you are on SAS, be on autodeposit and monitor the funding to avoid low funds and offline status. Keep your communication channel open but do not take advantage or assume you are an affiliate’s only merchant. Be accessible and have at least two to three ways of being contacted. All of these things are just the beginning.

    Most importantly, you need to respect the affiliate relationship and demonstrate it by actions and not just words; not just today but also tomorrow.

    You are off to a good start by reading and asking questions.

    Best of luck with your program and welcome to the forum.
    Melanie
    President - Affiliate Advocacy 2008 ShareaSale Performance Industry Advocate Award, 2009 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award - Affiliate Advocate
    Affiliate Advocacy
    NYAffiliateVoice Seery Writing

  4. #4
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    November 20th, 2005
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    8,266
    Having just come over to the merchant side of things I'll chime in here. As rematt says, the most important thing is a site that converts. I don't yet know where those numbers "need" to be, but I would think 5% is reasonable. If I, as an affiliate, send you 100 visitors - I would like to believe that five (or more) of them will make a purchase.

    Mellie has listed a nice, concise set of features sought after (considered quite seriously) by potential affiliates. Auto Deposit is a "must do." A well-categorized data feed with quality images is also important - because that makes the SAS "Make A Page" quite useful. It also opens you up to PopShops and GoldenCAN as additional tools. Good luck with the program.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    November 21st, 2009
    Posts
    5
    Thank you
    Great advice everyone. Thank you for replying. Your experience and knowledge is key for me getting it right (or as close as possible) the first time.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. #6
    Newbie fathernaturesr's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 24th, 2009
    Location
    Northville, Michigan
    Posts
    2
    It starts with passion
    Quote Originally Posted by RussellOrganics
    Hi All!

    Just joined SAS as a Merchant and really looking forward to building some great relationships. I am a merchant that views affiliates as the key, critical piece for us to gain leadership position in our market.

    I have read through as many threads as I could before my eyes started to water :-) to learn as much asap. Just to set my orientation properly, can you kindly give me some feedback?

    In a perfect world, what would be the *most* important feature from a Merchant that would attract you to the merchant and make you happy with the merchant's program? Not looking for a list, just the one most important feature in your opinion. For example, datafeed, extensive creative choices, etc.

    Thanks everyone. Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday.
    I'm new to this, have looked at a lot possible ways to market, the worst thing that can happen to an affiliate is not having a phone contact to answer some basic questions. The better the comunication link the stronger the sales force, We feed our emotions by feeling connected. As affiliates we work for you but the customers pay us both. The internet is moving fast and loosing touch with the personal contact, they may never call you but it sure feels great that there is a number they can get in touch with someone. Gene

  7. #7
    Affiliate Manager Veena krishnappa's Avatar
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    July 21st, 2009
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    India, UK
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    241
    You will get many information regarding this if you read these threads
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=97371 and
    http://forum.abestweb.com/showthread.php?t=79787

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    June 11th, 2009
    Posts
    97
    Good Start Russell organics, when i started off as the Affiliate manager, I first read through as many threads as possible and got some great insight into Affiliate Marketing.

    All the Best.

    Cheers

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager GregRobert's Avatar
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    September 14th, 2009
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    Michigan
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    72
    Hi Russell Organics - I am a fairly new merchant also and I have found that if you ask your affiliates (in a newsletter etc..) what they want and need, you will get some decent feedback. I learned early on that affiliates wanted phone tracking on our retail site and also wanted custom deals to match the theme of their website.

    Auto deposit is a must (as stated above).

    Best of luck to a fellow newbie

    Mary

  10. #10
    Affiliate Network Rep Brent E. - Shareasale's Avatar
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    November 4th, 2009
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    Chicago
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    66
    Quote Originally Posted by GregRobert
    I have found that if you ask your affiliates (in a newsletter etc..) what they want and need, you will get some decent feedback.
    Great point, Mary. Asking affiliates what they wanted and needed out of my program through a newsletter was an effective way of connecting with them. Listen to their questions, critisicms and concerns...it will go a long way towards having a successful affiliate program!

    Brent

  11. #11
    Outsourced Program Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Thailand/ Cambodia
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    805
    Dont forget to reward affilates for performance (a sliding scale for commissions)

    Incentives, (Bonus) to get the non active affiliates active always works as well

    COMMUNICATE with your affiliates
    Richard
    Affiliate Marketing Manager AMWSO
    Digestinol, Luxe-Design


    Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. Pablo Picasso

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager GregRobert's Avatar
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    September 14th, 2009
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    Michigan
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    Carolyn also gave me a "wonderful tip" that seems to be working well: Maintain an Affiliate Blog.

    From my limited experience, I would say most important is "Treat your affiliates like your customers". For our customers, we have coupons, email communication, a blog with new information, feedback forms, a customer service line etc....

    therefore we are striving to have the same for our affiliates: affiliate blog, affiliate newsletter, easy way to provide feedback etc...

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