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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Question Free Trials & Affiliate Programs - Where do the two meet?
    Hi everyone! One of the programs I manage is interested in implementing a free trial of an existing product they sell. This will be in addition to the offerings that are already in place on the website. I've never managed a program with a product free trial.

    How do you handle that with affiliates? Anyone else have experience managing a program with a free trial for a product?

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager
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    With the free trial, all the merchant is charging is for shipping and handling, which is around $2.95, so there's not much we can do as far as commission is concerned there.

  3. #3
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    Check around and see if competitors are paying lead fees to affiliate publishers. That will give you some idea of what the going rate is for your type of offer.

    If the product is expensive enough yet desirable enough that a potential customer is apprehensive about purchasing outright, but willing to pay the $2.95 to procure a sample, then it would be fair to pay at least half that much to the publisher who generates the lead.

    If the sample distribution does not generate enough paid orders and profit to absorb the cost of sending the samples and paying the publishers, then the merchant should scrap the idea of using the affiliate channel to promote the freebie offer.
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  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    Also be sure to set it up so that if the free trial converts to a sale it tracks. This will have to be done manually probably through a network API (if you are on a network.)
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    Check around and see if competitors are paying lead fees to affiliate publishers. That will give you some idea of what the going rate is for your type of offer.

    If the product is expensive enough yet desirable enough that a potential customer is apprehensive about purchasing outright, but willing to pay the $2.95 to procure a sample, then it would be fair to pay at least half that much to the publisher who generates the lead.

    If the sample distribution does not generate enough paid orders and profit to absorb the cost of sending the samples and paying the publishers, then the merchant should scrap the idea of using the affiliate channel to promote the freebie offer.
    Thanks for the info, David. Most of our competitors don't do free trials, and the ones that do offer trials don't have affiliate programs, so I'm not finding much to analyze there.

    The trial is a 30 day trial, but we're discussing dropping that to a 14 day trial. Cookie duration is currently 90 days, so when the customer comes back and purchases the product, the affiliate still gets the credit. I'm looking at increasing that cookie duration now that we have the trial in place in order to better ensure that affiliates get credit if a customer returns.

    If nothing significant comes from the free trial, it won't stay around long. I just want to make sure that we're doing everything we can as program managers to make sure the affiliates stay happy and get the credit they deserve. Any other ideas we're definitely open to.

  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly View Post
    Also be sure to set it up so that if the free trial converts to a sale it tracks. This will have to be done manually probably through a network API (if you are on a network.)
    Thanks Loxly! We're on ShareASale and we've discussed the API with them. We're looking at how to best integrate that if needed. I'm wondering now if extending the cookie duration from 90 to 120 days will take care of that, or if the API will still be needed.

  7. #7
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    What if the person that got the free trial cleared their cookies? Duration will help, but it isn't infallable. You need to assign the affiliate to that free trial so that when it converts the affiliate gets credit. It works *very* well for one of our merchants (RavenTools).
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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