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  1. #1
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    Starting as a merchant
    I have a small webdesign company, looking for more clients. I'm reading a lot about affiliate marketing, but I can't figure out the way to go.

    I considered joining a program, but I 2 problems:
    1. Tracking. I don't have a "buy now" button, a sale only takes place after multiple emails between me and the client.
    2. Start-up costs are huge for the most popular networks. If I join a small network, I'm afraid I won't find too many affiliates soon...


    Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Assuming that you have a payment processor.....The payment processor can furnish you with a "Buy Now" button and tracking of your sales.........
    You must climb this mountain. There is no elevator. ---- Don't stick your finger in the liquid nitrogen.
    Carolina China

  3. #3
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    The problem is that a "buy now" button is impossible in my sale process. A client will send me an e-mail from my website, then we have to discuss the project, budget etc... and only after that I can say a project is sold.

    There is no direct link between the e-mail form and the final sale.

  4. #4
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Easy peasy as they say!

    Monetize the form process and run as a CPL (cost per lead) program.

    Lead Generation is big business in the US so there's plenty of Lead Gen affiliates who can send custom your way. Most affiliate networks can handle CPL programs. Have a chat with ShareaSale for now and they'll advise.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  5. #5
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Run away. When you start with zero sales, you end with zero sales. Your ecommerce side needs to have proven conversion for 6-12 months if you want good affiliates to promote your products.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  7. #6
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    You can use Paypal as a payment method and invoice the client after you agree on a price. My Dad just sold banner space on his site that way and took several days to agree on the terms and price.

  8. #7
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    John Jupp: I'm a bit sceptical about CPL, but if there's no other way I'll look into it. Shareasale seems a bit expensive for a small new business like mine. Are there any cheaper ones with a similar network of affiliates?

    akagorilla: I'm a bit confused about your post. What do I have to lose by looking for affiliates?

    Chuck Hamrick: I don't have a lot of experience with affiliate networks, but how would I automate that? After the payment, I would still have to take a manual action and send an "OK, Sold!" to the network so they can pay the affiliate, right?


    Thanks for the help already everyone. I've been sending some e-mails to affiliate networks with my questions, but almost none of them seem to reply, and even if they do the answer never really helps much...

  9. #8
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris Interactive Assembly View Post
    John Jupp: I'm a bit sceptical about CPL, but if there's no other way I'll look into it. Shareasale seems a bit expensive for a small new business like mine. Are there any cheaper ones with a similar network of affiliates?
    For a small business, ShareaSale is a good stepping stone.

    You can run a hybrid CPL/CPA affiliate program. The CPL element is for a verifiable lead through completion of the form process that has resulted in contact confirmed. This then can have a manual batch upload process for a secondary monetary payment based on CPA whereby a referral generates a second monetary payment based on agreed terms with the customer resulting in contractual work for them. You then match the reference id and input the sale amount and upload. Again, ShareaSale can accommodate this if you explain to them.

    Contact them by phone on (312) 321-0487
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  10. #9
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris Interactive Assembly View Post
    akagorilla: I'm a bit confused about your post. What do I have to lose by looking for affiliates?
    What will you lose? Time, resources and patience. I would concentrate on every other marketing channel first. Invest in paid search to make sure your site converts. There are thousands of affiliate programs with little to no traffic for this very reason. Good affiliates need proof that conversion exists before they will promote you.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  12. #10
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    That's the reason I ignored other kinds of marketing, because they can be expensive without giving any guarantees.

    I wanted to start with affiliates because:
    A) I don't have to pay if there are no sales.
    B) I'm convinced I can offer a very good product, and at the same time I can offer a high reward for affiliates.

    Investing time is not a big problem, but investing money for something uncertain is. If I spend $500 set-up costs for an affiliate network, I want to be 100% sure I'm going to get some sales in return...

  13. #11
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    What's your conversion? What other marketing are you doing?

    If you don't have the budget for an affiliate program then don't start one. Affiliate marketing comes after paid search, SEO, email and display advertising. Have you done all of those?

    As Greg mentioned there are tons of programs that have no traffic and fail at affiliate marketing. Everyone is looking to only pay for performance but that doesn't mean you launch an affiliate program and the next day you are making money. I think you need to work on other channels and leave this one until those are successful and money is in surplus.

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  15. #12
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    I am skeptical as hell on CPL - if you opened up a CPL offer for leads for a small web dev company, you'd get flooded with garbage leads and spend your time sorting out the fraud. I'd hold off on affiliate marketing on this point and work on networking locally and regionally to make referral connections that you can work for leads. You could also get into some of the outsourcing sites to get leads for gigs as well.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

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  17. #13
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris Interactive Assembly View Post
    If I spend $500 set-up costs for an affiliate network, I want to be 100% sure I'm going to get some sales in return...
    I'm 100% sure you will not see a return on that investment until you can guarantee that affiliates will have a return on their investment of time and resources.

    If you build it, they will come, is a fantasy in this industry.
    Greg Hoffman
    Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year 2016; Best OPM/Agency - 2014; Best OPM/Agency, Five Years in a Row - ABestWeb.
    Visit Greg Hoffman Consulting

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  19. #14
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    Ok, valid points. Thanks for the honest feedback.

    Problem now is that I don't know what else to do. SEO won't do much for webdesign business, because there's thousands of similar companies who did the same. The same goes for paid search results, everyone is already doing that and at the current cost per click it's just not worth it anymore...

  20. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Reminds me of a thread on another forum (non-affiliate) where I posted.

    In a nutshell:

    Treat the Google (and all search engines) as another marketing channel - not THE marketing channel.

    There are online companies that started out as brick and mortars. They had to learn to embrace the internet as a marketing channel, along with print ads, word of mouth, business cards, flyers, snail-mail marketing, magnetic signs on vehicles, yellow page ads, etc.

    Today, it's the reverse. Many companies are online only and have not used other marketing channels that are not online.

    Time to embrace "traditional" marketing methods, or die - just as Brick and Mortars had to learn to embrace the internet as another channel.

    All about adapting and not putting your eggs in one basket...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  22. #16
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    What are you doing local? SMB online marketing is still in its infancy because they want to do everything themselves. They need help getting online and selling, show them how. You might have to go back to cold calling on businesses.

  23. #17
    Affiliate Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    You might have to go back to cold calling on businesses.
    Scary thought these days
    Mike Hourigan
    Affiliate Manager for [URL="http://www.shoeboxed.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=signature%2B&utm_campaign=abestweb"]Shoeboxed.com[/URL]
    [EMAIL="mikeh@team.shoeboxed.com"]Email[/EMAIL]|[URL="http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=131457835&trk=tab_pro"]LinkedIn[/URL]

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