View Poll Results: Which avenue makes sense for my fact case?

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  • Network Affiliate Program such as SAS

    1 100.00%
  • DIY build a network using affiliate management software

    0 0%
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
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    Question Newbie Seeking Advice
    Hello everyone.
    I am very new to the world of internet and internet marketing so please be gentle. I have what I will call a virgin website. Literally just went live and I'm quickly seeing how big the wall that I must climb really is.

    After seeing that Google Adwords will not drive profitable results and knowing that I still have a lot of products to generate I thought I would enter the world of affiliate marketing to:

    - educate potential customers
    - build brand awareness
    - generate a base of business from which to grow organically or maybe focus only on building an effective affiliate sales force -- not sure how all that would play out.

    The product is within the small business niche -- not sure how much I can disclose here without getting into trouble but the product provides independent, objective, comprehensive, comparative software reviews at a reasonable price. The point of the product, oddly enough, is to provide high-quality, detailed, honest reviews when compared against *free* "affiliate software reviews" which are everywhere but are obviously designed to sell product, not inform users.

    Short-term Problem: I will have only 3 review categories completed by the time I am ready to run with a "program"
    Opportunity: Affiliates will have a new software review product to promote on (roughly) a monthly basis for the first year.

    I would want to provide long-term and high % incentives to the right affiliates. I need high-quality affiliates who have earned trust with start-ups, small business owners and managers. Also, I need to build a brand that is beyond reproach -- totally legit, professional, no cheap gimmicks, etc.

    Questions:
    A] Should I go the affiliate network route or attempt to recruit similar sites and provide affiliate management software for transparency?
    B] How do I protect myself?
    C] How do I best gain trust and buy-in within the affiliate community?
    D] What are the big no-no's / turn-offs when dealing with merchants?

    I want to do this right for me and for whatever affiliate base I am able to pull together.

    This board popped up on a Google search I did, oddly enough, after beginning to apply with SAS and was surprised by the network access fee.

    I think I'm clear --> the board views SAS as the best! )

    Anyways -- any input would be welcome. Again, I am very new to this world so if the above post is off-base please understand where I'm coming from.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I see that this thread probably comes up on a regular basis here ...

    Noticed in another thread that akagorilla said:

    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.

    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.



    This is an interesting point ...
    A prospective affiliate can review my site to get a gut feel on whether it will convert no?
    The affiliate doesn't have to make a significant time/resource investment at the start do they?
    What if I provide article marketing materials or other materials to help simplify the process and reduce the time investment?

  3. #3
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    rematt said:

    But the bottom line is; how long would you be willing to promote a program that doesn't convert? I think each of us have our own litmus tests for programs, but what we all look for is a steady conversion rate. I very seldom promote a single merchant within a particular niche, at least initially. I may start with 5 or 6 merchants within a niche and narrow that to the best converting 2 or 3. If a merchant is skimming, they won't convert competitively and they won't last long on my sites.

    The smart merchant understands that the growth of their program relies on long term relationships with experienced affiliates, and it doesn't take very long for word to get out that a merchant is gaming the system. It's not easy to repair a bad reputation.


    Another interesting point -- ballpark, what is considered a good conversion rate if the affiliate is going to earn:
    $5 / sale
    $10 / sale
    $15 / sale
    Also, how much traffic would an affiliate think they need to be able generate to make the numbers work?

    On building trust:
    I believe use of Affiliate Management software allows affiliates to see the sales transactions they've been credited for at any time correct?

    I assume that a good partnership means that the merchant will work with affiliates to remove as many barriers to conversion as possible correct? It is in both parties interests to maximize a sales page ...

  4. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaasReviews View Post
    ...ballpark, what is considered a good conversion rate if the affiliate is going to earn:
    $5 / sale
    $10 / sale
    $15 / sale
    Also, how much traffic would an affiliate think they need to be able generate to make the numbers work?
    It's different for every niche and each merchant.

    Our bottom line is 1% - once a merchant's conversion rate dips below 1% they are removed from that department/site. We do this on site-by-site basis for each merchant. (A merchant may have different categories of products. Therefore, they can be in multiple categories on one site or on multiple sites.)...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  5. #5
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    After seeing that Google Adwords will not drive profitable results and knowing that I still have a lot of products to generate I thought I would enter the world of affiliate marketing to:
    That kills it for me! You need to be able to convert on PPC which is the most effective way to drive traffic quickly. If you don't have the expertise then outsource it to a competent agency.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    It's different for every niche and each merchant.

    Our bottom line is 1% - once a merchant's conversion rate dips below 1% they are removed from that department/site. We do this on site-by-site basis for each merchant. (A merchant may have different categories of products. Therefore, they can be in multiple categories on one site or on multiple sites.)...
    thank-you -- 1% seems like a low threshold but i suppose it depends what is being promoted.

  7. #7
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I judge a site conversion at 3% being good and 5%+ being great. Generally an affiliate program does 1-3% for a big brand, higher for niche brands with a few good affiliates.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    That kills it for me! You need to be able to convert on PPC which is the most effective way to drive traffic quickly. If you don't have the expertise then outsource it to a competent agency.

    I think I need to experiment with higher Adword bids and see what happens. My bids have been typically putting me in a less than ideal location.

    My understanding is that typical eCommerce gets around a 3% conversion rate -- not sure if that's right or wrong. To hit what I had thought was an excellent price point I had to have lower PPC costs. Based on my earlier research, I could not locate one site on the internet selling what I'm selling -- there is legitimate value in buying, for example, an objective, in-depth accounting software review.

    Maybe my price point is less elastic than I think. The only site I saw doing this kind of thing was charging around $300 - $400 per application review supplied -- but these were for enterprise applications.

    I was going for the high-volume bargain -- I will experiment ...

    FWIW -- Not sure why what I was expressing should "kill it for you"
    My thinking is that if these reviews tie in well with certain affiliate marketers audience that the fit was natural and the sell relatively convincing and that achieving > 1% conversions is a no-brainer but -- it has to be the right audience.

    Appreciate the comments here so far. I've spent a couple hours looking through old threads, the affiliate friendly policy thread, the "I hate" thread and the "I love" thread. Interesting stuff here.

  9. #9
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    FWIW -- Not sure why what I was expressing should "kill it for you"
    My thinking is that if these reviews tie in well with certain affiliate marketers audience that the fit was natural and the sell relatively convincing and that achieving > 1% conversions is a no-brainer but -- it has to be the right audience.
    If you can't make sales on PPC how do you expect affiliates to. If you don't have conversion on the site now affiliate will not instantly bring that to you. Here is the litmus test, do you have affiliates lined up wanting to sell your service? If not then you have no reason to even consider launching an affiliate program until you know your conversion and are making money from all channels but affiliate. Affiliate Marketing is an extension of a successful online marketing campaign. It is not the starting point.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    I judge a site conversion at 3% being good and 5%+ being great. Generally an affiliate program does 1-3% for a big brand, higher for niche brands with a few good affiliates.
    Ok -- that makes more sense. I think the 1% figure was a bottom threshold number.

    Again, thank-you for the feedback -- going to rework my numbers and see what happens with Adwords. Again, my site is literally brand new. I think my small product base cannot attract anyone other than affiliates who have already built a trusted audience and want to add additional revenue streams into the mix -- at minimal effort.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Hamrick View Post
    If you can't make sales on PPC how do you expect affiliates to. If you don't have conversion on the site now affiliate will not instantly bring that to you. Here is the litmus test, do you have affiliates lined up wanting to sell your service? If not then you have no reason to even consider launching an affiliate program until you know your conversion and are making money from all channels but affiliate. Affiliate Marketing is an extension of a successful online marketing campaign. It is not the starting point.
    I get your point -- don't like it, but I understand it. )
    I have found a couple sites (not sure to what extent they sell affiliate product but they sell some) that seem like they'd be a good fit to sell my product. Should I avoid approaching them directly at this point?

  12. #12
    Newbie scottfanello's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=SaasReviews;1144840]I see that this thread probably comes up on a regular basis here ...

    Noticed in another thread that akagorilla said:

    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.

    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.


    I agree with Saasreviews here. I promoted a product on Clickbank where the vendor only had a sales page and was getting great conversions and tons of affiliates to promote it. My guess is the vendor ran paid ads to boost his conversions after he posted it to Clickbank and when affiliates saw they sales they jumped on board and everything ran from there. Other Clickbank vendors seem to do the same - they post to Clickbank, build traffic and sales, then the affiliates come later.

  13. #13
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    How much is it to launch a program on Clickbank? What do they charge as a network fee?

  14. #14
    Newbie scottfanello's Avatar
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    Chuck,

    Clickbank charges a one-time fee of $49.95 to register your first product. After that it's free to add new products.

    Beyond that Clickbank charges a fee for each sale. This is how it breaks down.
    Each time you sell a product through ClickBank, without respect to the location of the buyer, they purchase the product at wholesale price, which for standard products is 92.5% of the approved retail price, less $1. Therefore, on each sale ClickBank effectively keeps 7.5% plus $1. This takes place before affiliate commissions are paid out.

    Here’s an example:

    Your product sells for $100.

    ClickBank purchases the product from you for $91.50. (92.5% of $100, minus $1)

    You have chosen to pay a commission of 50%, so 50% of the remainder goes to the referring affiliate, which equals $45.75.

    You earn $45.75 on the sale.

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