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  1. #1
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    March 4th, 2013
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    Advice for a Merchant
    Hi,

    I am trying to launch an affiliate program for my business, which deals in high-ticket training courses... We organize 5-day management courses and events that deliver intense aimed at senior executives.

    The payouts are expected to be quite high (US$500-US$1500 per enrollment), and I understand that it is a very good idea to bring on board a good affiliate manager/opm to help launch and grow the program.

    But I have been however facing some challenges:

    1- We had one "associate" who acted as an affiliate, and it was greatly profitable to both sides until his email list stagnated and sales stopped coming. Since that time we have had difficulties bringing other affiliates on board. What is it that we as a merchant should do to attract affiliates to work with us?

    2- Most of the networks and programs are always focused on automated sales processing, which I understand secures affiliates with regards to their commissions. But with our courses, it seems inevitable that sales will need to be closed at least for some clients on a manual basis (large amounts require waiting for a bank transfer or cheque to clear). Are there solutions out there that can help solve this issue? or are there affiliates who create a good relationship and are satisfied to work with a manual sales process.

    3- Should we hire an affiliate manager, go with an OPM, or seek a Joint Venture Broker?

    Appreciate your input.

    Sam

  2. #2
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    July 13th, 2006
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    Roswell, GA
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    You should work on your existing conversion. Test paid search. Work on SEO. Buy media. Get some publicity. Then consider affiliate marketing. You need to prove to the affiliates they will make money. They need a guarantee of conversions before they promote you. They also want you to do everything you can to minimize reversals. Affiliate marketing is not the answer for every merchant.
    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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  4. #3
    Newbie
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    March 4th, 2013
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    Hmmm, not sure if this is applicable in our case. As I explained, we sell high-ticket training courses, and so automated CPC and click-arbitrage traffic doesn't work (we tried it ourselves), and we don't have generic conversion stats because it is highly dependent on the quality of the prospects and the traffic source since this is a Vertical Market. We established from that relationship that Opt-in Email Lists and such traffic is the type that works.

    Otherwise, we have zero reversals (refunds are deducted of all commissions), a very successful affiliate as a track record, and a well-established company with unassailable reputation. So I do believe we have something to offer.

    Interesting point though: Do you believe that because we don't fit into the "ebook-purchased-on-impulse" package with high conversion stats even on generic traffic, then I won't find decent affiliates to work with us?

  5. #4
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    July 13th, 2006
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    I don't think you will find decent affiliates or sales. You will have hundreds of coupon affiliates or dozens of paid search affiliates trying to buy the trademark name of your courses.
    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

  6. #5
    Affiliate Manager
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    February 22nd, 2012
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    Raleigh-Durham, NC
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    If this is more of a "high-touch" sales process, since you are selling to a very targeted demographic- I think an approach that is more partner centric would work in your case. There is a certain level of effort expected from an affiliate and a certain level of effort expected from an AM or OPM in a program-- and the way your describing the referral process seems more fitting for a "certified partner" opportunity than an affiliate channel.

    Like Greg mentioned, there is an expectation from affiliates that your company has a lot of the sales process smoothed out and that they won't have an issues when trying to promote your products and services.
    Last edited by TaylorBarr; March 4th, 2013 at 01:33 PM. Reason: remove signature.
    Taylor H. Barr
    Arbiter of Affiliates (and Partnerships)
    Skype: ASOTaylor
    [URL="mailto:taylor@asmallorange.com"]Taylor@asmallorange.com[/URL]

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  8. #6
    Newbie
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    March 4th, 2013
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    Ok, a few things said here might need a bit of explaining so I hope you will indulge me:

    1- "dozens of paid search affiliates trying to buy the trademark name of your courses."
    - What exactly does that mean?

    2- ""high-touch" sales process"
    - If this means a complex sale that requires involvement from a salesperson, well no... mostly it's straightforward. But what I meant was that generic traffic from Google is too untrusting and casual to commit to a senior executive training course worth thousands of dollars from a search advert. Also the profile of senior executives goes against roaming around the internet checking things out. They just don't do that.

    Opt-in Email lists however has an established relationship with a content provider and indeed generates high sales. We take care of the closing and processing of everything, the affiliate produces only the quality traffic and leads by sending out our invitations or adverts to their subscribers. We can have those provided as well. It was by far most successful approach.

    Do you still believe that I should be looking for "certified partners", and how would you recommend I go about that? Or would there be a special type of affiliate manager that organizes specialized affiliates that are suitable for such businesses?

    Thank you guys very much for any information.

  9. #7
    Marketing Manager
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    January 24th, 2013
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    I think what you're looking for is a company that knows or influences a lot of executive level business people. I don't think most affiliate marketers fit that description.

    Along the "certified partners" route, what if you connected with an executive head-hunting agency. They could advertise your courses to their talent pool as a way to spruce up their resumes.

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