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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager DoubleRRick's Avatar
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    What is the number one thing you look for in a merchant?
    Hi all - just starting our affiliate program for gourmet meat companies Double R Ranch and Snake River Farms beef.

    I just got everything all set up on ShareASale and I'm working through the recruitment process.

    As great affiliate marketers, can you guys give me your thoughts on what the main determining factor in choosing to join a particular program?

    If comparing 2 within a particular niche, what might sway you to one program over another?

    Ha! Guess that's 2 questions. But any insight would be awesome!

    Thanks all - enjoying reading through the threads as a newbie of ABestWeb!

    Rick

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  3. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Not one thing - is a combination of factors:

    1) Datafeed
    2) Commission Rate
    3) Brand Recognition
    4) Merchant Website Traffic
    5) Creatives (banners, text links, coupons)
    6) Clean Website (lack of leaks, good UI, etc)
    7) Product Selection
    8) Merchant Communication (emails, newsletters)
    9) Merchant Contact Information
    10) Network
    11) Cookie Length
    12) Terms
    13) Who they let in their program, ie: bad players
    14) AM/OPM reputation
    15) Country of Origin
    16) AutoDeposit
    17) Payment Terms
    18) Program Uptime

    These are not in any order of preference...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...


  4. #3
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Convergence forgot what should be #1. Product Conversion!
    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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  6. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    Convergence forgot what should be #1. Product Conversion!
    All the above = conversion...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  7. #5
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    My first consideration is will it be a good fit form my customers? In other words will it solve their problem. I don't want to jeopardize my reputation recommending crumby products.

    Next it's about "show me the money"... which comes down to conversion and EPC (earnings per 100 clicks). Probably too soon for you to know that or be able to convince an affiliate, so they'll look at commission compared to others like you.

    Depending on your Sales Cycle (how long it takes for someone to decide) return days could be a factor in a decision.

    Next I would look at promotional tools. Are there the types of things that will help me sell it? Sometimes email content is good for that. That would also give me a hint on the best ways to sell your product. I like merchants that have videos (when appropriate).

    Next I would look at the website (actually I would do it earlier) to see if it offers a good buying experience and moves someone through the Sales Cycle. I guess that's still part of conversion.

    Then the rest of the things that Convergence mentioned.

    A good affiliate thinks like a sales person. Can I sell this? Is the money good? Is there a good guarantee? Those kinds of things.

  8. #6
    Affiliate Manager DoubleRRick's Avatar
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    All very excellent feedback thanks guys. We are selling gourmet food. Our Snake River Farms product is unique because the 2 types of customers couldn't be more different.

    On the one hand, we have affluent foodie customers who want the best Kobe steak you can buy. On the other we have blue collar competitive BBQ customers who will spend several hundred dollars per order on Kobe briskets for their next competition.

    The Double R product is not Kobe, but a million times better than any other beef you can buy online and very affordable (not to disparage any of our competition in the Midwest ).

    In any case, it's been a challenge getting the right creative in place. So, honestly I wanted to see where this ranked in order of importance.

    All the other pieces you guys line out, I think we have. Rick, you bring up a great point about epc. Time will tell I guess? On sales cycle, etc. during the Spring and Summer, it's within 24-48 hrs. because of the grilling season. Same with Autumn and the holidays. Q1 is definitely our slowest time. But things are already picking up.

    I love your point about video. We have cooking and prep guides in video form. I can tag these up and put these in our creative queue! Thanks for the great idea!

    Convergence, how does ShareASale rank with regard to network rep?

    Thanks all in advance. Great stuff!

  9. #7
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleRRick View Post
    Rick, you bring up a great point about epc. Time will tell I guess?
    EPC can be used as a barometer, but not necessarily a heavily weighted factor, IMhO. If a merchant allows everyone and anyone in their program their EPC can be lower because the merchant will have many affiliates that may not be driving targeted traffic. We have our own EPC goals/expectations based on our traffic - not those of our competitors. It's why I didn't list it separately.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleRRick View Post
    Convergence, how does ShareASale rank with regard to network rep?
    Shareasale gets an "A" in our book. Remember, NO network is perfect - yet...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  10. #8
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    EPC can be used as a barometer, but not necessarily a heavily weighted factor, IMhO. If a merchant allows everyone and anyone in their program their EPC can be lower because the merchant will have many affiliates that may not be driving targeted traffic. We have our own EPC goals/expectations based on our traffic - not those of our competitors. It's why I didn't list it separately.
    Spot on unfortunately its one of very few indicators affiliates have to look at to judge a program. High EPC is a good indicator while low may not be. Challenge the AM about it! Still a zero EPC means zero sales and that's a decisive indicator.

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  12. #9
    Affiliate Manager DoubleRRick's Avatar
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    Hey guys - one more question here. Why are datafeeds so important to affiliates? I assume they help you guys drive more sales, but how do you use them so they're most effective?

    I just completed 2 feeds for our program on SAS and 2 folks from the team there commented on how 'good' they were.

    Just wanting to know how you guys use them so I can keep building helpful/useful stuff.

    Thanks in advance.

    Rick

  13. #10
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    If the products are not competitively priced you can forget everything else that has been mentioned here, as customers will go to the competitor with the lower prices (And don't feature lower prices but have unreasonably high shipping/handling rates).
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

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  15. #11
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    You just asked Convergence's favorite question.
    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

  16. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    And AffiliateHound has busted my chops (in a nice way) over a merchant who wasn't competitive. He knew this because he started integrating their products onto one of his sites via a datafeed.

    The other common complaint is a crappy feed, bad titles, descriptions and no on sale prices.

    ForMeToCoupon used by top deal sites uses datafeeds. 3rd party affiliate tools like PopShops, GoldenCAN, Sellfire, Properent all use datafeeds, without which you can't reach their users (read affiliates).

  17. #13
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleRRick View Post
    Hey guys - one more question here. Why are datafeeds so important to affiliates? I assume they help you guys drive more sales, but how do you use them so they're most effective?

    I just completed 2 feeds for our program on SAS and 2 folks from the team there commented on how 'good' they were.

    Just wanting to know how you guys use them so I can keep building helpful/useful stuff.

    Thanks in advance.

    Rick
    Affiliates who use datafeeds:

    1) Price comparison/shopping websites
    2) Those that want to easily grab links to specific products

    Those who have automated product imports especially require good feeds...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  18. #14
    Affiliate Manager DoubleRRick's Avatar
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    Great stuff. Thanks guys.

    Rick

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