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  1. #1
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    I can’t be the only person who wants to know how they are doing; I know all the “would be merchants” want to know what to expect.

    So, I will start what depending on the responses may serve as a warning to stay away (hopefully not). Here are my stats for the week ending 11/20/04 (exactly 2 months after starting my program):

    Affiliates: 141
    Active Affiliates: 16
    Clicks: 813
    Gross Sales: $3,122.87
    # Sales: 5
    Commissions: $312.30
    EPC: $38.41

    Stats do not include 2 affiliates that earned a $150 bonus each as they made 3 sales prior to 1/1/05 (our current promotion), so actual EPC is $75.31.

    My view is that the stats are good, but the volume is VERY low. That being said, I want to know if people agree or disagree. I am hoping that other merchants will post their stats and affiliates can talk about what they look for when joining a program and at what point they will pull the plug on a non-performing program.

    p.s. Yes, I did hesitate to make this post, but I hoping my honesty will encourage others to share as apposed to trashing my volume.

  2. #2
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    "non-performing program"

    The stats you posted clearly indicated that yours is not a non-performing program at all; you've just got non-performing affiliates. So far.....

    Keep in mind: The most productive affiliates, the ones who work full-time and double-time maintaining large sites or building many niche-targetted sites, may have you on their to-do list. It is not unusual for such a to-do list to have a lag time of anywhere from three months to an entire year. Just hang in there. One day a heavy hitter or two will suddenly start sending you strong traffic.

  3. #3
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    EPC is good, but you're right, the volume is extremely low. 2 months, 813 clicks averages a little over 13 clicks per day from all your affiliates. But what The_Boston_Crab said you could be on a lot of to do lists, Christmas is a very hectic time. You might encourage your affiliates to do a little PPC for you, make them a keyword list and mail it out. Also there might be some working on sites and it takes awhile for the SE's to index them. One day you might see a jump in traffic after some of your affiliates get some nice listings.

  4. #4
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    I believe we exchanged emails earlier today about the free shot glass that you wanted to send me - you needed my address.

    You say that you got 813 clicks and 5 sales total, which is less than 1% conversion, that is VERY low.

    As an affiliate who joined your program a month or so ago, I couldn't convert it at all through pcc no matter what I did or how I promoted it. After a while I had to turn it off because it was getting expensive with nothing to show for it. Normally when I can't convert something through ppc, I just abandon it. But because I liked the products, I made a few pages to give it a chance and waited for SE to pick them up.

    One of my pages got picked up quickly and it made one sale already after about 15-20 hits or so from my own site. BIG difference with ppc clicks.

    I don't know how you're being promoted by your active affiliates. Obviously a couple of them are doing well if they've already earned the bonus. When I looked at Adwords to see the costs of the clicks, I couldn't believe that many of them were $5 or more PER CLICK for top keywords. Ridiculous!

    If affiliates are promoting you via ppc, in order to keep their costs down they have to bid on lower traffic keywords or extremely specific phrases, but they don't generate many hits although the conversion is normally much better.

    Also your products are nicer and more high end than many others who sell the same type of products, so you're more expensive. Someone looking to buy a cheap stool and ends up on your site won't buy anything.

    Your program is only two months old. You have to give it time. Like others have said, waiting for search engine traffic can take a while and many don't put up pages right away.

    Just my thoughts...

    Catwoman

  5. #5
    Affiliate Miester my2cents's Avatar
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    I agree with all the before mentioned coments...

    I am one of those affiliates who has you on the to do list...

    It does take time... just remember Rome wasn't biult in a day and good affilaite programs aren't either...

    Oe of the most common mistakes a merchant makes is thinking an affiliate program will solve their sales whoes... if anything th reverse is usually true...because the merchant can get distracted from the task at hand... selling their products...

    Joe
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    that's my2cents, 'cuz I'm a legend in my own mind....

  6. #6
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    quote:
    2 months, 813 clicks averages a little over 13 clicks per day

    Just a quick clarification, the 5 sales and 813 clicks where for the week ending 11/20/04.

    I do struggle with the conversion rate, however, it has been trending upwards (furniture is not always purchased on the first visit). The EPC (before bonuses) is $17.91 lifetime and $45.61 for the last 7 days (another sale last night).

    As Catwoman mentioned, we are also mailing shot glasses to affiliates when they make their first sale.

    I also agree, the affiliate program can't be the company’s only revenue stream. I don't expect it to be the bulk of sales, but I did want to estimate what it should be. My hope had been $1 million a year, at the current run rate it is only $182K annually.

    I may have given away a bit too much info, but regardless, your feedback is really worth it.

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    A program that does convert and track sales, like this one, should get better conversion ratio from affiliates then they do with general SERP traffic. Do you keep track of general site conversion verses affiliate traffic conversion?
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  8. #8
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    quote:
    Do you keep track of general site conversion verses affiliate traffic conversion?


    Unfortunately I can't get quite that granular. Site-wide conversion is .4% (includes affiliates).

    Clearly conversion is relative to the referrer. The people that send us traffic from a page made using a data feed or our html generator covert VERY well. People that post a coupon and text ad on the home page of a high traffic deal site do get sales, but with nowhere near as high a conversion rate.

    Another question is how to get my priority bumped up on the sites that are planning on implementing me - without harassing them?

  9. #9
    Newbie wesleyt's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by NotTakenID:
    [QUOTE]
    Another question is how to get my priority bumped up on the sites that are planning on implementing me - without harassing them?


    While not one of your affiliates, I have been reading this thread carefully, and when you posed this question my immediate reaction was:

    Exactly what you're doing. By talking frankly about your program you have already inspired one of your "inactive" affiliates to speak up.

    As you discuss it, others will bump up their priority to go active.

    At least it would motivate me.

    Wesley
    http://wordlink.net/spyware

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador Packy's Avatar
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    quote:
    You say that you got 813 clicks and 5 sales total, which is less than 1% conversion, that is VERY low.


    I think if you figure a lot of the sales and products are pretty high ticket items thats not too bad of a conversion IMO. The average purchase with the stats above comes out to $624.00 a sale. Again, thats pretty high ticket stuff and to be hanging around the 1% mark is pretty good. Again JMO. I also agree with some others about the to do list. I checked the program out awhile back and will be doing something with it when I'm able to.
    The Answer to the New York Tax Law - Repeal, REPEAL, REPEAL -

    Camping Gear and Equipment

  11. #11
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    It would appear that the moral of the thread is patience – new affiliate programs take time to build.

    Of course for an impatient man like myself…

    Seriously the feedback is great and I welcome more of it.

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    I would think with your nice clean site and niche' product line you'd get a very high average order sale (groups of matching stools) and great conversions. Make a affiliate specific landing page outlining the various stool samples and offer free freight on orders of 4 stools or more.

    Approach Amazon.com,Yahoo Stores and Froogle for product line exposure. I did the Amazon bit for one client last month and he's gotten 27 sales on 268 clicks this month on a niche' product line. Average affiliate traffic is converting at a 1/20 basis without any real power traffic affiliate. Just be patient and remember the number of checks you cut each month determines your growth.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  13. #13
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    Don't put a lot of stock in EPC as an indicator of success of any program. When you begin to get more traffic, you may see your EPC drop dramaticly, but your actual earnings go up.
    Though your earnings go up, they may be spread over a much higher level of traffic.

    Gene
    TCS

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    quote:

    Originally posted by NotTakenID:
    p.s. Yes, I did hesitate to make this post, but I hoping my honesty will encourage others to share as apposed to trashing my volume.



    I like your honesty on this post.

    quote:

    Another question is how to get my priority bumped up on the sites that are planning on implementing me - without harassing them?



    I saw your program last month and I had you on my January list, but this post you made today made me join sooner.

    quote:

    It would appear that the moral of the thread is patience – new affiliate programs take time to build.

    Of course for an impatient man like myself…

    Seriously the feedback is great and I welcome more of it.



    Patience is the key to many things in life, I too become impatient sometimes or most of the time, but I have learned long time ago that life is too short to worry to much about the real facts about what life has in store for us.

    Since you want feedback, I will give you some feedback of what I have done today.

    Here I go, I hope you have some sense of humor, because this is what I did.
    ------------------------

    Today, after a few minutes after I read this post you made on November 21, I decided to join your program today and not wait until January like I was going to.

    This is the funny part.

    I have gone to the Buying-Bar-Stools.com before and I have take notice of your program, I like it and I had made plans to join it later.

    But, today after I had logged out of ABW to go to Shareasale to re-check your program and join it, I was lost in the name that tune game.

    First, I was looking for the NotTakenID merchant.
    Second, after I look at all the merchants that have a data feed on SaS and didn't see a NotTakenID merchant, I was beginning to worry. So I just went to the:

    quote:

    And also offers the following categories:
    View All



    After I spent some time there and saw all the merchants listed on SaS and I didn't see an NotTakenID merchant, I was beginning to get really impatient (or piss off) but, I decided to just open an another page to ABW and see what the hell I was missing.

    Ok, now I know that NotTakenID is your screen name on ABW and your program is Buying-Bar-Stools.com at: http://affiliate.buying-bar-stools.com or better yet: http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale...erchantID=6066

    I think you will do better if you have the link: http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale...erchantID=6066 listed on your sig also, than just having the: http://affiliate.buying-bar-stools.com/ link only.

    Now, for the more serious part.

    I joined Buying-Bar-Stools.com today and I will probably will have the 112 Products pages up by the end of November and not by the end of January, like I had in mind before today.

    Please be advised that it will take some time to have all those 112 Products pages listed on the search engines and ready to get the visitors to click on those products links, I don't do PPC and I don't do mailing list, (I hate Spam) so I hope that you won't be mad if I have not made a sale in the next whatever time it takes to get those pages in listed on the search engines.

    If you have the time, I have the space, we're both impatient men's but, only time will tell who quit three feet from gold first.

    Sal.

  15. #15
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    Have joined your program and am actively building product pages, So don't run out on me now.

    Gene
    TCS

  16. #16
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    EcomCity - I love the idea of landing pages with different promotions, I am already working on it.

    TCS – EPC is something that does scare me, I realize that some affiliates will send totally untargeted traffic and my EPC may fall, personally I don’t care about the non-converting traffic, but I fear other affiliates will scrutinize that metric and be hesitant to join. Regardless, I am definitely not going anywhere, I am committed to making this program a success, so far I have really enjoyed it (probably what is best about this business, people actually like their jobs).

    Mr. Sal – I am sorry for the confusion, but very happy to see that you joined and began working on it. I am well aware that indexing can take time, especially recently, Google seems to be favoring older sites/pages – If I can be of any help please tell me. Please note my new Signature

  17. #17
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    What I am saying is that as used the EPC truly means nothing. For it to be accurate, it should be updated daily. 7 day EPC, 30 day EPC, 60 day EPC and three month EPC should each be updated daily in order for them to give a true representation of the period designated. To update a three month EPC only every three months, is not a true ongoing representation of performance. It only gives you an average which is not true performance looking back from any given day.

    Gene
    TCS

  18. #18
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Hi NotTakenID,

    I just have two questions and a comment.

    1 - Do the ProductID and the product Name are always related or they may change later?

    2 - Are the ProductID and the product Name in stock with plenty of the same products name or some of the products are just a few of the same kind and they will not be available under the same name later?

    The reason I ask is because before I do what I have in mind, I just want to make sure of any future 404's that I may get if I don't ask those question now.

    ---------

    I really like your data-feed but, I just have this comment about it.

    I found six instances of this w/ on the feed and while it's not a big deal now, I am worry if later you will have more of it on the feed.

    I am using WebMerge to do the data-feed and when WebMerge find a / on it, it will create a new directory after that / so I just replaced those six w/ on the feed with with and everything works fine.

    I thought I mention it before you get some other new affiliates complaining about it.

    1 - Example: Where I see a Barstool w/ Leather Back on the feed, I change it to Barstool with Leather Back and that way I will not have a new directory created with just one page on it.

    I hope this comment help someone new to data-feeds.

    Sal.

    Note: I have a feeling that I might just get my first sale before xmas, I am working on it now but, who knows.

  19. #19
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Ok, never mind the previous questions.
    The Bar is Open now
    I will just wait here for the first customer to show up. Maybe one of these two, buy a Stool today.

    Otherwise I will be tweaking some pages as soon as I finish with these more important things OK, Back to Work Now


  20. #20
    Full Member ahmar's Avatar
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    Great Thread! All the merchants should see that only it takes to be honest and nice to affiliates and how much assistance they get from the affiliates.

    NottakenID and all the affiliates.

    Happy selling everyone.
    <DT>[size=1][color=navy]"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return.[/color][/size]<DT>[size=1][color=navy]It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale." Arthur C. Clark[/color][/size]</DT>

  21. #21
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    Mr. Sal & others - Just some info on the data feed.

    At this time SKU does always relate to URL, i.e.:

    SKU: bar-stools-calais
    URL: http://www.buying-bar-stools.com/bar-stools-calais.html

    (Take SKU, add the site url and .html and you have the full URL).

    We are going to upgrade our backend early next year; I plan to try to have the URL's remain the same. If I am forced to make a change, I will make it clear through our newsletter, postings, etc..

    Products only go offline if they are discontinued (otherwise it just notes out of stock). In the event that a page disappears visitors redirect to the home page.

    I will add something into the data feed generation code to convert "w/" into "with", and flag all /’s for that mater. I manually fixed it for now and sent the new datafeed (which does contain a few new products and updated in-stock/out of stock) to ShareASale (please give it until Tuesday as this sometimes takes time). I appreciate you mentioning that, I had not thought about it, but it makes total sense that would cause a problem.

    On a side note, the datafeed reorganizes itself with the bestsellers (that are in-stock) first each time we run it, so grabbing it once a month is probably worth the time.

    Again, I really appreciate the feedback, please keep it comming.

  22. #22
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    quote:
    Make a affiliate specific landing page


    I just posted a text link on ShareASale "Gift Ideas: Entertaining at Home" that links to http://www.buying-bar-stools.com/gift-ideas.html which is an otherwise unknown page that offers three products that are both in-stock and on sale for the holidays.

    If this is useful, or if you have suggestions on how to improve the apearance, I welcome them. If people are going to post these, I can make more.

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