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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I don't know how many other affiliates have started using the new Offer Management system, but this is a HUGE time-saver for me. I can now go to one place to find all promotions for BeFree merchants.

    Since I work with well over 100 merchants, one of the most time-consuming (and frustrating) parts of my day is trying to find new bargains. Many merchants and other networks have tried to solve this problem with newsletters and special email distribution lists, but nothing has ever been this effective. Those other solutions never seem to have all the information I need, so I often spent anywhere from 2 to 10 minute for each bargain tracking down extra information. In addition, I spend several hours a day trying to find new bargains.

    Thanks to the BeFree Offer system, I've automated the process (for BeFree merchants, anyway) on my end. I wrote a script that logs into BeFree, downloads the details, reformats them, and inserts them into my database. At least once a day, I run the script to grab any new offers. I review the offers to standardize text, make sure they really work are accurately described, and are something I want to promote, then publish them to my site. This takes a fraction of the time that it used to.

    Since the Offer system went online a little over a month ago, I've added 153 bargains automatically. The majority of these bargains wouldn't have made it onto my site if they weren't automated. It's just too time-consuming to track down and manually add bargains, so many just get missed.

    Please pass on my kudos to whoever thought of this!

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com

  2. #2
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    A few tips for BeFree merchants:

    1) Use the Offer Management system! I'm still finding a handful of promotions that are just entered as normal text or banner links.

    2) Pick the right category. Only put coupon offers in the "Money Off" and "Percent Off" categories and sale items in the "Sale" category. If a rebate or sweepstakes is involved, put it in the "Rebate" or "Sweepstakes" categories. If no discount is involved and you're just promoting a product, put it in the "Hot Products" category.

    3) Enter the promotions at least a day before they start, if possible. I've seen several that weren't added until 3-4 days into a 7 day promotion.

    4) Make sure the links work! You wouldn't believe how many I've found that don't work. Also, make sure to pick a good landing page. Your home page is seldom the best landing page.

    5) Coupon Codes. If the deal involves a coupon code, make sure you enter it. Don't put "code: ABC10". Just put the code.

    6) Ending Dates. Use the ending date. If the offer gets extended, make sure to update the ending date.

    7) Offer Name & Description. Try to standardize these. The offer name should be a very brief sentence providing the primary details, like "Save $10 on a $100 order". The description should the full details, restrictions, requirements, etc.

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    This is great to hear Michael and your story is exactly what we had in mind when building it. Some of you may remember us asking very specific questions many months ago about how you work -- that's where this came from.

    Even if you're not as technical as Michael such that you can write a script to log in and get the data automatically, we've built in some time savers:

    1. In addition to the standard link code, we added in a textarea with all the promotion details. That should make things much easier for you cut-and-pasters so you don't have to surgically pull links and text out of HTML blocks.

    2. And below that there's a textarea containing a pipe-delimited version of that data. Write a simple PHP or Perl CGI script that you can paste that data into and insert it right into your database without having to paste in the data field by field.

    And, this Friday, we're adding a "release date" column to the search results. This is he date it showed up on Partner Gateway so you can sort by that and see what's new to you.

    quote:
    Please pass on my kudos to whoever thought of this!
    Done!

    I'd love to hear any suggestions on how we can improve this even more and make it THE place to go to get promotions.

    --scott

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    scott@befree.com
    AOL/Yahoo: sjangro

  4. #4
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    The main feature I'm still wanting is a "Download as CSV" option to download the entire list. I've got around this by building the script (perl coders, take a look at WWW::Mechanize to build something similar), but it would be much faster and more reliable to get a download.

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    quote:
    The main feature I'm still wanting is a "Download as CSV" option to download the entire list.
    Yes, that's on the original list. We had to leave that out to launch the feature before the holidays.

    quote:
    7) Offer Name & Description. Try to standardize these. The offer name should be a very brief sentence providing the primary details, like "Save $10 on a $100 order". The description should the full details, restrictions, requirements, etc.
    And, write the name and description for the end-user.

    Do write: "Save $10 on a $100 order"
    Don't write: "Offer your visitors $10 on a $100 order"

    And one tip for Affiliates:

    Because merchants can present promotions before they start, pay attention to the "start date" to make sure you don't promote it too early.

    And again, on Friday, there will be a new column called "release date". That's when it's released to YOU. The start date is when it should be promoted.

    Speaking of which, Michael, heads up. That search results page is changing on Thurs PM / Fri AM during a maintenance window. It might break your script.

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    scott@befree.com
    AOL/Yahoo: sjangro

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by ScottJ about "Download as CSV" option:
    Yes, that's on the original list. We had to leave that out to launch the feature before the holidays.
    Good choice!

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com

  7. #7
    Merchant Linda's Avatar
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    Scott, please pass my kudos and thanks on, too. I use this feature every day and love it! It is a huge time saver and I'm putting up a lot more offers from some merchants that I never did before just because it's all in one spot and sooooo easy.

    Also one of my pet peeves that I'd like to add to Michael's list is to be careful of the wordage when it comes to descriptions from merchants. It's very common to see the words "our site" and "we", etc. in the ad copy. I see that and it looks very misleading to the visitor. When I post something on my site, I don't want the visitor thinking it's my site or me that's having a sale. It's the merchant's site that is having a sale. I try to watch and change those words wherever they are to "they" and "their", etc.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    quote:
    Scott, please pass my kudos and thanks on, too. I use this feature every day and love it! It is a huge time saver and I'm putting up a lot more offers from some merchants that I never did before just because it's all in one spot and sooooo easy.

    Thanks Linda. This friday, look for a new choice in the search drop list for "New Since". We're adding in "yesterday", which seems minor but that and the new release date column should be a huge help.
    quote:
    Also one of my pet peeves that I'd like to add to Michael's list is to be careful of the wordage when it comes to descriptions from merchants. It's very common to see the words "our site" and "we", etc. in the ad copy. I see that and it looks very misleading to the visitor. When I post something on my site, I don't want the visitor thinking it's my site or me that's having a sale. It's the merchant's site that is having a sale. I try to watch and change those words wherever they are to "they" and "their", etc.

    Yes, we do advise this. This is new to the merchants too, so be patient as they "figure it out".

    --scott

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    scott@befree.com
    AOL/Yahoo: sjangro

  9. #9
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    How can I use this feature as an advertiser??
    Thank you,

    Evan Weber, Director of Marketing
    DentalPlans.com, Inc.
    Earn $50 per sale with one of the best converting offers online!
    954-583-9186
    evan@dentalplans.com

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador sjangro's Avatar
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    BFAST Express merchants don't have access to this tool yet. We're evaluating what's needed to do that.

    Regular BFAST merchants can gain access to it via the new web interface.

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    scott@befree.com
    AOL/Yahoo: sjangro

  11. #11
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    quote:
    Originally posted by ScottJ:
    BFAST Express merchants don't have access to this tool yet. We're evaluating what's needed to do that.


    C'mon...

    Throw me a bone Scott

    I have 2 on that system...

    AndyRodriguez.com
    Affiliate Program Management
    and Consulting Services
    P: (305) 412-3512
    C: (305) 785-4524
    E: doc@andyrodriguez.com
    W: www.andyrodriguez.com
    AIM: AffiliateDoctor

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