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  1. #1
    Join Date
    June 3rd, 2005
    Multiple questions about starting an affiliate program

    My company is responsible for managing the websites of multiple niche travel companies. Our larger sites generally bring in about 5k unique visitors each per day, and our conversion rate is between 16% (January) to 2.5% (summer months). Each sale is worth about $10 dollars to us, and we are considering starting an affiliate campaign to increase this. We've done a lot of discussing internally, and we'd be willing to pay half our fee ($5) for each conversion, and would consider scaling that up.

    If we were to start an affiliate program, we would do everything possible to help make it a success, and to do that, I'm coming to the best source I know of to ask for help. Minimum 30 day cookies, without the possibility of them being overridden by another affiliate, xml feeds of data, thousands upon thousands of photos, etc, etc.

    The questions:

    1: Is this even viable? Would there be any interest in the affiliate world?

    2: If there is interest, which would be best -- using one of the large affiliate programs (CJ, etc) or programming it ourselves (which we're 100% possitive we could do and are thinking we could then program in many of the features affiliates want)?

    3: The travel industry is already overburdened with affliate programs -- but mostly for things like airlines and hotels. Our affiliates would be selling our niche travel items directly and could either push them straight to our site (deep linking) or we might even consider sending them straight to the check-out page (since each consumer would only end up purchasing one item anyway). Which would be better?

    I played the affialite game many years ago and was mildly successful at it, but I know much has changed since then. I've heard the horror stories of non-paying programs, programs that cut many of the sales for one reason or another and I honestly know that isn't our corporate structure. If it makes us revenue where we wouldn't have otherwise gotten, we're more than happy to pay the fee, and on time. I'm almost worried that our program is too specific and has too specific of a market (so you'd have to have a travel site or local blog probably) for it to be successful.

    Thoughts? Opinions?

    Thanks much!

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005

    Just my thoughts:

    You appear to have the right mindset - putting the affiliate's first and wanting to operate a fair program that gives every opportunity for an affiliate to succeed. That is the first step in the right direction.

    Also, if your conversion rates are correct, it sounds like you have a site/products that convert visitors into buyers. Although, the conversion rate is obviously only based on the traffic you drive - you yet have no idea as to how affiliate traffic from various sources will convert. But, if it would convert similar, then that is a very acceptable conversion rate.

    As for your product, it sounds like you are not in the hotel/airline bookings, so, maybe your product would be a great related and additional product that affiliates could promote alongside their current travel sites. Without knowing the specifics of your products, can't be for sure, but you may not be directly competing with the online bookings programs, but may be an excellent companion product/service/offer that affiliates could add to their existing sites and possible generate more revenue from their existing traffic.

    I guess one way to look at it would be to ask yourself this question: If an affiliate has a travel-related site promoting various bookings, etc., would your product sell on that site? Is it narrowed down to certain geographical areas, etc. that would limit promotion.

    Again, just my thoughts, hope they may help you
    Shawn - Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.
    Contact Info: aol im: sms10221975 | shawn"at" | icq: 106-663-985
    Join the Nature Hills affiliate program now | Earn 15% per sale | 365-day Cookie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    June 3rd, 2005
    Thanks much for your reply. I hadn't thought of putting it alongside existing hotel/flight information on a travel related site, but I believe it could work in that arena. It is very geographical, but it would be like promoting Orlando, Key West and Miami all at once. All in Florida, but if you're east of the Mississippi, chances are people would consider buying.

    We have specific states that work *very* well, and within those states, we know the cities and exact zip codes that are very significant performers. If we could find affiliates that have websites promoting to those cities and/or zip codes, we're fairly certain an affiliate would have a very decent conversion rate.

    The biggest problem I see is I don't think any affiliate would make as much as even $100 a day (at $5 per conversion). It is certainly conceivable, but would require just the right targeted traffic and enough of it. If we had someone running a message board in these geographical areas, they could probably make a killing.

    Thanks again for your reply -- good stuff to think about.

  4. #4
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Sunny Florida
    Sounds like something I would be interested in promoting, as I do a fair amount of travel/local related traffic. I'm perfectly happy devoting real-estate to something that converts less than $100 a day, since I have enough things going in parallel.

    I'd say go for somebody like Share-a-Sale vs. CJ, though, but in the end as long as it's not LinkShare, most of us will not mind. :-)

    - Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

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