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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    February 14th, 2006
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    New Merchant, open to ideas and suggestions
    Good afternoon, all. My name is Karl and I am the Affiliate program Manager for Directlyhome, a online discount furniture retailer and I was recently hired by Broadspan Commerce to spearhead their affiliate marketing efforts with DirectlyHome (thru CJ) and Buying-Bar-Stools (thru SAS) and the recently relaunced their other website, TotalBedroom and I am pushing to lauch that program with LinkShare. I used to work at LinkShare in the Affiliate Support department (I actually created the department as I was one of LS first handful of employees) back in 1999 until I was laid off in 2002.

    For directlyhome, I started on Valentines Day, I sent out a relaunch newsletter within 2 weeks and still, not only have I not seen any increase, the affiliate sales have actually DECREASED! I have proactively identified my top 30 affiliates, sent individual e-mails and made them aware of the relaunch and our competitive commission structure (11% with performance incentives up to 15%) with an avg. sales amount of 507$ in 2005.

    I am now creating my second newsletter for April and I wanted to know what any of you suggest as I really want to make this program a success. I sent my last newsletter internally through the CJ interface to our approx. 2800 affiliates and only about 400 people 'opened' the newsletter as reflected in the CJ tracking reports.

    Any suggestions, any brainstorming ideas? We ran an exclusive promo last month with specific vendors and offered free shipping as well as updated our creatives and included specific banners for this promo and still, our sales faultered. I am becoming very discouraged... I mean, there is a learning curve involved but I still think that my sales should at least maintain steady and not decrease. Out of our top 30 or so affiliates, over 50% are coupon sites and/or price comparision sites... and the quality of our top affiliates are not really what they should be... we have very few affiliates that are actually in the Home Decor and/or Furniture sector... which I think is what should our top affiliates should be... I have been thinking of actively going out and seeking prospective affilaites that are currently not part of our program but who would benefit from partnering with us... beyond this, any other suggestions... I have also considered recruitment e-mails through the internal CJ interface that would be sent to affiliates within the network but not part of the directlyhome program. (i.e. sending to affilaites in the Home & Garden category, which numbers about 4500 affiliates)... but with the low open rate of my last newsletter, I don't know if I want to spend 15 cents per e-mail on something that may yield very little results...

    again, any and all suggestions are welcome. Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions.

    Have a great day and welcome spring!

  2. #2
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlMorris
    Good afternoon, all. My name is Karl and I am the Affiliate program Manager for Directlyhome, a online discount furniture retailer and I was recently hired by Broadspan Commerce to spearhead their affiliate marketing efforts with DirectlyHome (thru CJ) and Buying-Bar-Stools (thru SAS) and the recently relaunced their other website, TotalBedroom and I am pushing to lauch that program with LinkShare. I used to work at LinkShare in the Affiliate Support department (I actually created the department as I was one of LS first handful of employees) back in 1999 until I was laid off in 2002.

    For directlyhome, I started on Valentines Day, I sent out a relaunch newsletter within 2 weeks and still, not only have I not seen any increase, the affiliate sales have actually DECREASED! I have proactively identified my top 30 affiliates, sent individual e-mails and made them aware of the relaunch and our competitive commission structure (11% with performance incentives up to 15%) with an avg. sales amount of 507$ in 2005.

    I am now creating my second newsletter for April and I wanted to know what any of you suggest as I really want to make this program a success. I sent my last newsletter internally through the CJ interface to our approx. 2800 affiliates and only about 400 people 'opened' the newsletter as reflected in the CJ tracking reports.

    Any suggestions, any brainstorming ideas? We ran an exclusive promo last month with specific vendors and offered free shipping as well as updated our creatives and included specific banners for this promo and still, our sales faultered. I am becoming very discouraged... I mean, there is a learning curve involved but I still think that my sales should at least maintain steady and not decrease. Out of our top 30 or so affiliates, over 50% are coupon sites and/or price comparision sites... and the quality of our top affiliates are not really what they should be... we have very few affiliates that are actually in the Home Decor and/or Furniture sector... which I think is what should our top affiliates should be... I have been thinking of actively going out and seeking prospective affilaites that are currently not part of our program but who would benefit from partnering with us... beyond this, any other suggestions... I have also considered recruitment e-mails through the internal CJ interface that would be sent to affiliates within the network but not part of the directlyhome program. (i.e. sending to affilaites in the Home & Garden category, which numbers about 4500 affiliates)... but with the low open rate of my last newsletter, I don't know if I want to spend 15 cents per e-mail on something that may yield very little results...

    again, any and all suggestions are welcome. Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions.

    Have a great day and welcome spring!
    Karl,

    Welcome to ABW, you will find many of your answers here, but you will need to dig them up.

    Many of the questions you ask are covered and discussed in our AMC seminar. We are less than 2 weeks away and have a few seats open. If you would like to attend, let me know and I will extend you a special ABW price. Send me an email for more info....

    If you can't make it to Miami, there are many here that will stear you in the right direction. Welcome to our family....
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  3. #3
    15 years and counting
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Welcome Karl,

    You don't have enough post to receive PMs but I'm sending you an email thru the SAS interface.
    I don't know if I want to spend 15 cents per e-mail on something that may yield very little results...
    Affiliates are busy quite often, but we do read newsletters even if the products are not added immediatly.

    By the way, I like my DirectlyHome black sweetshirt. The $1000 price at the lauch of Buying-Bar-Stools was appreciated, too.
    An other challenge for most sales or whatever?

  4. #4
    15 years and counting
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    6,121
    "New Merchant, open to ideas and suggestions"
    1-First suggestion
    Don't open a thread at ABW and leave.
    "Any suggestions, any brainstorming ideas?"
    2-Second suggestion
    Answer your emails.
    'beyond this, any other suggestions."
    3-Third suggestion
    Read the old threads, you're not a new merchant... just a new AM.

    "I am becoming very discouraged..."

  5. #5
    Full Member
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    March 16th, 2006
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    347
    LOL @ Answer your emails...

    That is the number 1 thing that irks me about merchants...

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I would definitely recommend Andy's seminar. Andy is the master of affiliate activation campaigns. You can learn a lot just by watching what he does here, but you'll learn far, far more at his seminar.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7
    15 years and counting
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    January 18th, 2005
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    KarlMorris - Any suggestions, any brainstorming ideas?
    We can tell you're coming from LinkShare. Don't ask me why!

    Who had the bright idea to redo Buying-Bar-Stools (thru SAS)

    1-Don't forget to add the BUY button if you want our visitors to buy. Myself I'm fed up to compare... 2 steps to buy instead of one, tell me how it's going to help your conversions.

    2-Thank you for removing the SAS tracking on the big phone number on top of every page, yes, it's still on the bottom page, so small a customer is NEVER going to use it.
    Just tell us how it's going to help OUR conversions.

    I'm giving you two weeks to see the trend of your EPC.

    No need to answer my emails...

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Your DirectlyHome.com site looks nice and has the furniture product selections that should sell on line if the freight charges are reasonable. The huge 800# sure isn't necessary as the focal point of the site. Put it at the bottom in case of emergencies and concentrate on booking sale through your shopping cart. You'll find those incentive couponer affiliates generate zero traffic from the pages. They jump after the shopper is already buying from your site. Therefore those affiliates, like me, putting up furniture showcases, GoldenCan displays and "make a page" digital window shopping for our visitors just feed the point of sale attack dogs. http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...lyHome+coupons

    Not that you have parasites, but every one pops up on your site on the keyword "furniture" making eBates, et all, your other party hawking your checkout lane. If you want real value add affiliates you have to protect their cookies from the poachers. There in lies the problem in recruiting domain bound affiliates really trying to help the merchant sell their actual goods. Those really getting the last cookie set have zero influence in generating traffic to your products.

    Might I suggest you double the commission for any sale not encumbered by a coupon/rebate or coming from a e-mail blast. That would work to reward folks getting natural SERP listings for your products.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

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

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Rob@GoFreelance's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Just create a great program, and you will get great support from affiliates...
    Rob Palmer
    GoFreelance

    Now going crazy on Clickbank...top affiliate makes over $3000.00 per day. Taking the CB Marketplace by storm. <a href="http://www.gofreelance.com/cbaffiliates.html" target="_blank" title="Going Crazy on Clickbank">Click here to get your share of the huge profits...</a>

  10. #10
    Newbie
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    April 2nd, 2006
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    what is a 'great program'?

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Well, where the heck did he go???

    New AM mistake #1...don't post something and then disappear.

    New AM mistake #2...don't tell us you worked at LS, helped create their support system, that you were laid off (makes one wonder why) and then tell us you want to open a program there. (read the many posts here about all the support problems and headaches at LS that have been going on for years)

    Other than that, I think you did the right thing coming here asking questions (but see Mistake #1 above if you plan to continue).
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  12. #12
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    As far as the decrease in sales perhaps the disappearing images are a factor. Just saw that most (if not all) of the product images in my links have been replaced by that pesky little red x. Just what I needed to see today.

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager
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    February 14th, 2006
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    New Brunswick, NJ
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    6
    FYI... the BBS tracking is now back up and running... (since the migration to our new platform)... we had tracking issues... click thrus and impressions were being tracked *BUT* sales were not. Those affiliates who typically generate sales on a weekly basis will be compensated accordingly. Expect some nice promotions in the coming weeks as well...

    Directlyhome will be going through a major overhaul of its design... similar platform to what we have on Totalbedroom and Buying-Bar-Stools.

    I am also looking to launch an affiliate program for TB within the coming weeks... from the affiliate side, which network do you prefer to work with? LSN? CJ? SAS? even LinkConnector?

    BTW... Thank you for all your help Zeus.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager
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    February 14th, 2006
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    New Brunswick, NJ
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    Is anyone going to be going to the Affiliate Summit (East) in Orlando in July? I would appreciate any feedback from those who have gone to last years Summit...

  15. #15
    15 years and counting
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    Welcome back, Karl.
    Most of us are working with several networks.
    I like SAS for several reasons. Their stance on parasites, real time reporting, fast payments... and their relationship with their affiliates.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Karl,

    A few words of wisdom (from the Do's and Don'ts of other affiliate managers who have done this), don't wait a month to come back and respond. Folks here are happy to give you advice (good or bad) but if you ask, you need to check back often, answer any questions and at the very least let people know you appreciated their comments.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  17. #17
    15 years and counting
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    Ron, Karl had quite a serious family problem preventing him during several weeks to answer his emails and posts at ABW.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Zues (and Karl),

    Sorry to hear that. That would have been a good thing for him to post here when he returned right of the bat....folks would have understood. I took his two posts without any aknowledgement of our input as simply ignoring us.

    As a new AM here, he should be aware folks might think that.

    Sorry to hear about the family problems, Karl....had some of those myself last year.
    Ron Bechdolt | Affiliate Program Management Consultant
    7 Days A Week Marketing

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador
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    I've got a few "aged" domains that Directly Home could go on sooner or later, closely product targeted, even a few products that I currently need stuff for on a very active site but can't find much of that you've got a lot of - BUT..

    If you've ever seen any eye-tracking studies on how people look at web pages, it's easy to figure out that the great BIG 800 number up top, right in the middle, in a prominent color and font, is obviously intended to be easily seen by customers. That could easily kill sales through affiliates and makes putting up any affiliate links a complete, total waste of time. Not good for affiliates, not good for the AM.

    On top of that, getting product links at CJ can sometimes be hell on earth. I missed a whole shopping season with some CJ merchants this past Fall because you couldn't get product links most of the site update time. Nothing would come up for product searches - uh.. like nothing for sweater for an apparel merchant with a ton of them. And that's only one example.

    SAS is the network of choice not only for reasons already mentioned, but datafeeds are free and for those who don't use them, getting product links is a snap using the search or page creation tool.

    IMHO, CJ merchants (without big 800 numbers without tracking) who want to offer product linking should without a doubt check into the Product Showcase Creator (the static one) to facilitate getting product links.

  20. #20
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webworker

    If you've ever seen any eye-tracking studies on how people look at web pages, it's easy to figure out that the great BIG 800 number up top, right in the middle, in a prominent color and font, is obviously intended to be easily seen by customers. That could easily kill sales through affiliates and makes putting up any affiliate links a complete, total waste of time. Not good for affiliates, not good for the AM.
    I agree and on "TotalBedroom" the buy button is very small and way down at the bottom.

    All that being said - fix the problems - get more nice bedding and kids bedding - put it at SAS.

    Your main problem there (other that those mentioned in the other posts) is the lack of bedding. Other places have a lot more - kids, quilts, comforters, sheets, bed in a bag, etc... So, if I am going to put up links, I need to know my customer has lots to choose from once they get to you. And PLEASE get rid of the comparison thing - it's just stupid.

    Oh, and I want at least 12%, (which after doing some research, I know that the bedding merchants can well afford it) and I'm worth it.

    Do that and I will give it a go.
    Last edited by Ebudae; April 27th, 2006 at 03:21 AM.
    Ebudae


  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager
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    Thanks for all the continued feedback. I will be bringing these to the attention to our Marketing VP and Creative department... and I will be addressing the issue with the prominence of the 800 number as well.

    We are currently in the process of adding additional vendors and products to be included on the website (esp. bedding). This will most likely tie in with the DH facelift in the next month or so....

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