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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    May 8th, 2006
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    How does a Merchant decide?
    So many choices!

    I have a niche market of mostly returning customers. I buy imported Czech glass beads in bulk and resell them retail and wholesale worldwide. I have a nice set of longterm customers, but <sigh> I want more!

    My website has a built-in affiliate program. I have 7 affiliates signed up, but no sales from any of them - mostly because I don't know how to utilize them (I offer 15% on all sales, only 1 level. Average retail sale is only about $25- $30, wholesale $100). And I don't have time to manage the affiliate system by myself.

    So, to increase sales I could:

    1) hire someone to operate my inhouse aff program.

    2) scrap my inhouse, and signup with an affiliate manager

    3) figure out how PPC works, and invest money into trial & error tests

    4) believe MoreThanTraffic when they say they can send me $100,000 in sales, for only $200 upfront

    5) become a dropshipper for some eBay powerseller

    I have about 2,000 products with low selling prices. I don't have a ?? feed, although my database can be exported as a comma delimited or tab delimited format (I don't know what that means; I'm a bead seller, not a computer whiz).

    How do I decide which way to go?

    Confused in Canada,
    Amanda

    www.FindBeads.com
    I also own 3 traffic exchanges, so I can get raw visitors!

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    How much time do you want to spend working on affiliate sales? After spending a good amount of my spare time as an affiliate, I decided it would be easier to hire out an Aff Manager when we became a vendor.

    John
    Respectfully,

    John

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  3. #3
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FindBeads
    4) believe MoreThanTraffic when they say they can send me $100,000 in sales, for only $200 upfront
    Offer to sign them up as your affiliate then... they should jump at the chance if their claims are true...

  4. #4
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    Actually, i signed up as their affiliate to see if I could learn more about their program. Boy, are they ever aggressive! Multiple eMails a day, all pushing, pushing, pushing - mostly their own service. They want their affiliates to pay the $200 to become one of their clients, so they can promote their affiliate, promoting their program ... it's a giant circle!

    I have yet to find anyone who actually uses their service to earn money, although they have lots of 'testimonials' from affiliates who earn $60,000 a month ...

    I couldn't handle $100,000 in sales every 4 months. I was hoping they worked a little bit, and I'd get $10,000 a month in sales!

  5. #5
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    John is right (as is Donuts, as always).

    Promoting an affiliate program is time intensive, and if you're in house, you need to be careful about who you let in.

    Consider Shareasale's Client services if you'd like to work directly with the network. SAS will also keep your program pretty squeaky clean for the "bad actors" in this industry.

    You can also hire an OPM, such as myself or any of the other highly qualified independent managers that post here.

    Are you selling to consumers, or is wholesaling your main gig?
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  6. #6
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    I think that trying to run the inhouse ourselves would probably be too time consuming for us, and we would end up hiring someone part time to oversee it. And since we don't have much/any experience with affiliate managers, that would be difficult to do right.

    Our sales are pretty much split 50/50 retail/wholesale. The actual orders are about 3 retail for every 1 whsl, but the dollar value is almost even. Our current website had no way to determine which type of sale an affiliate made, so we set the commission rate the same for retail & whsle. We have considered moving the wholesale side to a separate website, and offering 2 commission rates. Wholesale would be a bit smaller.

    We think our product line would probably appeal to affiates already dealing with crafts, hobbies or people making jewellery. We add a new product lines every month or two. We've been online almost 5 years now. We're in Canada, but 75% of our sales are in US, the rest are worldwide.

    We have looked at ShareASale. The $350 setup fee isn't too high, nor is the $100 initial deposit. If we pay ?? 20% commission, then SaS gets another 20% of that, at least $25 per month. So that means if we sell $750, commission is $150 and SaS fee is $30. Sounds good.

    How would OPM fees compare to that? Are they are roughly in the same range? Are we too small for an OPN (or SaS)?
    I don't really mean too small, because we are one of the largest sites for seedbeads, but I mean our average retail sale only ranges in the $20 - $30 range. That will increase when we add our jewellery line.

    Sorry for all the questions. We should probably just make up our minds and take the plunge!

    Amanda

  7. #7
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    SaS is a very reasonable solution. OPM fees will vary depending on who you go with. You can have an OPM manage the program through SaS as well. It will drive up the cost, but there are a lot of benefits as well. SaS also has an inhouse management team (look for Carolyn's posts... I believe she's the contact for that...)

    Feel free to drop me an email, and I'll try to point you in the right direction based on what your business goals are. You can also ask Greg Rice, Shawn at Affaction, Chris at AMWSO or any of the other OPMs here for quotes and advice. (Sorry to leave the rest of you off, trying not to make this a sales thread...)

    In closing, I would say this... If you don't have sufficient time to dedicate to affiliate growth yourself, you'll find the ROI for hiring an OPM or network to be well worth it...
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    This is one of the better threads I've read recently (even though I am two+ weeks behind)

    Are there any other good threads on starting your own affiliate program from scratch? I'd like to learn as much as I can as I plan for this.

    Thanks,
    Patrick
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