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  1. #1
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    Prelaunch Affiliate Recruitment - How to?
    Before launching our business model, we're thinking about a Prelaunch Strategy in order to build:

    1) An Affiliate base
    2) An Opt-In Email / Customer base

    The questions I have are the following:

    1) Regarding the Affiliate Base, are there known effective strategies for Affiliate Prelaunch - besides offering a initial signup bonus?

    2) Is there worth in Announcing the launch of a pretty exciting Online Trading Company's affiliate program on a Network - before one is actually available to really start bringing in Customers/Clients? Meaning - we would offer a Lead Bonus - but the actual biz model for affiliates wouldn't be available for 1-2 months.

    If it does make sense to actively announce a new Affiliate Program on a network and if so...What's the appropriate amount of time before things really kick into gear?

    3) What's an appropriate Commission for generating an opt-in email of a potential Client?

    Thanks guys.
    Last edited by MCO; June 8th, 2006 at 04:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    There's a whole lot of "Depends on" answers to your questions...

    If you have a pay per lead model available now, even if you don't have the pay per sale piece ready, there's no harm in announcing it... (given of course you've paid to announce it here.) So it depends on what you mean by Lead Bonus.

    The commission for a lead should be commensurate with your teams ability to close those leads... i.e. What are they worth to you?

    Sign up bonusses can be very effective, but bear in mind the affiliates still need to "activate" once they sign up, so plan accordingly. 2000 affiliates being paid a sign up bonus, with 100 actually putting up banners MIGHT still work out for you in the long run, but the up front cost might be pricey. So mull that over. Some have considered and done paying substantial bounties on first sales, or in having some means of paying the "sign up" bounty to only ACTIVE affiliates.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Noth.

    Regarding the sign-up bonus - let's say it was $10-$20. I don't think it would be awarded until the affiliate actually brought in their minimum for payout.

  4. #4
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    re: Launching Your Program
    Quote Originally Posted by MCO
    Before launching our business model, we're thinking about a Prelaunch Strategy in order to build: 1) An Affiliate base 2) An Opt-In Email / Customer base
    How about looking at this in a little different light? I've launched affiliate programs on CJ, plus in-house programs. Here is what I've found working better.

    In CJ, I had more than 1,020 affiliates, with only 1 or 2 sales a month. Very little traffic referred, and lots of stupid questions from affiliates. I'm running a business, not a 'how-to' be an affiliate.

    This was 1999 - 2002, I hope things are better now, but after a huge pile of money, I closed my CJ account. I did the pre-launch announcements, I signed up affiliates both in and off the network, and thought I had everything in place.

    Here is the "different way" to look at this ... instead of looking for affiliates, focus on getting conversion rates way up on your website. Get landing pages together, auto responder systems that sell, and strong organic traffic.

    Promote your website over the usual channels to drive traffic, get things standing up on their own. Remember, only 2% of your affiliates will generate monthly sales (really depends on your market, my experience was less than 1% of affiliates.)

    Once you have sales strong, pages that convert, and have ironed out any bugs in your commerce system, then ... go to complementary partners already selling to your target audience.

    Especially if you have a two-tier program, you'll start generating sales right away in addition to the sales you're already creating. With a two-tier program, let these partners recruit new affiliates (in many cases they will have some of their own and can refer their "supers")

    This is the route I'm going now with great results. It lets me focus on things like "30 day verse 45 day cookies", "launch product A verse product B", "how do I squeeze more sales out of the traffic I have"; instead of where am I going to find affiliates that actually sell. (this week it's rewriting order forms to tune up sales.)

    Btw, with this "focus on conversion first" method, you'll attract better affiliates because you'll actually have a system for selling that will make them money. This means you won't have to bribe people to join.

    I've been told by VERY successful affiliate managers to keep your program private until you have 100 partner affiliates (those who sell complementary solutions, have customers just like the ones you want, and even their own affiliate programs).

    I'm only at a handful of affiliates ... but results are strong, so give it a try.

    Best,

    Justin
    [i]Always interested in great B2B affiliate programs that serve Sales and Marketing professionals. Private message if you have something.[/i]

  5. #5
    Full Member asr_guy's Avatar
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    I think Justin is bang on. I regularly tell merchants to hold off on launching an affiliate program until they get the sales going and business model fine tuned. Otherwise you're just spreading yourself too thin.

    When I tell them this on the phone, I can almost hear their sigh of relief

    Regards,
    Peter
    [URL=http://www.typoassassin.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=forum&utm_content=p&utm_campaign=sig]Are these affiliates stealing from you?[/URL]

  6. #6
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    Red face How do you politely ...
    Thanks Peter,

    Quote Originally Posted by asr_guy
    I think Justin is bang on. I regularly tell merchants to hold off on launching an affiliate program until they get the sales going and business model fine tuned.
    Now how do you politely tell some existing affiliate managers to revisit the conversion rates of their sites ...

    I send a lot of traffic to a few complementary products to things on my network, only to be disappointed with a less than 1% conversion. If the products weren't so closely related to what I provide, I'd dump them.

    It's not that the product is bad, not that they didn't match my audience, it's just the landing pages are horrible. Difficult to follow, unclear how to order, and not pushing the key benefits.

    If I had more time I'd rewrite the letters, but I've got products of my own. Anyway, if you're starting an affiliate program you'll get more useful affiliates when you have web pages that actually sell.

    Best,

    Justin
    [i]Always interested in great B2B affiliate programs that serve Sales and Marketing professionals. Private message if you have something.[/i]

  7. #7
    Full Member asr_guy's Avatar
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    Not sure how polite you need to be - it's only going to help them in the end. I would do some split testing with their best competitor's product and see what converts better.

    If a merchant isn't doing any web analytics on their site (you can usually see it by checking the view-source and spotting Google Analytics or some other tracking) then they are still in the dark ages.
    [URL=http://www.typoassassin.com/?utm_source=abestweb&utm_medium=forum&utm_content=p&utm_campaign=sig]Are these affiliates stealing from you?[/URL]

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your comments. Our attention is focused in the directions you're speaking about - constantly analyzing and building the most efficient and well-oiled website we can.

    I'm hoping this is going to be a top notch program...and I think it can be, step by step. Luckily, since we only have 2 conversion options for individuals at our site (Demo Account or Real Account) - we can focus pretty hard on our clients journey and sharpen according to those stats. There are so many comparable sites out there with the Demo/Real Account - its not hard to see what the successful companies are doing.

    But my hope is to launch an Affiliate Program in the early stages of the show. Since everyone on this boat are pretty experienced and know the tools which need to be put in place...we're pretty excited to get things moving.

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