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  1. #1
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    Newb Merchant - Just opened SAS Account, what next?
    Hey everyone!

    Well I finally did it! I set-up an account with SAS today! I have been busy setting up analytics, fixing up our site, researching, creating banners and copy for the past few months in my spare time and I finally pulled the trigger. My question is: what's next? I am thinking about doing the $75 thread (ad) introduction on here, what else do you guys/girls think I should do? I'd like to think that I can just sit back and let you affiliates do all the work for me, but I somehow doubt that...lol Thanks in advance!!

    Steve @ HeavyChocolate

  2. #2
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    You might want to focus on text links also.

    Work closely with SAS and tap into their marketing activities (free is good).
    Posting an announcement here is also a good idea. I think your first priority right now is recruitment and I would hit it hard.

    You can also have a 1st sale bonus -incentive. just a FYI

    congratz on getting your aff prog up.

  3. #3
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Free samples of your product would go a long way in helping me decide which merchant to promote

    Didn't work with the AM for Playboy either

    Welcome

  4. #4
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Steve,

    Since you asked... you would need better graphics for some of us to promote you

    If I put your white chocolate on my site for $49, the only graphic is

    http://www.heavychocolate.com/images/bar-white-sm.jpg

    which looks like a white spacer.gif

    Not sure people would spend $49 on something they "can't see"

  5. #5
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Steve, I guess you owe Billy some chocolates.
    He is not only promoting your product, he is doing Q.C. also

  6. #6
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    lol, I will talk to my boss tomorrow and see what kind of "special offers" we can make. As for the "First Sale Bonus" --what do you mean? Like a $5 bonus or a extra % or more?

    As for the graphics, I agree.... Maybe I will set-up a 'photo-shoot' with some bars this week

    I think your first priority right now is recruitment and I would hit it hard.
    What do you mean recruiting? Where can I find info on this? Am I allowed to post the link to our affiliate program in my sig?

  7. #7
    http and a telephoto
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    Get a new program announcement and then I think you get to have a sig. You don't normally get one until you have a level of posting and participating For recruiting, the announcement will be a great start.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  8. #8
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    Thanks loxly, glad to have you post in my topic, I see your posts everywhere and I enjoy learning from you! We have a pretty small budget, so we have to start off small, but I think this forum is a great place to start! I am always a bit nervous to post, since I don't know 1% of what most of you know, but I have been reading on here for months... Thanks for the advice everyone!

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    As someone who is trying to revamp an affiliate program, I'd say be ready for when the affiliates start coming.

    I've been spending a huge amount of time lately categorizing thousands of sites (by hand!) into useful categories (shopping sites, coupon sites, article sites, family sites, etc...). With these categories I can give them targeted banners, text links, articles, content, etc...

    So, my advice would be to get organized from the start to deliver consistant messaging and get the really useful stuff (articles about your product or your industry) to the people who are most likely to use it.

    --Jason

  10. #10
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    Jason,

    Awesome Idea! We have already gotten about 15 sign-ups in the past day...I think thats a good start! If I start catagorizing them now it will be waaayyy easier to keep track of them down the road! Will the affiliates ask for what type of content they want or do I just have to create a lot of it and provide it to them if they want it?

    Steve

  11. #11
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Steve -

    I'd say it goes both ways. Some sites are going to have their niche clearly defined, so if they start converting for you, its worth it to give them every resource you can!

    Of course, some sites you'll be placing in categories and giving them materials that will never go live. Such is life.

    Basically, I've created a manageable amount of categories (3-5) for most affiliates. They will each get content to appeal to that category. For people who convert really well, I'll definitely think about giving them custom coupons, special commision rates, and of course, all the materials they need to keep their performance up.

    Keep in mind though, most affiliates won't ask for content because I'd say most won't think about the merchants as a good source for content. But if you get yourself a good article writer (or write them yourself), and the content is truely useful, word can get around. Otherwise, approach them. Say, "I've written an article that I think could find a home on your site. It is informative, with links to other informative articles, plus a little bit of sales text to back up my product. Try it out and see if it converts for you!"

    Good luck!

    --Jason
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  12. #12
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    Jason,

    Great advice! This weekend I am going to start working on some content for the affiliates. I guess you actually have to visit every affiliate's site who signs up to actually see what catagory of content you should offer them or do you just provide a ton of choices for them to pick from as far as Creatives, Banners, Text Links, and Copy...

  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I guess you actually have to visit every affiliate's site who signs up to actually see what catagory of content you should offer them or do you just provide a ton of choices for them to pick from as far as Creatives, Banners, Text Links, and Copy...
    That's right! But you do that anyway don't you...?
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  14. #14
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    Jason,

    Does this seem like a good structure to start out with?

    Name of affiliate group: Directory Sites
    Ads/Creative to supply:
    1.) Short descriptive paragraph w/small pictures

    Name of affiliate group: Online Coupon Sites
    Ads/Creative to supply:
    1.) Banner Ads (Rotating/cycling)
    2.) Discount Offer Banner Ads

    Name of affiliate group: Shopping Mall Style Sites
    Ads/Creative to supply:
    1.) Special Link (FORM)
    a. Short Desc./Pic/Shopping Cart

    Name of affiliate group: Article Sites
    Ads/Creative to supply:
    1.) Short descriptive paragraph w/small pictures
    2.) Long descriptive/informative paragraphs

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'd say that looks good. Make sure you have both banners and text links for every category though. Some people like to have the option.

    After you get these up, ask for some feedback about what people like and look at your analytics to find out what is converting. Then give people more of what works!
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  16. #16
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    It's $50 for a new program announcement and you can get a lot of mileage out of one for a long time.

    If you're on a tight budget, getting some good tools ready for distribution would probably be the best use of your marketing dollars (banners, attractive product photos, doing up a feed, etc.) and you may not want to give a cash incentive just for people joining and putting some links up right off. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to tack on a "bonus" for the first sale to start out with, even if it's for a limited amount of time.

    For example, say if the average sale is $50 and your commission is 10%, that's $5 commission so if there's a $5 first sale bonus it means $5 commission + $5 bonus = $10 earned for the first sale. Or it could be $5 or $10 bonus for first sale over $100. That gets a bit of extra coverage, and it can possibly be now through Dec.31, through the holiday season. Some kind of an initial deal might make an announcement more appealing to some people.

    Another advantage of an announcement is the constructive suggestions (or criticism) a new program might get or need improvements for, right from the beginning stages so it gets off on the right foot.

  17. #17
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    cool, thanks for the advice webworker! I am going to do the announcement within the next two weeks, I want to make sure I have all of the banners/creative ready to go first! Thanks again!

    Steve

  18. #18
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    Steve, this is something that'll get attention you won't be happy hearing about, might as well spit it out now:

    http://www.heavychocolate.com/order.asp

    Affiliates sending traffic for a product that has to be ordered by phone means no commission paid for all those months of sending customers. Modifying that ordering system or putting in reliable phone tracking is MANDATORY so that people will know they'll be getting paid for their efforts.

  19. #19
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    I know, I just e-mailed SAS to see what their solutions are. I think we may remove the phone number from the order page all together, but we also walk the line of looking shady to the customer if there is no easy phone number for them to call with questions....

  20. #20
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    For a merchant, I think putting a big phone number on a website is important for building trust. However, to make sure your affiliates get paid, don't take orders over the phone! Have your phone agents walk people through the order process on your website, that way it is easy for customers and your affiliates get their commissions.

    --Jason
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  21. #21
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    Jason,

    Thats a great idea! But will the affiliates be trusting enough for us to just put a note on the ordering page that says: call 1-800-551-6831 for assistance with your on-line order? Is there any other way to tell who sent them? I have analytics set-up on the site, so I guess I can track it down that way, but that might get really time consuming when there are 10 orders in day... I don't mean to sound like I'm not trustworthy, quite the opposite... I want the affiliates to get paid so they bring me more business...!

  22. #22
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I mean, I guess people can do some sort of phone tracking, but I've never tried that.

    The only other way would be to give custom codes to each affiliate and have the customer enter in this code during registration, that way you can track through the back end (though out of whatever affiliate network you use, if you use one).

    You can incentivize this by making it a coupon code, so customers have to put it in to get a discount. They could give this code over the phone too...

    However, this isn't necessarily reliable. Customers may forget the code, or forget to put it in, etc...
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  23. #23
    http and a telephoto
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    Quote Originally Posted by evolutionyz
    I know, I just e-mailed SAS to see what their solutions are. I think we may remove the phone number from the order page all together, but we also walk the line of looking shady to the customer if there is no easy phone number for them to call with questions....
    Put the phone number on your Customer Service contact info page, and your About Us page, but not on the order form or obvious on the website. That covers the bases....
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador Greg Rice's Avatar
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    SAS has a great script for this. You put it on your pages and it will display a "Promo Code". If the visitor came from an affiliate link, it will display the affiliate's ID "Promo Code 00000" and if no affiliate cookie is set it will show "Promo Code 22". When someone wants to order on the phone, ask them for the "Promo Code" number and manually credit the affiliate for the sale.

    It works like a charm and serves both purposes.
    Greg Rice Affiliate Program Management
    www.gocmc.com info(AT)gocmc.com | 330-259-1223

    Join us! - MiNeeds.com | DiscountCandleShop/CheeseSupply | Feng Shui Plaza

  25. #25
    Member evolutionyz's Avatar
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    Greg,

    That is perfect! I am going to set that up today. Thanks for the tip!
    Steve

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