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  1. #1
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    A quick note to Merchants Looking at OPMs
    I've had a rash of requests from my site lately asking for:

    "More info Please".

    On what?

    From my experience, anyone who will only take the 2 seconds necessary to type that has NOT been serious about setting up a true affiliate program. The ones who are serious have usually written a couple of insightful questions about what we do, or picked up the phone and called us.

    While I respond to everyone who wants to learn more about hiring an OPM, or about setting up a program in general, I will say that this scenario is exactly like anything else in life.

    You will get out of it what you put into it.

    For starters, there is no amount of material I can send you that will do you any good in making a decision on an affiliate program. There are many discussions that need to take place, and far too many variables for a "call out card" to handle.

    Second, if you'd just like to know how much we charge, then feel free to ask it that way. This is a business, and you're within your rights to know. I will happily tell you what our services cost, and those depend on your requirements, which is why it doesn't appear on the website.

    But without more info from YOU, I can't answer that question either.

    So if you're looking to talk to me, please be a little more specific in your request. It doesn't have to be a full white paper on your product, but things like:

    1.) What you sell.
    2.) What's your website (especially if you use gmail, yahoo, etc as an email addy)
    3.) What info you would like?
    4.) Do you already have a program?

    Very simple questions, and shouldn't take more than a few seconds to enter in the Contact Us form.

    Again, while there's nothing specifically wrong with asking for "More info please", it isn't a very efficient way of beginning a dialogue, and it tends to lump you in with the hundreds of other "half interested" merchants who are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

    And for my part, I'm going to improve my Contact Us page to reflect this. I guess I can't expect the right questions from everyone, especially if they have little or no affiliate marketing experience previously.
    Kevin Webster
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  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Some where along the way it has become fashionable to have an affiliate program. It has somehow become a marketing requirement and is tacked on to the other programs. Most affiliate programs these days fail because they are not seriously thought out or because they are not understood. I was researching other programs today in the top 4 networks and saw a slew that had been created 2 years ago and had no EPC.

    Affiliate marketing is different that PPC, SEO, email and CPM banners. It is performance marketing that lives on relationships with webmaster. You can not create a relationship by just putting a program together and tacking it to you home page.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador
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    I've had a rash of requests from my site lately asking for:

    "More info Please".
    Know what I think? I think that many of them are possibly your competition who are "SHOPPING YOU" as a type of competitive analysis - much as it's often done with web design, and/or especially with SEO.

    Best way to handle? A very wise person who I'll never forget (by the handle of rcjordan) suggested several years ago to put "more information" on a site to avoid having to answer repetitive questions.

    How does it apply in the case of OPMs whose competition is "shopping them" as a marketing tool to uncercut them or learn their marketing methods? Or deadbeats who are nothing more than brain-sucks trying to leach your knowledge to do-it-themselves?

    You could put up a questionaire form on your site that possilbly isn't even accessible except for lookie-loo window shoppers who can be sent to it when they ask you to "send information," asking for information pertinent to what their situation is and what their goals are (and what their site is) - and even what their potential budget is; and stating that asking for the information is so that you can more thoroughly and helpfully give them a response that will better serve their needs. Any kind of shmaltzy BS will do.

    If they're serious contenders who truly want to communicate they won't mind spending the 2-3 minutes it takes to fill out a form. And if they're either of the above two types of time-bandits, they can go suck eggs.

  4. #4
    http and a telephoto
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    Another point is that if I wanted to work for commission only I would be an affiliate Don't spend hours emailing me and talking to me only to say "we like what you have to offer but only want to pay a percentage" when it was made clear from the start that you need assistance and a percentage isn't going to produce income for a couple months... Consulting is consulting... consultants expect to be paid for their expertise, knowledge and relationships.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    expertise, knowledge
    For translation into a consulting scenario, where the inquiree wants to pay "by the hour" - that type of model just doesn't compute. Pertinent and valuable knowledge gained by experience and/or intensive study and/or analysis can't be measured in minutes.

    Added:

    I don't think it's even measureable how much value "relationships" with trusted affiliate managers can have for affiliates.

  6. #6
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    My point was that many merchants lately want to pay for management or consulting based on a percentage instead of a minimum or flat rate. Basically wanting free services i f their program is in need of a major overhaul that will take 2-3 months to get into a performance mode. Sorry if I worded that incorrectly above.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

  7. #7
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Marcia: I am developing that form as we speak.

    As for it being the competition? Some of them, sure. But I get a lot everyday (I do pretty well in Google for my target audience).

    And as Lox mentioned, most of them just want to pay a percentage, if they even get that far in the conversation. If you want to do that, go set up a two tier affiliate program and dilute all your affiliates commissions. They love that
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  8. #8
    Internet Cowboy
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    I'd say posting your rates upfront on your site would be the way to avoid the "commission only" offers. I would even go as far as to say something to the effect of "Our monthly rate for program management is $xxxx. We will consider a hybrid of monthly management fees and performance-based pay but we are unable to take on new clients based only on performance payments."
    Just my .02

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager
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    I used to get stuff like that all the time...

    Them: "Send more info"
    Me: "I need to know more about your what you sell, etc..."
    Them: "Sorry we don't disclose that info."

    I always wondered how they got any customers since they never disclose what they are selling.

  10. #10
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Tire kickers we simply refer to our website ... we have our rates quoted, $5K to $10K. Even then they sometimes insist on percentage only when they have no sales .... a short explanation that even 100% of $0 is $0 usually gets the point home.

    If they don't want to invest in their channel with an experienced OPM, they won't invest in their affiliates. We have had our share of "dogs" in the past we haven't pegged properly and eventually they fizzle out. It's tough to make a call at times, sometimes we give them the benefit of the doubt.
    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

  11. #11
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chet_B
    Them: "Send more info"
    Me: "I need to know more about your what you sell, etc..."
    Them: "Sorry we don't disclose that info."

  12. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    I learned that hard way after giving away 10-20 hours developing a proposal to ask "what is your timeline" upfront. This time last year I was in the middle of one of those and after 6 months and 20 hours I finally asked. The answer was 3 months at which point I said I will contact you again in 3 months. A few weeks short of that they came back with payment and we got started.

    By asking leading questions you will learn a few things quickly: are they realistic, do they have money, are they honest, are they going to reply and respond in a timely manner.

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    This is one of the major reasons I am coming to Vegas. To understand what my potential OPM expects of me, and what I can expect out of an OPM. As long as good expectations are set up on both sides there are no surprises and no worrying.

    Heck - one of the things I may get out of this is that my timeline for using an OPM is not realistic. But yah know... even that information is worth the price of admission! (And flight, and hotel, and drinks, and craps, and food, and more drink, etc).

    T-10 days and counting.
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    This response was masterly crafted via the fingers of Patrick Allmond who believe you should StopDoingNothing starting today.
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    Focus Consulting is where I roll | Follow @patrickallmond on Twitter
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  14. #14
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Right on, Patrick.

    You're on the right path.
    Kevin Webster
    twitter: levelanalytics

    Kayak Fishing
    Web Analytics and Affiliate Marketing

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
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    LOL. So, it's not just SEOs who have to deal with all that stuff. I guess that's good to know in a perverse kind of way.

    I've taken a couple of percentage only jobs in the past and they never work out. They're just a waste of time. I agree with the sentiment here : If you want an expert, pay the price.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleScooter
    I'd say posting your rates upfront on your site would be the way to avoid the "commission only" offers. I would even go as far as to say something to the effect of "Our monthly rate for program management is $xxxx. We will consider a hybrid of monthly management fees and performance-based pay but we are unable to take on new clients based only on performance payments."
    Just my .02
    Even when you are clear upfront, they try it anyway... And I emailed the last one back with exactly what Andy said, if you aren't willing to invest in the service, I can't be sure you are invested in the channel and I won't represent a merchant that is going to end up screwing the affiliates.
    Deborah Carney
    TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com

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