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August 25th, 2007, 12:10 PM #1Consolidated List of Affiliate Friendly Policies
There are dozens of affiliate-friendly policies that merchants can do to make their programs more appealing to affiliates. Any one by itself won't usually make a huge impact, but the more of these policies that a merchant follows, the bigger the impact will be.
(I picture this post as a living document, almost like a Wiki. If you have additions, or links to threads that expand on any of these policies, post them and one of the Moderators will update this post. Almost all of these would make great threads here in the Merchant Best Practices Forum. Let's keep the discussion of specific policies in the appropriate threads rather than here, too!)
- Make sure the commissions you offer are at or near the top for your niche.
- Make sure your return days are at or near the top for your niche.
- Do everything you can to improve the conversion ratio on your site.
- Provide full contact information (email, phone, IM, address, etc.) and use your name (not Affiliate Team, Affiliate Manager, etc.) in your signature and your company name as the From address in newsletters.
- Keep your program clean. Don't work with parasites, cookie stuffers, or coupon scrapers, any other bad players.
- Never, never, never delete Inactive or low-performing affiliates. It infuriates affiliates (examples: 1 2 3 4), and you never know which affiliates will become big producers.
- Make sure your PPC policies are fair, clear, as minimal as possible, and easily followed.
- Commission on everything possible. Affiliates hate it when there are noncommissionable products, no commissions on gift cards, no commissions if coupons are used, no commissions for returning customers, etc.
- Eliminate all of the leaks you can. If you absolutely have to have ads, suppress them for affiliate traffic.
- If you list a phone number (especially a prominent toll free one), implement phone tracking. Another method. Never try to divert sales to phone to avoid paying commissions.
- Don't overwrite affiliate cookies with your newsletter links.
- Make sure to keep your links up to date and make sure to use the most appropriate landing pages.
- Approve affiliates quickly (or automatically) so they can get links up while their interest is the strongest.
- Report sales as quickly as possible. The longer it takes to see reporting, the less responsive some of your affiliates (especially PPC ones) will be able to be.
- Pay as quickly as possible. (Tip for LinkShare Merchants.)
- If you add or change anything (like Google Checkout) in your checkout process, make sure affiliate tracking doesn't get broken.
- Don't compete with your affiliates. It's good for affiliate managers to learn what it's like to be an affiliate, but only in noncompeting areas.
- Make sure to communicate about promotions in a timely manner.
- Verify that all promotions and coupons work before you post them or send them out.
- Run activation campaigns to get your inactive affiliates active.
- Make sure your datafeeds are up to snuff with up to date, accurate information, a good category structure, good product names, and only products that are in stock and commissionable.
- When you run coupons, use best practices and communicate full details.
- Provide the ability for affiliates to deep link to any page on your site.
- Don't try to get SEO benefits from your affiliates.
- Make sure your program never goes temporarily offline. Use auto-deposit on ShareASale.com and keep a positive balance on CJ.
- Maintain a presence everywhere that affiliates go: ABestWeb.com, Affiliate Summit, other conferences or gatherings, conferences for the network(s) you work with, etc.
Last edited by MichaelColey; November 3rd, 2007 at 10:29 AM.
August 25th, 2007, 12:29 PM #2In a word, as a reply to your post "WOW"!
Granted I am new here but that was extremely informative and as an Affiliate, I had no idea that some merchants could stoop so low as to overright affiliate cookies with that of the cookies from their own newletters. Thank you for all of the great information you've provided here in your post.
August 25th, 2007, 12:45 PM #3
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
Nice summary Michael.
I would add that having a forum here is also a big help to communication and would be considered a Merchant Best Practice.Deborah Carney
TeamLoxly.com BookGoodies.com ABCsPlus.com
August 25th, 2007, 01:08 PM #4
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
- Small Town in Tennessee
as always... thanks from all of us
August 25th, 2007, 02:47 PM #5
Thanks for another great contribution. I really hope merchants take just a few minutes to read your postings. They would do well to follow the advice you give in all of your posts like this one.
August 26th, 2007, 09:26 AM #6If you have additions, or links to threads that expand on any of these policies, post them and one of the Moderators will update this post.
August 27th, 2007, 12:30 AM #7
Great insight Michael, most if not all are in my programs but I will certainly run through these point by point. It is always refreshing to have an affiliates perspective!
August 28th, 2007, 09:19 AM #8Thanks Michael
I am a merchant and rather new to this forum, but man the thread was awesome. I only represent companies with those policies, but because of your thread I am going back ensure my clients are up to date with their phone tracking methods. I absolutely do not want my affiliates missing out THEY ARE IN THE TRENCHES!!! I have spent the last three weeks revamping banners and running activation campaigns.
Let me throw a piece of advice out though: I recently noticed that I have some multilingual affiliates promoting sites, so this prompted me to come with multilingual banners. So, for all merchants and affiliates alike remember E-Commerce is worldwide.
Keep the threads coming sometimes the simplest practices are the ones we most easily forget.
August 28th, 2007, 12:03 PM #9
August 28th, 2007, 12:50 PM #10Originally Posted by TonyCafaroPeace,
Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic
August 28th, 2007, 03:46 PM #11
Thanks for this, Michael! I thought this was a really concise, thorough list of merchant best practices, and plan on sharing this with the rest of the Schaaf team.
I would also add to the list to always make sure your program's affiliate team is represented at the major affiliate conferences. This allows the affiliate and the merchant to get to know each other and put faces to names, etc. The merchant should never be this untouchable, anonymous "thing" attached to an email address. This is a business about people and it should be a priority to get to know the people you work with and have them get to know you. Besides, that's the most fun part of the job :-)
www.schaafco.com | email@example.com Our Programs: Baby Catalog | Blue Bee | Constant Contact | CourseSmart | ForMeToCoupon | Homestead | InTheSwim | Ipsos Survey Panel | LightInTheBox.com | Moosejaw | Mrs. Prindables | Payless ShoeSource | simply youth ministry | SnagAJob.com | Specialty Pool Products
August 29th, 2007, 02:37 PM #12
Affiliate marketing is about relationship building. Do not be suspicious until you have talked. That holds true for the merchant (Affiliate manager) toward the affiliate. It also holds true for the affiliate with the merchant. When both parties are above board you resolve problems and deepen the relationship.
August 29th, 2007, 04:44 PM #13Chucks RightOriginally Posted by Chuck Hamrick
Hey Chuck your definately right I had an payment issue today with one my affiliates. We apparently only credited the account with a portion of the payment, which was substantially short. Being on board and speaking with the affiliate 1 - on - 1 allowed us to have the new payment processed by lunch. I like to reach out and make contact with my affiliates once a week and this method only has delived top notch returns.
September 11th, 2007, 07:17 PM #14
I'm proud to say that our program in 100% compliance with Michael's suggestions and improvements are in the works. Thanks Michael for taking time to keep everyone informed. You ROCK!David Carter
September 25th, 2007, 04:31 PM #15
- Join Date
- June 28th, 2007
- Seattle, WA
This is awesome, I am bookmarking a few of the points above and will impliment them into our program ASAP. I did not know about coupon scrapers. Thanks again for your posts.
Earth Class Mail
September 28th, 2007, 11:55 PM #16
Thank you so much for your post! I just launched my affiliate program tonight and will be buying a post here as soon as I launch with SAS as well.
Although I have most of the things you mentioned already done, I am bookmarking this page and going straight down the list to make sure everything in this list is done.
Thank you again!
March 16th, 2008, 03:55 PM #17
I never did thank you for this posting. This was one of the very first readings of mine when I joined abestweb. The post is a very good insight on what affiliates look for in a good program. It helped me a lot while I was setting up a program of my own.
Last edited by izzyprints.com; March 16th, 2008 at 03:58 PM. Reason: grammer correction
March 27th, 2008, 12:58 PM #18
Great post. I will work to fulfill the bullets given within my program.
April 24th, 2008, 02:06 PM #19
- Join Date
- March 21st, 2008
Michael, why don't you start a Merchant U? I've read so many informative and insightful posts by you that I'd sign up man! Just ordered Geno's book because of the link under one of your posts and I'm hoping it's as good as what you write. Just wanted to tell you how much your posts are appreciated!
May 28th, 2008, 04:24 PM #20
- Join Date
- August 15th, 2007
I did a point-by-point writeup on each of these and how I feel we do on them. Thanks Michael. Your advice is priceless.
May 29th, 2008, 01:45 AM #21
Great Post Michael,
Yes, we do follow most of the points you listed, but yes there are stil few areas of improvement.
Thanks once again for this invaluable list. i have taken a print out of the sameCheers,
Mondera Affiliate Manager
Winner of the LinkShare 2004 Golden Link Awards "Affiliate's Choice Award"
Winner of the 2002 Abestweb.com "Best Affiliate Program Award"
January 8th, 2009, 09:38 PM #22
- Join Date
- January 6th, 2009
- Orlando, FL
Thanks Michael for the great post! I am new to ABW and am thrilled in the amount of wonderful information available. I am printing your advice now to use as a reference . Thanks again!
April 2nd, 2009, 04:16 PM #23
July 31st, 2009, 06:51 AM #24
- Join Date
- June 11th, 2009
Thanks Michael,saved it on my desktop for ready reference.
October 14th, 2009, 04:56 PM #25
Again Michael, great work!
I plan to go through your list as it applies to my campaign line by line, thanks!
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