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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager
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    Sales Contest - Need your input
    I would like to run a sales contest for our affiliates and would appreciate your opinion so we can make a relevant contest.

    To be fair to all affiliates, I would think the contest should be based on proportional sales increase. This way an affiliate that usually sells $500 a month can have as much as a chance to win ad one that sells $10k a month.
    I see that some other mechants divide their affiliates in tiers for the contest.

    Do you think that's necessary? Or it's ok they all compete together as long as the winner is based on proportional sales increase?

    Now, the other question is. Do you think that affiliates need to enter the contest by emailing me? I saw another merchant that did that, and I thought about it. It actually makes sense, if you think that the people that actively tried to promote the advertiser and win the contest should have a chance to win. And not the affiliate that didn't do anything special and was just lucky to sell the most.
    What do you think?

    I would really appreciate hearing from you about this. Let me know if you have other suggestions.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    FYI, I don't respond at all to contests, specials, activation bonuses, sales bonuses, etc. I look at the commission rate, and the site's character(istics), and that's about it. If I see a bonus that seems too high, it makes me wonder about the fairness of the base commission rate and (sometimes) the competence of the business owner.

    I know that some other affiliates do actively chase contests, including some folks who drive a lot of sales for some merchants, but I think that your "most effective" affiliate partners are unlikely to respond to them.

  3. #3
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I would agree with Mark.
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  4. #4
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    Another thought: often, contests are won by affiliates who didn't do anything because of the contest; the affiliate did what was already planned, and sales increased, but the contest didn't affect that outcome.

  5. #5
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    The idea is to offer an incentive to affiliates. I know that affiliates gets tons of emails from tons of merchants. Having a contest would be a way to make them pay attention a little bit more to my program instead of another.
    Contests are also fun. Specially for who wins.

  6. #6
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Sorry, I too belong to the contests are a waste of time club

  7. #7
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Well, while contests aren't for everyone, there are segments of this industry that need some extra motivation.

    It's valid though that most valuable affiliate merchant realtionships are forged over the long term.

    But Billy (and Mark and Rhia for that matter), you've honestly never seen a contest posting here, then remembered: Yeah, I've been meaning to build that site or section... And then done it because it was top of mind?
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  8. #8
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    I like the BuyCostumes contests they have. You would want to have one where anybody has the potential to win or there isn't much interest. Most have greatest sales, or greatest sales increase stuff like that I don't think gets much interest.

    For example. Every sale gets an automatic entry into the contest.

  9. #9
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Noth... no

    (Exception = favor for someone I know)

  10. #10
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    Every sale gets an automatic entry into the contest.
    But then, it's a sweepstake, not a contest. And what would be the incentive for affiliates to, let's say, put the merchant in their home page or in a better position, or in an email newsletter?

    Thanks

  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noth
    But Billy (and Mark and Rhia for that matter), you've honestly never seen a contest posting here, then remembered: Yeah, I've been meaning to build that site or section... And then done it because it was top of mind?
    I don't think I've actually built something motivated by a contest.
    [You may have seen me "play games" (I "play games" in more than one sense of the word) that are part of contests in these forums but they were often "guessing games" or "create the slogan" type of game/contest within the thread/sub-forum but those games/contests prompted me to interact within the sub-forum -- I didn't build something because of the temporary contest]


    Trust had a good idea: every sale is an entry into the contest.
    Last edited by Rhia7; September 24th, 2007 at 05:26 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Then a sweepstakes. I think most affiliates, contests aren't going to appeal to them because they think, and probably rightfully so, that they have no chance in winning.

    Most sales. Usually the winner is somebody who is already a top affiliate.

    Biggest increase. Does nothing for me.

    Something where everybody has a chance of winning and increased sales gives them more chances in winning.

  13. #13
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    Noth asked: > "But Billy (and Mark and Rhia for that matter), you've honestly never seen a contest posting here, then remembered: Yeah, I've been meaning to build that site or section... And then done it because it was top of mind?" <

    I don't think so. But if a contest-announcement message somehow triggered my action on a merchant, I don't think it would be because of the contest, but the mere fact of a communication from the merchant.

  14. #14
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Fair enough

    To my way of thinking, it's still important though. There are plenty that are motivated that way as well.
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  15. #15
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    A little more explantaion for Noth (I was too short)

    Contests have too many things out of my control.

    What if I worked my tale off and got $500 in sales...

    And Marc decided to blow $10,000 on a PPC campaign 'cause he hit the Lotto. He'd win and I'd be ticked.

    Same scenario, except as of today, Goog fell in love with Trust's page and bumped him to #1, even tho he hasn't touched that page in 10 years! Trust would win and I'd be ticked

    Same scenario. I worked hard and got $500 in sales. But R7 got $501 in sales. I'd be ticked

    "put the merchant in their home page or in a better position, or in an email newsletter?"

    Same scenario, but I don't do newsletters. Some spammer in India would win and I'd be ticked.

    At skuba: put on thick skin: Merchants who think putting their banner on a home page is a good idea... fill in derogatory phrase here

    I don't know what you sell, but let's say it's hats. If someone found my personalized gifts homepage thru goog, (WHICH MEANS THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY WANT, JUST SEARCHED FOR A GENERIC WORD LIKE GIFT, WHICH IS WHY THE SEARCH ENGINE SENT THEM TO MY HOME PAGE, RATHER THEN A PRODUCT PAGE) and for some reason I had a banner on my homepage for hats... the odds of that person coming to my site specifically for a hat are about a zillion to one.

    Ditto on my coupon site. I assume they searched for "coupon" to find my coupon home page. The odds of them wanting a hat are slim.
    Last edited by Billy Kay; September 24th, 2007 at 05:29 PM.

  16. #16
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    I can't remember the merchant (I think it was target or walmart)... had a "proportional" sales contest with tiers.

    The email said (and I'm greatly paraphrasing)... We analyzed your sales over the last quarter, and you average 4 bucks a month in sales.

    You're easy to win increase would be.... $6500 a month in sales

    So no, I don't trust the merchant with deciding a "fair" increase in proportional sales

  17. #17
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I feel you there, Billy... There's no doubt most contests favor the merchant, and rightfully so on many levels. That's why they do them afterall. I'm starting one tomorrow that you won't like Although I did rethink it after Trust's post above.

    Skuba: To be sure, contests are just one way of promoting. For long term program growth, giving affiliates specific and private offers are often better....
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  18. #18
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I have a "mindset" that the odds of winning a contest are slim.

    I'd rather become enthusiastic about a merchant that offers clear and appealing picture product links and who offers a nice well-rounded program without illusionary gimmicks.
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  19. #19
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Skuba...

    If you're just after links - a way to get affs to put up a link or banner, consider a CAB (Cash Activation Bonus)

  20. #20
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Kay
    CAB (Cash Activation Bonus)
    and pay us a royalty fee for the term ....
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
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  21. #21
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Ouch! Didn't know that was an ARC original... Should've guessed that though.
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  22. #22
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noth
    Ouch! Didn't know that was an ARC original... Should've guessed that though.
    It's ok, we share and if it benefits the industry, we are all for it ...
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  23. #23
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    CAB (Cash Activation Bonus)
    What would be considered an activation? I would give a bonus for an affiliate just for entering the program, maybe after the first sales, or first 10 sales or something.

    But anyway, the main idea behind the contest is to motivate some of the mid-tier affiliate to try a little harder for that one month to promote the business. Let's say we run this in November. That way, in December, those affiliates have already optimized our exposure on their sites.

    I don't want to tell affiliates what to do. Put on the home page, or newsletter. Just say "Hey, this month, try to think new ideas, maybe there is something you can try doing to increase our sales, maybe work a little bit more on our program that on our competitors, and by the way, if you do that well, you might win $300"
    Does it make sense?

  24. #24
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I think you are better off concentrating your efforts on getting more attention from affiliates who are already proven performers for you.

    Those who need a carrot on a stick today will need a carrot on a stick tomorrow.

    As far as cash activation bonuses go, what kind of performance can you expect from somebody who needs the 5 or 10 bucks bad enough that they are willing to drop what they are doing and jump through a hoop to get it? Sites that are actually worth just "having a banner tossed up on" can charge tens or hundreds of dollars per month for the ad placement; why should they be concerned about lunch money?
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  25. #25
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    As far as cash activation bonuses go, what kind of performance can you expect from somebody who needs the 5 or 10 bucks bad enough that they are willing to drop what they are doing and jump through a hoop to get it? Sites that are actually worth just "having a banner tossed up on" can charge tens or hundreds of dollars per month for the ad placement; why should they be concerned about lunch money?
    I see exactly what you are saying here. I think our rationale (and I know mine is) is that you might have a top performer (potentially) in your inactive file, and not even know it. So we do all we can to get everyone involved so we can figure those folks out.

    Don't forget, we don't see affiliate stats for their work outside of the programs we can see (at SAS anyhow). It basically only tells us whether or not the affiliate has ever been paid.

    And if you are managing an indy, then you're really working blind.
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