Affiliate Program Management: Launch & Maintenance

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Join us as we highlight important topics regarding affiliate program launch and maintenance. We encourage you to bring questions.

Experience level: Beginner
Target audience: Merchant/Advertiser
Niche/vertical: Affiliate Management

Geno Prussakov, Founder & CEO, AM Navigator LLC (Twitter @ePrussakov) (Moderator)
Amy Ely, Ecommerce Acquisition Manager, Under Armour (Twitter @aely)
Karen Garcia, CEO, GTO Management (Twitter @karengarcia)
Kim Salvino, Director of Publisher Development, Chateau 20, LLC (Twitter @kim_salvino)

Published in: Business
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Affiliate Program Management: Launch & Maintenance

  1. 1. Affiliate Program Management: Launch & Maintenance Kim Salvino, Chateau 20 Amy Ely, Under Armour Karen Garcia, GTO ManagementGeno Prussakov, AM Navigator & AMDays.com
  2. 2. Agenda• Introduction• Step 1: Assess Program Goals & Reputation• Step 2: Evaluate the Competitive Landscape• Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation• Step 4: Confirm Tracking & Reporting• Step 5: Review Your Affiliate List• Step 6: Develop A Communication Plan• Step 7: Launch!• Step 8: Maintenance• Final Thoughts
  3. 3. Introduction
  4. 4. Avoid Being… a) Shallow b) Bland Introduction
  5. 5. Step 1Assess Program Goals & Reputation
  6. 6. What Are Your Goals?Source: http://www.moviefanatic.com/gallery/scrat-in-ice-age-continental-drift/
  7. 7. Program Goals: Establish Baseline KPIs• Data, data, data….• It’s not just the total number of affiliates• Where does affiliate sit in the ecommerce revenue stream? Step 1: Assess Program Goals & Reputation
  8. 8. Reputation: Assess Where You Stand• Google search, forum search, affiliate survey• Google alerts – set for you and competitors• Accept the positives. Address the negatives. Step 1: Assess Program Goals & Reputation
  9. 9. Step 2Evaluate the Competitive Landscape
  10. 10. Competitive Landscape: How Do You Compare?• Commission rate• Cookie length• Conversion rate• Creative suite• Feeds and tools• Terms and conditions Step 2: Evaluate the Competitive Landscape
  11. 11. Step 3Build A Strong Foundation
  12. 12. Strong Foundation:Program Agreement (avoid confusion)It is not the same as the affiliate network’s agreement! Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  13. 13. Strong Foundation:Program Agreement (don’t fall prey) Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  14. 14. Strong Foundation: Program Agreement (don’t fall prey) Merchant naïvete -- loss of defensivebehaviors and adaptations needed to deal with “predators” Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  15. 15. Strong Foundation: Program Agreement (7 areas to cover)1. Coupon & discounts policy2. Trademark policy3. Search engine marketing rules4. Policies on loyalty affiliates5. Email marketing terms6. Social media, reviews, endorsements7. Toolbars, adware & parasitic behavior Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  16. 16. Strong Foundation: Program Agreement (structure)1. Foreword (including your contact info)2. Summary (outlining the main points)3. Full agreement Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  17. 17. Strong Foundation: Program Agreement (sobering truth) “How often do you readthe program agreement?” Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  18. 18. Strong Foundation: Creative SelectionBanners(and text links!)• Cover the common sizes• Include sizes to replace AdSense units• Analyze what works for competitors• Create affiliate-friendly banners• Deep text links to boost conversionAdditional Resources• Well categorized, regularly updated data feed Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  19. 19. Strong Foundation: Creative SelectionBanner Sizes• 468×60 px – 2-5 banners (AdSense too)• 125×125 px – 2-5• 120×600 px – 2-5  AdSense size• 88×31 px button – 2-5  overlooked opportunity!• 160×600 px – 2-3  AdSense size• 120×240 px – 2-3• 234×60 px – 2-3• 254×331 px – 2-3• 728×90 px – 2-3  AdSense size• 720×300 px – 1-2• 300×250 px – 1-2 Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  20. 20. Strong Foundation: Creative SelectionCompetitor’s BannersDo analyze,but beware ofskewed metrics! Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  21. 21. Strong Foundation: Creative SelectionCommon Banner Mistakes1. Poor graphics2. Unreadable font3. Phone number/URL4. Excessive animation5. Missing CTA6. Poor contrast7. No line around edge Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  22. 22. Strong Foundation: Creative Selection Good Examples Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  23. 23. Strong Foundation:Program Support Content (FAQs, blog, social media support)• Think like an affiliate and anticipate questions• Share key information• Search engine friendly copy and content Step 3: Build A Strong Foundation
  24. 24. Step 4Confirm Tracking & Reporting
  25. 25. Tracking & Reporting Test, Test, Test….• Test shopping cart in all major browsers o IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari• Complete a test purchase o Confirm tracking and reporting are working o Test with third party payment systems – PayPal, Google Checkout, etc.• Check each network o Ensure transactions across networks track properly **AFFILIATES WILL TEST YOUR TRACKING** Make sure it’s right BEFORE they find errors Step 4: Confirm Tracking & Reporting
  26. 26. Tracking & Reporting Mobile Ready• Add Safari to the list of browsers to test• Safari and Chrome = most widely used on mobile• NO FLASH, as not all mobile devices support flash• Ensure your cookie works in mobile Step 4: Confirm Tracking & Reporting
  27. 27. Step 5Review Your Affiliate List
  28. 28. Affiliate List Review Current Partners• Check your placement on their site• Understand how they’re promoting you• Ensure compliance with Ts & Cs• Ask others about their reputation• Consult your network or OPM• Use search engines and forums to review positive and negative feedback Step 5: Review Your Affiliate List
  29. 29. Step 6 Develop ACommunication Plan
  30. 30. Communication Plan Intro & Ongoing• Getting Started o Introductory newsletter and feedback request o Announce in forums and social media• Make A Plan For Continued Communication o Newsletter content and cadence o Forum and social media involvement …Most of All… Provide full contact details and be approachable, genuine and responsive to affiliates Step 6: Develop A Communication Plan
  31. 31. Step 7Launch!
  32. 32. Step 8Maintenance
  33. 33. Maintenance Growth• Consistent and timely review of applications o Approval rubric• Develop and implement a marketing calendar o Go beyond the holidays o Motivate your affiliates to participate• Ongoing Recruitment o What is your target market? o Where do they live online? o Who can get you in front of them?• Activate your current affiliate base Step 8: Maintenance
  34. 34. MaintenanceOngoing Communication• Reply to affiliate questions promptly• Affiliate requests: can you go above and beyond?• Newsletters o Include important information succinctly o Do not waste your affiliates’ time o What’s working? What’s not?• Review all affiliate-facing content regularly o Merchant site landing page o Network landing page o All application related emails• Your FAQ is a living document Step 8: Maintenance
  35. 35. Maintenance Creatives & Feeds• Avoid the Valentine’s Day Turducken o It’s January…what holiday banners do you have up?• Keep tabs on your demographics o Has your target demographic changed? o Has a new product or service expanded your customer scope?• Data feeds o Automation ensures regular updates o Review all feeds regularly from an affiliate perspective• Ask Your Affiliates What They Want Step 8: Maintenance
  36. 36. Maintenance Ongoing Affiliate ReviewContinue to review your current partners (look familiar?)• Check your placement on their site• Understand how they’re promoting you• Ensure compliance with Ts & Cs• Ask others about their reputation• Consult your network or OPM• Use search engines and forums to review positive and negative feedbackPlus…• Utilize network segmentation tools• Look for simple suggestions to help Step 5: Review Your Affiliate List
  37. 37. Maintenance Compliance• Ensure your policies are clear o Repeated infractions could be a sign of unclear verbiage• Have a plan o What is the procedure for dealing with offenders?• Send regular reminders• Available Tools o Available network data can be useful, but often isn’t enough o Screenshots are your friend o Plus plenty of compliance resources… Step 8: Maintenance
  38. 38. Maintenance Compliance…speaking of compliance with program terms…. Agreement gives you a foundation, but is nosubstitute for policing & compliance enforcement Step 8: Maintenance
  39. 39. Maintenance Tools for Policing ComplianceIn Paid Search Campaigns:• iTrademarkBidding – itrademarkbidding.com• Brandverity PoachMark – brandverity.com/poachmark• SearchMonitor – thesearchmonitor.com/affiliate_monitor• AdGooroo Trademark Insight – adgooroo.comIn Domain Names:• CitizenHawk – citizenhawk.com Step 8: Maintenance
  40. 40. Final Thoughts + Key Takeaways Set clear goals and measures of success Ensure the program is (and remains) competitive Build a strong foundation (terms, creative, support) Confirm (and continually test) tracking/reporting Design and carry out a solid communication plan Review (and continue to review) your affiliate list Monitor compliance and create an action plan Be responsive, proactive, build strong relationshipsand use feedback to grow and support your program Final Thoughts
  41. 41. Additional Resources Resources: Web Sites & Podcasts: Merchant ABCs & Geekcast.fm AMNavigator.com/TOS.html Book: Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a DayeBook: How to Start and Run a Profitable Affiliate Program http://merchantabcs.com/free(free today!) Find Us On Twitter Kim Salvino @kim_salvino Amy Ely @aely Karen Garcia @karengarcia Geno Prussakov @eprussakov

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