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Merchant Basics - Things to Consider When Launching an Affiliate Program
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Merchant Basics - Things to Consider When Launching an Affiliate Program


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Viewpoints from a new merchant vs an experienced affiliate program manager about starting a new affiliate program. Presented at Affiliate Summit East 2011 in New York City. …

Viewpoints from a new merchant vs an experienced affiliate program manager about starting a new affiliate program. Presented at Affiliate Summit East 2011 in New York City.

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  • 1. Merchant BasicsLaunching a New Affiliate Program
    Presented by:
    Jeff Grill,
    Deborah Carney, Merchant ABCs
  • 2. 2
    Jeff Grill
    VP, Marketing
    Mimeo.comOnline Printing
    PublisherDeborah Carney
    Affiliate: since the early days
    Affiliate Manager: Former In-house for Café
    Consultant: for many ecommerce companies
    Outsourced Program Manager: (OPM) since 2006 – Multiple programs in Shareasale Top 100
    Training and Podcasts: –for Affiliates, Bloggers, Merchants and more
    Who We Are
  • 3. 3
    How to Avoid This
  • 4. 4
    What We’ll Cover
    Getting Educated
    Key Decisions
    Program Launch
    Lessons Learned
  • 5. 5
    Education: Get Smart
    LinkedIn Affiliate Groups
    Listen to Affiliate
    Geekcast.fmVariety of podcasts
    Learn about fraud Check
    Blogs – Read a variety
    Visit Affiliate Sites
    Join Affiliate Summit ForumAsk questions, get to knowpeople
  • 6. 6
    Competitive Analysis
    Senior Management Commitment
    Documented Revenue Goals by Month
    Tracking Systems
    Profit Margins to support:
    Product or Service Offers
    Multiple Commissions (Affiliate, OPM, Network)
    Conversion rates
    Payment Models
    Network, OPM, Publisher
    Reversal Policies
    Cookie Life
    Nexus Tax
    Channel Conflict Considerations
    Affiliate Payment Options
    Preparation: Get Set
  • 7. 7
    Performance Based Models
    Pay per Sale (PPS/CPS) – 80% of all programs
    Pay per Lead/Cost per Lead 20% of all programs
    Pay per Click/Cost per Click (PPC/CPC)
    Pay per Call
  • 8. 8
    Tip: Do Not Launch Until the Machine is Ready!
  • 9. 9
    Tip: They All Look the Same at First. Develop OPM Selection Criteria.
  • 10. 10
    Choosing an OPM: Experience + Chemistry
    Knowledge of your category
    Point of view regarding coupon sites
    Team assigned to business – who, how much time, chemistry
    Reporting frequency and what does it include
    Who was contacted each week
    Monitoring capability
    Fees (monthly, %)
    Network Familiarity and Access
    Network OPM vs. Outside OPM
  • 11. 11
    Network Selection: Not All Created EqualTIP: Pick Your OPM First
    Review the Majors CJ, Linkshare, Google Affiliate Network, ShareASale,
    Niche Networks Might Make Sense Avantlink
    Similar Merchants
    Fees – Network Access, emails, newletters, ala carte fees
    Publisher Access – Networks allow various degrees of access
    Services Offered – Network Tools for Affiliates
    Promotional Opportunities
    Sponsored Conferences
    Competitive Presence
    Industry Reputation
  • 12. 12
    Pre-Launch – Make Sure Your Site is Affiliate Friendly
    Does Your Site Have Elements That Build Trust?
    Public Whois
    The Big 5
    About Us
    Privacy Policy
    Shipping Policy
    Clear Contact Us Info
  • 13. 13
    Pre-Launch – Make Sure Your Site is Affiliate Friendly
    Plug the Leaks
    No outbound links
    Phone number with tracking or walk customer through completing the sale online
    Sell only your own products, no affiliate links to elsewhere
    Adsense – remove it
    Non-commissionable items – remove or rethink
    Live Chat – make sure it keeps affiliate tracking
  • 14. 14
    Pre-Launch – Make Sure Your Site is Affiliate Friendly
    Product Pages – clean, clear images, professional looking
    Site Navigation
    Consistent Branding
    Clear and easy Checkout
    No distractions during checkout
    Make sure your site is converting already, affiliates drive pre-sold traffic, but YOU have to convert that traffic.
  • 15. 15
    Program Terms and Conditions
    PPC Guidelines
    Brand and Keyword protection
    Coupon Guidelines
    If you don’t prohibit affiliate behavior in your Program Terms, it means affiliates CAN and will do what you haven’t prohibited
    Creative and Affiliate Content Development
    Not just banners!
    CRM Considerations (publisher, customer)
    Program Funding
  • 16. 16
    Network Promotion Plan
    Does the network have a launch plan?
    If not, create your own!
    Recruitment TrackingTip: Shared Google Doc to Track Targeted Publishers
    You Can’t Recruit Unless Your Program Stands Out Above Your Competition – You Need to be Better to Get Affiliates to Change or Add Your Company to Their Affiliate Marketing Mix
  • 17. 17
    Look for an Outsourced Program Manager at the beginning of the process. You can hire most as just a startup consultant. They can guide you to the right network, help develop your Affiliate Terms, help with Competitive Analysis and with developing your creatives
    Join your network of choice as an affiliate to see what affiliates see and what your competitors are doing
    Talk to affiliates pre-launch to get their opinions and get them invested in wanting to run your program because you reached out and listened to them
    Join affiliate forums like the Affiliate Summit Networking Forum where you can interact with affiliates and get their opinions. Also OPMs hang out there and you can see how they handle questions etc.
    Lessons Learned
  • 18. 18
  • 19. 19
    Now that your site is all ready for recruiting, get out there and start talking.
    Join the Affiliate Summit Networking Forum to talk to OPMs (Outsourced Program Managers), networks, and affiliates
    When you are ready – post a free job notice for a manager
    Next Steps
  • 20. 20
    Head over to Merchant ABCs for a free video that explains the terminology and roles
    We have a special offer for viewers of this webinar – free six months subscription at Merchant ABCs private access forum.
    We will have experts available to answer your questions and a variety of OPMs that you can talk to about your management needs
    Shawn Collins has a video series update to his groundbreaking book: Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants, originally published in April 2001.
  • 21. 21
    Thank You!Be sure to fill out your session review form!
    Find Deborah at:
    Phone: (702)582-6742
    Find Jeff Grill at: