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  • In a way I got into running some affiliate programs through naivity and arrogance. One of my first pttches as an SEO was to a Figleaves I didn’t get the contract, so built up a website in competition with them, and got to number 1 on Lycos for Womens underwear, then phoned them up to ask how their other SEO agency was getting on.
  • I did it by buying up womens-underwear.net and generally doing what SEOs used to do at that time. Figeaves asked me to be an affiliate and for several years we were one of the best. But then it all came crashing down… probably about the time I gave the site to a new employee to learn the craft. For years we were one of their top affiliates. Last month we only made 9 sales – just a thousand dollars in value – about 100 dollars in commission. I doubt you’d find us on the engines for “womens underwear” any more. Why did it crash?
  • After the affiliate manager at Figleaves moved on to Buy-a-gift, he tracked me down on a boating day at a UK Affiliate event. He asked me what it would take to become a buy-a-gift affiliate. I said that developing a decent site takes time and needs a strategy. So I found that there are more merchants than decent affiliates. By a MILE. So the merchants will pay you to take the initial risk. These guys paid in the region of $6000 for me to just BUILD the site… We also changed the paradigm. Buy-a-gift feed is rampant in the UK and readily available. Huge problem with lack of unique content and also a problem with adding value. So we changed the focus to a family day out site. Got less readily abailable (and less commercially useful) content through a licence with the National Trust. Rearranged all the data into goeographical order and family friendly order. To this day (nearly five years later) the site grabs the Buyagift feed every midnight, changes it’s focus and presents fresh content to our users.
  • And it does OK in the search engines too.
  • Having learnt that merchants would pay for an affiliate, I also found at one point whilst selling our SEO consultancy that some customers, too, wanted to “only pay on results”. Now I hate that. But now that I knew that people would pay for the setup time – or at east offset my risk, I started on the next effective strategy. Taking control of the visitor. No affiliate tracking system Client only got the lead. Call center was mine I could have resold that lead to other “merchants” I could record conversations (for training and monitoring purposes) I could keep a database of contacts
  • effective_affiliate_strategies-dixon_jones.ppt

    1. 1. Effective Affiliate Strategies Actions and Tactics Dixon Jones
    2. 2. Receptional’s Pedigree <ul><li>We are getting old </li></ul><ul><li>We joined some clubs </li></ul><ul><li>We’ve got badges </li></ul><ul><li>We’ve got bigger mouths than most </li></ul><ul><li>We’re quite good at internet marketing </li></ul>
    3. 3. My first affiliate deal (1999)
    4. 5. Why did it crash? <ul><li>I’ll tell you in a minute </li></ul>
    5. 8. Why one does better <ul><li>Underwear Site </li></ul><ul><li>30 pages or so indexed </li></ul><ul><li>Obvious affiliate links all over them </li></ul><ul><li>Limited “value add” </li></ul><ul><li>Ferry site </li></ul><ul><li>110 pages indexed </li></ul><ul><li>Zero affiliate links </li></ul><ul><li>Obvious added value </li></ul>
    6. 9. Lessons <ul><li>Hide the affiliate links </li></ul><ul><li>Add value to the user </li></ul><ul><li>Create unique content </li></ul><ul><li>… And don’t try to sell womens underwear if you are a straight man… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… who never learnt to undo a bra strap… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… without ruining the moment </li></ul></ul>
    7. 10. A Useful Word-Press Plug-in <ul><li>Redirection by John Godley: http://urbangiraffe.com/ </li></ul>
    8. 11. The Number 1 Fundamental Marketing Strategy Unique BE: Clever Outspoken Outrageous Obscene The Best The worst The Fastest The smallest Needed
    9. 12. My Life story continues…
    10. 14. Lessons from Family Site <ul><li>Product Feed content has many links to it for users, but is taken out of the main search friendly pages on the site – hence affiliate links are off the main pages </li></ul><ul><li>Adding value by changing the paradigm. Parents want good ideas for kids. We have them buried in amongst the other stuff </li></ul><ul><li>Get a merchant to subsidize the build </li></ul>
    11. 15. My Life story continues…
    12. 16. Lessons from Phones <ul><li>You can own the user. You don’t need a network </li></ul><ul><li>Being the only affiliate has upsides </li></ul><ul><li>You can provide phone support where merchants often can’t or won’t – there’s the added value </li></ul><ul><li>The client eventually learns that proper consultancy is way better in the long run </li></ul>
    13. 17. Tricks to keep the user <ul><li>If it’s a lead gen site, use your own form to capture the user data </li></ul><ul><li>If it isn’t leadgen, use widgets if you can, to keep the user on your site for longer </li></ul><ul><li>If you can’t do that, use i-Frames to retain your “brand” </li></ul><ul><li>Get them to register for YOUR newsletter, not the merchant’s </li></ul>
    14. 18. Cash-back Sites <ul><li>Effective in recession (according to Hitwise) </li></ul><ul><li>Vouchers are the network way, but think outside the box… </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t need affiliate tracking… just a merchant deal </li></ul><ul><li>Get the users to come back to get their reward from you </li></ul><ul><li>You own the client, not the merchant. </li></ul>
    15. 19. Getting offline to online
    16. 20. Lessons <ul><li>Use sub-domains to track offline affiliate material </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use the main TLD, so users MUST use the sub-domain to find the site </li></ul><ul><li>If you are a merchant, help the user with brochures or ideas </li></ul>
    17. 21. Summary <ul><li>Don’t lie down and accept an affiliate’s lot </li></ul><ul><li>Try to: </li></ul><ul><li>OWN the relationship </li></ul><ul><li>OWN the merchant </li></ul><ul><li>OWN the websites </li></ul><ul><li>OWN the tracking </li></ul><ul><li>Then you’ll find you have something worth selling </li></ul>
    18. 22. Build an Affiliate Business Don’t Build an affiliate website …
    19. 23. Effective Affiliate Strategies Actions and Tactics Dixon Jones D ixonJones.com