Managing Risk for Affiliates


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How to manage risk as affiliates, a presentation from a4uexpo London 2009.

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  • (Before FACT): How many people here have tested their backup process? Make sure even if you host say ‘backups’ they work
  • (Before FACT): Who here generates substantial revenue from more than one website?
  • If you are good at writing content but poor at SEO, consider outsourcing the SEO aspect and concentrate on replicating your success on multiple additional websites.
  • Small sample of programs changing
  • (Before FACT): Who here generates substantial revenue from more than one website?
  • Managing Risk for Affiliates

    1. 1. Managing Risk to Ensure Long-term Success Don’t want to lose your affiliate/business income overnight ? Based on real life examples from other leading affiliates/companies just like you, we will demonstrate some very simple techniques you can employ to protect your business and ensure long term success. Andrew Slack Co-Founder & Managing Director
    2. 2. Managing Risk Introduction Using real life examples we will demonstrate how making simple changes you can protect your income and ensure long term success. This session will demonstrate: <ul><ul><li>How to find single points of failure in your business model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn how to correct these and protect your income </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop the building blocks for long term success </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Managing Risk Reliable hosting & backup processors Arguably one of the most critical area's for any business making money online is the need for reliable hosting and backup processes. Without site backups you could literally lose your online revenue overnight.. On 9 th June 2009 reports emerged that 100,000 websites were deleted by a hacker who managed to gain access to UK web hosting firm VAserv’s network. The hosting company had no backup processors in place. “ ”
    4. 4. Managing Risk Reliable hosting & backup processors - Recommendation <ul><li>Speak to your host about setting up a local backup for fast recovery. </li></ul>2. If you don’t have 24/7 support, understand how to restore a backup yourself. 3. Decide how often you need your backups to run and how long to keep them for. 4. Test the backup process! 5. Ensure all data is backed up (Database’s are often missed). 6. Larger companies may want to look into offsite backups and/or SVN control.
    5. 5. Managing Risk Don’t put all your eggs in one basket It’s far too common that affiliates contact us after having regular income from a key website only to find Google have changed their algorithm or issued a penalty.   Running one main website which generates the majority of your income increases your business risk. A top MoreNiche affiliate making over £4,000 per month consistently for 12+ months, woke up ‘typically while he was on holiday’ to find all his listings had vanished overnight. This resulted in his earnings dropping to less than £500 in the same month. Since then this affiliate has diversified his time across multiple websites and now makes similar income but is split across 10 different websites. “ ”
    6. 6. Managing Risk Don’t put all your eggs in one basket - Recommendation <ul><li>Once you start to see a return from your website, identify how you achieved it. </li></ul>2. Continue to expand this strategy to maximise income. 3. Replicate this model, additional sites promoting the same subject with unique content. 4. Try to find weaknesses in your approach to minimise risk.
    7. 7. Managing Risk Affiliate marketing – single points of failure It’s normal that when you find some success with affiliate marketing you concentrate on that partnership/vertical. When looking to reduce risk and remove possible stumbling blocks we should consider: Merchant Closes Affiliate Program (September 2009) Vitamins Direct, Cornhill Direct, Burberry, Kitchens Direct, “ ” <ul><ul><li>Targeting multiple verticals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using multiple networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting multiple merchants </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Managing Risk Affiliate marketing – single points of failure - Recommendation <ul><li>Spread your risk - Promote the same or similar products via other affiliate networks in addition to existing promotions. </li></ul>2. Multiple merchants - Don’t become over dependent on a single merchant for the majority of your income. 4. Communication is key - Ensure you communicate with the network/merchant. If there are merchant updates you want to know about it first. <ul><li>Season Trends – Avoid downtime in the year by promoting additional niches/verticals which are less susceptible to seasonal trends. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Managing Risk Multiple traffic sources Traffic generation is often one of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing.   It is easy to become over reliant on a single traffic source, however a simple PPC policy or SE algorithm change can have a massive impact on your revenue. Internet giants Google and Yahoo! will stop carrying adverts for online casinos, blaming a &quot;lack of clarity&quot; in US regulations. Google and Yahoo made the announcement separately on Friday. Yahoo said the ban would apply to US websites only while Google self-denial hits all its sites worldwide. The change is likely to come in at the end of this month, according to the New York Times. “ ”
    10. 10. Managing Risk Multiple traffic sources - Recommendation <ul><li>Run small test campaigns with additional traffic models and monitor results: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pay Per Click </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Email Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On Page Advertising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Media Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Viral Marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online PR </li></ul></ul>2. If the majority of your revenue is reliant on SE traffic consider supplementing this with a PPC campaign. 3. Offline marketing could also be considered (TV adverts, Radio, Offline PR, Newspapers).
    11. 11. Managing Risk Don’t let naughty neighbours effect your reputation If you are on a shared server or your website shares an IP address with other clients it is possible the content on their websites could affect your sites reputation.   We know from past experience that it’s possible for search engines to ban complete IP ranges; we have also found examples of content on the same IP effecting other sites. We were hosting our site on the same server as an adult site, once we moved to our own dedicated IP we moved up multiple places in Google for many key phrases. This could have been coincidence but for £20 per year why take that risk? “ ”
    12. 12. Managing Risk Naughty neighbours - Recommendation <ul><li>Contact your host and ask for your own IP’s, ideally each site should have a unique IP. </li></ul>2. When your network is big enough, move to your own dedicated server. 3. You might want to consider hosting your sites with different providers keeping everything separate and limiting this risk.
    13. 13. Managing Risk Maximise your work from international markets There are many advantages for targeting foreign markets, often there will be a lot less competition and it can become much easier to rank.   With translation work often costing less than 1-2 pence per word you can quickly and easily operate multi-language websites and increase your revenue from the same content. Since translating my site into German I have received nearly twice as many visitors, my average order values have increased. Even with translation costs I am making more than double what I did before. “ ” I earn £3,000+ from my French site every month, it’s so easy to rank in comparison to .com or “ ”
    14. 14. Managing Risk Maximise your work from international markets - Recommendation <ul><li>When writing content for your website/blog why not get it translated into another language, it will cost very little and you won’t suffer from duplicate content issues. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Purchase localised domains and hosting to maximise the results. </li></ul>3. Ensure you deliver the traffic to foreign language product pages, many networks/merchants are adding these now, contact your affiliate manager for a list.
    15. 15. Managing Risk Build recurring revenue for long term success A great way to ensure longer term income would be to promote merchants who offer recurring revenue models and longer cookie periods.   Another strategy many super affiliates employ is by building their down line, earning commissions when other affiliates make sales.   As a result, if your primary revenue/traffic source is affected, you would still have your recurring/down line revenues to fall back on. If you come to sell your online business this additional revenue source will certainly add value. ” I earn £1,000-£2,000 per month from a pool of affiliates I have referred to MoreNiche, as I have a group of different affiliates even if one person stops other continue. “
    16. 16. Managing Risk Build recurring revenue for long term success - Recommendation <ul><li>Add merchants who offer recurring revenue, if your selling a product/service consider how you could make use of this model. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Understand how you could earn money by referring other people to join an affiliate program. </li></ul>3. Ensure when comparing merchants you look at cookie length and repeat purchase policies.
    17. 17. Managing Risk Develop an asset, not just a sales page Building elements into your website which allow data collection / improve repeat visitors will increase the value of your online business, some examples could be: Managing this data effectively and tailoring offers to suit your members will result in higher average spend per person. This data will also add serious value to your online business should you wish to sell at some point in the future.   These additional features will also help ensure ongoing revenue even if new sales dip. <ul><ul><li>Email capture & newsletters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Membership tools/community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recurring revenue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sticky features to encourage return visits </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Managing Risk Develop an asset, not just a sales page - Recommendation <ul><li>Develop a newsletter capture and converting auto responders. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Email seasonal/product offers to your newsletter list to increase ongoing sales. </li></ul>3. Offer a reason for people to join, discount, free resource. 4. Give the surfers a reason to come back to your website, forums, blogs or other community features are perfect for this.
    19. 19. Managing Risk Ensure your content is fair and factual When promoting 3 rd party products it can be easy to get carried away, a common misconception is that if its online you can write anything.   As more big businesses move online, the number of legal cases continues to increase.   If your reviewing products against one another you must ensure the comments are fair and factual. If you have tried the product/service you can of course mention your opinion. ” Winfrey and Oz have filed suit against 40 companies either selling açaí or related products, with their name endorsements on them. “ ” AP Threatens to Sue affiliate for Embedding Official AP YouTube Vids “
    20. 20. Managing Risk Ensure your content is fair and factual - Recommendation <ul><li>Ensure that any content you publish has been made available via the affiliate network, anything additional should be approved by the network. </li></ul>2. Ensure when comparing products you are fair and factual, false reviews can result in legal issues. 3. Just like offline publishing when using third party resources to perform your research ensure you can always follow the claims back to the actual source. Don’t just take another persons word for it. 4. Remember you are responsible for the content on your website.
    21. 21. Managing Risk Open source software risks I would imagine most people in this room are using some form of open source software many affiliates are turning to CMS applications like WordPress or Joomla, also open source Wiki’s, chat rooms, forums and Ecommerce platforms are regularly used.   Using open source software increases your susceptibility to hackers. ” Affiliate - A hacker managed to get into my WordPress site, spamming each page with Viagra adverts, luckily I spotted this and had a backup otherwise Google would have canned me for sure! “ ” Merchant – We are using osCommerce and somehow a hacker managed to get in, luckily we don’t store customer card details or the damage could have been much worse, we are now looking for something which is not open source. “
    22. 22. Managing Risk Open source software risks - Recommendation <ul><li>When using open source software always make sure you have the most recent version installed, most will release updates when security issues are found. </li></ul>2. Use secure passwords which would be very difficult for a person or computer to guess, I would recommend: 3. When giving access to others ensure they have relevant security privileges applied, once they have finished change or remove there details. <ul><ul><li>Ensure the password is at least 8-10 characters long </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use upper and lower case letters. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a mixture of numbers and letters, incorporate other symbols $£%^&*! </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Questions? If you have questions and do not want to ask them now, please do get in touch! I’m here to help Available at: Stand #44 Andrew Slack Co-Founder & Managing Director [email_address]