10 Point Checklist: Before You Launch a Successful Affiliate Program


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You have a product, you have a website and you’ve heard about affiliate marketing as a great way to get traffic and sales. Before you approach affiliates or join any affiliate networks, there are several things you need to check on your website first. Affiliates are going to want to know that your site converts so that the traffic they send you will be worth their while.

Compiled with input from many top affiliates, we have put together a list of the 10 most important points you need to be aware of and address before approaching affiliates. Your website is where your sales happen, affiliates want to be sure your site has all the right elements, doesn’t have other elements and is “affiliate friendly”. Being affiliate friendly will also help your overall conversions, so this webinar will help your site whether you decide to start an affiliate program or not.

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  • – while your registrar says you need it or bad things will happen, they are talking about private registration for personal websites. Your business site needs to be transparent about how to contact you and who your domain is registered to.
  • One of the hardest concepts for some merchants is the link to somewhere else.
  • 10 Point Checklist: Before You Launch a Successful Affiliate Program

    1. 1. 10 Point Checklist Before You Launch a Killer Affiliate Program<br />Things to check on your site before launching an Affiliate Program<br />Presented by <br />Deborah Carney – MerchantABCs<br />
    2. 2. Who is Deborah Carney?<br />Affiliate:since the early days<br />Affiliate Manager: Former In-house for CaféPress.com<br />Consultant:for several CPA networks<br />Outsourced Program Manager: (OPM) since 2006 – Multiple programs in Shareasale Top 100 Merchants List<br />Merchant:LoxlyGallery.com<br />Training and Podcasts: ABCsPlus.com –for Affiliates, Bloggers, Merchants and more<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />@loxly<br />@merchantabcs<br />Facebook.com/loxly<br />Linkedin.com/in/loxly<br />
    3. 3. Merchant ABCs<br />Focus on the basics – most overlooked area of affiliate marketing<br />Focus on training merchants how to run their affiliate programs<br />Free podcasts and videos with industry experts<br />Premium services:<br />Private access forum<br />Complete training for merchants from inception to recruitment<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    4. 4. Site Elements<br />You may think your site is well designed, your designer and tech teams say everything is great and someone in the company heard that this thing called Affiliate Marketing can get you tons of sales fast.<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    5. 5. Site Elements<br />First thing: Affiliate Marketing isn’t going to get you fast results, it is a long term commitment with long term results.<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    6. 6. Site Elements<br />Let’s take a look at some elements and see if they are on your site.<br />The same elements that make your site Affiliate Friendly will also increase your conversions.<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    7. 7. Building Trust<br />Customers<br />Affiliates<br />Customers need to trust you and your site before they will buy from you. Unless you are Amazon or Walmart that means your site needs to have some elements customers look for.<br />Affiliates know what drives a customer to make a purchase and they know that the following elements – at the very least – need to be on your site before they will promote your products or services<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    8. 8. Transparency<br />WhoIs Registration– Affiliates (and Customers) want to know who you are<br />Private Registration sets off red flags<br />Shared hosting sets off red flags<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    9. 9. The Big 5<br /><ul><li>AboutUs
    10. 10. PrivacyPolicy
    11. 11. ReturnsPolicy
    12. 12. ShippingPolicy
    13. 13. ContactInfo/Customer Service Info </li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    14. 14. The Big 5<br /><ul><li>AboutUs– tellaboutyourcompany, howyougotstarted, howyourproducthelps the user, whatisyour point of difference from yourcompetitors
    15. 15. PrivacyPolicy – Whoyoushare info with, what do youshare, whohasaccess, 3rd party newsletter, 3rd party toolsetc
    16. 16. ReturnsPolicy – Ifyourproductcan’t be returned, sayso. Ifitcan, outlinerequirements and restrictions
    17. 17. ShippingPolicy – Be clearaboutshippingcostsup front
    18. 18. ContactInfo/Customer Service Info – must be easilyfound on yoursite.</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    19. 19. Live Chat?<br /><ul><li>Great for building trust
    20. 20. Live Help – not commission based, convert the sale with the affiliate retaining credit for sale
    21. 21. Be sure you are using a service that doesn’t take the affiliate cookie away
    22. 22. Answer questions but customer finishes purchase without clicking links in chat
    23. 23. Most useful for pre-purchase questions and post purchase customer service</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    24. 24. Leaks – What are they?<br />Any link that goes off your website.<br />Any link that goes off your website.<br />Did I say ANY link that goes off your website?<br />Seriously, you are in business to sell YOUR products, your affiliates are in business to sell YOUR products.<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    25. 25. Leaks<br />Links to your products at Amazon<br />Links to your products at eBay<br />Links to your webmaster<br />Backlinks to people that link to you<br />If it’s a link off your site, it’s a leak and affiliates will not work with you.<br />Exception: pay per click or pay per lead<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    26. 26. Selling on eBay or Amazon<br /><ul><li>Must link to only your own products on your own site or sites of yours that cross track all the sales to your affiliate
    27. 27. Why take someone ready to purchase and send them to another site?
    28. 28. Niche sites that cross track are ok (Still your cart)</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    29. 29. Phone Numbers<br /><ul><li>Phone numbers build trust, but they are also a leak.
    30. 30. Check with your network for phone tracking information
    31. 31. Keep phone number limited to customer service pages
    32. 32. Require people who call to complete the purchase online</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    33. 33. Merchant acting as an affiliate<br />Sending traffic away to same or complementary products <br />If you don’t carry the product, get it through a supplier but don’t link elsewhere<br />If you are running affiliate program you need to get the merchandise in your cart<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    34. 34. Adsense<br /><ul><li>Why would you?
    35. 35. Don’t do it, affiliates can target you
    36. 36. Adsense is a separate bot from the Googlebot, Adsense doesn’t bring search engines to you
    37. 37. Keep your customers</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    38. 38. Non-Commissionable Items<br />Make it clear to affiliates about non-commissionable items<br />Must be in terms and conditions<br />Worse than other leaks, if affiliates don’t know they aren’t getting paid<br />Everything on your site should be commissionable unless you are paying per lead<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    39. 39. Product Pages<br />Clear call to action<br />Sharp product images<br />Images all the same size<br />Professional looking images<br />Complete description – more is better – pretend you are explaining your product to someone over the phone<br />Easy way to indicate choices – Size, Colors available etc<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    40. 40. Navigation<br /><ul><li>Clear and easy to follow
    41. 41. Affiliate will go through site to see if they can find things that customers will be looking for
    42. 42. Categories need to be clear and not too many levels</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    43. 43. Branding<br /><ul><li>Keep the message and site branding consistent
    44. 44. If there is a “hop” to a different site for the cart, be sure tracking and branding carry over</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    45. 45. Checkout Process<br />Make your checkout process fast and easy to use<br />Make sure your customers know your checkout is secure<br />Don’t have distractions get in the way of finishing checkout<br />Shipping costs clear prior to checkout begins<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    46. 46. Checkout Process<br />Top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:<br /><ul><li>Shipping too high
    47. 47. Coupon prompt with no coupon available
    48. 48. Requiring an account</li></ul>MerchantABCs.com<br />
    49. 49. Checkout Process<br />Don’t require account creation until after the sale is completed<br />Finish the sale, then ask if they want to create an account<br />Provide an option for Guest Checkout<br />Worth the money to pay to get this programmed into your stock or open source cart.<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    50. 50. Checkout Process<br />Don’t use 3rd party cart recovery services – <br />Don’t give your customers away<br />Your customers belong to you, they trust you with their information<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    51. 51. Summary<br />Site Elements that build trust<br />Transparency<br />Public Whois<br />The Big 5<br />About Us<br />Privacy Policy<br />Returns<br />Shipping Policy<br />Clear Contact Us Info<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    52. 52. Summary<br />Plug the Leaks<br />No outbound links<br />Phone number with tracking or walk customer through completing the sale online<br />Sell only your own products, no affiliate links to elsewhere<br />Adsense – remove it<br />Non-commissionable items – remove or rethink<br />Live Chat – make sure it keeps affiliate tracking<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    53. 53. Summary<br />Product Pages – clean, clear images, professional looking<br />Site Navigation<br />Consistent Branding<br />Clear and easy Checkout <br />No distractions during checkout<br />Most importantly – keep your customer data, give your customers a good buying experience and your affiliates will love the conversions and keep sending you more customers<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    54. 54. Next Steps<br />Now that your site is all ready for an affiliate program you need to find out what it takes to create and run one.<br />Join the Affiliate Summit Networking Forum to talk to OPMs (Outsourced Program Managers) and networks, and when you are ready – post a free job notice for a manager<br />http://forum.affiliatesummit.com<br />Head over to Merchant ABCs for a free video that explains the terminology and roles<br />http://merchantabcs.com/training<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    55. 55. How We Can Help<br />We have a special offer for viewers of this webinar – free six months subscription at Merchant ABCs private access forum.<br /><ul><li>http://merchantabcs.com/specialoffer/</li></ul>We will have experts available to answer your questions and a variety of OPMs that you can talk to about your management needs<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />
    56. 56. Contact Us<br />Find Deborah at:<br />http://forum.affiliatesummit.com<br />http://merchantabcs.com<br />http://twitter.com/loxly<br />Email: dc@merchantabcs.com<br />Phone: (702)582-6742<br />MerchantABCs.com<br />