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.

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Merchant Basics - Things to Consider When Launching an Affiliate Program

  1. 1. Merchant BasicsLaunching a New Affiliate Program<br />Presented by: <br />Jeff Grill,<br />And<br />Deborah Carney, Merchant ABCs<br />
  2. 2. 2<br />Jeff Grill<br />VP, Marketing<br />Mimeo.comOnline Printing<br />PublisherDeborah Carney<br />Affiliate: since the early days<br />Affiliate Manager: Former In-house for Café<br />Consultant: for many ecommerce companies <br />Outsourced Program Manager: (OPM) since 2006 – Multiple programs in Shareasale Top 100 <br /><br />Training and Podcasts: –for Affiliates, Bloggers, Merchants and more<br />Who We Are<br />
  3. 3. 3<br />How to Avoid This<br />
  4. 4. 4<br />What We’ll Cover<br />Getting Educated<br />Preparation<br />Key Decisions<br />Program Launch<br />Lessons Learned<br />
  5. 5. 5<br />Education: Get Smart<br />LinkedIn Affiliate Groups<br />Listen to Affiliate<br />Geekcast.fmVariety of podcasts<br />Learn about fraud Check<br />Blogs – Read a variety<br />Visit Affiliate Sites<br />Join Affiliate Summit ForumAsk questions, get to knowpeople<br />
  6. 6. 6<br />Competitive Analysis<br />Senior Management Commitment<br />Documented Revenue Goals by Month<br />Staffing<br />Tracking Systems<br />Profit Margins to support:<br />Product or Service Offers<br />Multiple Commissions (Affiliate, OPM, Network)<br />Conversion rates <br />Payment Models<br />Network, OPM, Publisher<br />Reversal Policies<br />Cookie Life<br />Nexus Tax <br />Channel Conflict Considerations<br />Affiliate Payment Options<br />Preparation: Get Set<br />
  7. 7. 7<br />Performance Based Models<br />Pay per Sale (PPS/CPS) – 80% of all programs<br />Pay per Lead/Cost per Lead 20% of all programs<br />Pay per Click/Cost per Click (PPC/CPC)<br />Pay per Call<br />
  8. 8. 8<br />Tip: Do Not Launch Until the Machine is Ready!<br />
  9. 9. 9<br />Tip: They All Look the Same at First. Develop OPM Selection Criteria.<br />
  10. 10. 10<br />Choosing an OPM: Experience + Chemistry<br />Experience<br />Knowledge of your category<br />Point of view regarding coupon sites<br />Team assigned to business – who, how much time, chemistry<br />Reporting frequency and what does it include<br />Who was contacted each week<br />Monitoring capability<br />Fees (monthly, %)<br />Reputation<br />References<br />Network Familiarity and Access<br />Network OPM vs. Outside OPM<br />
  11. 11. 11<br />Network Selection: Not All Created EqualTIP: Pick Your OPM First<br />Review the Majors CJ, Linkshare, Google Affiliate Network, ShareASale,<br />Niche Networks Might Make Sense Avantlink<br />Similar Merchants<br />Fees – Network Access, emails, newletters, ala carte fees<br />Publisher Access – Networks allow various degrees of access<br />Services Offered – Network Tools for Affiliates<br />Reputation<br />Promotional Opportunities<br />Sponsored Conferences<br />Competitive Presence<br />Industry Reputation<br />
  12. 12. 12<br />Pre-Launch – Make Sure Your Site is Affiliate Friendly<br />Does Your Site Have 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 />
  13. 13. 13<br />Pre-Launch – Make Sure Your Site is Affiliate Friendly<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 />
  14. 14. 14<br />Pre-Launch – Make Sure Your Site is Affiliate Friendly<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 />Make sure your site is converting already, affiliates drive pre-sold traffic, but YOU have to convert that traffic.<br />
  15. 15. 15<br />Pre-Launch<br />Program Terms and Conditions<br />PPC Guidelines<br />Brand and Keyword protection<br />Fraud<br />Coupon Guidelines<br />If you don’t prohibit affiliate behavior in your Program Terms, it means affiliates CAN and will do what you haven’t prohibited<br />Creative and Affiliate Content Development<br />Not just banners!<br />CRM Considerations (publisher, customer)<br />Program Funding<br />
  16. 16. 16<br />Launch!<br />Network Promotion Plan<br />Does the network have a launch plan?<br />If not, create your own!<br />Recruitment TrackingTip: Shared Google Doc to Track Targeted Publishers<br />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<br />
  17. 17. 17<br />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<br />Join your network of choice as an affiliate to see what affiliates see and what your competitors are doing<br />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<br />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.<br />Lessons Learned<br />
  18. 18. 18<br />
  19. 19. 19<br />Now that your site is all ready for recruiting, get out there and start talking.<br />Join the Affiliate Summit Networking Forum to talk to OPMs (Outsourced Program Managers), networks, and affiliates <br />When you are ready – post a free job notice for a manager<br /><br />Next Steps<br />
  20. 20. 20<br />Head over to Merchant ABCs for a free video that explains the terminology and roles<br /><br />We have a special offer for viewers of this webinar – free six months subscription at Merchant ABCs private access forum.<br /><ul><li></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 /> Shawn Collins has a video series update to his groundbreaking book: Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants, originally published in April 2001.<br /><br />Resources<br />
  21. 21. 21<br />Thank You!Be sure to fill out your session review form!<br />Find Deborah at:<br /><br /><br />@loxly<br /><br />Phone: (702)582-6742<br /><br /><br />Find Jeff Grill at:<br />@JeffGrill<br /><br /><br />The<br /><br />