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Old 01-01-2001, 03:35 AM   #13
I am a Contributing Geek. Are You?
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Northern Virginia US
Posts: 601

Always glad to see an affiliate program manager ask for help here.

Great post above by WildComputer. Here are a few of my additional thoughts (or stresses of WC's points).

Be open to the many methods of selling your product. Your most successful affiliates will more than likely be creating a small site to promote your program instead of slapping up a banner on their current site. Be aware that my 100 uniques a day on my site actively selling your product will be much more potent than a site off the topic of your product receiving 10,000 uniques per day. Also, make sure your program is friendly to those who run legitimate opt-in E-Zines. This is a way many of us send massive amounts of traffic to programs.

Leaks are horrible. The site should give the visitor two options: Buy the product or leave. The product's sales letter needs to be able to close the sale effectively. Each product should be available to be promoted individually. The page must be fast loading with just enough graphics to sell the product. This category is the number one area sites mess up on.

This one is not as necessary but is always on my wish list for programs. Residual income/keeping the customer is a very nice bonus and will have super affiliates swarming around you ;-).

The commission needs to be high enough for me to promote the product. If there is another company out there selling a product like yours at a higher commission (or even a product within the same field as yours), then my traffic will be going there instead of to your company. Also, do not make promises you cannot keep. Do not set a high payout and be forced to lower it later.

Sales copy is important. Give us a healthy amount to choose from. We will use this on our sites/in our mini ads. Many of us do not have the time to research your field for hours to write good copy ;-). A few images couldn't hurt either.

Though this is not necessary, providing an E-Zine which sells your product for affiliates to sign up our visitors in is nice (Just make sure our affiliate link is coded into each issue of the E-Zine ;-) ).

If the company is selling a product or doing a lead type site, provide a commission instead of doing CPC. If you do use CPC, then I can't make a high converting page for your site because I likely will not be able to buy traffic to send there since the CPC rate is adjusted for those who have lower converting sites. Of course if you are doing this for a content site, CPC all the way ;-).

Two-tier is great for recruiting affiliates but too much emphasis on this makes me think about the lower rates I am receiving due to the tiers. Do not forget that 90-95% of your affiliates will never make one sale for the company. On a somewhat related note, do not under any circumstances require affiliates to add something like "WebMasters make Money!" near your links. This is a complete turn off to me and makes my visitors think I am less professional.

I cannot stress the importance of good stats. Live are definitely the best. If stats are updated less than once a day, then I have no way of telling if minor changes I make to my promotional page(s) are increasing conversions. Stats should include sales, refunds, clicks, and possibly impressions (all by product type). Also, I would be very happy if you assigned additional tracking codes to affiliates. For example, affiliate 1 can see different stats from tracking codes x, y, and z. This would allow me to look at and find ways to increase conversions much easier. Very few affiliate programs do this and I certainly wouldn't need this feature to join the program (but it would be nice ;-) ).

Those are the ones I can think of off of the top of my head. I might have a few more later.

If you follow most everything covered in this post and WC's post (and the product(s) aren't in too much of a niche area), then you will run a very successful program.
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