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Tips for choosing an effective affiliate program
Fecha: 2010-09-20 14:17:02

Factors that any prospective affiliates should investigate when joining an affiliate program...

You have a great website and you’re pulling in some heavy traffic. Now you’ve decided to join an online affiliate program to make the most of the advertising space available on your site. When looking for programs to join what factors do you need to consider to ensure that you don’t waste your time. Below are some issues that you should investigate before or as soon as possible after signing up with any affiliate program.

Does the affiliate program:

Incentivise correctly?

Make sure that their commission structure (for example a percentage sliding scale vs. a fixed rate) is appropriate for your needs. By offering a higher rate of percentage on sales for sales over a certain amount programs can motivate you to try and up sell their product. The more sales made through your site, the more the commission structure works in your favour.

Check out the marketplace and assess whether the commission they are offering is competitive. This is often dependant on the type of products / services they are offering. If they are not offering an appropriate rate then don’t hesitate to try out other programs.

Consider also what exactly they are going to be rewarding you for. For example will they only be rewarding you for sales? Or will they be providing incentives for lead referrals as well?

Have acceptable terms & conditions?

This goes without saying! Ensure that you have gone through their T’s & C’s with a fine tooth comb. Lookout especially for any areas where they can withhold your commission, for example if you remove advertising they may withhold any commission earned for the period that the advertising was removed.

Pay properly?

“Getting paid” comes up again and again on affiliate forums and affiliate related sites as the number one concern for most affiliates when engaging in an affiliate program. Fair enough, most commercially minded people wouldn’t work for free so why expect you to? You, as an affiliate, have put together a website and a proposed strategy for driving traffic to merchants’ sites so the least you can expect is to be rewarded as per the agreed commission structure.

Make sure that their system is tracking sales correctly and that other affiliates are being paid when they are meant to. This is the most basic and important factor of keeping affiliates happy. If they are messing this up then don’t bother with the rest.

Communicate effectively?

As with all relationships, communication is key! Make sure that they have made themselves available to be contacted as much as possible and ensure that your queries and concerns are dealt with efficiently and effectively.

Ideally the affiliate accounts manager would need to provide all the conceivable contact details that you as a valuable affiliate might need: Telephonic (landline and mobile), email, MSN messenger, Skype and even if possible all their relevant social media profile details such as Linked In, Facebook to name a few.

The more options you have for contacting your account manager the easier and more natural the communication will be. This can only serve to foster a better relationship between you and the affiliate program managers.

Is their communication only reactive, or are they proactive in their communication as well? Do they contact their affiliates to get feedback or suggestions from them? If you are affiliated to other merchants then it is very possible that you can learn valuable information from them.

Regular newsletters, updates on their website and maybe even an affiliate blog are all great channels that any affiliate program worth its salt should engage in.

Depending on your location and size as an affiliate it may even be appropriate for them to engage in some interpersonal contact as well (provided of course that are comfortable with this). Being taken out for lunch or being invited around to meet their team can be a valuable exercise to help both sides understand how the other is operating.

By meeting face-to-face you are also greatly strengthening your relationship and this is conducive to a better working partnership.

Share campaign information?

This will tie into the point above about having effective communication in place with your account manager.

It is essential that you as an affiliate are given adequate notice of all upcoming campaigns and promotions they will be running and that you have been provided with all the relevant marketing materials (campaign banners, copy/content etc) way in advance.

You would want the maximum exposure for their campaign and any delay in getting the promotional material up will eat into the possible increases in commission that their promotion could bring you.

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