Communication is Key!
When building an affiliate network communicating
with affiliates is important for merchants to
maintain a good relationship. An affiliate's web
site targets visitors, who may not necessarily
view a merchant's web site, and therefore expands
a merchants market. An affiliate may not be able
to actively keep up with the merchants product,
it is important for a merchant to keep affiliate's
informed about new product information, sales,
new releases, links, graphics, promotions and
Keep in mind, not all affiliates are going to
produce a high volume of traffic, and importantly,
visitors who want to purchase a merchant's products
or services. The occasional gem makes the time
taken well worth your effort. Talk with successful
affiliates, find out what they are doing to effectively
promote your software, and use that information
to assist those affiliates who are not as successful.
Assist affiliates in understanding your product;
no one knows your products like you do. For affiliates
to drive traffic that will convert to sales, they
need to understand the benefits of the product
they are marketing. Once an affiliate knows the
product, they will be better able to act as an
extended sales force. In order for the affiliate
to make the effort, you simply must support them!
Make Communication Easy
Many 3rd party affiliate-tracking programs notify
both the affiliate and merchant of a sale. This
can often be automated and will create positive
communication between merchants and affiliates.
Making an affiliate's role easier will help them
increase earnings and further promote a merchants
Provide affiliates with great looking graphics
and sample text. Graphics that work best are those
that highlight your web site, yet fit the look
of an affiliate's web site.
Newsletters are another great way to get information
to affiliates. Include tips and specific for affiliates,
along with general marketing advice that helps
with site promotion. If you are looking for software
to manage newsletters, I highly recommend Group
Mail -. http://tinyurl.com/23ljy
An affiliate generates a sale for a product and
the merchant promptly decreases the commission.
This sends a very negative message to the affiliate,
in many cases they've taken a lot of time to place
links, promote products and because they've driven
effective traffic their commission is decreased.
If its necessary to decrease a commission for
whatever reason, be sure to include a personal
note detailing the reason and letting the affiliate
know that you still support their efforts.
An affiliate sale occurs, you go to their website
and don't find any links you decide they must
be cheating you! This conclusion is simply a based
on poor communication and reporting. Many, many
affiliates have multiple sites, very few affiliate
tracking programs allow affiliates to list multiple
sites, and in many cases the number of sites listed
do not accurately reflect the number of sites
owned and managed by the affiliate. Additionally
many affiliates manage opt-in newsletters that
may result in sales, but links are not visible
on a website. An example of a popular ezine often
promoting affiliates is Lockergnome!
Links, Links, Links
Keep your links valid! If you update a section
of the site or remove an offer provide a redirect
or retain the link saying that such and such offer
has expired and a new one has replaced it. It
seems a waste to discard targeted traffic because
a special has expired. Be sure to communicate
with your affiliates, and if a link will only
be good for a specified length of time tell them
up front. When an offer expires notify affiliates
a week prior to the expiration with a reminder.
This will give them ample time to make any needed
Affiliates love added bonuses for reaching goals
or specified levels of sales. Many of the 3rd
party affiliate vendors run contests and provide
large incentives for their top performing ones.
Reward and praise successful affiliates.
Affiliates tend to be experts in other areas,
which relate to a merchants business; therefore,
by communicating useful information, and helping
affiliates increase their earnings, they will
give added exposure and increase your sales. Communicating
with affiliates will ultimately benefit visitors
of both sites. A little effort in the beginning
can mean big rewards in the long run.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage,
a company specializing in alphanumeric paging,
SMS and wireless messaging software solutions.
Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com
, and http://www.small-business-software.net
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