- Deb and I have done podcasts together, educating merchants on how to run a successful affiliate program. She, from the merchant / OPM side and I as an affiliate. It’s good to make sure you and your partner are on the same page (more on this later).
- I was representing the press (as a blogger) and didn’t want to just cover affiliate sessions.
The session was definitely for beginners, meaning those people thinking about launching an affiliate program, or have just launched one, or have taken over one that has been around for a while, but not active.
Deb stressed educating yourself and preparing before launching your program. Lots of education can be done via MerchantABCs.com, Greg Hoffman’s eBook, or Geno Prussakov’s
Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day.
A point that was made: Don’t launch until the site is ready, as affiliates won’t come back later.
The discussion moved to talk about OPMs, and how to select one. I’m a big fan of OPMs, as they’re a great way for programs to launch properly and their connections in the industry can get your product / service in front of the right affiliates.
Then, Jeff and Deb talked about the various networks, and how to go about choosing one. There isn’t an answer that fits everyone, so check out where your competition is, and talk to other affiliates and affiliate managers.
The final step in the planning process is what I was interested in: plugging leaks & increasing conversions.
Affiliates want to work with sites that are converting – Loxly
Deb and I did a podcast on this a few months ago,
Now that your program is launched, it’s time to recruit by calling and emailing site owners, and telling them about your program. You have to stand out above the competition. Expect 90% of your revenue to come from 10% of your affiliates.
Remember when I said it’s good to make sure you and your partner are on the same page? This wasn’t always the case in this session. Jeff was constantly bashing coupon affiliates, and I’m afraid the audience walked away thinking there are no good coupon sites. While I agree many are bottom-feeders that prey on uneducated merchants, there are useful affiliate coupon sites. I asked Deb about this later in the show, and she agreed that not all coupon sites are bad, and has even outlined how to Build a Coupon Site the Right Way.
Aside from the coupon issue, this was a valuable session for merchants, whether just starting out or running a well-established program. Even if you think you know everything on a topic, listening to others can spark new ideas or provide a different opinion on how you’re doing things today.