Monthly Archives: November 2010

5-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing Programs

5-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing Programs

Before making a decision if an affiliate marketing program is right for your small business, read each post and then consult your marketing coach for more information.

Affiliate Marketing Program Basics

There is so much information to share – this series barely scratches the surface.  That’s why a good marketing coach is a key element for a small business without a marketing staff.

Coaching everyday…

-KK

Have experience with affiliate marketing programs? What’s missing from the posts above? Comments are welcome!


LinkedIn Direct Ads

Testing 1-2-3

I am a PPC veteran.  This and a buck fifty might get me a cup of coffee.  The online marketing and social media landscape changes so rapidly that you can be an expert in something in six months and a dinosaur in 10 seconds.

In an effort to promote my business as a marketing coach I am running a small test campaign LinkedIn Direct Ads geo-targeted to small business owners in my local area.  This pool is very small (about 1000 LinkedIn members). 

Clearly defining your goal before begin any marketing campaign is critical.  I have two:

  • Gain more readers for this blog
  • Find additional clients for my coaching and consulting business

Four ad variations, four headlines and two images are being tested in this campaign.  It has been up for about 24 hours and three of the four ad variations have about 250 impressions each- so far no clicks. I just added the fourth variation based on my results to date.  At some point I will review my campaign and revise where needed.  The method of review and revise for all types of marketing campaigns is a key element for success. 

As I mentioned my CTR (click through rate) is currently zero.  Here are some potential reasons why this is the case. Part of my review and revise methodology is to look at this list and determine what fits given all the factors involved.

Some possible reasons could be:

  • My ads are not compelling enough to illicit the desired response
  • My audience pool is too small
  • LinkedIn is not the right advertising venue for my services
  • The campaign has not had enough time for my audience to feel compelled to click through
  • A combination of any of these reasons
  • A multitude of other reasons

As a PPC veteran I am very aware that there are many reasons why a campaign might succeed or fail.  Sometimes it is about trial and error.  It helps when you have an experienced marketing professional who can coach you along the way.  If you are the coach you had better take your own advice.

I’ll keep you posted…

-KK


Thursday Threads

V   Veracity – Be consistently truthful in what you say.
       People really are paying attention.

A   Adjust – Continually assess and adjust your approach to
       customer relationships.

L   Listen – Really listen to what your customers are telling
       you.  You may learn something.

U   Understand – Identify with your customer’s position. It
       will strengthen your relationship.

E   Effort – When you make the effort to be truthful, listen,
       understand and adjust you bring immeasurable value.


Affiliate Marketing Program Basics: Managed vs. Self-Managed (Post 5 of 5)

Time v. Money 

Experience v. Learning Curve

 

Choosing the right management option along with choosing the right affiliate network are key elements to the success of your program.

Once you have done the research, educated yourself on the various affiliate marketing options you will need to decide if you plan to manage the program internally or have it managed by your affiliate network provider.   

Note for clarity –I am talking about managed vs. self-managed using an affiliate network provider like the ones discussed in Post #4

The term “self-managed” can also apply to affiliate tracking software one can install on their site and build an affiliate program completely from the ground up.  The benefit of going with a network is that they already have publishers and merchants as well as experience and support for the affiliate rookie.

Self-Managed

Self-managed means that you, someone in your organization, or your marketing coach will manage all aspects of your affiliate marketing program.  This includes everything from the launch of your program to the daily operations. There is a substantial time commitment involved in getting the affiliate program set up properly, recruiting publishers to join your network, managing the commissions and product offerings. 

Even with the self-managed option you can get assistance from the program provider during the initial set up.  Do not hesitate to call on your program provider to share their expertise in recruiting publishers and optimizing your campaign.  Since most program fees are based on a percentage of sales it is still in their best interest to make sure you succeed.

Managed Program

A managed program (by your affiliate program network) typically includes an account manager assigned to manage the daily workings of the program, facilitate publisher recruiting and staying on top of ad expirations, product offerings, etc.

Managed programs relieve the burden of necessary daily tasks.  However, in my experience, you still want someone within your organization to provide management oversight for the program.

Decision Time

Saving money is a real benefit of managing the program internally.  However many affiliate networks do not offer managed programs for small merchants.  By managing the program yourself you can save on the management fees (which can include flat rates, minimum rates and percentage of sales).  You will pay a premium for the managed version, however if you do not have the right person who can devote the necessary time to building your program then the managed version would be worthwhile.

Properly planned and managed affiliate programs may become an additional revenue stream for your business. Make sure you understand all the available management options (and the value-added options) before you choose an affiliate network program provider.  As always, consult your marketing coach during the selection process.  He or she can help you avoid the pitfalls and work towards making an affiliate program a profitable revenue stream for your business.

Helping you get affiliated…

-KK


Affiliate Marketing Program Basics: Choosing an Affiliate Program Network (Post 4 of 5)

Pick One – the right one!

A key element to a successful affiliate program is selecting the right network. This can be a daunting task.  There are many options to choose from and some are better than others.  There are four top tier players in the affiliate marketing space.  However, the top networks are prohibitive for most small business owners.  Some of the smaller networks may be just the right fit for your small business.

 To implement an affiliate program you must already be selling your product or service online. Most programs require merchants/advertisers (that’s you) to meet a minimum monthly payout in commissions or a minimum monthly fee if the commissions threshold is not reached.

As a small business owner keep the following in mind when choosing an Affiliate Program Network:

  1. Initial investment in creative, start up fees, access fees, transactions fees, etc.
  2. Size of the network
    1. Bigger is not always better.  Depends on your goals – are you looking to reach mass market? Are you looking for a niche audience?
  3. Players in the network
    1. Who are other advertisers and publishers on the network?
  4. Support provided by the program provider
    1. Do they have both the option for you to manage the program or for them to manage it for you?
  5. Cost for services of the provider (everything from self-managed programs to complete management services)

Affiliate Networks worth considering

  1. Shareasale
  2. Pepperjam Network
  3. Panthera Network

Want to look beyond these three networks? Instead of recreating the wheel and compiling a list of affiliate networks I have provided links to a few robust lists.

Comprehensive Lists of Affiliate Networks

  1. Associateprogams.com
  2. Affiliateseeking.com
  3. The Top 10 List of the Best Affiliate Networks (selfseo.com)

As always, don’t get in over your head.  Consult with a marketing coach who has experience – even if it is only to ask a few questions. It will be time well spent.

-KK


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