Tag Archives: CPA

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!


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


Affiliate Marketing Program Basics: Affiliate Marketing Terms (Post 3 of 5)

Affiliate Marketing Terms

Part of educating yourself about any marketing medium is understanding the jargon.  It is easy to get caught up in alphabet soup.  It will be difficult to select the proper mediums for your marketing strategy if you do not have some level of understanding about the medium. Education is part of the puzzle. Listed below are several terms related to affiliate marketing.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but it will give you the basics. As always consult your marketing coach for more information.

Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. Source: Wikipedia

Publisher
A publisher, also known as an affiliate or reseller, is an independent party that promotes products and services of an advertiser in exchange for a commission on leads or sales. A publisher displays an advertiser’s ads, text links, or product links on their Web site, in e-mail campaigns, or in search listings. The publisher is paid a commission by the respective advertiser when a visitor takes a specific action such as filling out a form, subscribing to a service (both lead examples) or making a purchase (a sale).

Advertiser
An advertiser, also known as a merchant or retailer, is a Web site or company that sells a product or service online, accepts payments and fulfills orders. Advertisers partner with publishers to help promote their products and services. Publishers place advertisers’ ads, text links, or product links on their Web sites or include them in e-mail campaigns and search listings in exchange for commissions on leads or sales.

Performance-based Marketing
Paying for actions taken by a consumer as they occur on the Internet, rather than paying up front for advertising space. Any type of revenue sharing program where a publisher receives a commission for generating a lead or sale for an advertiser.

Commission Payout
A commission payout is an amount of income received by a publisher for some quantifiable action such as selling an advertiser’s product and/or service on the publisher’s Web site.

Click-through (also called click)
A click-through refers to the action a consumer takes when they are referred from one Web site through a link or advertisement and is taken to another Web site. Click-through ratio is the percentage of clicks for the number of advertising impressions displayed.

CPA (cost per action)
CPA is a metric for online advertising where a rate is set for every action that is taken by a user.

CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
CPM is a metric for online advertising where a rate is set for every thousand impressions.

Impression
An impression is the viewing of an advertising banner, link, or product on the Internet.

Conversion Rate
The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. The action that determines conversion is determined by the advertiser and may be a sale on the advertiser’s Web site, a completed lead form, or another action.

-KK

Source: All terms unless specified were taken directly from Commission Junction one of the four large players in the Affiliate marketing space (more on CJ on Day 4).

Affiliate Marketing Programs Basics: Is affiliate marketing appropriate for my business? (Post 2 of 5)

Affiliate Program – Yes or No?

Properly planned and managed affiliate programs can become an additional revenue stream for your business. If you read this blog you know that I believe proper planning is a key element to a success strategy. 

Before you dive into an affiliate marketing program it is important to make sure you are educated on the basics.  Failure to fully assess which advertising mediums are best for your company will cause your entire marketing plan to not make the grade. Depending on the type of product you sell, an affiliate program may be an excellent idea or it may be a terrible one. As part of your planning process make sure you know where you fall on this continuum.

Is an affiliate program right for my company?

Affiliate programs can be successful for a wide range of advertisers. Consider an affiliate program if you offer…

  1. Product or services that have broad appeal
    1. Find a network with a large, mass audience
      1. hint: start with a few select targets – go too broad & it is more difficult to manage
  2. Specialized or niche products or services
    1. Find a specialized network geared for your niche market
  3. Business to business products or services
    1. You can build a successful program with an affiliate provider that has a strong B2B network

If you are still uncertain whether an affiliate program is right for our organization contact your marketing coach. Feel free to drop me a line for general questions. I may blog about your questions.

The next blog will unpack some of the terms used in affiliate marketing.

-KK

Note: Companies that produce or sell raw/unfinished materials or extremely high-ticket items may not be the best candidates for an affiliate program.

Affiliate Marketing Programs Basics: Affiliate Marketing Defined (Post 1 of 5)

As a small business owner there are more online marketing options available than one can keep up with. Not every marketing channel is appropriate for every company.

An affiliate marketing program may provide an additional revenue stream for your business – if it is the right fit.

What is an affiliate marketing program?  

(Also called Affiliate Marketing, Advertising, Performance Marketing, Partner Marketing, CPA, or Associate Program) In an affiliate marketing program, a publisher receives a commission for generating a transaction, such as a lead or sale, for an advertiser that the publisher is promoting. The advertiser provides its ads to publishers and assigns a commission for each action it wants to accomplish. Publishers place the tracking code for these ads on their Web sites, in their email campaigns, or in search listings. Whenever a visitor uses these links to generate an action on the advertiser site, that transaction is tracked online. If a product or service is purchased, the customer pays the advertiser directly, and the publisher is paid a commission for that transaction.
Source: Commission Junction

Many affiliate program providers have a self-managed option or the program can be totally managed for you. If you have a marketing coach or a marketing person on staff I would recommend the self-managed option.  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.

Why would I want an affiliate program?

Properly planned and managed affiliate programs can become an additional revenue stream for your business. Success metrics for affiliate programs are easy to establish and measure. Since affiliate programs can directly generate revenue measuring ROI becomes easier.

Educate Yourself

If you think your company could benefit from an affiliate program it is important to fully educate yourself before making this decision.  Being educated about the good, the bad and the ugly sides of affiliate marketing is a key element to a successful program. As with many forms of online marketing and advertising set up can be a daunting task. Once the program is set-up strong, regular maintenance is required however; it will not be as intense as the initial set up process can be. Make sure you have done the necessary research and understand affiliate marketing before starting the actually process.  I learned from experience this will save you time. If you have someone in mind you can run your affiliate program for you, make sure they have experience or are going through the education process with you.

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5-Part Blog Series on Affiliate Marketing Programs

To coach you along and help in your education process there will be four more posts related to Affiliate Marketing.  I hope you will read them all and then consult your marketing coach for more information.

Affiliate Marketing Program Basics
  • Post 1 – Affiliate Marketing Defined
  • Post 2 – Is affiliate marketing appropriate for my business?
  • Post 3 – Affiliate marketing terms
  • Post 4 – Choosing an Affiliate Program network
  • Post 5 – Self-managed vs. Managed program

Helping you get affiliated…

-KK


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