We’ve got a big multinational staff of account managers who are the residents of the countries where our products are represented. This helps us provide our partners with the consultations regarding different important aspects of the advertising market of a given country, as well as the most actual communication channels and the peculiarities of the mentality and slang.
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As with many aspects of Web monetization, the exact strategies will vary from site to site. There’s no universally superior affiliate marketing offer or merchant. There are, however, some general guidelines on factors to consider when evaluating potential affiliate marketing offers. We’ll dive into several of these below. We’re using screenshots from ShareASale throughout this article to illustrate the process, but the tasks and terms will be generally similar across the major affiliate marketing networks.
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When formulating a commission structure, the first step is to consider all stakeholders involved in the transaction. Even though affiliate marketing is entirely performance-based — and nary a nickel gets paid unless a transaction occurs — there are several different parties taking a cut of that sale. The affiliate gets a percentage. The affiliate network gets a percentage. And, your affiliate manager might take a percentage. What initially seemed as a no-risk marketing channel could be one of your most expensive.
Of course, this is a generalization, and there are some programs that have made themselves exceptions to the rule. For example, I’ve seen many affiliate programs that offer low commission rates on products that are worth very little. I’ve also seen a few programs with items priced into the hundreds or thousands of dollars that offer commission rates of 20-30%.
Email is a relationship-builder with your potential customers. You want to send them a balance of useful information related to your niche, perhaps an email newsletter, as well as marketing messages, like a sales email, asking them to buy a product on sale. The free information you’ve provided helps them come to know, like, and trust you… which makes it more likely they’ll buy a product.
3. Super affiliates invest their time in networking with and learning from other successful people, whereas struggling affiliates often try to work alone, or listen to people who have a negative influence on them. In addition, super affiliates try to learn as much as possible from other successful people through books, audio, or DVDs. This is especially important when you’re not in a position or location where you can network with other successful Internet marketers face to face.
Kathleen: Well, let's start with referral programs then, because I feel like, from an inbound marketing stand point, referrals are so inboundy. What I mean by that is, you're taking somebody who's already said yes to you for their own reasons, and if they're happy, asking them to spread the word and making it easier for them to do so. Which is really at the heart of what inbound marketing is all about.
Constant consultations provided by our account managers help us achieve all of the above mentioned. The majority of them are the residents of the country where the products are provided. So, for example, if you are doing business in Italy, you will get a full information about all possible communication channels in this geo, and up to different slangs and mentallity in this region.
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
Once you have a large enough email list made-up of quality addresses you can demonstrate your value to the super affiliate clan of your choice. When a clan member launches a product there will be a period of aggressive promotion from all of the clan. This happens because all of the clan members are selling within an exclusive period when only they get commissions. After the initial launch, but usually while the product is still new, its creator will open up sales to any affiliate. That’s when you sign-up and sell the product to your own email list and to your blog readers. Sell hard. If you make enough sales the product creator will likely notice, even if he or she doesn’t contact you directly. This is the time to reach out. Contact the clan member and strike-up a conversation. In person is best so try to arrange a meeting at a conference you will both attend or just fly to wherever the super affiliate lives. If you must, email can work too, but it’s not as personal. Show the super affiliate clan member your own product and describe your launch plans, your own email list and the commissions you plan to offer during your exclusive period for select affiliates. Invite him or her to become a select affiliate, ask for advice and ask if there are other important affiliate sellers who will be interested in your upcoming product.
Email is still the most powerful medium in which to send promotions, newsletters, updates and offers. Make it even more effective with automated email marketing campaigns, personalized messaging and superior deliverability. Take advantage of Ontraport's detailed contacts database, and one of the highest delivery rates in the industry, to make sure that your marketing emails make it to the inbox.
Of course, there is no prescriptive recipe you can follow that guarantees success. To me, the best marketers are those that can simply build experiments, test assumptions, and iterate over their ideas quickly. Affiliate marketing is really no exception. Here are just a few tips and heuristics I’ve picked up through my experiences that should be helpful!