I'm sitting in a session right now on Types and Value of Affiliates - Keys to Running a Healthy, Profitable Affiliate Program by Kush Abdulloev of VMInnovations. Loved the session. I picked up a few good ideas and reassurance of a few important points.
Here are my favorite points of this session:
- You do NOT need hundred and hundreds of coupon affiliates. You only need to work with the top 10-15. Don't let them trademark or trademark plus bid. It does not add any additional value to your program. Look to add incremental value from your affiliate partners.
- ONE affiliate newsletter has 800,000 email subscribers. Find these guys and work closely with them. That's 800,000 incremental people you do NOT currently have access to.
- Content sites are crucial to your affiliate program success. A post on Thesis by SugerRay made almost $40,000 in affiliate commissions from a single POST on her blog.
- Forums are great potential affiliate partners related to your niche. Find a forum related to your niche and partner with them.
- Be open to affiliates' syndication partners
- Comparison shopping sites are a huge opportunity to get your individual products listed in front of customers, and many of them have 9MM upwards visitors per month.
- Do not allow direct linking, trademark bidding, TM + terms because those people are looking for you, not affiliates, so there is not reason to allow it and share your margins.
- Don't allow your affiliates to bid on your competitor's trademark terms either, it's just not good practice.
- Sub-affiliate networks (pinterest - skimlinks - vminnovactions)
- Cash back and rewards sites are almost always going to be a top performing affiliate because people will always try to get as much value (whether in cash back or points) from their purchase as possible.
- Pros to working with cash back affiliates: introduction and reach to a new audience & additional incentive to purchase more
- Cons to working with cash back affiliates: you will never own that customer, they will always go back to the cash back site to buy more & there is potential for fraud & lower profit per sale.
- BEWARE of Parasite Ware: BHO, Adware, Toolbars - they POACH a transaction, promote their ads on YOUR site, CANNIBALIZE other channels and will drive valuable affiliates away.
- Watch out for Typo Squatters and avoid these guys. It is illegal in some countries and is against most merchant programs. You should NOT be rewarding affiliates for these sales.
- "Search Engine Optimization and Affiliates are our two biggest sales channels this year" - Kush Abdulloev.