Affiliate programs and SEO Explained

If you want to have 100′s or even 1000′s of other websites (called affiliates) promoting your products and services then you need to follow some basic steps to get going. You also have different options open to you.

You can engaage an affiliate network like Commission Junction, Be Free, LinkShare or Performics. These networks handle almost everything as well as tracking and payments and for this they charge you a hefty percentage of the sale. These networks will also charge you a couple of thousand dollars to get your affiliate program up and running.

There are also many smaller affiliate networks to choose from that charge smaller fees. Alternatively you can engage a web firm to integrate affiliate tracking software onto your website and get your program going in-house. This is usually the cheaper option but the most time-intensive for you to get going.

Some key terms

Affiliate: The owner of the site that displays a merchant’s products and services. Affiliates agree to place merchant promotions on their Web site in the form of graphic or text links for the purpose of selling a merchant’s goods and services. In return, the affiliate earns commissions, which vary by merchant, on click throughs, leads, or purchases made through the links on their site.

Affiliate Marketing: A system of selling products or services in context over the Internet that allows online merchants to promote their goods or services within the content of 1000′s of affiliated web sites. Affiliate marketing allows merchants to pay their affiliates based on performance.

Affiliate Sales Channel: The relationship created when merchants and affiliates enter into a joint agreement that allows the individual sites to display the merchant’s products or services in exchange for a performance-based commission.

Affiliate Site: Internet location or URL where affiliates place links to a merchant’s Web site. An affiliate can have one or many web sites.

To successfully launch an affiliate program merchants must usually follow these steps:

1. Pre-launch
2. Launch
3. Affiliate recruitment
4. Creative development
5. Affiliate program management

Pre-Launch

Before launching a program, your site and products are presented to some professional affiliates to get their input and feedback on how well your product will do, what needs to be changed on the site, and what, if anything, they would like to see from you in terms of support tools and affiliate based features.

This may involve:

  • Conducting competitive analysis
  • Review of your products
  • Network competitor insights
  • Key target partner review and
  • Initial recruiting and commission structure recommendations

Launching

  • Initial recruiting and commission structure recommendations
  • Affiliate communication strategy
  • Development of affiliate content
  • Completion of “Pre-launch” checklist provided by Affiliate Network.

This will usually include:

  • Welcome page
  • What’s new section
  • Support forum links
  • Points of contact
  • Recommended product links
  • FAQs
  • Best sellers lists
  • Partner bonus section
  • Content usage FAQs

Affiliate recruiting and management

  • Strategic affiliate recruitment
  • Manual affiliate application approval.
  • Nominating an affiliate manager
  • Affiliate communications
  • New affiliate welcome and ‘getting started’ suggestions
  • Ongoing Affiliate account management
  • Daily affiliate support
  • Handle affiliate’s technical and program related questions
  • Affiliate segmentation;
  • Campaign development;
  • Incentives;
  • Contests;
  • Payment management

Here are some options for starting an affiliate program

iDevAffiliate.com: Affiliate Software.

Here’s their description: “Adding affiliate tracking software to your site is one of the most effective ways to achieve more sales, more traffic and more search engine ranking! Our affiliate software installs in just minutes and through the use of Smarty Templates, easily integrates into your existing website.”

Clixgalore.com.au: for Australian website owners.

Here’s their description: “Easily build your own Affiliate Marketing program and drive buying customers to your website, boosting your sales, leads and website traffic by promoting and using your own large ‘pay for performance’ Affiliate Marketing sales team. This sales team will widely promote your websites products and services. Affiliate Marketing and Affiliate networks are very effective website promotion strategies. Their strategic use can significantly boost your sales results, product branding and website traffic. Join the clixGalore Affiliate Marketing network and easily build your own ‘sale – CPA’, ‘lead – CPL’, or ‘click – CPC’ based Affiliate program. clixGalore works seamlessly with 99% of all shopping carts and stores.”

CommissionMonster.com.au: for Australian website owners.

Here’s their description: Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing and sales solution offering internet marketing services to advertisers, publishers and agencies. All Commission Monster clients relationships operate on a pay-for-performance basis. Our client’s set the price they are willing to pay to reach your goal, and we get paid when we achieve it .

Our clients might offer us $8.00 for each new subscriber, or 25% of any revenue generated. The terms of the proposal are completely up to the client and in consultation with our performance experts to achieve the best results for you.

Commission Monster network acts as a trusted third party, facilitating a positive working relationship between merchants and affiliates where everyone benefits. To achieve this we develop a strategic online relationship with advertisers to improve the creation, management, and analysis of online marketing and sales activities. These activities are supported by a scalable and reliable tracking technology.

Commission Monster recruits publishers to join advertising programmes; manages the offers made to affiliates; tracks and measures online consumer traffic and actions that each affiliate drives to the advertiser’s website.

We are also able to analyse the effectiveness of individual offers and affiliates; we track and process the payments due to each affiliate for the actions performed.

Advertisers (Merchants) seeking to increase their revenues by featuring content and advertisements are put in touch with affiliate websites.

These affiliates then receive a fee for each sale or customer acquisition, which is made as a direct result of this referred traffic.”

AffiliateShop offers an easy, quick and effective way to set up an affiliate program. It allows you to offer to pay-per-lead, pay-per-click, pay-per-sale. Affiliate Shop has a setup fee of $395 and a monthly fee of $45.

Commission Junction is a very large network of merchants that you can quickly establish a pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale program.

Performics a professional, large affiliate network with big namebrands.

LinkShare is a large network which handles revenue sharing arrangements.

ClickBank allows sellers of information products to set up a simple affiliate program easily and cheaply and they allow you to accept payments by credit card for which they charge you a percentage of each sale. It has about 100,000 affiliates.

PayDotCom is a budget-priced competitor of ClickBank

ClickXchange will enable you to build your own affiliate program paying per-click, per-lead, per-sale, or per-impression basis.

Ultimate Affiliate 2000 script by Groundbreak

MYAP : My Affiliate Program software

About our SEO services

  • You should only engage SEO firms with credibility and critically, proof. We offer both.
  • Not on the 1st page of the search engines? You are losing 80% of your potential searchers.
  • Work with a team that engages the top media research company to analyse our own sites.
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  • We use the same team and methods as we do on our own large network of sites.
  • We specialize in SEO, link building and local search marketing.
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