We think of affiliate marketing as the Superbowl of online advertising. It is based conceptually on the "pay per sale" model, meaning you pay commissions on leads generated by your banner ads that are hosted on publisher (affiliate) websites. There are no costs for impressions, like traditional online advertising, and no cost for clicks, as in the pay per click model. Affiliate marketing adds cost per sale consistency to your other marketing programs, stabilizing return on investment.
1. Pay Per Sale Solution
2. Turnkey Affiliate Management
Affiliate marketing is an excellent channel to grow your online marketing campaign. The pay per sale model supports return on investments.
Successful affiliate programs need constant attention, and the right management techniques, to grow your portfolio of marketing channels.
But like the Superbowl, you need a good team of strategy and creative to get there. Affiliate marketing does provide pay per sale cost effectiveness, but you do need to make sales for it to be of any value. Three or four sales a week isn't going to provide stability for the up and downs of other marketing channels, much less offset the cost of the program.
Affiliate Marketing Costs
Did we say cost for a pay per sale marketing channel? It is true you pay a commission to the publisher based on sales from ads you design for their websites, but there are also network fees. Affiliate networks such as LinkShare, Commission Junction, Google Affiliate, and Shareasale are organizers of affiliate marketing programs. They provide the service that partners Advertisers like you with publishers that run your ads. You will rarely have any direct contact with your affiliates, communication is all conducted through the network. You can expect to experience these costs launching your own affiliate program:
Setup fees. Setup fees will vary from network to network, but is generally a lump sum payment just to get your account opened.
Network Commissions. You will pay a commission for every sale to the publisher, but the network also gets a small commission. You decide on the commission rate for the publisher, the network gets a fixed rate.
Monthly Minimums. Some affiliate networks require a guaranteed monthly minimums. This only applies to the network and not the publishers. If they don't produce revenue, they don't get commission.
Affiliate Management. You can decide to setup and manage the affiliate program yourself, but you can also choose to hire an affiliate manager like us.
Banner Design. Affiliate publishers require ads and banners in all different sizes. More importantly, the better affiliates (meaning they have a lot of traffic) won't put up your ads if they look homemade or don't have a clear call to action.
Affiliate marketing is all about adding conservative, long term growth to your online marketing portfolio. You have to find the balance of value and promotion for your brand, and you have to test and tweak banner designs because you don't have any control over the quality of traffic that comes to any affiliate website.
Don't Be A Give-Away Artist
Many affiliate publishers, and for that matter, most online advertising programs will tell you BIG DISCOUNTS are needed to be successful in affiliate marketing. Stay the course.
The truth is that we have tested hundreds of thousands of online ads and the ones that work best are the ones that solve consumer problems. If you get a customer by price alone, you will lose them for price alone. Solve their problems and you will have a customer as long as you continue to do so.
That is not to say a strategically placed promotional offer doesn't have value. Everyone likes a deal, but first you should be their solution. The whole idea of affiliate marketing is to add customers, sales, and revenue at a fixed rate. Excessive discounts will defeat this purpose. You can get anyone to give away your products and services.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend avoiding discount and coupon websites as affiliates. These affiliates will eventually show up under your natural searching listings. New and repeat customers are likely to avoid your website and click to a coupon affiliate site for a special offer. This will steal your "free" brand traffic and result in sales with discounts you will also pay commission for.
All affiliate networks allow you the opportunity to approve or disapprove publishers that request joining your program. You also have the option of reversing commissions for violation of your terms.
Affiliate Network Reviews
There are many affiliate networks out there, which one is the best one for you? Solution Web Designs has extensive affiliate management experience with all the major networks.
Commission Junction is probably the largest affiliate network, and the choice for fortune 500 companies. They have a large international network, but they are also the most expensive network.
LinkShare probably has the best interface for affiliate management. We have found them to be the most negotiable, and even got them to suspend monthly minimums for the first few months to help you get started.
Shareasale is a smaller network with lower fees, and a lesser quality interface. However, we have generated some impressive revenue for publishers and advertisers.
Google Affiliate Network is a new player in the affiliate world, so they won't have all the publishers other networks do. However, they are growing quickly. We just love everything about Google, so expect their affiliate program to be tops soon. Their setup and commissions fees are very competitive, and we like the huge potential of their upside.
Pepperjam Network we found Pepperjam to be a cross between Shareasale and LinkShare. Like Shareasale, they are a good affiliate network for smaller to mid-sized companies.
Affiliate Scout is a giant directory of businesses that do affiliate marketing. Quality publishers use this site to find quality merchants like yourself, and with all instructions on how to join your program. Affiliates are also able to post commennts about your program if they like. This is a resource to attract publishers and look at your competition.
Protect Your Brand!
Just as important as protecting your natural brand traffic, is protecting your brand from affiliate pay per click ads. Buying your brand traffic is generally inexpensive for the affiliate. Again, you don't need help driving sales with your brand. When setting up your affiliate program, be sure to be specific in telling affiliates you do not allow pay per click bidding on your brand.
Solution Web Designs can help you setup a proper affiliate program that achieves long term growth, and helps stabilize the return on investment for all your marketing efforts. We can setup and manage the program for you, or just help you set it up and let you manage the affiliates. We can help you choose the right affiliate network and help you negotiate lower setup costs. Our expertise in banner designs will give your affiliate program a running head start. For more information, please contact us or use our online quote form.
There are millions and millions of affiliate publishers out there, but only a very small percentage of them are Super Affiliates.
A Super Affiliate is a single affiliate that produces the most or a significant portion of your sales and revenue.
We created and manage one Super Affiliate program that currently represents 65% of all the clients revenue by building a niche publisher website.
Super Affiliates also get special banners, promotions, and benefits other affiliates don't get, but you can easy double your affiliate revenue with a Super Affiliate.