How Internet Marketing Services Can Help Your Business Thrive

The world wide web is transforming the way people do business. It has re-shaped the relationship between companies and their customers in a way never imagined before. Instead of setting up offices and branches in other cities or countries, now all businesses have to do is create a website and they can grab the attention of the entire world in an instant. Not only is it much more cost effective, but it is a thousand times faster than opening a physical office or point of sale.

The role of a website has evolved from being a promotional gimmick for a business. It is now a vital part of any promotional campaign. In truth, there are thousands of companies that operate solely off of an internet presence. Nevertheless, to make the most of a website business opportunity you need to be familiar with the intricate formulas of online marketing, and this is where an internet marketing service can help you.

Instead of wasting time running around in circles, uncertain of what you are doing, and hoping you got it right, the prime option is to acquire top expert advice and tips from a knowledgeable online marketing professional. Just simply putting your site up and hoping for the best will not grant you business success online, it takes so much more to become profitable.

A web marketing campaign can be highly as complicated, in truth, a thousand times more intricate, than conventional promotional drives. Despite this, there is a plus side, that contrary to conventional promotion channels, internet marketing campaigns can be closely and easily observed for their efficiency as the results are simple to extrapolate.

Your business entity can grow rapidly if you utilize the web intelligently, However, to use it intelligently one needs to have time to gain the relevant experience. There’s an old proverb: a smart man learns from the errors of others, a buffoon learns from his own. In short, a smart person will learn from the mistakes of others if they’re displayed broadly for all to see.

There are so many internet marketing services, offering valuable information that can save you enormous amounts of time and money. It would be a total travesty for you not to be able to access all the resources at your fingertips. Successful business owners and entrepreneurs often have the same successful habits, they learn very early on that they cannot do everything themselves. In order to reach their goals they must leverage the time, resources, and expertise of others whilst they focus on the big picture.

Unfortunately, not all internet marketing services offer the perfect solution, at times you may need to go through a few wannabe experts before finding the genuine article. But here are a few important services any professional worth his salt must be able to provide your local business.

1. One to one consultation and evaluation. The very first thing an IM service should be offering is an in-depth conversation with your company to establish your history, background, philosophies, ambition, vision of the future, and what your online dream is. In addition to this a full analytical breakdown of your web property and what adjustments need to made to improve exposure.

2. Strategic development. The success of your online promotion will hinge on the plans developed in the early consultations. As no two companies are the same, it is important that a bespoke advertising and promotion campaign is devised that best reflects the core values, circumstance, and position of the business represented. Failure to capture the true essence of the business and it’s personally could be disastrous.

3. Lead Generation. The ability to produce useful information that creates interest and forces action is crucial for a business online. An internet marketing service must have the technical knowledge and capabilities to implement lead generation systems for list building, email marketing, and product development, through multiple channels to drive new and valued custom to the business.

4. Know the numbers. The most vital service your professional liaison must provide is knowledge. The landscape of online business is a volatile one. It is constantly shifting and re-shaping itself, a professional in this environment has to be on top of the latest developments in techniques, strategies, tactics, and technologies. Falling behind in terms of practices could lead to loss of market share, position, and profits, not to mention penalties for search engine violations, if you’re not tuned into the latest updates.

As your business progresses into the online arena, you may find the services of a professional internet marketing consulting company extremely beneficial. Nevertheless, most businesses believe they can do everything themselves, and go it alone to save money as there is a lot of free information online. This is fine as long as you act on what you learn, there is little reason for it not to prove beneficial. Regrettably, though, the lack of action is the major eliminator of online business success, people just fail to take action on what they’ve learnt.

Nevertheless, one has the chance to lift their business to unparalleled heights by building a significant internet presence, and you can do it all with the expertise available from a local internet marketing service.

Online Affiliated Marketing

Online Affiliate Marketing is a revenue sharing venture between a website owner and an online merchant. The website owner will place advertisements on his websites to either help sell the merchant’s products or to send potential customers to the merchant’s website, all in exchange for a share of the profits.

Affiliate Marketing Program
An affiliate marketing program is sometimes called an affiliate program, but also may be referred to as a pay-for-performance program or an associate program. An affiliate program is a marketing tool for the e-business that operates it, called merchant or advertiser and a source of revenue for the e-business that participates in it, called an affiliate or associate or publisher.

There are three ways to earn money through affiliate marketing:
1) Pay per Click or Cost-per-click affiliate programs: Every time a potential customer leaves the affiliate website by “clicking” on the link leading to the merchant’s website, a certain amount of money is deposited in the affiliate’s account. This amount can be pennies or dollars depending on the product and amount of the commission.
2) Pay per Lead or Cost-per-lead affiliate programs: The merchant pays the affiliate a set fee for each visitor who clicks through and takes and action at the merchant’s site, such as completing an online survey, registering at the site, or opting-in to receive e-mail.
3) Pay per Sale or Cost-per-sale affiliate programs: Every time a sale is made as a result of advertising on the affiliate’s website, a percentage, or commission, is deposited into the affiliate’s account.

The Amazon Story
The world’s biggest bookstore has one of the most successful examples of an affiliate program (called their associate program). Amazon now has well over 1 million affiliates! That is over 1 million websites actively promoting their products every single second of every single day. Amazon generates over 40% of its revenue through its affiliates program. That is over $3 billion in revenue every single year! As another (somewhat humble by comparison) example, Zeald generates over 50% of its revenue using its own unique affiliates program. Admittedly, not quite billions of dollars but that is definitely millions of dollars of revenue every single year.

Thousands of diverse e-businesses operate affiliate programs: E.g. barnes&nobale, dell,1-800-flowers, rackspace managed hosting etc.

Affiliate Programs as a Marketing Tool
The two major Advantages to merchant
1. Tie marketing effort directly to a lead or sales.
2. The merchant pays only for results.
The two major Advantages to affiliate
1. Additional source of revenue for affiliate who also sells products/services
2. Primary source of revenue for affiliate who offers entertainment or information
Two Approaches to Operating a Successful Affiliate Marketing
1. Acquire a huge and affiliate membership. e.g. The Amazon associates programs have over 1 million members as diverse as:
– RVPart – Sells parts for recreational vehicles and motor homes.
– Dilbert – Site for view cartoons, play games, send electronic greeting cards etc
– Books for Managers – Site for business reviews and lists of the currant top-selling business-related books provided by Business week, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other publications.
– HaperCollins – Its site to promote its authors and their books. However, like many book publishers. HaperCollins sells its books through bookstores and not directly to the public.
2. Acquire a smaller number of highly effective affiliates that have a high volume of website traffic and offer web page content, products and services that are directly related to the merchant’s products and services.

Affiliate Programs as a Revenue Source
Participating in an affiliate program and then getting the most out of your participation involves:
– Selecting the appropriate merchant and affiliate program for your e-business
– Understand the terms of the affiliate agreement
– Add custom links to merchant’s site from affiliate Web pages
– Build traffic at affiliate site to increase click-troughs to merchant site.

Top 10 Tips for Choosing the Affiliate Program That Is Right for You
1. You have to identify a product or service for which there is a need. The product should be such that you would love and enjoy promoting it. You could start by searching for “Affiliate Programs” in the Search Engines.
2. The product or service should be relevant to your website.
3. It is always wise to join an affiliate program that is long standing, safe and secure and has a good reputation in the Internet world. This can be easily verified from the Better Business Bureau or other similar organizations. Visits to Forums and Discussion Groups will also provide you with a lot of useful information.
4. Most affiliate program providers provide a commission of 5% to 50%. The commission you earn for the sale of a product is your main income. So while choosing an affiliate program you should study the commission paid out and decide on a program that pays at least 35% for you to run your business successfully.
5. There should be a proper tracking system in place to record all the clicks and sales made through the text links and banners placed on your website, e-mails and other advertisements.
6. One important factor that is often overlooked is the “hits per sale ratio”. This indicates the number of hits that have to be made to a Text Link or Banner to generate a sale. This will give you an idea as to how much traffic is needed before a sale is made.
7. How often are commissions paid? This is another important matter that should be considered. Most reputed organizations pay their affiliates monthly or when they accumulate a minimum commission of $50 to $ 100 or as indicated by you. You should avoid any program that requires too many sales to reach the minimum amount.
8. Affiliate Programs are generally single tier or two tiers. A single tier program pays you for whatever business you have generated. On the other hand a two tier program pays you for the business you have generated and also a commission for the sales generated by a sub- affiliate, you have sponsored. A two tier program is always advantageous.
9. Long standing reputed organizations provide a whole range of tools and resources such as Banners, Text Links, Brochures, Websites and training for their affiliates. When choosing look out for such organizations because they certainly make life much easier and helps you grow your home based business.
10. Finally, you must read and understand the agreement before you join as an affiliate even if it happens to be the best organization in the world.

Understanding the Affiliate Agreement
The affiliate agreement created by the merchant and agreed by the affiliate, defines all aspects of the affiliate program and typically includes:
– Types of Web sites merchant will accept into the affiliate program
– Types of links allowed and guidelines regarding their use.
– Schedule and payments terms of fees and commissions
– Terms of usage of merchant logo, name and web content
– Technical specification that your web site must meet, if any
– Restrictions on types of content that may appear on affiliate sites
– Requirements for compliance with all government laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations.

Affiliate Tracking Systems
– Allow merchant to control how it credits click-throughs
– Monitor window of time in which affiliate can get credit for a click-through
– Record and store affiliate information
– Provide commission/fee reports

Affiliate management networks
An affiliate management network is a third-party entity that recruits affiliates, manages the registration process, tracks and properly credits all of the fee and commissions and arranges for payment. In return for these services, the affiliate management network collects from the merchant a percentage of each referral transaction’s fee or commission-perhaps as much 30 percent.

Well-established affiliate management networks: Example: Commission Junction, LinkShare [2]

Affiliate tracking technologies
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. Keeping track of the click-throughs and properly crediting the affiliates is a complex programming task. Companies such as BeFree and ClickTrade sell software that automatically monitors and credits all followed links resulting in a sale. Note that ClickTrade was acquired by Microsoft and is now co-branded as part of Microsoft bCentral.

Some tracking technologies are following:
– Custom links containing affiliate information or affiliate and merchant information
– Tracking cookies
– Third-party tracking software
– Application service provider tracking service
– Sub Domain tracking
– Database record matching.

Affiliate Marketing Risks and Challenges
Affiliate marketing is not without certain risks and challenges primarily form unethical affiliates and the negative perceptions online consumers have about tracking technologies.

Unethical Affiliates
– Cookie stuffing – Multiple cookies placed on visitor’s hard drive during a single visitor affiliate site.
– Spyware – General term used to describe software that has been installed on a personal computer without the owner’s permission, its unknowingly download and install spyware when you download games, screensavers, freeware utilities and so forth.
– Parasiteware – Redirects affiliate links and Replaces content of existing tracking cookies
– Spammers – Merchant is responsible if affiliates use spam to promote sites
– Negative perception of tracking cookies – Many consumers install and use blocking software which includes Block tracking cookies and Delete tracking cookies.

Why Affiliate Marketing Is Profitable for E-Business
If you have been considering an affiliate marketing venture, there are some very good reasons why you should go with this method of generating recurring revenue. Here are some of the ways that affiliate marketing can be a lucrative means of creating income that will be stable and allow you to grow exposure over time.
– One of the first advantages of affiliate marketing for the new entrepreneur is that the startup cost is very low. Most companies that offer affiliate marketing programs do not require any type of monetary investment on the part of the affiliate.
– The second expenses are limited to what you have to pay to connect with the Internet, the software you may need to load on your computer, and a web site where the ads associated with the affiliate marketing program can be placed. With web site hosting such an inexpensive service these days, setting up your own web site for the affiliate ads will be a breeze.
– Another reason that affiliate marketing is such a moneymaker is the fact that there are so many different types of ways to set up the program. You can go with the pay per click option, which works out great when it comes to promoting special offers. Ads that lead to product review sites often are a way to allow product users to go through your portal and leave comments on the items they purchase.

First Thing’s First-Avoid These Silly Affiliate Marketing Mistakes!
While affiliate marketing is a great way to earn a living, the fact is that many people become discouraged and drop out of programs. In many instances, the failure to be successful with affiliate marketing has to do with making a few simple mistakes. Here are some examples of those mistakes and why they should be avoided.
– A low-quality website with no original content and tossing in some affiliate links. While it is certainly true that you need to have a web site up and running in order to participate in an affiliate program, there is also the need to apply some effort to getting the word out about your site. Otherwise, the chances of people visiting your web site and clicking on one of the links are pretty slim.
– Another mistake many affiliate partners make is not choosing products that have some relevance to the content of your web site.
– Keeping your site content and the ads more or less relevant to one another will make it easier to generate revenue, and not fail as an affiliate marketer. Now, this may seem intuitive – but many make this mistake in subtle ways (i.e. they mismatch their customers with products).
– One final mistake that many affiliate marketers make is not sprucing up their web sites from time to time. Keeping the content fresh is one way of building and keeping a loyal reading audience because keeping the same old look and the same old text with nothing new to entice people back is a sure way to limit your chances at being a successful affiliate marketer. The fact is that you do have to proactively promote your site, keep the content fresh, and make sure the ads have some connection to the subject matter of your site.

What You Need Before Getting Started and Affiliated Marketing
While there is not a lot of expense in starting up as an affiliate marketer, there are a few things that you need to do if you really want to make money marketing other people’s products.
Here are some basic tips to help you line up all your things to do before you ever sign up for that first affiliate program.
– One of the basic needs for any successful affiliate program is to have a web site of your own. While it is possible to purchase ad space on sites and to advertise through Google Adwords, this is short term strategy setting up a basic web site that has a particular focus will make all the difference in the world to the success of your program. Keep in mind that your web site does not have to be complicated with a lot of flash media, animation or other fancy bells and whistles.
– In fact, if you plan on focusing your attention on affiliate marketing strategies that target the home consumer, you are better off with a basic site that will load quickly on a dial up connection. After all, dial-up is still extremely popular in a number of locations.
– Online payments are a great way to easily receive your affiliate payments and keep track of your earnings. From this angel, you may want to look into opening an account with one of the more popular online services that send and receive funds. i.g PayPal
– Another important aspect is determining just what your contact information will be, regarding communication with your affiliate program. This would include an email Address and physical mailing address. The email address should be one you have set aside specifically for your marketing business.

How to Pick the Best Product with the Best Payout and Great Demand
– One of the first things to think in terms of when it comes to affiliate marketing is determining where your talents and expertise happen to reside. One of the keys to picking the best products for your particular situation have to do with what you know and how much you know about it. As an example, a person that has worked in telecommunications for a number of years will probably know a great deal about telephony, related services, and technology that are used within that industry.
– Another aspect about setting up with the right products to promote has to do with where you see a niche to fill in. Finding a population or business sector that appears to be largely ignored in the marketing process can provide the inspiration you need to create a successful affiliate marketing program.
– Do not allow yourself to get discouraged simply because everything is not crystal clear as you begin this part of the process. Practicing some patience and giving yourself time to find the right products to promote as part of the program will only serve to make you more dedicated to the success of the program
In the end, you will find the products that will lead to a very successful affiliate marketing scheme and provide you with not only a handsome revenue stream, but also a lot of personal satisfaction.

Recommended Top Affiliate Networks on the Internet
When you decide to enter the world of affiliate marketing, there are a number of markets that are worthy of consideration. Here are three programs that have captured the attention of a lot of people, simply because of their stability and reliability.

1. Perhaps the best known of the three programs is Click Bank: clickbank. There a number of reasons why people find ClickBank such an attractive option when it comes to affiliate programs. One aspect is that the revenue generated by any purchase made through the ad portal is credited to your account within two minutes of the completion of the transaction. Because Click Bank provides such a comprehensive tracking program.
2. pavdotcom is also an excellent choice as an affiliate network. Just as with ClickBank, PayDotCom provides an easy to use affiliate interface that allows you to view your numbers in real time. You can easily track such data as the number of clicks on the ads and the amount of commissions you have made by directing visitors over to the marketplace through the portal on your web site. One of the advantages of PayDotCom is that this program will interface with your PayPal account, which means that vendors can send your monthly commission directly to your PayPal account. It is important to note that not all vendors will use PayPal as a payment method, so you may still receive payments by check as well.
3. shareasale is a third option that is rapidly gaining recognition among affiliate marketers. As a program that is designed to match up to the content of your existing web site, Share sale is free to join as an affiliate.

Rising to the Super Affiliate Level – What Constitutes a Super Affiliate?
A super affiliate is a marketing affiliate that has created a network that provides a high volume of traffic to affiliate products and a high percentage of completed sales from that traffic. The super affiliate is not one who reaches this level once, or even once in a great while.
– Creativity is an hallmark of a super affiliate. The ability to present the same old information is new ways will keep people interested. Super affiliates know how to look at products from a variety of different angles, determine a series of ways to present the product, and then go out and find an audience to match up with each one of those ways. For the super affiliate, there is always one more way to draw attention to a product, and find a larger audience than ever before.
– Another characteristic of a super affiliate is the desire and ability to master technology. This does not necessarily involve becoming an expert in information technology. But it does involve learning enough about existing technology to make good use of avenues already open on the Internet to promote products.
– Making the most of your status as a super affiliate means enjoying the opportunities that come to you through word of mouth; additionally, it means taking matters into your own hands and promoting your status in such a way that you increase your visibility.

The Super Affiliate Marketing Tactics Exposed!
So what is it that allows a super affiliate to make hundreds or even thousands of sales when you struggle to make 5 sales of the same product? Why is that super affiliates rake in the cash while you struggle to get by? Think about this carefully: you are both selling the exact same product. The only possible difference is the tactics you use to market it. Below, we have included a couple tactics that we should use to sell more like super affiliates. Try to incorporate them into your strategy.

Tactic #1: Play the Long Game
Whenever some new launch is coming up, they will throw together a promotional website; and try to direct traffic to it using pay per click search engine advertisements or solo ads. But there is a major flaw with this approach: almost without exception, people will purchase a “big launch” product from an Internet marketer they already know this is why you have to play the long game, rather than focusing on each individual launch, prepare an approach that will work consistently for years to make more sales.
Tactic #2: Steal from Super Affiliates Whenever Possible
Many super affiliates are also big name Internet marketers. They have public personas that we can follow quite easily. We can find their user ld’s, blogs, mailing lists and their web site’s. Through this approach we can learn from each of them.
Tactic #3: Ignore Talk; Look for Revealed Preference
Talk is just that: talk. Many Internet marketers will talk about all sorts of different methods you can use to make money. They will tell you to advertise using Google AdWords or to build a list or to create viral reports. While some of this information may be useful and legitimate, we should ignore what they say and watch what they do. This is called “revealed preference.
Tactic #4: Make Friends with the Seller
Believe it or not, the seller wants you to be successful, too. So contact him ahead of time, make friends with him; and see if he has any particular advice for you on selling the product. Keep in mind that he talks to a lot of affiliates on a regular basis (especially around big launches) and has the best understanding of the tactics they actually use.

Become a Supreme Affiliate Marketing: Additional Supreme Affiliate Marketing Tips
If you want to make a six figure income – and possibly a seven figure income – then you have to do something that is truly different than what you are doing now. The big question is “how can I do this”? Here’s following suggestion:

Tip #1: Start Acting Like a Business Owner
If you want to be a successful affiliate product marketer, you have to find people who can augment your weakness (and, trust me, no matter how smart you are, you have plenty of weaknesses). Additionally, affiliate marketers do not work in isolation. Most of them are friends with the marketers they sell products for; and this gives them far more leverage and information than you have access to. So start thinking of yourself as a business owner, rather than a completely self-sufficient Internet marketer.
Tip #2: Concentrate on Regular Sales
Regular sales are easier to quantify and predict; and, for this reason, it is far easier to continually ramp up small, regular sales until you are making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars each year. So don’t worry if you’re the top affiliate for some major new product launch. Instead, focus on regular sales and regular increases in sales.
Tip #3: Do What They Do – Not What They Say
Observe the channels of marketer through which he promotes his product. Watch carefully to determine what methods he’s using to make sales, so you can replicate his successes, rather than chasing after dreams he’s written about.

Conclusion

We may conclude that choosing an Affiliate Program that is right for you might be time consuming but a worth while process. Going through the above whole process will also be a learning curve for new entrepreneurs who are serious about starting a successful home based business. So there is an opportunity for business students and young entrepreneur to develop a simple website with limited budget that can be arranged easily through their own personal savings. This website can be developed with only $100 to $200 (Approximately). You can increase your business growth through adopting the approach where you can affiliate your business with different websites having relevancy with your business and internet heavy traffic as well.

Finally there’s no single path to affiliate marketing riches – and that’s a good thing. Instead, there are many pathways through which you can make your millions. So scout carefully, look for functional methods you can use, and implement them in your own efforts. You may be surprised with the results. But whatever you do – don’t continue to use strategies that haven’t worked in the past. Always think like super affiliates because they use a range of tactics and adopt different ways in order to consistently outperform other affiliates. But one thing you should always play the long game and build lists, create forums, and secure a captive audience in advance of product releases.

Aknowledgement

The Author indebted to Ms.Umera Imtinan, Lecturer Comsats Unversity,Lahore for her suggestion to write this article.

References

1. Napier Albert. “Book: Creating a Winning E-Business”, 2nd edition, p256-257
2. Article, “Affiliate marketing”,zeald.com/Services”.
3. Article, “Affiliate Marketing Strategy for E-Business”, “resources.alibaba.com”.
4. Article, “Affiliate tracking”, “kleindesigns.com”.
5. Online Book, “Super Affiliate Marketing Secrets: Gain the Edge You Need to Become a Super Affiliate Marketer” “free-ebooks”.
6. Internet Article, “Top 10 Tips for Choosing the Affiliate Program That Is Right for You”,” articlesbase.com”

The Ins and Outs of Affiliate Marketing Campaigns

Let the professionals help you… in mass:

Affiliate marketing networks provide an environment where companies who have something to sell (Advertisers) meet with companies who know how to sell it (Publishers). Many large Affiliate marketing networks provide hundreds of products to be sold to their network of thousands of publishers.

Affiliate marketing networks generally work on a performance basis (CPA), where you only pay when a sale or lead is generated for you. You receive a sale or lead at a predetermined cost and then award the affiliate network with a bounty for generating the sale or lead for you. The Affiliate network then pays their publishers for generating sales on your behalf, minus what the network keeps for itself for putting the deal together. This may sound similar to a shopping portal, however there are some distinct differences. A shopping portal places your products in direct connection with the online shopper. Affiliate marketing networks place your products in direct connection with publishers (marketing or media companies.) Each publisher will then use their own resources to generate sales for you, be it PPC, SEO, email, banners and the like.

Not every product or service will work with an affiliate marketing campaign, and many affiliate networks will not accept your offer unless certain criteria are met. The average website is not “marketing ready” for an affiliate marketing campaign, and often requires a redesign or a separate website to allow for easy sales or lead conversions. Most sales lead generation campaigns work across affiliate marketing networks as long as you are not trying to collect too much information, or information that makes your customers feel nervous such as a social security number. For product sales, you need to present a very attractive offer like “a free 7 day trial for a diet pill”, “free services for 1 month”, or anything that can be considered a low risk bargain. An offer such as “a 42 inch plasma screen Television for only $1,597” will not work. As always, there are exceptions, and you may need to work closely with your affiliate manager to produce a campaign that will be popular amongst the publishers.

Due to the nature of the affiliate networks, they can be volatile and risky, and are not recommended for any company until they have a lot of internet marketing experience under their belt. The overall sales potential of affiliate network marketing can be enormous, and any time gigantic sales numbers come into play, so do gigantic risks. Many affiliate networks have what are known as “Super Affiliates” who have the potential to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales commissions each month. The volatility stems from both the marketing power available through an affiliate network, along with the performance-based environment they provide.

For the most part, the publishers who do the selling through the affiliate networks are greedy. They want to sell only the products and services that yield them the most revenue. It is their right, after all, because they are working on a performance basis and assume all marketing risks. If a good offer comes across an affiliate network, where a lot of money can be made, many publishers will market the product and sales will come streaming in. If a product comes in that does not generate good, or at least acceptable, revenue for the publishers, they will chose to not market the product and sales will be almost nonexistent. It is difficult to find the right balance to satisfy all parties involved (advertiser, publisher, affiliate network, and potential customer.) All parties must be happy in order to yield a successful affiliate campaign. The swing between a high performing campaign and an unpopular one can be tremendous. This volatility introduces significant risk, which comes in three flavors.

Affiliate Network Marketing Risk:

  • (1) Not enough business You have put significant time and resources into building an Affiliate marketing campaign. You have commissioned all types of marketing creative, website design and even bulked up your sales staff. Despite this preparation, your offer is not a money maker for the publishers, and they are not marketing your campaign. Your expenses have increased in anticipation of increased sales that simply never materialized.
  • (2) Too much business You hit the nail on the head… Your offer is hot and the publishers love it. They love it so much that sales flow in faster than you can handle. Your call center can handle 50 leads per day but the publishers are generating 200. For each sale or lead made you must pay a commission whether or not you can address it. You are literally downing in too much business, and your pocketbook can’t hold out long enough to expand accordingly.
  • (3) Cheating You didn’t invest much effort in validating your sales or leads. Your affiliate marketing campaign is generating a lot of leads, but sales are not happening. You are receiving numerous disconnected phone numbers, invalid credit card numbers or people who say “I only signed up for the free gift.” Leads are coming in, but a bunch of crooked publishers are submitting fake information to get paid as if their data was real. Notice how that last lead had a Texas area code, their zip code was “12345,” they stated they live in Alaska and gave you the credit card number “4444555544445555.”

Many Affiliate marketing networks will also ask if they can run your campaign exclusively. This means that they are the only affiliate network that can provide your offer to the world. There are some distinct advantages and disadvantages to running your campaign exclusively with one network.

Exclusive Affiliate network Campaign Advantages:

  • Your Affiliate marketing campaign manager may pass your campaign on to other affiliate marketing networks, and manage your account for you. This saves you considerable time by not having to seek out new networks, organizing campaign launches, marketing creative, and other tasks required to launch a new campaign.
  • You will not have to pay startup fees or sign contracts for the affiliate marketing networks that your affiliate manager passes your campaign on to. You simply work under your single agreement with your affiliate manager. This can save you thousands of dollars in startup costs, and lots of time.
  • Affiliate marketing networks use exclusive campaigns as “bragging rights,” and often give priority to their exclusive campaigns. Your campaign is more likely to be advertised to the publishers and given special attention. This helps to get your campaign noticed by the publisher, and ultimately increases sales or lead flow.

Exclusive Affiliate network Disadvantages:

  • Your campaign manager will outsource your campaign to other affiliate marketing networks. You will not know exactly who is marketing your offer and therefore the quality of the web traffic coming into your website is unknown.
  • Your affiliate manager may not be as ambitious as you. Your campaign may not get passed on to other affiliate marketing networks, and because it is an exclusive offer you can’t pass it on to other networks. Growth may become stifled.
  • The publishers who run your campaign through outsourced affiliate networks will not receive as high of a payout (sales commission). There are effectively two affiliate marketing networks: Your direct affiliate network and the outsourced network. More hands are in the pot, taking money and leaving less for the publishers themselves. The decreased publisher bounty with result in decreased interest in your campaign, so the outsourced affiliate marketing networks will not be as productive as if you worked with them directly.

Most affiliate networks will want to incorporate email marketing into your campaign. This is strongly recommended, as sales or lead generation volumes could be significantly higher. If you do allow your campaign to be email marketed, you will need to be able to maintain an email suppression list. The suppression list is a list of email addresses of people who want to opt-out from receiving your offer. An opt-out link must be provided on your email marketing creative where people can opt-out from your offer. You must then supply the suppression file to your affiliate network so they can in turn pass your suppression file to their publishers. This is a part of the Can-Spam law and it can be effectively managed with a small opt-out landing page connected to a simple database. Make sure you provide an updated suppression file to the affiliate networks at least once per week.

Launching affiliate marketing campaigns that convert:

  • Your goal is to generate a campaign that puts the most money possible into your publisher’s pockets, while also generating a profit yourself. Keep in mind that a break-even campaign is also a successful campaign as long as you can re-market to your clients and generate additional sales, upgrades, etc.
  • Design your campaign to maximize conversions. Minimize the clicks needed to purchase a product, or have your lead generation form on the home page. Don’t collect information that you really do not need, or that people do not like to give out (like an SSN.) You may have to build a unique website for the affiliate marketing campaign if your current website is not fine-tuned for affiliate marketing.
  • You are competing against all of the other campaigns on an affiliate network, not just ones selling the same thing you are. Publishers optimize the offers they market and drop the poor performing campaigns. Design an offer that works both for you and your publishers; your affiliate manager can help.
  • Make the steps necessary to allow your campaign to be email marketed by the publishers. This means you will need to create Can-Spam compliant email marketing creative, an opt-out page linked to a database, and provide access to an updated suppression file (a text dump of your database suppression file.) Email marketing will significantly amplify your campaign’s effectiveness.
  • Develop a large selection of various marketing creative, lots of standard size banners, multiple email creative, multiple email titles and subject lines, various text links and so on. Your affiliate manager will provide you a list of critical media types and sizes, but try to provide more than their minimum requirements.
  • Stay on top of lead quality and fraud. No matter how advanced your validation system may get, someone will try to sneak fake data past you. Make sure that you can track all lead sources, including the subIDs that are passed on through the affiliate network.
  • Every time you make a change to your website, submit a test to ensure that the affiliate campaign is still running as it should be. If your website has an error preventing sales conversions or introduces tracking problems, you may be asked to pay the publishers for their lost business. Remember that your broken website will affect many companies who stuck their neck out for you.
  • Be prepared for large volumes of leads, or no leads at all.

The risks associated with affiliate network marketing are many, and they are significant. You must be on your toes, thinking ahead and quick to move if things turn sour. But if you come prepared and design an offer that the publishers love, the financial rewards can be enormous.