We are launching our online store next month (watches) and I would like to work on Affiliate marketing since moment one.
Would you be able to share some platform names and experiences for us? A bit lost on what platforms are best specially with the ones that have a joinning fee when budget is so tight...
Thank you in advance.
And @Jessica, I would really like to start an affiliate program as well, so I think what we'd like to know (at least me) is what is the best app or platform to use with a Shopify website for an affiliate program, what percentage is standard to offer affiliates, best way to get a ton of affiliates, and a general rundown of your professional experince in running an affiliate program (avoiding common mistakes etc.)
Thanks ahead of time!
I think we have met before... did you place an ad on upwork?
I may have responded :)
You don't need to have a great deal of technical skills to add affiliate tracking code to your shop is super easy in most cases. In fact, thats what I love about shopify it's the most user friendly out there.
You have many affiliate networks out there all offering different set up costs, affiliate reach and some offer the full international reach. Some have better "affiliate manager" functionality than others but essentially, they all offer affiliate tracking. Most affiliate networks have their own database of affiliates.
CJ.com and Linkshare.com being among the most expesive. (Fun fact Amazon started it all back in the day and they still have an affiliate program YAY!) Horses for courses... example if you can ship globally then you may want to consider one affiliate network or several smaller networks with a global presence.
For small onlne retailers just starting out and wanting to dip their toes in the water and who sell products in North America, we usually advise to go with a small start up (set up cost) network like Shareasale.com $650 gets you up and running, $550 activation fee and $100 escrow. Webgains et al we get agency rates that vary.
Most affiliate networks charge a monthly admin fee again it varies from $0 to $500
Most affiliate networks charge an override commission, can vary from 10c to 30%
Override commission is a flat fee or % of the affiliate commission (not the sale)
Without knowing your present site conversions, budget, consumer reach, average order basket, its going to be a bit difficult for me but... lets pretend your site converts at 2%, lets pretend you only ship to North America. Lets pretend I set you up in shareasale.com and lets pretend we gave your affiliates 20% on all referred sales. Lets pretend we launched your program 1st Nov and in a month your collective affiliates made $10k in sales. The cost for month 1
Affiliates get 20% of $10k = $2K
Affiliate Network Override 20% of $2k= $400
It cost you $2950.00 (remember you had $100 escrow, see above, I deducted this here)
to get $7,050, plus new customers which you can retarget later on.
There will be some indirect benefits to having an affiliate program in terms of extending your
natural organic search engine results which will push your competitors further down not nessasarily on your own site but affiliates will mention you and link to you via affiliate tracking. Whilst google does not recognise affiliate links, they do still rate good content.
The additional benefits would be that some of your affiliates will send potential new customers to
you via paid search meaning they fund the cost of the click. All this comes at no direct cost to you until a purchase is made, then you reward the affiliate based on a small percentage of the shopping basket.
I can go on....
You will need industry sized banners.
Datafeed (CSV) file of products
Affiliate Manager strongly advisable.
Affiliate Terms and conditions, is a must... its the rules that affiliates must adhere to.
Types of affiliates who generate most sales.
Coupon sites - including cash back.
PPC (pay Per click)
Blogging and or Ad networks (most saught after but will not be a top performing affiliate in terms of sales)
Social and mobile affiliate marketing.
Never auto approve affiliates into your program :)
I have to duck out now but fire questions at me.... I love this industry
I may have, if so, it's great to talk to you again! Small world! : )
First let me say, THANK YOU! It's difficult to get someone pinned down to really spell out the inner workings of the affilaite world. And based off what you said it looks like it could be costly to put your buisness in the wrong one. Your example sounds about right, so Shareasale will mostlikely be the best route for our new little shop.
I was especailly interested to hear that Coupon sites generate more sales than the bloggers, because everyone does tell us the bloggers are what we want or as you stated, "most sought after" network.
I'm sure more questions will pop up and Begoña may have her own too, but thank you so much!
Affiliate Marketing like anything, you need to know what you are doing and it can be at times ambiguous. Example organic SEO, much disinformation out there perpetuated by folks who want to keep it all mystical so they can charge lots of money. Affiliate Marketing in terms of the tracking and technical aspects. Managing affiliates can be tricky for the novice. Probably a good analogy would be, imaigine you are a conductor of an orchestra of affiliates, that part is not mystical, its about knowing who your affiliates are, types of marketing initiatives they use to aggregate their own traffic and what you need to provide in order to assist them.
There are a few giant blogger networks in North America, but its the network (company) that joins your program and they, in turn, split their commission to their bloggers who want to monetise their content. Consumers look at blogs for reseach then go off to try to find a coupon or search on an engine. Shareasale.com have just introduced "split commission" meaning if a customer goes to a blogging affiliate promoting your products, then goes off to a coupon site, you can reward both the blogger and coupon site or one or the other. You can of course choose not to work with coupons sites at all.
I talk about shareasale.com a lot, they are impo one of the best US affiliate networks and bang for bucks you get more for your money. Set up is super easy and the people who work there are adorable, helpful. I get no kick backs from them, so not in my interest to promote. I use their platform every day for some of our clients and its a breeze for me by comparison to some others, I digress.
Dont get me wrong, there are some agencies out there that may or may not do a great job of aggregating huge influencing blogging sites, but you are now looking at large agencies rates or Ad networks based on CPC or worse CPM and this is no longer affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing, you only ever pay when a sale and or lead has been generated, less risk to you. Once you go down the road of tennancy, CPC or CPM then you bare the costs on an unknown result.
Approving and declining affiliates is a skilled job, here you need to know who you are declining and who you are approving, this is where you need an experienced affiliate manager. Did you know one of the largest generating affiliates for the USA is actually based in China, he has a chinese name and chinese company and is a sales machine. If you saw his application "Location" "China" (and you are after only North American customers) would you have approved him into your program. Many Many affiliates are not based in the USA, thats the beauty of the internet, you can be living in Australia but have mostly US traffic, depending on content. Knowing who to approve and who to decline is just one aspect of managing an affiliate program. Im at an advantage I have been doing this job since 1999.
Allocating affiliate commissions.
Have a look and see what your competitors are offering first, see if you can match or surpass in some way.
Dont forget you can reward affiliates based on increasing commissions if they hit sales targets. Example 10% default commission.
11% on Sales over 1K, 12% on sales over 2k and so on...
Its all about your margins really and how valuble a new customer is to you, what is the life time value of your customer worth?
But all of this means nothing if your site does not convert.
Here are my pet peeves, some folks never check to see if their check out is working until a customer notifies them.This should be like drinking water, every day check your checkout. If you have a bunch of affiliates trusting you that you will convert their (very targeted) traffic that they send you, least you can do is make sure your customer can check out.
Some folks like to fiddle on their order confirmation page code and or forget to tell their techs that this is where the affiliate tracking code is located.
If you knock the code out, affiliate sales cant track, if affiliates get 0 commission, they will move on.
Brand vs Mom & Pop - affiliates will always promote Big Brands over smaller online retailers, dont worry about this, if your site converts and your commissions are good and product in demand, within one year (approx give or take) your status of "unknown brand" will be adjusted to "emerging brand" 18 months to 36, status becomes "established brand" Affiliate Program will have undergone many adjustments by the third and fourth year, yes affiliate programs evolve just like your business.
Coffee anyone? lol
Any other questions let me know :)
The best option for a tight budget is to have your affiliate platform in house. Here is a very good option that I think you will like. Click here to check out tapaffiliate.com. I would try this before you shell out and pay tons of money to join cj or shareasale. Plus I don't think people would really promote a watch store they never heard of. So basically the fees you would pay wouldn't be worth it. Build a brand and then join the affiliate platforms. Also, keep in mind you can have an inhouse affiliate program along site with one on shareasale or cj etc. In house programs ususally offer higher commisions because of the fees associated using cj. Which is around 30% of what your affilaites earn. So if affilites earned $1000 in a month. You would pay $1000 to your affiliates plus $300 to cj.com or shareasale etc. So if you do your affiliate platform in house, you can pay higher commissions, which means people will promote your brand harder. highly recommend using Tapaffiliate.com. It really is some sweet software! Get your friends and family to start pitching for you. They would love to make some money while making you some money. Also, you need great graphics to have a succesfull affiliate program. I highly recommend canva.com . So here is my two cents, use tapaffiliate and then use the money you make with that to join a platform like cj.com and then run both side by side. Once you have people sign up through cj.com invite them to join your inhouse program with tapaffilaite because you offer say 15% to say 12% on cj.com. Good luck with your business!
The WordPress Affiliate Platform is an easy to use WordPress plugin for affiliaterecruitment, management and tracking that can be used on any WordPress blog or site. This plugin lets you run your own affiliate campaign/program and allows you to reward (pay commission) your affiliates for referring sales.