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August 2010 archive

Merchants: How Does Your Cost-Per-Sale Affiliate Program Stack Up?

In parallel to developing my own products and promoting CPA offers, I’ve been promoting CPS (Cost-Per-Sale) offers since 2006.

I’ve been looking into doing more of such programs recently and have set up some sites which will be trafficked via SEO and social-based traffic. There will be more such sites being launched further down the pipeline.

Which the affiliate can do everything possible to bring the traffic over and pre-sell the product, it just feels that some merchants are going out of their way to sabotage their own success.

Here’s some examples:

  • Failing to benchmark your affiliate program: Whatever you may think, your affiliate program does not exist in isolation. Most diligent affiliates will compare affiliate programs across the variety of product providers, especially if it’s a commodity items like a beauty product, computer equipment or a musical instrument. Offering a 5% commission on the sale value when your competitors are offering a 10% or 15% payout makes you uncompetitive. There are some exceptions, where if you are the only merchant offering a particular product or your prices are low enough that the majority of buyers would buy through you, rather than another merchant.
  • Failing to offer appropriate affiliate tools: If you have 1,000 products in your inventory, whether books, music or movies, isn’t it silly to give a link to your root domain? Don’t you think it makes more sense to provide product-specific links, or even better, the ability to deep link to any page within your website? This gives affiliates the option to use creative marketing techniques.
  • Offering invalid URLs, expired coupon codes, failing to give what you’re supposed to give: If you claim to give product specific links, having that link (complete with a “productID=” field) go to the root domain is a “FAIL” in my book. Even worse is having the link go to a 404 page. What were you thinking? Same goes with giving coupon codes which have expired, exceeded the number of uses. Ditto for failing to reply to email, or if you’re away, failing to set up an “away” message or give an alternative contact.

There are probably some of the sins that’ve been irritating as I’ve been putting together campaigns. The cardinal sin that some merchants are making is failing to realize that you’ll probably never get a second chance to make a first impression once you’ve lost your affiliates for good.

If that’s the case, why’re you even offering an affiliate program?

PS: I’m documenting a couple of sites I’ve been working on at David Ford’s PPV Playbook forum. If you’re not a member yet, be sure to check out the PPV Playbook discount code too.

Getting Away From The Bonanza Model Of Internet Marketing

You’ve probably heard them, the online equivalent of fisherman’s tales.

“This one time, I had a campaign that generated 400% ROI. Yeah, I spent $50 and made $200.”

“This one offer was generating $2,300 per day. It’s about 10x higher than anything I ever had. Unfortunately it was a Christmas offer and died after 3 days.”

This is the same type of mindset you have with newbie punters who visit Vegas expecting to hit the jackpot, or the old guy who shows up at the gas station and buys $30 worth of scratch-and-win lottery tickets.

While it’s possible to strike the motherlode, whether you’re buying a ticket, signing an insertion order for a high-value media buy, or trying out a new strategy with PPV traffic, just realize that beyond just the dollar value of your return, there’s the repeatability of the offer too.

If you won a $30 million lottery, you’re probably set (for a while).

But with the broader picture, your income is a function of:

[dollar value] x [repeatability].

If you’re generating say $1,000 a day, the strategy is to keep this going every day, to hit a consistent $30,000 per month. Because someone who’s doing $10,000 per month consistently (or $120,000 annualized) is going to outearn someone who had a one-off $50,000 campaign over a month, but then has difficulty finding his or her legs for the rest of the year.

Scalability (the ability to grow your campaigns on a massive basis) and sustainability (the ability to consistently generate returns from your campaigns) might be among the easier concepts to understand, but probably among the most difficult to understand.

To grow your internet marketing or affiliate marketing efforts to the next level requires understanding of this concept.

Figuring out your long-term Internet Marketing game

I’ve probably had this conversation multiple times over the last month: Why aren’t I more actively using PPV in my marketing campaigns now?

I think the answer is philosophical.

Really.

The type of traffic you use and marketing offers, campaigns you plan and implement are an extension of your approach to Internet Marketing and in the broader picture, business.

I favor social traffic, organic search traffic and branded/word-of-mouth traffic more because I like long-term, consistent businesses that generate similar forms of revenue.

I think PPV is very suited for CPA traffic, especially for short form leading generation. I’ve not excluded being more aggressive with PPV, especially once I have some opt-in forms with a pre-sell email sequence behind it. But for now, I’m building out those sales funnels.

It may seem strange that I’d recommend David Ford’s PPV Playbook, since the perception is that it’s all focused on PPV.

But dig a little deeper and you’ll find the media buy, ppc and usefully for me, the SEO and social media sections (with some great strategies and ideas by Stefanie Hutson).

Be sure to check it out.

And if you’d like a promo code, drop me an email. (the email is stored on my other computer…).

EDIT: Click here to get the access code.