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Affiliate Marketing

An affiliate program is an extremely powerful way of promoting a website.  Affiliate programs are based on the concept of pay-for-performance marketing, where you share the revenue with your affiliates. 

An affiliate program works like this - other websites or people who own newsletters or ezines, sign up as your affiliates.  The affiliate then promotes your products and services and refers people through to your website using their own website, newsletter or ezine.  Every time the affiliate delivers a new sale or lead (depending on the model you use) you pay the affiliate a portion of the new income that is generated.

The strength of affiliate marketing is that it is a win-win relationship.  You pay for results.  If the affiliate produces no results, you don’t pay. With this type of program, your affiliates provide the marketing and promotion for your website and you provide the goods or services.

Amazon.com has one of the most successful examples of an affiliate program, which they call their associate program, allowing people to link their visitors through to Amazon’s site in return for a commission, if a sale is generated. 

Now Amazon.com has well over 1,000,000 affiliates!  That is 1,000,000 separate websites actively promoting their products!  Using this powerful and successful programhas helped Amazon.com become the most successful online retail business in the world.

You’re probably thinking-  “Why doesn’t everyone have an affiliate program?” and “We need to set up our own affiliate program right now!”.

Unfortunately, affiliate programs are not guaranteed to succeed. Even though they are simple to understand in principle, they still require a lot of skill, good advice, clever planning, effort and investment to implement successfully.  The Internet is littered with poorly planned and executed affiliate programs.

Affiliate programs require a 100% commitment to ‘doing it right’ for them to be successful.

As a general rule, affiliate programs are best for businesses whose products or services have a broad market.

Merchants that have a strong niche market benefit most from search engine advertising and marketing.

Affiliate programs contain a number of absolutely essential components in order to function successfully.  The key components of an affiliate program are:

  • The commission model
  • Affiliate systems
  • Sales materials
  • The affiliate agreement
  • Training
  • Management
  • Communication
  • Promotion
  • Monitoring.

This article will show you all the things you need to know and understand in order to set up a successful affiliates program.

Step 1: Develop a Plan

As with any endeavour, the first-step to success is usually to create a ‘plan’. 

Make sure that you meticulously plan every single aspect of your affiliates program before you implement it. When planning an affiliate program it is imperative that you understand what your affiliates want out of the program.

The number one thing that every affiliate wants is... to be treated as a genuine ‘partner’.  In order to truly implement a great affiliate program you will need to be totally focused on providing a great win-win partnership for your affiliates.  Affiliate programs are far more about partnership than they are about cheap advertising.

Most potential affiliates will be looking for the following:

  • Partnership!
  • Strong, motivating commission structures
  • Account management & ongoing support
  • Training
  • Excellent sales materials
  • Up-to-the-minute reporting
  • A clear and professional affiliate agreement.

Step 2: Decide On Your Commission Model

There are a number of different commission models for affiliate programs.  The most common commission models are:

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
    In the PPC model, an affiliate is remunerated every time their visitors click the link through to your  website.  Be careful with this model, as it is possible for affiliates  to ‘fake’ clicks (for instance, by clicking on your link over and over!) in order to increase their commissions each month.  Be sure you have effective reporting systems in place to minimise the chance of this happening, if you decide to use a PPC model.
  • Pay-Per-Lead (PPL)
    In the PPL model an affiliate is remunerated every time they generate a new lead for the merchant.  A ‘new lead’ depends on your ‘definition’; it may be a product or service enquiry, or a new subscription to a mailing list.
  • Pay-Per-Acquisition (PPA)
    The PPA or pay per customer acquisition is the true pay-for-performance model.  With the PPA model, an affiliate is remunerated every time their link generates a new customer/sale for you.  However this also requires that you can accurately track customers from the affiliate's referral right through to the sale.

There are two common methods for setting the commission levels for an affiliate program:

  • Flat-rate commissions
    The affiliate is paid a flat-rate commission.  This type of commission structure works well for the PPC and PPL models.
  • Percentage-based commissions
    The affiliate is paid a percentage of every sale that is made.  This type of commission structure works well for the PPA and PPL models.

Some affiliate programs also contain some advanced options that you may wish to consider:

  • Recurring commissions
    If an affiliate refers a visitor to your website and the visitor purchases some products or services, you pay the affiliate a commission for that sale.  Most customers will return to buy many more times from you after the first purchase. So the merchant pays “recurring commissions”  to the affiliate on all future purchases (usually within a certain time period) the referred customer makes as well.
  • Residual commissions
    Residual commissions are sometimes paid on items that have ongoing payments.  For example – newsletter subscriptions, computer leases and credit card fees - all have ongoing fees associated with them.  When an affiliate is involved in a sale made on an item that has ongoing fees, some merchants pay an ongoing residual commission on that item.
  • Lifetime commissions
    Lifetime commissions are a combination of both recurring commissions and residual commissions.  The affiliate is paid a commission on everything that is bought throughout the ‘referred’ customer’s lifetime.
  • Two-tier structures
    In a two-tier structure affiliates are rewarded not only for referring customers that purchase products and services, but also for referring customers that become new affiliates too.  When an affiliate refers a new affiliate, they will receive a second-tier commission on every sale that the newly ‘referred’ affiliate makes.  Sometimes people think this is a ‘pyramid’ scheme, but it is not as it only goes two levels deep.

    The benefit of this sort of structure is that your affiliate network builds itself.  The downside is that it is sometimes hard to control  these larger numbers of affiliates, and it is harder to screen them to ensure their suitability.

As part of an affiliate’s commission structure, you will also need to make it completely clear how often you will pay out commissions.  Common payout intervals are monthly, quarterly or sometimes bi-weekly.

Step 3: Setup Your Affiliate Systems

 

 

The systems used within your affiliate program are absolutely vital to a successful program and a happy affiliate.

The most important component of your affiliate systems is the ‘tracking and reporting’.  Your affiliates should be able to log-in to your special ‘affiliates section’ on your website. These pages should provide your affiliates with up-to-the-minute reporting on their referred traffic and commissions.  Your tracking and reporting systems need to be tailored around the parameters of the particular commission model you are running. 

The key things that your tracking and reporting system need to track are

  • Impressions – the number of times your promotions are ‘served-up’ by your affiliate to a prospect
  • Click-throughs – the number of visitors that have clicked on the affiliate’s promotion
  • Orders or leads – the number of orders or enquiries received as a result of the affiliate’s promotion
  • First-tier commissions earned – the commissions earned by the affiliate, in the current time period
  • Second-tier commissions earned – any second-tier commissions earned by the affiliate, in the current time period
  • ‘Clawed-back’ commissions (refunds, credit card charge-backs etc) – any commissions that need to be ‘clawed-back’ due to refunds, credit card charge-back’s, etc
  • Total commissions earned – the total commissions earned by the affiliate to date.

Good systems will provide even more tools for helping you manage your affiliates.  Some of the key tools that you may want to consider are:

  • A monthly email newsletter (with automated commission/performance report attached)
  • An affiliate forum
  • Manuals & tutorials
  • Sales materials
  • Linking systems
  • Contests
  • Surveys
  • Gifts.

Step 4: Produce Your Sales Materials 

 

One of the key things that will ensure your affiliates advertise and promote you well is the quality of the sales materials that you provide them with.  There are a variety of different types of sales material you can provide, I recommend you provide several different types and allow your affiliates to choose what suits them:

Text advertisements 

Writing great text advertisements is very similar to writing great classified ads.  Think about offering a number of different ads that are targeted at different target markets.  An affiliate can then pick an advertisement that suits their target customers, as well as the content on their website.

Let’s take a look at an example of a text advertisement that I currently use within the Zeald affiliates system.
 

FREE BOOKLET: Website Fundamentals – How to Generate Amazing Results Online!
Websites are an absolutely vital part of any organisation's marketing mix.  The problem is … most business owners don’t understand how to make a website successful.  They don’t understand how a website works!  And because of this … most websites don’t deliver a result!  They don’t deliver SALES!

This booklet unlocks the fundamentals behind every successful website … and explores the techniques that can be used to increase the overall performance of any website on the planet!  Written by David Kelly, founder of Zeald … a website design and e-business consultancy company that has helped thousands of businesses start using their website as a POWERFUL sales and marketing tool!
For instant access to this booklet, go to:
http://www.zeald.com/

In most cases you will want to follow some simple rules to make this text advertisement persuasive when potential customers read it on the internet:

 

  • Make it short!
  • Make the copy compelling, ie make sure that it will grab and hold people's attention
  • Remember that this advertisement is going on someone else's website, not yours.  So it should be written in the third person and it should fit in with the likely writing style of the website's your affiliates are likely to have.

Banner advertisements

The same general rules apply to banner advertisements as to text advertisements.  However, banner advertisements are usually more graphical and have less text.  Your headline is absolutely vital in a banner advertisement.

Let’s take a look at an example of some banner advertisements that are currently available within the Zeald affiliates system.

Banner examples

When providing banner advertisements you need to provide several different advertisements in different sizes.  People placing these advertisements on their websites need to be able to fit them into the layout and design of the website.  The tall banner above would need to be placed in the right column of a website, however what if your clients would prefer to place the banner across the bottom? Or inline in the text?  To get around this provide banner images in a number of different sizes, eg:

  • A “tall” banner, suitable for being placed vertically in either the left or right column
  • A “wide” banner, suitable for being placed across the page (eg in the header or footer)
  • A smaller “square” banner suitable for placement within the text of the site, or anywhere else the affiliates might want to place it.

Feedback from your affiliates can help you decide what sizes of banners you need to provide.

Email advertisements

Email advertisements are advertisements contained within an email promotion or email newsletter.  Make sure you encourage your affiliates to insert email promotions within their email communications with their customers.  Don’t forget to offer both HTML and plain text email advertisements.

See the example below of a simple, plain text email advertisement that can be inserted into any email newsletter.

 

 

WEBSITE HEALTH CHECK?  Is Your Website Failing to Generate Results?

Register today for a FREE Zeald Website Health Check and find out how you can send your website results skyrocketing!  Click here now.

 

Pre-made web pages

It is a good idea to provide your affiliates with a number of complete web pages that can be uploaded and linked into their websites.  Make sure you create different web pages that will work for many different audiences. 

 

A full web page devoted to promoting your products or services is far more persuasive than a simple banner ad.  It can also help improve the search-engine ranking of your website.  See our book, ‘Secrets of Website Persuasion’ for a step by step process for how you can create fantastic, compelling web pages that will persuade your affiliate's visitors to take action.

 

See the example below of a pre-made web page that can be inserted into any website

 

Is Your Website Delivering Amazing RESULTS?


Many websites are a complete waste of time and money as they don’t deliver results! BUT – as long as you have a good product or service and a market for that product and service then it is possible to produce a website that wins business. A website that sells!

Hi, my name is David Kelly and I lead the team here at Zeald. Websites are amazing things! Whenever I think through the potential that selling over the internet offers any business – I am amazed. This is why we (myself and two business partners) started Zeald when I left University in 1999. We had a burning desire to help businesses get fantastic results using this exciting new sales channel.

Six years on our belief in the internet is greater than ever! Why is that?

Let’s take a look at some real life examples …

 

Real Life Story! – 'Meat Cuisine'

Imagine if you were Terry a year ago. Terry was a butcher that provided high-grade meat to fine restaurants. Terry wanted to start marketing his products directly into the home. The most obvious way to do this was to sell his product through the major supermarkets. The major problem - by the time the supermarkets put their ‘mark-up’ on the product it was no longer competitive against the other lower quality offerings.

With a website Terry has been able to successfully market his products directly into the home – providing a product that is superior to supermarket offerings at a similar price. He has built up a fantastic base of loyal customers that continue to purchase off him week after week. One day Terry will rival the big supermarkets. This is Terry’s real life story!

Terry is one of our clients and Meat Cuisine is his company (click here to visit Meat Cuisine – www.meatcuisine.co.nz)

Real Life Story! – ‘Soul Bubba’

Or imagine if you were Frances and Vernon six months back. Frances and Vernon were in the process of creating a new business that designs unique ‘urban-wear’ for babies. Frances and Vernon were looking at how to successfully launch their products and take them to the international market. Setting up a clothing store was extremely expensive and was limited in market reach so instead they decided to channel funds and time into creating an internet based ‘store’.

Through their website they have taken their products directly to the international market – attracting orders from Canada , England and New Zealand . Frances and Vernon have built up a loyal ‘fan-base’ of international customers and have been discovered by a number of major international distributors! This is Frances and Vernon Rameka’s real life story!

Frances and Vernon are another one of our clients and Soul Bubba is their company (click here to visit the Soul Bubba website – www.soul-bubba.com)

Real Life Story! – 'Rad9 Computer Services'

Or finally imagine if you were Stuart from Rad9 Computer Services. Rad9 are a computer services company that provides affordable computing services to small and medium sized companies within the Auckland , New Zealand market. Stuart was looking to expand the business and build the computing services brand through effective sales & marketing promotions.

With a website Stuart has managed to generate fantastic business results. Stuart has promoted his website using many low-cost online promotional techniques and has substantially increased the amount of enquiries Rad9 receives – at a substantially lower cost to all his other forms of business generation! This is Stuart Lee’s real life story!

Stuart Lee’s is another one of our clients and Rad9 is the company (click here to visit the Rad9 website – www.rad9.com). Stuart was so impressed with their Zeald website that they now market Zeald’s products and services into their own client base!

If your website is not producing amazing results you need our help!


Click here now to register for FREE one hour consultation with a Zeald E-business Consultant and discover how we can help you to generate MASSIVE results online using a website!

So, with this incredible potential for website results – why do so many business websites fail?
The "Two' Reasons Websites Fail!

Most websites fail because people do not understand what drives a website’s results.

There are two vital, but simple things that determine whether a website succeeds or fails.

Do these two things poorly and you will find yourself the depressed owner of another one of the many poor performing websites … do these two things well and you will find yourself wondering why you didn’t take the plunge a whole lot sooner!

(For an in depth discussion of the following concepts please read our article - “Websites Explained!” (Click here to read now) )

Make sure you completely understand this next bit – because it is extremely important! …

In order to have a *fantastically*, *mind-blowingly* successful website you need to understand:

1. Website Visits – the number of visits that your website receives. The importance of website visitors and how to increase the number of visitors to your website!
2. Conversion Rate – the rate at which your website converts your visits into enquiries or sales (the conversion rate) and how to increase the amount of website visits that are converting to sales orenquiries!

I cannot emphasis this enough! If you do not understand ‘website visits’ and ‘conversion rate’ and how to improve each one – you are going to have a very hard time generating any substantial level of success with your website!

If your website is failing to deliver results it will be because of one of the above reasons. That’s it!!!

Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it!

Very few people understand how to make a website successful!

Very few people understand how a website even works!

Think about it – websites are a new thing – the internet has only been around 10 years … it is not like we have all grown up with it!

Driving Website Results!

So – it is all very well to understand why websites fail.

But, how do we improve the number of visitors that our website is receiving? How do we improve the rate at which our visitors are converting into enquiries or sales?

The answer to this question is not easy. There is no ‘one size fits all’. Every website is different just as every business is different. But, I will give you some examples of strategies that can be used to improve each area.

Visits

  • Online Directories – directories such as www.yellowpages.co.nz and www.udb.co.nz.
  • Email Marketing – building a database of customers who have given you permission to send them email.
  • Search Engines – creating your website in such as way so as to maximise its rankings in the search engines.
  • Stationery Promotion – promotion of the website on business cards, brochures, letterheads, etc.
  • Banner Advertising – placing banner advertisements promoting your websites on other related websites
  • Affiliate Marketing – marketing your website through referral partners.

Conversion Rate

  • Fast-Loading Website – your website must load in under eight seconds on a standard modem, otherwise you are losing business!Standard Website
  • Layout – your website must follow accepted layout standards for websites. Getting ‘outside the box’ with your website layout is a sure-fire recipe for disappointment!Professional
  • Design – your website must be designed by a professional! If it doesn’t look attractive – results will suffer!
  • Clear Sales Pathway – every website needs to have at least one clear and well understood goal! Everything about the website should then drive the website visitor along a well thought out conversion pathway towards that desired goal.
  • Trust & Credibility – right up front you need to establish your trust and credibility. This can be done through a number of means - great testimonials & references, a strong guarantee or even the simplest of things like a clear privacy policy or terms of trade.
The bottom line is … the best way to increase website visits and conversion rate will depend on many different factors – your industry, competition, product, competitive advantages and so on. It is a complex area that can be simplified with the hand-in-hand help of someone who knows exactly what they are doing.

Click here now to register for FREE one hour consultation with a Zeald E-business Consultant and discover how we can help you to substantially increase the number of visits your website receives and the rate at which those website visits convert to sales or enquiries.

The Problem with most Website Companies!

Most website companies are focused on one thing. …

Building a pretty website that has lot of ‘bells and whistles’!

Makes sense doesn’t it!

Problem is – a pretty website with ‘bells and whistles’ doesn’t necessarily deliver dollars into your bank account!

You need a website that delivers measurable results! A website that delivers sales or enquiries! …

The Zeald Approach!


We have a unique approach for delivering to you a website that drives measurable results!

Instead of just delivering a great website we deliver to you an entire website program! A program that guides you through the end-to-end process of achieving a website that wins business!

Our passionate belief is that in order you to be incredibly successful online we must provide you with five things:

  • Fantastic Website – a website that maximises your chances of attracting website visitors and converting those visitors into sales or enquiries. A website that follows international standards and benchmarks for visitor attraction and conversion.
  • Powerful Tools – a complete measurement and tracking system (normally only found on top corporate sites) that enables you to manage and improve the results delivered through your website plus a set of tools that allow you to structure and manage every single aspect of your websites content with a few clicks of a button.
  • Educational Materials – a ‘Website Bible’ that shows you everything you need to know to be amazing successful online with your website. You will learn the importance of website visitors, conversion rate and average sale and how to send your results sky rocketing!
  • Expert Assistance – a top-notch E-business Consultant that will meet with you to plan out every single aspect of your website – right from correctly structuring the website all the way through to the promotion and marketing of the new website.
  • Ongoing Support – a regular monthly review with an E-business Consultant to review results and brainstorm strategies to continually increase ongoing website performance.

This program is called – ‘Websites that Win Business!’ (WTWB)

In Summary

So once more - you get:
  • A high performance website that meets or exceeds all benchmarks to attract website visitors & encourage them to buy or make an enquiry.
  • A complete measurement and tracking system, normally only found on large corporate sites that enables you to manage and improve the results delivered through your website.
  • A “Secrets of Website Success” book that guides you through the end-to-end process of planning, designing, building, launching, promoting, measuring and tuning a successful website.
  • An E-Business Consultant” who develops a comprehensive marketing plan and website blueprint for the new website in conjunction with you.
  • Ongoing access to an “E-Business Consultant” who will perform a monthly review of your website with you to support you in the generation of fantastic results online!
So how much do you think it would cost to get a program like this – a program focused on achieving results? $10,000? $20,000? Maybe even $35,000?

Well the great news is this ….

The ‘Websites that Win Business’ (WTWB) program costs as little as $1997 + GST!! … plus an ongoing fee of $97 + GST.

You can register your interest right now by clicking here!

We will send one of our E-Business Consultants to you for a FREE one hour consultation (currently available in Northland, Auckland & Waikato only - phone based consultation available everywhere else). Discuss your business, its products and services and their potential to be promoted and possibly even sold online using a website!

Here’s What Some Of Our Customers Have to Say!


This is one of the most passionate and dynamic companies that I have ever used as a provider. They consistently strive to deliver substantial and measurable business results through a website. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Zeald to anyone.
Steve Corbett (Chief Executive) – E-Centre

I have been completely amazed by the energy, enthusiasm and dedication that your team has shown towards my website and my business. They are passionate about what they do and highly professional in the way they go about it.
David Hare (Owner) – Funky Gifts

Your Free Bonus!!

Register your interest today in the “Websites that Win Business!” program and we will email you as a FREE gift our booklet - 'Website Fundamentals - How to Generate Amazing Results Online!'. (Click here now to register!)

Website Fundamentals - How to Generate Amazing Results Online!
The success of a website is usually measured by how many sales or enquiries are made through the website. What most people don’t know is that there is four key ‘success metrics’ that determine the success of every website. Learn what the four ‘success metrics’ are and how to improve each of the four metrics to establish a website that is on a fast-track path to success!

FREE One Hour Consultation at your place! – COMPLETELY RISK FREE!
Register today for a FREE one hour consultation – at your place with a Zeald E-business Consultant (available in Northland, Auckland & Waikato, only - phone based consultation available everywhere else). Discuss your business, its products and services and their potential to be promoted and possibly even sold online using a website!

Click here now to register for this completely RISK FREE session!

Thank-you for taking the time to learn about ‘Websites that Win Business!’
We look forward to developing you a website that wins business! If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact one of the team on 0508 WEBSITE (0508 932 748) or email info@zeald.com

Remember – we are only limited by our fears!

David Kelly
CEO – Zeald
http://www.zeald.com

P.S. If you got buried in the detail of the page and just jumped straight to the bottom then click here to register your interest in the ‘Websites that Win Business’ program and collect a copy of our booklet – 'Website Fundamentals - How to Generate Amazing Results Online!' absolutely FREE! Click here now!

 

Free articles

Consider writing articles that are closely related to your product or service and that will provide useful information to your potential customers.  Provide your affiliates with copies of the article that can be used on their website. 

Articles are extremely powerful tools for building your company’s brand and credibility. 

Don’t be afraid to give away a few secrets to help out your potential customers.

People often shy away from writing a good article as they want to keep the knowledge all to themselves.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking this way - the more information you give away to your potential customers, the more they will grow to trust you and the more value they will see in doing business with you.  A good article can do wonders for building your business online.

Make sure you state exactly what the article is about in the article summary and in the first paragraph of the article.  Organise the information you are presenting in a logical way and make sure you summarise it at the end.  You should structure a good article like this:

 

  • Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  • Tell them.
  • And then tell them what you told them!

 

Finally – don’t forget to include a link through to the offers on your main website in each of your articles.  An amazing number of people overlook this – your article is there to sell your products and services! I recommend you put this at the end rather than doing a hard sell throughout the article, but make sure it is a strong, relevant and compelling offer to attract readers to take the next step and click through to your website.

See the example below of an article from the Zeald affiliates program that can be inserted into any website.

 

Search Engine Advertising


Optimising your website for the search engines is only one option for generating traffic for your website. Another option is to advertise on a search engine. In this article we are going to look at exactly how search engine advertising works and look at the current major providers of search engine advertising in the market place.

When advertising on a search engine, you pay for an advertisement to appear when a person searches for a particular keyword or phrase, relevant to your website. There are three common models search engines use for charging for advertisements- in fact; these models are common across all forms of online advertising:

Pay-Per-Impression (PPI)
In the Pay-Per-Impression model you are charged every time one of your advertisements is ‘served up’ to a viewer. With this model you are usually charged per 1000 impressions. The amount you are charged per 1000 impressions is called your Cost Per Impression or CPM. This model is the hardest to control, as you don’t know how many people will click on your advertisements, and then purchase products or services, or even make enquiries (although you will able to forecast this accurately after you have some historical results).

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
With this model, you are charged for each click your ad listing receives. The amount you pay per click is called your Cost Per Click or CPC. Pay-per-click advertising is a lot more attractive than pay-per-impression advertising as you can manage your costs a lot easier- you only pay for visitors that have clicked-through to your website.

Pay-Per-Acquisition (PPA)
Pay-per-acquisition advertising is the best of the lot! In this model you pay only when someone purchases something from your website. You pay ‘a commission’ for a new customer! The amount you pay is called your Cost-Per-Acquisition or CPA. This method of charging is very common in affiliate programs, which we discuss later in this module.

Advertising Types


There are two common types of search engine advertising:

Fixed Placement Advertising
Fixed placement advertising is exactly how it sounds. It is an advertisement that is locked into a specific position on a search engine’s results page. Generally, the position of the advertisement doesn’t change. Many search engines reserve a portion of space at the top or side of their page for fixed placement ads.

The advantage of fixed place advertising is that you can lock-in your advertising rates and lock out your competitors from the top positions. Unfortunately, this type of advertising with the search engines is often very expensive and is usually in the realm of larger organisations with substantial advertising budgets.

Pay For Placement Advertising (PFP)
Pay for placement (PFP) advertising works like this - people bid for placement in the advertising slots provided by the search engines, on their results page. The highest bid wins the number one slot, second highest bid the second slot, and so on.

PFP advertising can change day-to-day as advertisers change their bid amounts, and as new advertisers start bidding. Almost all PFP advertising utilises a Pay-Per-Click method of charging. The advertiser pays each time a person clicks their advertisement.

PFP advertising is great for small businesses as you can trial it with very little advertising budget. You can often secure visitors to your website for just a few cents. Its only downside is that it can require substantial time and effort to manage it successfully.

The rest of this section focuses on PFP advertising, as this is the form of advertising that will be most applicable to the majority of our readers.

PFP Advertising Providers
In the PFP advertising world there are two main providers:
  • Google
    Google runs a PFP system called Google Adwords. Google Adwords allows you to bid on keywords. When these key words are searched, an appropriate advertisement will appear on the right-hand side of the page, under the title– ‘Sponsored Links’.
    Google Adwords allows you to target your advertisements to the New Zealand region without including the region in the keyword. What this means is that you don’t have to include the geographical region in the keyword that you are targeting, i.e., ‘New Zealand Meat’. Instead, you can just tell Google to only ‘serve’ advertisements to New Zealand-based searchers.
    Any advertisements that you set up using Google Adwords will currently be displayed in these search engines: Google, Ask Jeeves, Teoma, Netscape Search and AOL Search.
  • Yahoo Search Advertising (formerly Overture)
    Yahoo Search Advertising is the biggest supplier of PFP advertising. Similar to Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Advertising allows you to bid on keywords that when searched show an advertisement on the right-hand side of the page under the title – ‘Sponsored Results’.
    Yahoo Search Advertising currently only allows you to target your advertisements to the Australasian region. The only way to target specifically to the New Zealand region is to include the region in the keyword.
    Yahoo Search Advertising advertisements currently are displayed in these search engines: AllTheWeb, AltaVista, MSN Search and Yahoo.
There are also a number of smaller PFP providers:
  • FindWhat (http://www.findwhat.com)
  • LookSmart (http://www.looksmart.com)
  • Kanoodle (http://www.kanoodle.com)
  • Enhance Interactive (http://www.enhance.com)
  • Mamma Media Solutions (http://www.mammamediasolutions.com).

Summary

In this article we have explored the topic of search engine advertising. We’ve looked at how search engine advertising works and how it is revolutionizing the traditional methods for charging for advertising. Finally we have looked at the current major providers of search engine advertising and the differences between the different providers.

Related Articles

For more articles and information go to www.zeald.com

Is Your Website Producing Amazing RESULTS?

If you answer is anything less than a resounding yes, then you need to click here to learn about Zeald. Because results that are anything less than ‘amazing’ means you are selling yourself short! Click here now!

Copyright © 2004, Zeald Limited – All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Testimonials/Case studies/Endorsements

Testimonials, case studies and endorsements are all extremely powerful methods of building credibility.  Remember that on the internet it can be hard for people to judge credibility – the internet is full of scammers, con-artists and cowboys, and your customers want to know that you aren't one of them before doing business with you.

Provide your affiliates with as many of these materials as possible.  Make sure you don’t leave your testimonials open to attack - don't just make up fake testimonials! People are wary of this on the internet so provide as much informational about the person who has given you the testimonial as possible to prove that it is real.  Include their name and the name of the organisation they represent.  If possible, try to include a picture or a photograph.

Testimonial Example

The art of getting good testimonials is an interesting one.  Approach customers who you know like you.  Their testimonial acts as an advertisement for both you and them (and your paying for it!) so there is a clear benefit for them to provide you with one.  And while you should never just make up testimonials yourself, it might be a good idea to give the people recommending you a fairly comprehensive example of what you want.

Free informational gifts

Consider writing a free e-book or a free report that can be packaged and offered as a free gift.  You can offer this as a download, as an ongoing email newsletter, or you might even request their postal address and mail them a paper brochure.

Informational products make for fantastic free gifts.  Once they are created they cost very little to distribute while their value to your customer is large.  Think about a free report or resource that a potential customer of your company might be interested in.

When offering a free product like this make sure you ask for something in return – at minimum you should ask for the customer's email address and other contact details.  You can use this later for Email Marketing (see my other book, “Secrets of Email Marketing Success”).

In Summary

Make it as easy as possible for your affiliates to promote your products or services. No one knows how to sell your products or services better than you, so provide your affiliates with as many tools and materials as you possibly can.  Remember, their success means your success.

Step 5: Create Your Affiliate Agreement

 

A clear, well-written and well-thought-out affiliate agreement is mandatory. It needs to be written in ‘plain English’ and cover all aspects of the relationship. The key components of most affiliate agreements are:

  • Acceptance criteria
  • A code of conduct
  • Limitation of liability
  • The term
  • Governing laws
  • Confidentiality
  • Affiliate and merchant responsibilities
  • The commission structure
  • Linking criteria
  • Tracking systems
  • Exclusivity.

Your affiliate agreement exists both to protect you and your affiliates.  It also serves as a way of explaining to your affiliates what their responsibilities are, and what they get out of it in return.

Talk to your solicitor for help with drafting an Affiliate Agreement for your affiliate program.  You can purchase  standard agreements online to use as a base.  The following websites all have standard affiliate agreements available for purchase.

  • http://www.allbusiness.com/
  • http://www.consusgroup.com/
  • http://www.envision-sbs.com/

Step 6: Produce An Affiliates Manual

 

An important part of any affiliate program is the training.  Since your affiliates are actively selling your products and services their conduct reflects on you.  You need to make sure they know what they are doing, and a training program is the most effective way of ensuring that.

The most basic training you should provide is an affiliates manual.  Consider providing two versions of your affiliate’s manual – a full version and a ‘quick start’ version.

So what should a good training manual have in it?

Ideally you will want to cover off the following things in your training manuals:

  • Introduction to your affiliates program
  • Overview of the company
  • Core products & services
  • Explanation of your affiliates system
  • Instructions on how to use your affiliates system
  • Sales & marketing materials
  • Explanation as to how an affiliate will get paid.

Your training might simply be your affiliate’s manual.  But it is important that you have a ‘formalised’ planned-out process for following up with your affiliates and ensuring they understand everything that they have been given.

Look to formalise your training ‘systems’ so that each new affiliate goes through a standardised training process whenever they sign-up.  This process can be significantly automated using autoresponders (See our book – ‘Secrets of Email Marketing Success).

Step 7: Setup Management Processes 

 

It is important that you have one key person within your organisation that takes responsibility for your affiliate program.  The key skills of a great affiliate manager are:

  • They are a ‘people person’
  • Relationship building
  • Good communication skills – both written and oral
  • Strong product/service knowledge
  • Solid Internet and technical skills
  • Customer service skills
  • The ability to update materials for affiliates.

These ‘managers’ will be required to perform the following tasks:

  • Promote the affiliate program in a  professional manner
  • Review, accept/decline affiliate applications
  • Answer affiliate requests for support in a timely fashion
  • Compose regular communications with affiliates
  • Report on the performance of the affiliate program
  • Create and update affiliate materials on a regular basis
  • Plan and run special offers, promotions
  • Motivate the affiliates (using things like competitions, prizes and other offers).

Ensure that your affiliate manager will have the time and motivation to handle these tasks.  A common recipe for a mediocre affiliate program is a badly-managed program.

Step 8: Communicate Regularly

 

Affiliates are your partners.  And the key to any good partnership is good communication.

You should keep in regular contact with your affiliates – one way to do this is with an affiliate newsletter that you send out to all your affiliates on a regular basis (eg once a month).

It can often be a good idea to plan your affiliate newsletter many months in advance.  Note when you will send each newsletter and exactly what each communication will contain.  How will you motivate your affiliates?  How will you persuade them to take action?  This sounds familiar - doesn’t it? 

The same persuasive skills we use on our potential customers on our websites can also be used to successfully manage our affiliates programs.

Step 9: Promote Your Affiliates Program

 

Now that you have your affiliate program, you’ll need to promote it in such a way as to attract and sign-up great affiliates.

Just about every single affiliate program follows the 80:20 rule; that 80% of your results will come from just 20% of your total affiliates.  Affiliates are usually broken-down into four categories:

  • Super affiliates – are the 20% that drive 80% of your results.  They are enthusiastic, understand Internet marketing and are completely committed to achieving results. You need to support and reward these affiliates well since they are the key to your affiliate program!
  • Up & comers – have great websites or email databases but for some reason their site is not converting visitors into results.  ‘Up and comers’, with some training and motivation can become ‘Super affiliates’.  Provide them with all the training, help and motivation you can to try to convert them to “Super affiliates”!
  • Onesies – have small websites with little traffic.  They are often small operations that will drive just a few results every year.  Often ‘onesies’ make up the bulk of the final 20% of your results, and over time as their business grows they may be able to become “Up & comers” or even “Super affiliates”
  • Untouchables – are exactly that, ‘untouchable’.  No matter what you do, you probably won’t improve results from an ‘untouchable’.  They usually have no understanding of Internet marketing, and the basics of building a website that works, … and have no desire to learn.  You should avoid wasting too much time on these affiliates.

The key to any great affiliate program is targeting and attracting as many ‘super affiliates’ as possible and providing the training and support necessary to help ‘Onesies’ and ‘Up & comers’ move to the ‘Super affiliate’ category.

So how do we target ‘Super affiliates’?  One of the first keys to targeting ‘Super affiliates’ is to have a well-thought out program.  Once you have that program in place, put together a section on your website that promotes your affiliate program.  This should include the following:

  • Affiliate program details
  • Benefits of the affiliate program
  • Revenue projections
  • Existing affiliates, testimonials and case studies
  • Demonstrations and screen-shots of your affiliate systems.

The affiliates section of your website is like a mini-website.  Therefore you need to give it the same sort of attention as you would to your main website.  You need to carefully plan every aspect of the conversion pathway that your potential affiliate is going to take.

Once you are ready to promote your new program, put together a list of possible affiliates.  Look for prospects that have great websites with strong persuasive copy, high traffic and a solid customer base.  There are a number of good places to start when looking for good affiliates:

  • Your own customers!  Existing customers of your business are often the perfect place to start, they already know you and your products or services, and you likely already have some idea about them (eg are they likely to “Super affiliates” or untouchables?).
  • Lost sales! Sometimes when you are selling your products or services you meet with potential customers who for whatever reason are unable to buy your products, but still find them compelling.  Why not sign them up as affiliates?
  • Your own staff.  These days more and more people have websites of their own, and some of your employees may make good affiliates.
  • Your friends, associates and other business networks.  When giving out your card or chatting about your business with others don't forget to mention your affiliates program.
Once you have built a targeted list of potential affiliates, approach each of your prospects via email or phone.  Make sure you have plenty of details to give to each of the prospects.  Be prepared for any questions they might ask. Selling your affiliate program is much like selling any other product or service – you will face objections and skepticism, be ready to deal with it.

 

Step 10: Test, Measure & Tune (TMT)

Now that you have setup your affiliate program, you need to be able to monitor and maintain it.  Like with everything on the Web, you should always TMT – test, measure and tune.

The key figures that you will want to know about your affiliates are different, depending on what the overall conversion objective of your website is.  Generally it is to generate online sales or enquiries.  But whatever the objective of the website you need to be able to measure the success of your affiliates program in delivering it.

Common Affiliate Metrics:

  • Impressions – the number of times your advertisement or promotion has been ‘served’ to a viewer by your affiliates.
  • Click-through rate (CTR) – how often a visitor has clicked on your affiliates' advertisements or promotions.
  • Clicks/visitors – the number of clicks or visitors that you have received from the affiliates.
  • Conversion rate – the percentage of visitors from your affiliates that have placed an order or made an enquiry on your website.
  • Orders / enquiries – the number of orders or enquiries placed by the visitors generated by your affiliates.
  • Average sale – the average value of each order.
  • Revenue – the total amount of revenue generated by your affiliates.
  • Gross margin – the percentage of revenue generated by your affiliates that is profit.
  • Gross profit – the total amount of profit that you have made from your affiliates.
  • Cost-per-sale / enquiry – the commission that you have paid the affiliates for each sale or enquiry.
  • Total cost – the total cost of your affiliate program.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) – the return on your affiliate marketing investment.