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Jul 23, 2009

Many companies believe that selling their products or services through an affiliate programme is the dream solution. They have visions of thousands of sales people promoting their products all over the Web. These little guys never get tired, they work 24/7 and they only get paid after they sell something.

Ah, Xanadu.

The truth is that this can be the case but it isn’t that easy. The fact is that affiliates need attention and support if they’re expected to perform well. This means providing them with an ever-improving website that converts visitors to sales. Nobody will continue to send their traffic to your site if your conversion rate stinks.

It also means providing them with effective marketing materials. These may include pre-written content or emails that they are able to use or it may be a collection of banners that produce high click-through rates. Again, these should be ever-evolving to show your affiliates that they are important to you.

Finally, it means offering support. This is the biggie. When you offer an affiliate programme to the public through a network or even using your own proprietary software and allow anyone to promote your products you are opening yourself up to a huge customer service issue. You’ll find that you’ll either have to hire an affiliate manager to deal with your sales team from Xanadu or you’ll find your own time getting chewed up by responding to your affiliates.

What is the solution? You don’t have to hire an affiliate manager and you don’t have to sacrifice your life. You could outsource these tasks but an even more effective method is even more simple.

Take a look at your affiliate results. I can almost assure you that the 80/20 rule applies. The vast majority of your sales will be coming from a small percentage of your affiliates. If you’re willing to do so, you can simply focus on keeping that small percentage happy and ignore the rest.

Yes, it may sound harsh and perhaps a little risky but if you want your affiliate programme to become profitable without consuming your life, it is never a bad approach to trim the fat from time to time… and then focus on finding more affiliates with similar characteristics of your productive few.

Multiply the positives and eliminate the negatives - sound strategy in affiliate marketing… and life for that matter.

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Posted: Jul 23, 2009 8:44pm


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Eric Haaranen
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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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