Seeds to Stalks: Cultivating your Affiliate Program presentation from Affiliate Summit East 2006, which took place July 9-11, 2006 in Orlando, FL.
- Mike Catania, Vice President of Business Development, America One Funding
The vast majority of us do not manage affiliate programs for multi-billion dollar companies. Our monthly advertising budgets might, in a good month, break into four digits.
We know the names of way too many of our affiliates and how much they made last month without having to look it up. We walk to a co-worker’s office to ask a question because we can.
With careful management and organization we still successfully compete on the highest level with Household Name Companies for the attention of affiliates; and they love us.
The basic principle for running a small affiliate program is controlling only what you can and ignoring the rest. You can control your conversion rates, your payouts, where you find affiliates and how they feel about you–so control the heck out of them.
From October 2005 through March 2006 we have been (are) running six simultaneous studies to answer six questions that are key to not only our company but any other small/medium sized affiliate program.
- Showing them the money: Does raising the payouts really increase affiliate signups? Is “the magic formula” for determining the dollar-value accurate?
- The Map of Doom: What do you do when something is broke and you can’t fix it?
- SEO versus Affiliate Managers: Do more affiliates signup because you’re in the top 5 for their keyword or because one of your affiliate managers contacted them personally?
- Custom Landing Pages: Personnel costs versus amount of revenue from affiliates with custom pages. Is it worth the trouble? What about affiliate-hosted forms? Can you trust the affiliates?
- Transparency: How did we screw up when affiliates weren’t paid or tracked accurately? How can we fix it and ensure it wouldn’t happen again? What can you do to prove your trustworthiness in the often-deceitful world of affiliate marketing?
We have a 1200 member in-house affiliate program that we’ve been developing since 2003. The leads they provide supply about 20% of the leads we process.
Note: the companies and positions listed above were current as of the time of the conference. Some of this information may have changed since then.