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Affiliate Program Management


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Table of Contents

Foreword xxvii Introduction xxix Part I History, Terminology, and Introductory Remarks 1 Chapter 1 Understanding Affiliate Marketing 3 What Is Affiliate Marketing? 4 Affiliates, Subaffiliates, and Superaffiliates 5 Affiliates 5 Subaffiliates 6 Superaffiliates 7 Universality of Affiliate Marketing 9 Marketing Channels and Types of Affiliates 9 Content Publishing 10 Couponing 10 Data Feeds 11 Email Marketing 12 Paid Search 12 Loyalty Marketing 12 Social Media 15 Video 15 Popularity 17 Chapter 2 Budget, Payments, and Related Considerations 19 Budgeting 20 Performance-Based Models 21 Interaction with Other Channels 24 Reversal Policies and Related Considerations 25 Duplicate Orders 27 Locking Periods and Lock Dates 27 Consider a Nonreversal Policy 29 Part II Month 1: Pre-Launch Research and Analysis 31 Chapter 3 Week 1: Perform Competitive Marketing Analysis 33 Monday: Understand SWOTT Analysis 34 Tuesday: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses 36 Strengths 36 Weaknesses 36 Wednesday: Evaluate Opportunities, Trends, and Threats 37 Opportunities and Trends 37 Threats 39 Thursday: Present Your Analysis to Your Boss/Client 39 Friday: Develop a Competitive Intelligence Strategy 41 Join Affiliate Programs 42 Follow Competitor in Other Ways 42 Set Up Automatic Monitoring 43 Employ Traffic Monitoring Tools 44 Chapter 4 Week 2: Understanding Tracking and Reporting 47 Monday: Evaluate Affiliate Networks 48 Affiliate Networks 48 Tuesday: Understand CPA Networks and How They Work 56 Wednesday: Assess In-House Solutions 61 Making the Choice 63 Thursday: Analyze Payment Options 64 What Do Affiliates Prefer? 64 Outsourced Payment Solutions 66 Friday: Understand the Importance of Cookies 67 Chapter 5 Week 3: Evaluate Program Management Options 69 Monday: Understand the Basics 70 Autopilot vs. Proactive Management 70 Key Management Elements 71 Manage the Program, Not Affiliates 74 Tuesday: Set Your Expectations 74 Wednesday: Outline Qualifications and Certification 76 Affiliate Program Manager Qualifications 76 Education and Certification 77 Thursday: Weigh In-House vs. Outsourced Solutions 78 Friday: Determine Compensation and Draft Contact 80 Determining Compensation 80 Drafting the Contracting Agreement 82 Sample Outsourced Program Management Agreement 86 Chapter 6 Week 4: Finalize Payment Models and Cookie Life 89 Monday: Decide on the Payment Models to Use 90 Tuesday: Determine Whether You Need a Two-Tier Program 94 Wednesday: Study Cookie Retention Data and Make Conclusions 95 Cookie Retention Rates 95 Return Days Analysis 96 Conclusion 99 Thursday: Calculate Commission Budgeting in Incentives 99 Incentives and Tiered Commission Increases 101 Types of Monetary Incentives 101 Friday: Finalize Overall Payment Terms 104 Qualifying Action 104 Cookie Life 104 Payment Models 104 Commission 105 Incentives 105 Locking Period 105 Part III Month 2: Setting Your Affiliate Program Up 107 Chapter 7 Week 1: Develop Creative Inventory 109 Monday: Review Types of Creatives Used by Affiliates 110 Deciding Where to Start 115 Tuesday: Understand and Put Together Text Links 117 Wednesday: Learn About Banner Usage and Popular Sizes 119 Banner Sizes 119 File Size 121 Thursday: Review Banner Creation Mistakes and Work on Banners 122 10 Mistakes to Avoid 122 Examples of Good Affiliate Banners 124 Check What's Working for Your Competition 125 Friday: Develop a Dynamic Creative Policy 126 Chapter 8 Week 2: Data Feeds, Coupons, and Plug-Ins 129 Monday: Learn About Data Feeds 130 How Do You Create a Data Feed? 131 Data Feed Standard 132 Tuesday: Study and Avoid Common Data Feed Mistakes 133 Wednesday: Discover Feed Importing Options 136 Computer Programs 136 Online-Based Solutions 136 On-Server Applications 140 Private-Label Solutions 141 Network-Based Solutions 142 Thursday: Develop Your Coupon Strategy 143 Solution to Possible Conflict with Coupon Affiliates 144 What Coupons Should Merchants Offer? 145 Types of Deals That Convert Best 146 What Makes a "Killer Coupon"? 146 Landing Pages for Coupons 147 Friday: Understand Add-Ons and Plug-Ins 149 Chapter 9 Week 3: Research and Develop Program Policies 153 Monday: Work on Your Coupon and Discounts Policy 154 Pseudo-couponing 154 Examples of Coupon Policies 156 Tuesday: Develop Your Trademark Policy 158 Trademarks and Paid Search 158 Trademarks and Domain Names 159 How to Word the Agreement 160 Wednesday: Formulate Policies Regarding Loyalty and Rebates Affiliates 163 The Rotten Apple 164 Thursday: Word Your Recommendations on Affiliate Disclosures 167 Requirement to Disclose Relationships 167 Implications for Affiliate Marketers 169 Everyone Is Accountable 170 How to Word Disclosures and Agreements 171 Friday: Finalize Your Affiliate Program Agreement 172 Chapter 10 Week 4: Final Brushstrokes 183 Monday: Implement Tracking and Test the System 184 Tuesday: Prepare the Text for Three Email Templates 185 Application Receipt 186 Approval Email 187 Recruitment Phase 190 Welcoming Phase 190 Routine Phase 191 Additional Approval Emails 191 Denial Email 192 Wednesday: Set Up Your Affiliate Program Support Base 193 Sign-up Link 194 Nonexistent Link 194 Broken Link 194 No Real Info 195 Vague Verbiage 195 Program Bio 195 Mini-Sites 196 Five Common Problems with Text 200 Email Address 201 Thursday: Prepare Announcement Text 201 The Checklist 201 Three Types of Calls to Action 201 Sample Announcement 202 Friday: Compile Lists of Keywords and Best Sellers 204 Keyword Lists 204 Best-Seller Lists 209 Part IV Month 3: Program Launch and Affiliate Program Management 211 Chapter 11 Week 1: Launch the Affiliate Program and Recruit 213 Monday: Announce Program Launch 214 Press Release Websites 214 Affiliate Marketing Websites 214 Affiliate Program Directories 216 Social-Media Channels 218 Affiliate Networks 218 Tuesday: Study Affiliate Recruitment Tools and Techniques 219 Free Recruitment Tools 219 Seven Avenues of Affiliate Recruitment 220 Wednesday: Develop a Direct-Contact Recruitment Strategy 227 Three Forms of Direct Contact 228 How Not to Do It 229 How to Make It Shine 230 Sample Texts for Affiliate Recruitment 233 Thursday: Formulate Your Social Media Approach 236 Types of Social Media and Where to Start 236 Essential Points to Remember 237 Blogging Tips 238 Get Ready to Rock 'n' Roll! 240 Friday: Plan to Attend Conferences and Shows 240 Affiliate Marketing Conferences and Events 241 Other Conferences on Online Marketing 242 Chapter 12 Week 2: Plan Your Affiliate Communication 243 Monday: Study Affiliate-Preferred Channels of Communication 244 Global Problem 244 Preferred Communication Channels 245 Two-Way Symmetric Communication 246 Types of Communication 247 Tuesday: Decide on Frequency of Newsletters and Approach 247 Communication Frequency and Response Time 248 Formulate Your Approach and Stick to It 249 Wednesday: Learn How to Put Together Affiliate Newsletters 250 Affiliate Newsletter Format and Characteristics 250 Three p's to Remember Before Hitting Send 251 July Winners 252 August 2009 Promo 253 Creatives 253 Meet Us at Affiliate Summit East 2009 253 Motivating Through Newsletters 255 Thursday: Launch Social-Media Efforts 256 Affiliate Forums 256 Microblogging 258 Social Networking 259 Friday: Start Writing Your Affiliate Program's Blog, Developing FAQs and Tutorials 260 Basic Questions 260 Detailed Instructional Section 261 Chapter 13 Week 3: Program Management 265 Monday: Categorize Affiliates 266 Tuesday: Develop Fraud Prevention Policy and Enforcement Rules 268 Fraud Prevention 268 Enforcement Policy 271 Wednesday: Start Profiling Affiliates 272 Thursday: Forget About Managing, and Start Leading! 274 Twenty Differences Between Management and Leadership 275 The Four Most Valued Characteristics of a Leader 277 It's All About Emergent Leadership 280 Friday: Become a Transformational Leader 281 Chapter 14 Week 4: Affiliate Motivation 285 Monday: Learn About Motivation in General and Marketing to Marketers in Particular 286 Motivation Is Always Multifaceted 286 Keys to Moving Mountains 287 Focus on Personal Advancement, Needs, and Goals 287 Forget About "Motivation" by Threat 288 Tuesday: Study Contingency Theory 290 Contingency Approach 290 The Nature of Affiliates 291 Applications of Contingency Models to Affiliate Program Management 291 Wednesday: Understand How Extrinsic Motivation Works 294 Five Golden Rules of Successful Extrinsic Motivation 294 Examples of Incentive Campaigns 295 Motivation by Money vs. Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose 297 Thursday: Learn More About Intrinsic Motivation 298 Intrinsic Motivation The Ultimate Goal 299 Nicholson's Method and Affiliate Context 300 Motivating Culturally Diverse Affiliates 301 Friday: Arrive at Your Own Optimal Approach 302 Part V Month 4: Advanced Management and Analysis 305 Chapter 15 Week 1: Study and Learn to Deal with Parasitism and Problematic Affiliates 307 Monday: Monitor Red Flags in Affiliate Applications 308 Tuesday: Learn About Affiliate Parasitism 313 Three Types of Parasites 313 Program Agreement 314 Cookie Stuffing 315 Wednesday: Educate Yourself on Adware and Toolbars 316 What Parasites Are and How They Work 318 What Affiliates Think 320 Thursday: Police Trademark Violators 320 Platform-Based Tools 321 Independent Tools 321 Friday: Learn About Coupon Theft and Copycat Sites 325 The Problem 325 The Solution 326 Copycat Sites 328 Chapter 16 Week 2: Master Affiliate Program Analytics and Optimization 329 Monday: Understand What KPIs and Metrics to Focus On 330 KPIs for Advertisers/Merchants 330 Tuesday: Split Test to Improve Conversions 332 Conversion Optimization 333 What to Test 335 How to Test Effectively 336 Wednesday: Explore Alternative Tracking Solutions and Compensation Models 337 Cookieless Tracking 338 Alternative Compensation Models 338 Thursday: Engage in Ongoing Competitive Intelligence 342 Why? 343 How? 343 What? 344 Friday: Analyze Progress and Stay Informed 346 Monitor Affiliate Program Performance 347 Be on Top of Industry Trends and Developments 347 Chapter 17 Deadliest Mistakes to Avoid 351 Mistakes, Errors, and Lessons to Learn 352 15 Mistakes Committed by Merchants 352 Mistake 1: Leaky Websites 353 Mistake 2: "Autopilot" Approach to Affiliate Program 354 Mistake 3: Unclear or Absent Program TOS 354 Mistake 4: Nonexistent PPC Policy 354 Mistake 5: Embarrassing Commission Rates 354 Mistake 6: Short Cookie Life 354 Mistake 7: Insisting on Home Page Links 355 Mistake 8: Insisting on Promotion of Best Sellers 355 Mistake 9: Commission Drops 355 Mistake 10: Lack of Advanced Notifications 356 Mistake 11: Late Payments 356 Mistake 12: Changes That Affect Affiliate Links 357 Mistake 13: Tampering with Tracking Code 357 Mistake 14: Unrealistic Goals for Commission Increases 357 Mistake 15: Asking for Something You Cannot Return 358 25 Affiliate Program Management Mistakes 358 Mistake 16: Managing Affiliates 358 Mistake 17: Assuming You Are Smarter Than Affiliates 358 Mistake 18: Assuming All Affiliates Are Prone to Fraud 359 Mistake 19: Terminating Inactive Affiliates 359 Mistake 20: Practicing a "One-Size-Fits-All" Approach 360 Mistake 21: Believing Money Is the Best Incentive 360 Mistake 22: Being Impersonal 360 Mistake 23: Belated Approvals 360 Mistake 24: Untargeted Recruitment Emails 360 Mistake 25: Use of Email Addresses Based on Free Servers 360 Mistake 26: Not Responding to Affiliate Emails and Questions 361 Mistake 27: Failing to Maintain an Ongoing Communication Channel 361 Mistake 28: Informing Affiliates of the Obvious 361 Mistake 29: Ignoring Affiliate Suggestions 362 Mistake 30: Low-Quality Answers to Questions 362 Mistake 31: Asking Affiliates How They Can Do Better 363 Mistake 32: Selective Helping 363 Mistake 33: Typos, Spelling Mistakes, and Code Errors 363 Mistake 34: Insisting on Phoning 363 Mistake 35: Termination of Affiliate Accounts Without Notice 363 Mistake 36: Dryness and Blandness 364 Mistake 37: Unkept Promises 364 Mistake 38: Ultimatums 364 Mistake 39: Showing One Affiliate's Site to Others 365 Mistake 40: Failing to Admit Mistakes 365 Chapter 18 Affiliate Program Promotion Ideas 367 Sharing Ideas 368 Better Base Conditions for Select Affiliates 369 Free Domain Giveaway 369 Arithmetic Progression Bonuses 370 Cobranded Version of a Good Affiliate Tool 370 Segment Your Products 371 Learn to Celebrate 371 Run "Happy Weeks" 372 Classic "Happy Week" Idea 373 An A-B-C-D-E Idea 374 A 1-2-3-4-5 Idea 375 Colors Idea 376 Lingua-Symbolic Idea for One Week 377 Sliding Scale of Commission Increases 379 Bonus Weeks 380 Growth Tied to Commission 380 Offer Tripled Commission 380 Run a Lottery 381 Let Them "Test-Drive" It 383 Offer 100-Percent Commissions 383 Run a "Free Graphics Help" Week 384 Award "Every-Third-Sale" Gifts 384 Cash for Everything: CAIs, FSBs, and So On 385 Cross-Program Promotions 385 Dynamic Scripts 387 Commission-Beating Policy 387 Exclusive Coupons for Select Affiliates 388 Time-Sensitive Private Offers 388 Free Content Help 388 Activation Incentives 389 Turn a Sale into a Contest 390 Glossary of Abbreviations 393 Index 401

About the Author

Award-winning affiliate management expert Evgenii "Geno" Prussakov is the CEO & Founder of AM Navigator -- a world's leading OPM agency. As an affiliate program manager and consultant he has contributed to the online marketing success of Forbes, Nokia, Hallmark, Warner Music, Skype, Forex Club, and hundreds of small businesses. Prussakov has authored "A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing" (2007) and "Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day" (2011) which have trained thousands of marketing professionals. In 2011 for influencing "change within the industry" LinkShare named him one of Performance Marketing's Most Vocal Advocates, while Small Business Trends recognized him in their 2011 Small Business Influencer initiative. In 2012 Geno has launched Affiliate Management Days, the world's first and only affiliate management conference. Besides books, he shares his knowledge through major digital marketing magazines (Website Magazine, Revenue Performance, Search Marketing Standard, Visibility Magazine, etc), blogs, conference presentations (at Affiliate Summit, a4uexpo, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, PubCon, etc), and also maintains his own blog (named Best Affiliate Blog in 2010 & 2011).

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