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#3.14: The “Amplify Your Affiliate Program” Issue

Affiliate programs — where you pay referral fees to sites that send sales to you — can deliver an extra jump in sales with a little fine-tuning from you.

1> Don’t Forget The Other 80%
2> Take Your Affiliate Program Offline
3> Want 600,000 Salespeople? Make It Easy
4> Radio Shack Finally Gets A Clue

1> Don’t Forget The Other 80%

Every merchant running an affiliate program knows that the top 10-20% of your affiliates send you most of your referrals. Resist the temptation to ignore the slow performers. If you’re not reaching out to the majority of your affiliates, you’re leaving money on the table. Take advantage of the built-in communications tools in your affiliate management software to target them. Send email newsletters with tips on how they can sell more effectively, send them special offers that they can forward to customers, and give them any other help you can. Be encouraging and supportive — with a few emails each month, you keep your offers top of mind with thousands of sites that can sell for you. Affiliates have many web sites they could promote, and a little attention from you goes a long way toward moving you to the front of the line.

THE LESSON: How much would you make if all of your second-grade affiliates made one extra sale each month? Spend a little time, send a few emails, and drive sales right back to your site.

2> Take Your Affiliate Program Offline

GTC Telecom sells telephone service and Internet access to new home buyers. They wanted to encourage local real estate companies to promote their services — but it’s hard to track commission payments for offline sales. GTC used their online affiliate program (through Linkshare) to handle all tracking and payments of referral fees. All they did was print the Linkshare referral code on the application forms provided to the real estate brokers. When the applications came back to GTC, they entered the code into Linkshare, which handled all the referral paperwork. Guess what — some of the offline brokers turned out to be some of the largest producers in GTC’s affiliate program.

THE LESSON: “Clicks and bricks” isn’t always about using your web site to send people to offline stores. Use your online tools and technology to support your offline marketing.

MORE INFO:
http://www.linkshare.com

3> Want 600,000 Salespeople? Make It Easy

Amazon offers the mother of all affiliate programs. They claim more than 600,000 affiliates send them new business every day. One of their secrets is that they make it oh-so-easy to sign up, and even easier to sell for them. When you sign up, it takes fewer than seven clicks and you fill out less than 20 form fields. You’re approved within minutes. Then you get detailed instructions on how to start selling products right off their site. How easy is it? Copy the URL of the product you want to sell from Amazon, add your ID code to the end, and link potential buyers to that page. You’re selling for them in under 2 minutes, and they are getting new business the same day.

THE LESSON: Every affiliate is a new, commission-only salesperson for your site. Make it fast and painless for them to send you paying customers. If you don’t, someone else will take their referrals.

MORE INFO:
http://associates.amazon.com/exec/panama/associates/ntg/browse/-/567864/002-6837282-2708808

4> Radio Shack Finally Gets A Clue

The creepy weasels at RadioShack have announced that they are going to stop asking for your address every time you try to buy something from them. We’re all for good direct marketing, but demanding your mailing address when you buy a $2 battery for cash was way over the top. Now I don’t need to find a new source for radio-controlled karaoke key chains!

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