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Affiliate Marketing UK

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Affiliate Marketing Basics

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Additional resources

Case Study: Upgrading the Affiliate Announceaffiliate program


Affiliate Announce operates a niche service, providing promotional services to affiliate program managers, announcing their site to all the major affiliate program directories.

The team includes me as sole proprietor, gratefully accepting help from my wife-to-be in keeping me organised and supervising the accounts/affiliate payments. Any programming over and above my basic HTML skills are outsourced (usually auctioned at eLance.com).

Almost 50% of the sites revenue is generated through it's own affiliate program. Most affiliate partners are in fact the affiliate directories themselves.

The majority of partners have been personally introduced by me contacting each one, the fact I'm working in such a niche market makes this task quite easy!

In total Affiliate Announce have just over 200 partners of which approx. 10 generate 95% of affiliate traffic and sales.

Reasons for upgrade

For the past 12 months the program has been operated using the Affiliate Tracking Network. As one of the entry-level solutions they where ideal to start with, providing me with a low cost solution to test the water. The customer support has been fantastic and the software does the job but it does have one key drawback.

The software does not have the facility to easily email all the affiliate partners. With a now established brand I plan to roll out a number of new services and products under the Affiliate Announce name and need to be able to easily communicate these updates with the network.

Nor am I able to manually enter credit to an affiliate for orders generated by telephone.

I also need access to more detailed statistics, for example I know the best results are created by the directories using a simple text link but further reporting is needed to really optimise linking options.

The Game Plan

The planned new products will be a natural up-sell from the core affiliate directory submission service. Now of course I could simply let my affiliates acquire the customers for me, fufill the first order and then introduce the new product line. Many programs do just this and do not reward affiliates for ongoing sales, which really isn't in the spirit of a partnership. I would much rather develop a network which rewards affiliates not as a one off for creating a single sale but ongoing commissions against future purchases from the Affiliate Announce brand.

In developing the program I need to keep putting on my 'affiliate hat' - what would I want if I were an affiliate partner with Affiliate Announce. If I can create a program that makes it profitable for affiliates then it follows that I too shall profit. Too many programs are developed by media agencies and execs that just don't get it. The board has agreed to a program and then they use affiliate relationships for customer acquisition at the lowest possible cost. Long term this is not going to succeed.

OK. So let me jump off my soapbox and see how these principles fair in the real world!

Ideally I would like a custom built solution similar to that of Ken Evoy's highly successful 5 Pillar Program. This program takes affiliate partnerships to the next level, once an affiliate has generated a sale that person becomes their customer forever on all future purchases. Now as an affiliate isn't that a much more attractive proposition than say 3% on a cut price CD!

Unfortunately a custom built solution that doesn't just write a permanent cookie but logs the customer/affiliate relationship permanently in my client database is way beyond my budgets! So with the all the best intentions I need to come up with something that try's to emulate this but stays within my budget.

Whilst dealing with the new tracking solution I need to plan how I design the new site, changeover from one affiliate software system to another and while I'm at it lets take the existing program apart and see what we can do to make it better. I also need to look at my existing merchant account (too expensive!) and get the new products through beta. It's going to be a busy few months!

This case study examines the re-development of the Affiliate Announce program. Illustrating the 'behind the scenes' plans of upgrading a programs affiliate tracking software.

This case study will be updated on a periodic basis as the program develops, for the latest updates make sure you sign up for our monthly newsletter.