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Affiliate Marketing UK

Useful Information

Affiliate Marketing Basics

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Tracking Sales Online

To find out more about how sales are tracked online read our handy guide.
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Additional resources

Case Study: Upgrading the Affiliate Announceaffiliate program

Merchant Account Refused!

The development of the new program was on hold awaiting a new merchant account. I had decided that I wanted to offer multi-currency to allow payments in customers own currency and at the same time wanted to reduce my bureau merchants hefty charges so I made an application for merchant status with NatWest.

I figured that as I had been operating a successful online business with positive cash flow for almost a year it wouldn't be a problem...well after almost a 4 week wait the account was refused due to a 'lack of funding'!

Hmmm now if I can find a VC to invest a few million on the promise that I squander it on ineffective advertising and go bankrupt in the next 9 months I'm sure they will welcome me with open arms.

Well within a week I have applied and had approved a new bureau account (with WorldPay) which does offer multi-currency so on with the case study......

Setting up the software

Previously I decided that Kowabunga's My Affiliate Program will power my program.

I signed up online, all straightforward select the package you want (in my case I opted for the standard package with the optional extra for the Email marketing software - more on this later). The form also collects some data about your program set-up, I printed the form before submitting but needn't have worried as all the settings and changes are easily altered once you have access to the software.

Within a couple of hours I received a personal phone call to confirm receipt of my order, a nice touch, as it was an International call for them!

The next working day I had a personal welcome and set-up instructions from their head programmer Jeff Doak.

Just to try and be organised I printed out the integration guide and help pages. The software is very easy to use and the instructions actually make sense and are helpful!

To integrate the tracking with my site I just need to drop a small piece of code on my page that confirms a credit card transaction has been approved. The codes supplied it just needs pasting in.

The set-up instructions from my new merchant account, Worldpay where appalling making no sense whatsoever so I have given up and sent them to a third party to integrate - the affiliate tracking code just needs pasting into their page once created, which all being well should be early next week.

In the meantime I have -

  • Customised the affiliate agreement - Kowabunga send a sample agreement but don't just use it as is. It needs you to add commission levels etc. For now I have simply used the same agreement I had for my old program but as soon as I get more time I will go through the Affiliate Union voluntary code to make sure it meets with their recommended criteria.
  • I have created the affiliate information pages detailing the affiliate offer, a FAQ, the affiliate agreement and support email addresses.
  • I have also customised the various email messages that go out when an affiliate makes a sale or joins the program (all easy enough you just type the text you want into the admin panel).
  • The affiliate admin and signup pages have also been customised - I simply dropped the customised HTML onto the standard pages and emailed the template to Jeff - he pointed out a small error in my code, once corrected he quickly enabled the custom template to all my affiliate pages.

To ensure the program is fair to affiliates I have enabled cookies for as long as possible - setting cookies to a day or two really isn't fair many customers don't always buy on the first visit meaning affiliates lose out on their commissions!

Initially I set cookies to 99,999 days but this created an error in the system and had to reduce the cookie expiration day to 9,999 still more than enough for a customer to make their buying decision :)

Finally, I have implemented new banners to the system. My old program had a few homemade banners. Now I'm not a graphic designer, in fact I don't have an artistic bone in my body - one of the old banners I am happy with but the others look, well 'home-made'!

I spent a few hours surfing for inspiration but still faced with a blank box in my graphics program decided it was best left to someone who knew what they where doing. I placed a request for help on www.elance.com and within a day had 9 quotes from companies, all reasonably priced I chose the one that in my opinion had the best portfolio.

Within a day the company finalised two new banners to add to my program -

Adding these banners to the tracking software is easy - you simply specify which directory they are stored in and upload them to your server.

Getting the basic set-up in place really is quite easy, Kowabunga's documentation is well written and if like me you never really bother to read the help files I found that Jeff did an outstanding job in replying very promptly to my questions.

So far so good.

Next I start to look at Kowabunga's email features.

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.