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Affiliate Marketing Basics

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Additional resources

Case Study: Creating The Bottom Line Secrets Affiliate Program

22 June 2000 - Introducing the new programs theme

Dear HelpMates,

OK, my friends, I promised you a case study about setting up an affiliate program. Due to the changes in the CJ interface, it's taken a bit longer to get things to the place we want to be. But, now I can start telling you what we've been doing.

First of all, you'll need to know the site it's for and why I doing this. The site is Boardroom.com and I have been an avid reader of their Tax Hotline publication, probably since it first came out about 17 years ago. (Wow, I'm getting old.) The tone and information was directed to the public, not tax professionals, so it was an easy read.

Over the years, their tidbits filled my client newsletters, inspired the Ask TaxMama newsletter (really) and, generally, kept me informed without totally boring me to death the way most professional publications do. (I always thought I should be writing for them, but I never called them to offer my services.) Then, I was lucky enough to meet Michael and Brian at the Abraham-Netrageous Summit... and the rest is history.

Basically, if I was going to tackle a full-scale affiliate marketing campaign, I wanted it to be with a company that I could be passionate about (and you know how passionate I can be ).

To get it off the ground, we needed to have a team. Michael has an excellent assistant, Pam, whose strength is keeping things organized and on target. His programmer, Ron, makes himself accessible all hours of the day and night (as programmers are wont to do). To get the copy written and to motivate the new affiliates, Nancy Roebke, incredibly, agreed to work with me. (She was a Bottom Line subscriber... as many of you, likely, are.)

So, that's the team. You're going to be part of the work in process. Our target is to be able to launch the affiliate program right after the 4th of July. First publication will be Bottom Line/Personal. https://secure.bottomlinesecrets.com/sub_blp_cj000628.html

We needed to get the foundation set up. Here are the steps:

  • Decide on the theme of the campaign.
  • Decide on the target audience (s)
  • Decide on the incentives to induce visitors to BUY the subscription instead of the usual free issues Boardroom has always offered.
  • Determine how we plan to motivate and compensate affiliates
  • Set up the CJ interface. (You've already gone through the selection process of the affiliate program. We did that here a couple of months ago.)

With a couple of false steps, we've decided on the theme. It is the title of the free book being given away with the subscription. "How to do Everything Right"

1) Banners for the CJ interface (Ron has given me permission to show them to you. Feel free to comment and make suggestions or gentle critiques. We are missing several key banners covering the theme we are using)

  • Company banner for the merchant info - 150 x 40 pixels
  • Banners of various sizes for the affiliates to use.
  • Product images and text for use in the Smart Zones (More about that in the next issue - I was up until midnight last night learning to use them.)

2) Text for the CJ interface:

In the "Program Settings" under 'Account' tab

  • Description of your program (1000 characters or less) (CJ's character count and WP60's are not the same)
  • Search Keywords (300 characters or less)
  • URL of your website and a separate URL of affiliates information/promotion page (to attract affiliates)
  • Sign up reply e-mail message

In the "Branded Sign Up" under the 'Account' tab

  • URL of affiliate sign-up form (CJ creates it) (Text still to be entered)
  • Greeting on Sign up (no character limitation noted)
  • Congratulations message (no character limitation noted)
  • The banner for sign-up page above.
  • Select fonts and colors to make it match your site (This wasn't working properly)
  • And, of course, you need to establish your commission settings and policy.

Whew! That's a lot. Some of it is already done. You'll see more next time. For now, I'm at home busily writing the rest of the text areas and jabbering back and forth with Nancy.

Some of the target audience strategies will have to wait. We have already been talking to several sites, or conglomerations of sites, who are interested in becoming Boardroom affiliates. So, our first goal will be to get them all up and running (and have them be our beta group to improve the incentives and the resources we provide).

If you're interested in being part of that group, please, let me know. The commissions will be generous - especially for this group.

Your Humble Guide,

Eva Rosenberg

This case study is reproduced with kind permission of TaxMama, sometimes known as Eva Rosenberg, moderator of the I-Helpdesk & WebReview Newsletter. Week by week, Eva has shared her experiences of creating this new program with her newsletter, creating an excellent real world example of starting an affiliate program.

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