Submitted by Teo Graca and Stephen Adler
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There are literally 10's of thousands of affiliate programs out there, but how do you find ones that really pay? With over four months of review, auditing, sign ups and purchase through affiliate programs, we came up with 4 things to look for in Affiliate programs.
Affiliate Marketing - One of the Most Abused Technologies on the Web!
Does your affiliate provider show the total number of referral clicks you send to them?
This is the first step to tracking referral clicks to your affiliate vendors and provides a way to audit click-through's per purchase - if you are not getting at least a 1% conversion, you may want to cancel affiliate vendors.
Can your web site track referral clicks to the affiliate programs you signed up for?
This is a strong second step to auditing affiliate programs and is extremely important in that if you are showing 100 clicks sent and they are showing 7 received, you can validate that something is significantly wrong with the affiliate provider's system and you should immediately stop wasting your traffic by sending it to them. We have found this tactic with most affiliate providers - they were stealing our click-through's, as many as 99.6%, and not giving us credit for it. We had no sales.
Do they publish a conversion rate?
This is a very important third statistic because if you have confirmed 1,000 click-through's to the vendor web site and they are claiming a 5% conversion, you should have affiliate fees on 50 sales. If you don't, they are lying or stealing, or both.
A fourth statistic, hotly debated in closed circles, is the total sales paid to affiliates. If the affiliate vendor has 1,000 sales per month and only 3% (30) pay affiliates, is that something you want to be a part of? Or would you rather be part of an affiliate program that pays affiliates on all sales. It is generally agreed that it would be nice to have the statistic, but it is hotly debated about what percentage demonstrates a vendor that is serious about paying referrals.
The main benefit of adopting an affiliate program as a vendor is that the vendor can make money from 1,000's of links to their sales page. When vendors say they have an affiliate program, and then don't pay affiliates, this benefits no one but the vendor. But putting a program together that actually pays the affiliates on every purchase, regardless the source, builds a dedicated sales force that is so much more powerful than just focusing on getting 100% of your own efforts.
We have examined over 100 affiliate programs and none have all four of these stats in place. We signed up for 20 of these, specifically, the ones with the most promise of success. They gave conversion stats and click-through stats and we initially liked that, but after sending over 6,000 click-through's to these 20 vendors, we found all of the problems above - clicks not registering, conversion rate claimed was not what we experienced, and none claimed the fourth statistic. The most significant statistic we found is that we received absolutely no money from these affiliate programs - these affiliate programs are great for the vendors, but not for the affiliates.
Are you looking to build an affiliate marketing business? You may look long and hard to find one that is 100% legitimate. Some may pay, but are you getting all you deserve?
What about setting up an affiliate program for your product or service? If you are serious about providing an affiliate program that rewards your affiliates for every click-through they send to you, consider putting all of these things in place.
We can provide an affiliate auditing system for affiliates (step 2 above) or a complete affiliates system that allows affiliate providers to provide all four auditing system for their affiliates.
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