31 January 2014 ~ 18 Comments

What’s the Goal for your affiliate program?

Adding an affiliate program to your product or service is an excellent way to reward your customers for spreading the word, but there has been a trend lately in small businesses to increase limitations on the affiliate program, which begs the question – what are you trying to accomplish with your affiliate program?

It seems every day more and more websites pop online with strangely limited affiliate programs that are in complete contradiction of the idea of an affiliate program.

Waiting Periods
One of the most common practices is a waiting period, many websites will tell you that you must wait 14 days before any commissions will be validated.  This one actually does make some sense because the claim is that the person could file a chargeback or reversal, the pitfall however is that chargeback periods are typically 90 days, so what does a 14 day period really benefit anyone? I’ve always had no waiting period for my affiliate programs because the rate of people that actually do file reversals or refunds is so small that it is of little consequence.  If you want to hold a purchase due to chargebacks, then your waiting period should probably reflect the actual time period, if not then you as a business are not really reducing any loss by having a short waiting period, and all you are doing is slowing down your affiliates.

Requiring Purchases
One thing that is also becoming increasingly common is forcing people to make a purchase in order to receive commissions.  I have no problem with giving free membrs or free trial members a 0% commission rate, but allowing them to earn a commission, but not paying it, doesn’t make sense to me.  One of the most motivating things of affiliate sales is seeing those commissions come in, and for me personally if you offer a higher commission rate to upgraded members, then when I see those commissions come in as a free member, it is very motivating to me to want to upgrade at that point.  When I promote your product and you tell me I earned a commission, but am never going to see it, then what is the reason for me to continue to promote your product over your competitors?

Requiring Activity
I have even seen some sites now that require you to do certain arbitrary actions in order to get paid.  I’ve had my commissions deducted from my account at one site for not surfing, and other sites for not logging in for a certain period of time.  Why?  If it is a traffic exchange and I am earning credits from my referrals, why should I have to surf in order to get my commissions?  Why are you taking commissions away from my account that I have earned?

Limits
More common in PTCs, but also becoming more common in Traffic Exchanges also, is the idea of limiting earnings.  Having either a maximum amount of money you can be paid, or a minimum time period you must wait between payments.  I don’t understand this one at all, if I earn money using your product, then why are you limiting how much of it I actually get? If you didn’t want me to get paid, then why are you paying me to begin with?

 

RESPECT YOUR AFFILIATES
What this comes down to me is.. Why do you have an Affiliate Program?  What is your motivation for providing people commissions and cash prizes?  What are you doing to that motivation when you add stipulations and hoops to jump through?  Why are you even offering an affiliate program, if you aren’t going to pay anyone? Your affiliate has worked their butt off to promote your product in the good faith that you will reward them for their efforts – they brought you not only new members, but are actually generating sales for you — that is literally money that they are putting in your pocket, so don’t disrespect them by trying to increase your haul by taking from theirs.

Paying People to Use your Product?
It’s OK to not give out ridiculous cash prizes or to pay people for actions on your site — in fact I’d argue that it’s even better not to;  if it takes monetary motivation to get people to even use your website, then you have a serious flaw in your business model and your business that you desperately need to address immediately before becoming completely bankrupted.  If you can’t sell your product or get people to actively use your website, without having to pay them to do so, then your business is not going to succeed.  Sorry to be a downer, but it’s just simply not.  This is a massive indication of a huge flaw in your business model or execution of that model.  Obviously if you have to pay somebody to use your product, you have very small chance of someone actually buying it.

Giving Vs. Taking Away
When you decide to make changes to your affiliate structure, are you adding value or removing it?  If you have a flaw in your affiliate program and it is not working as you intended, what do you think is going to happen when you start removing features of it?  Do you think that is going to motivate people and make it more effective?  Telling your free members that they can’t do this or are limited to that, isn’t going to motivate them to support you, it’s going to run them away.  Take a dedicated affiliate who may just not have the funds yet to make purchases at the level you want and then punishing them by limiting what they can do is very far from motivating.

Don’t want to pay? Don’t give it away!
Pretty simply.. if you are not wanting to pay people, wanting to limit what they can get, or simply not pay them at all unless they’ve met some condition – then why are you even giving it away in the first place?  If you don’t want to pay the cash, then don’t stop telling them you will.  If I have a bag of skittles and I don’t want to share, then why would I offer one to everyone in the room?

So… What’s your motivation?
So why do you have an affiliate program on your product?  What’s the point?  What is it you are trying to accomplish by offering commissions for your product?  Is what you are doing support the goals of your affiliate program, or does it limit them?  Quite simply – if you don’t want to pay people; then don’t offer it to them.  If you don’t want to pay cash prizes, then don’t give cash prizes.  If you don’t want to pay commissions, then don’t give commissions.  If you have to pay people to use your product then you are grossly misunderstanding the market you are in, and likely wondering why you are failing.  Address the cause of inactivity or failing sales by getting to the root, are you really providing a product that is of value?  If your members can’t see the value, and if you have to pay people to use your product, then how do expect any of them to actually be able to sell it anyway?

I’d like to ask all business owners reflect on their business and ask themselves – What are the goals of my affiliate program, what can I do to accomplish them, and is what I am doing now support or hinder those goals?

Continue Reading

10 June 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Affiliate Toolbox Updates

I know some people aren’t very good with email so I figured I’d post the updates in a blog post so it can be found by people who missed the email 🙂

Affiliate Toolbox was originally launched as the “ID Affiliate Marketing Toolbox” back in 2009… back then I really didn’t know much for what I was doing so it contained just a very basic rotator, auto responder, and splash page maker.. I replaced it with Affiliate Toolbox in July 2011 basically because the first one was programmed so ineffeciently that it needed redone from both inside and out so It was a better route at that point just to rebuild the whole site.

Well here we are now in 2013, Affiliate Toolbox is still growing strong, however with one small problem… Nobody is upgraded.  The issue with Tracking Sites in general is the load they bare on their servers, Affiliate Toolbox has the smallest membership of all my sites, but it is the 2nd highest resource user, and the fact of the matter is that it is costing more money than it is making.

My original instinct was to create a new lighter version of the site, not as much tracking but that would make it much less strain on the server, I even bought the domain and a logo and started doing work on it…

I decided to go a different route, because the members who use Affiliate Toolbox always comment on the depth of the tracking it features, and I think it would be a disservice to present them with a product that didn’t contain those features, so instead a different route has been paved.

The other option, was to just shut down the site completely – which I came very close to doing, but there are other options I’d like to explore first to help monetize the site to the point of where it is no longer a loss, at least.

 

Thus I have created a Credit System at Affiliate Toolbox – Beginning Friday (6/7/2013) every time your Affiliate Toolbox tracker is viewed, it will use one credit.

Every Account begins with 10,000 Credits – and then may purchase more or upgrade which will also include a monthly credit allowance.

I have decided at this point to begin existing Upgraded Members with 100,000 Credits, and Existing Free Members with 50,000 Credits.

Each time your tracking link is loaded, it will use one credit – if you reach 0 credits in your account, your tracking links will no longer to your site.

Banner Impressions do NOT require any credits to be viewed, the credit will only be consumed when the banner is actually clicked.

 

I feel this credit based system is the fairest possible scenario in that people who use the tracker the most, will pay the most, while people who barely use it at all, will find themselves not needing to pay at all, since their load on the servers is so much more minimal than those who use it heavily, as opposed to everyone paying a flat rate (light users paying for heavy users resources).

 

It is your responsibility to ensure how many credits you have remaining in your account – if you promote your tracking link without any credits in your account, it WILL NOT display your site.  The exception to this being links that were created via Traffic Leads 2 Income – those links will not consume credits when tracked.

 

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and hope you understand my position – if you have any feedback, comments, or questions please contact me right away.

Continue Reading