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No Magic Pill - No Magic Pill in Affiliate Marketing

Every single client I've met with has asked me exactly the same question; "Can you just tell us who the super affiliates are so that we can invite them to join our program?"
Every single client I've met with has asked me exactly the same question; "Can you just tell us who the super affiliates are so that we can invite them to join our program?" Well, uh…no….I can't. And it's not because I don't know who some of them are or because I don't want to be helpful; it's because there is no one affiliate or group of affiliates that is "super" for everyone.
This may seem obvious, but yet everyone would rather there be a "magic pill" so that affiliate acquisition and productivity wasn't just so hard. It's just human nature. Unfortunately, there isn't just one easy way to make an affiliate program successful or a master list of all high performing super affiliates dying to promote your program. However, there are tried and true techniques that can be implemented over time, that will produce strong results through your affiliate channel.

Here are the 

Top 5 Best Practices For Affiliate Marketing:

 1. Give them respect. Affiliates are your very own outside sales force, part of your team. Include them when possible in matters of company wide policy. You'd be surprised how helpful they can be when it comes to increasing sales.
2. Pay them fairly. No decent affiliate can get excited about a few measly percentage points on a low priced item or a few pennies on a marginally interesting click through program. Give them cool freebies that lead to more sales, or high awards for more leads, or monetary incentives for creative promotions or higher upfront commissions to fairly compensate them for giving you a lifelong customer. Remember, customer acquisition costs are VERY high online. An affiliate is handing over to you a potential customer you wouldn't have gotten any other way. Shouldn't that be worth more than a couple of bucks?
3. Prepare professional, attractive collateral sales materials. If you don't write well, or have a highly paid staff to do it, hire a copywriter to review your site for copy that SELLS. This is your business, don't take it lightly. And please, don't have your neighbors' high school son produce your banners just because he knows how. Get a professional who understands how & why banner campaigns work to give to your sales force. Give them compelling content that is attractive that can be pasted into their site. Give them an attractive offer that they want to share with their visitors.
4. Convert the traffic to sales. Nothing is more damaging to your affiliate sales channel than being unable to turn the traffic your affiliates send you into sales (or qualified leads). Why would your commissioned sales person continue to give you potential customers if you can't get them buy once they "walk in the door"? If your sales conversion rate is poor, don't blame your affiliates for not being productive. Get a good website marketing specialist to analyze what's wrong with the sales process and then revamp your site. Pronto! Stop losing sales & affiliates.
5. Communicate effectively. Personalize your email and newsletters to your affiliates and then give them short, useful, practical tips for promoting your products on their site. Use as sophisticated a mailing software as you can afford to achieve this personalization. Give them reasons to support you by supporting them. Do they need better, more narrow niche banners? Would a special "boutique" store of your products work well for them? What about email links for those with good newsletter lists? Find out what they want and need to succeed and give it to them. Pick up the phone and chat with top producers or ones who could be with a little push from you. Stay connected and learn from them.
If you simply join a network, slap up a program, fire off a few emails to potential affiliates about your great new program and sit back and wait for the results, you'll be sadly disappointed. But, if you constantly think of new ways to motivate, incentivize and support your affiliates, you'll see the "magic" of increased sales, flowing traffic and loyalty.

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