Learning a “Boat Load” at CJU 2007

Wow, there is so much to know about affiliate marketing. Luckily I’ve been hanging around RMAMA (Rocky Mountain Association of Affiliate Marketers) members to get the insider tips on what this is all about and it’s really paying off.

Here are a few tips I’m learning that may help you choose the best CJ Advertisers to work with:

Criteria to use when selecting an advertiser in affiliate marketing (according to some of the best publishers in the affiliate marketing industry):

  • Advertiser Response – How quick does the advertiser respond to questions – communication is key. I’ve learned here that even with affiliate marketing, if you present options and the advertiser is open and willing to help, it can be great for everyone involved. Email works great but using the phone can be so much more effective. Phone conversations encourage brainstorming and getting the answer you need instead of a generic answer.
  • Brand – Who is the company and what’s their reputation? This really helps your website build credibility and get better conversion rates (visitor converting to BUYER!)
  • Conversion Rate – How likely is a visitor going to convert to a sale, how likely will things close, publishers need to know a “range” for conversion rate and know their chances of ROI and advertisers should include this in their Advertiser details page on CJ.com
  • Deep Linking – In order to have good conversion rates, deep linking is crucial. Where does the affiliate link take a visitor, to the home page or to a direct, “deep”, check out page? If all of your advertisers links, even product links, take visitors to the home page, something needs to be done or you need to look for another affiliate advertiser. Communication can again help this situation. You do NOT want all the links to take visitors to the home page of the advertiser’s site!
  • Commission – How much will I make when a sale is made, is this really a good opportunity? Time is money!
  • Keyword Policy – Keywords are really a key part of affiliate marketing. Many of the publishers I’ve talked with rely on Pay Per Click advertising to get the right visitors to their sites. Does the advertiser you’re considering have a keyword policy? What is it? Is it communicated effectively? Can a publisher do paid search or do they have to rely on natural SEO?
  • Network, Network, Network – of all the things I’ve learned here in the last few days, this has been the best one – it’s not what you know all the time, it’s WHO!

Publishers have pre-sales costs. Advertisers have post-sales costs – this is an important factor in the partnership model. It’s got to be a Win/Win! Publishers need to have more control of their clients.

As I learned this today, I thought about one of my clients that sells irish gifts. I’ve told some of you about this. She has made a few sales on her site through CJ.com. However, when her client (who was her sister-in-law) received the product, it included a coupon that said “Next time buy from us directly and save $5.” If I were the in the shoes of my client, I would be pretty upset. I would contact the affiliate advertiser and call them on this. Talk about taking the control right out of your hands. What is a win/win anyway?

It’s important to negotiate program terms with the advertiser. Advertisers need to be willing to negotiate the terms so that once a sale is made, things aren’t completely out of the publishers control. This analogy was presented regarding “control”.

Which would you prefer when dealing with an advertiser?

Controlled River Rafting

River Rafting Crash

Control vs. No Control

Commission Junction 2007 Conference in Santa Barbara

Well, in less than 8 hours I’ll be on a flight to Santa Barbara, California for CJU 2007.  I look forward to the education about affiliate marketing and the chance it will give me to network with some of the best in the industry.

Since this will be my first affiliate marketing conference, I was wondering if any of my readers have specific questions that they’d like me to find answers to. Questions may include things like:

  • Is it really effective to combine affiliate marketing and selling products from a dropshipper on one website?
  • What are the best ways to get the most out of an affiliate campaign?
  • Is pay per click marketing worth it when it comes to pay per action advertising on my site?

These are a few of the many questions I’ll be looking to answer in the next few days.  My good friend and fellow colleague Janet Meiners will be at the conference too.  She is an expert at affiliate marketing and has lots to share.

I look forward to a few fun-filled days.  Stay tuned for more information to come about the conference.