Lots of software vendors ask themselves this question and, unfortunately, I’ve seen cases when the conclusion they reach is that “affiliate marketing doesn’t work” or as Joel Spolsky says, in his case, it’s “ a big waste of time“.
Both for these vendors and for the ones that think their affiliate sales channel could be improved and seeing the positive feedback I got from our software publishers regarding the issue of vendor involvement to motivate affiliates, I’m starting a series of posts with a more hands-on approach. I hope you will find them useful.
Affiliates Info Page
The first thing I’m going to talk about is what you can do in order to help potential affiliates find you and join your affiliate program, thus maximizing the chances to sell more using this channel.
The easiest way to advertise your affiliate plan is to have an affiliate information page on your website, which should explain clearly and concisely what your affiliate program is all about.
Think at it this way: affiliates reach your website when they’re searching for your products or for products from the same category. They are more likely to become affiliates of a vendor who knows to present them this opportunity at the right time, since they don’t have very much time to search how to become one’s affiliate partner. So why not take this chance and enroll them into your affiliate program?
It’s recommended you include on this page details like:
- the commission(s) – base commission, commissioning schemes, etc. “What’s in it for me?” is the first question that pops into an affiliate marketer’s mind when deciding whether to join or not an affiliate program. Usually, base commissions for software start from 20% but, naturally, they are concordant to the price range of the products.
- tracking details – cookie duration time and, generally, the period of time in which the affiliate will be credited for a previously referred customer. These usually start from 30 days upwards and in the software field, the bigger the cookie duration, the better for the affiliates. Geno Prussakov offers some interesting statistics about the customer return rates over a period of time.
- payment frequency – how often will you pay your affiliates? How can they receive their money? (wire transfer, prepaid debit card, PayPal, etc.) The more payment options you have, affiliates are more likely to join your program.
- the affiliate network(s) you are using for your program – some affiliates may be confused when they click the sign up button and find themselves on another website. To avoid this, it’s best you specify your affiliate network provider (such as Avangate Affiliate Network).
- the sign-up link (and page) – this is the thing that matters the most and you must not forget about it. If you’re using an affiliate network, it’s best if you can customize the sign up page to resemble your website from the same reasons as stated above.
Also, affiliates will appreciate it if you include other useful info on the dedicated page, such as:
- contact information – it’s best you use a special email address for affiliate matters, like “firstname.lastname@example.org” or the email address of the affiliate manager in your company .
- other advantages they will get by joining – e.g. marketing materials (banners, text descriptions), live support from you / the affiliate network, etc.
- links to PAD files – these are extremely helpful for download portals – will be discussed in the second part of this blog series.
I think it’s not necessary to talk about the advantages you get by implementing an affiliate info page from the search engines’ point of view… Just to be sure – potential affiliates will find you easier :)
How Do Other Software Companies Do It?
But enough with the theory- let’s see and analyze some examples:
2. In the case of VSO Software, the affiliate information page is very comprehensive, including all things that may concern affiliates. They work with multiple affiliate networks and they included specific details for each one. Also, marketing materials, PAD files and contact information is included on that page.
3. AVS4YOU has a step-by-step like affiliate information page, in which they make it easy for affiliates to become their affiliates. They also work with multiple affiliate networks and have specific buy links for affiliates.
4. Here’s an interesting approach – nice aired design with benefits outlined and social media contacts on Lavasoft’s affiliate information page.
If you aren’t convinced yet that affiliate marketing does work if you get involved into it, I have 2 more posts to convince you. ;) Stay tuned!