Program Launch with private offers, bonuses, or what…

For many years we have heard the same concerns, in blog posts, forums and in person, when a merchant prepares to launch a new affiliate program. Some concerns may be prompted by a network “suggestion” (with or without an ulterior motive) or maybe a lack of suggestions or any guidance whatsoever. The main issue, however, seems to be about having a “bonus” for activation and/or a “private offer” to gain the attention of good affiliates.

I suppose the PERCEIVED allure of a secretive “something special” is what motivates good affiliates is what moves the a new merchant, or affiliate manager to offer up a carrot, in the form of a special commission level in exchange for “giving us a try.” (That is also a good argument for an affiliate manager to be required to have actual experience as an affiliate before being thrust into a position where newbie mistakes can become a long-term liability. But that is a story for another time.)

Commission levels are important to us (on the affiliate side of our business) and we do have some “private” offers with some of our merchants. But does a new launch need their initial offer to be “special” to attract affiliates? Probably not.

There are other aspects of a program that are important to an affiliate when making that all important join/no-join decision. Consider the following:

  • What is the competition doing?
  • How does the base commission compare with that of competitors?
  • How well does the site convert?
  • How complete and well-organized is the datafeed, if there is one?
  • If you are new to the market, what assurances are there that affiliates will be paid? (Note that at least one major network has the bad rep of leaving affiliates hanging if a merchant does not “make it.”)
  • Does your site have leaks?
  • Do you “Auto Approve” or selectively approve new affiliates?
  • Are you approachable/easy to reach?
  • If you offer an Activation Bonus is it serious or superficial?

There are myriad factors to consider. If you have a lot of competitors – there will be plenty of room for comparison – with commission level/private offer being only one piece of the puzzle.

Activation bonus? If you mean a small “reward” for joining and putting links in place that, too, is a topic for another discussion. Actually, each of the above bullet points can prompt further discourse. 🙂

Please note my ramblings above are general in nature. Without knowing your (my reader’s) vertical/niche/site/product I can’t offer any specifics.

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