I am sure every affiliate goes through the same dilemma, whether they are within the “internet marketing” niche in some way, or even those in other varied niches.
There are so many products and product launches, grabbing attention is difficult.
This guide or checklist is for product owners to think about. Very few of the points raised are a deal-breaker.
- Junk products
- Don’t fit my primary target audience
- Poor treatment of customers e.g.
- Support tickets unanswered
- Major product issues not addressed in a timely manner
- Heavily moderated forum – only “happy bunny” threads
- Poor treatment of affiliates e.g.
- Lack of or late payment
- Sneaky changes in payment options bypassing affiliates
- Change of affiliate system without notification
- Radical change in deal structure
- Generally dishonest sales pages
- Skimming Sales
- Tracking problems
- Disappearing accounting data with no explanation – if I made a sale, and then it is refunded, I need a record of it all. I need the numbers to add up
- I really need SubID tracking to be able to use PPC
- I love the ability to deep link to content
- Upsell Hell
- Viral Hell – (see previous post)
- Major Sales Page leaks
- Excessive promotion of 3rd party affiliate products in launch materials – if your free ebook is crammed full of affiliate links that I don’t receive a benefit from, it is effectively the same as if I was sending my traffic to a PPC review landing page using someone else’s affiliate links.
- Promoting 3rd party offers on a mailing list built with my traffic rather than focusing on the intended launch product during the launch period.
- Excessive promotion of 3rd party offers in general
- Teaching some methods I don’t agree with
- Promoting products I wouldn’t promote due to major issues/deal-breakers
- Integration marketing – sounds nice in theory, in practice if your added value is a load of free offers from your cronies, that I don’t get a piece of the action on, there is a problem.
- No way to export SubID data
- No way to export, or be pushed sales data
- Elements of Proof – proof used on the sales page that is possibly factually accurate, but misrepresented
- AWStats for traffic measurement?
- Your Clickbank / Paypal sales didn’t mention PPC costs, affiliate payouts, established list just from previous product launches in the niche etc.
- The testimonials are from direct business partners
- When you tested your sales page for conversion, was it with a very warm house list of buyers? Thought so…
- Payment period – if I am paying for traffic, I want to be paid by you before I have to pay my traffic costs.
- Checks (Cheques) – especially if low value – I can still sorely remember receiving my first cheque from Linkshare, for something like $2.73, that my bank wanted me to pay a $20 fee to cash, and I would receive the money in 6 weeks. I have a better bank now, but offer alternatives.
- Paypal – whilst I hate the transaction charges, especially currency, in many ways it is easier for accounting
- No IBAN support – Having to qualify by receiving a number of checks is just adding friction. If an affiliate knows about the benefit of receiving funds directly, they are going to make this worth while. (I am not sure if there are international banking regulations forcing a few checks to establish identity)
- Private tracking systems – I appreciate the advantages of using Infusionsoft for a publisher with a refined sales funnel, but why do I have to have a separate login and accounting panel for every single program?
- Customer/2nd Tier/Opt-in For Life That Changes – often caused by changes in affiliate tracking system. Suddenly the residual you were expecting dries up, and you had been ramping up on PPC
- Pushed Data or API – I want to be able to offer incentives automatically with all affiliate offers that allow it (where there is a transaction), and I don’t want customers to have to wait for it. I know there are solutions by offering the bonus directly on the thank you page, but in some ways that is a little clumsy.
The following might be looked on by many as “par for the course” of big launches
Imagine I sent you 100 opt-ins for your product, but you didn’t get any sales. A few weeks later you offer exactly the same product as a bonus if the prospective customer buys an affiliate product.
- It could be looked on that I didn’t do a good enough job in preselling or boosting my offer with bonuses, thus it is your right to enhance your offer of another product with the original product as a bonus and take all the cash.
- Alternatively I sent you a great prospect who is now a buyer, yet made nothing from my efforts – the lack of initial sales could have been your own value proposition, sales letter, etc, things out of my control.
This is something that is really hard to prove, because there is so much split-testing and list segmentation going on – I might have seen you make the offer only because I am on your buyers list, and that the prospects were sent something else
- Have products that you only ever offer as upsells or bonuses
- Extremely complex cooperative tracking
Many respectable marketers do the first option, and have tons of loyal affiliates possibly because of it.
The second option I might eventually have a solution for, it has been a constant gnawing problem in my head for 4 years.
Servers and Launch Material Delivery
This I can break down into 2 phases
- Primary server stability – I don’t care how much unexpected traffic a launch caused, you should have been able to handle it if you really have the high quality support team in the background.
- Video delivery – You have no idea how bad Brightcove video delivery is from Europe, and also Ustream recorded sessions. They don’t support the ability to buffer a whole video. Amazon is a little better, certainly from the UK, but in Poland half the time I have to open a browser and go and make a coffee.
Note: Amazon also isn’t an ideal solution for premium membership content – I haven’t seen an Amazon implementation yet that didn’t reveal the download location in the Http headers, though it is possible to secure more effectively, probably requiring an EC2 instance to feed unique expiring links.
Reciprocity, Karma & Great Stuff
There are tons of counter arguments – amazing free value can win against almost any issue. There are a few more I could add, but let me know your “pet peeves” in the comments.
Watch out for another post tomorrow, I won’t be pulling any punches
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