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    For Merchants: Best Practices for our Merchant Forum

    This is a guest post from Adam Riemer of*Adam Riemer Marketing. Adam is an experienced Affiliate Program Manager. His blog consistently provides incredibly useful and educational material, so we asked him if he would help us out.

    We recently opened up the Merchant Promotions area in our forums, where we are offering agencies a sub-forum to post anything they want about their merchants. You have the option to promote great sales that are going on, or a description of why your merchant is preferable to a*competitor. It is your opportunity to reach our 15k publishers.*

    We are allowing you to have complete control of your sub-forum, we will only be monitoring them for deals we should share on our social media platforms.

    But how can agencies, opms and affiliate managers grab the attention of the affiliates? How can you get them to pick your merchant or program over all the others avaialble? Once you have their attention, how can you walk the fine line between keeping them informed and annoying them?

    This is why we asked Adam to provide ideas and best practices for attracting potential affiliates in a forum.*

    His advice is incredible. We highly recommend you visit his blog and enjoy his other educational resources!*



    How to Pitch Affiliates in a Forum

    Merchants, eCommerce stores and people with an offer, if you want to attract affiliates to your program, you need to make it appealing.* The trick here is to pull out of sales mode, tweak your pitch and give them what they need, not what you want to tell them.

    Below you’ll find a guide to help you pitch affiliates in forums, blog posts as well as for your own recruitment efforts.
    • Your wording
    • The details of your program
    • The details of your website
    • How to promote you

    Your Wording

    This can be tricky at first.* Instead of trying to sell the product or just listing how it helps people, you want to talk about how your product or service will benefit the potential affiliate’s website visitors, social media followers, etc…*

    Instead of saying millions of people like our widgets because they save XYZ, try saying, Your website visitors will enjoy being able to save XYZ when you introduce them to our widgets.

    Next give them a value statement to use.*

    Unlike other widgets in the market, ours come with ABC feature and have a competitive price point.* Not only does this make it unique, but it can provide your readers with solutions for problem 1, problem 2 and problem 3.* This in turn can give you more content to help drive more traffic, build a lager following, help more people and generate more revenue.

    The details of your program

    The trick here is to stand out.* The majority of affiliate programs are not clean and do not protect value adding partners.* If you are one of the few that do, use this to your advantage.* Start by promoting the basics.
    Next you can add a short statement to get them excited and shows some whistles and bells.* (You could do this in the first paragraph as well and reinforce it here.
    • Do you work with coupon sites that rank for URL + coupons (This is very bad for your company and for value adding partners.* If you don’t, you will want to make sure to list it as a benefit since it will help attract the right kind of partner.* If you do and pretend you don’t, you will destroy your credibility and have a harder time convincing the partners to ever work with you again.)*
    • Do you work with toolbars, adware, loyalty ware, couponware, reminderware, etc…* (Same caution as above.* If you approve most coupon and loyalty sites in, chances are you have adware too).*
    • Do you work with tools the auto monetize links in content (This is great for bloggers, very bad for you and any potential partner that joins your program.* If you allow them in (they use very clever descriptions to hide their true nature) you don’t want to list this.)*
    • Do you allow trademark and brand poaching?* (Same issues as above)*
    • Do you have special prizes, products for review and do giveaways?* (Make sure to have restrictions in place unless you want to lose a lot of money with partners that may never perform.)
    • What states with Nexus can you work with that competitors cannot?* (This is a huge value add for partners that have been removed based on nexus laws.)
    • If you commission gift cards during the holidays.*
    • If you run affiliate only offers.*
    • Any other thing that makes your program (Not you or your company) unique.*

    Now include a solid call to action with a link to join your program.*

    The details of your website

    This is a bit different than the details of your company.* You want to talk about what causes your website to be a better option than others the partner may be looking for.*

    Start out by saying how long you’ve been around (This is a confidence builder) and then go into what is important for an affiliate to know.*
    • How well your generic (non branded traffic converts)
    • How well the overall (with braded traffic converts)
    • What your average order is (If you can break it out by category or lead in product that’s even better)
    • If you’ve removed your coupon box or hidden it. (This is perfect for value adding affiliates.)
    • Any steps you’ve taken to make sure leaks (Things that could cause a customer to not fire the affiliate pixel) are gone.* (Leaks include phone numbers, ads, live chat that can take orders, affiliates that do your exit pops to keep sales, etc…)*
    • If you commission on upsells.
    • How often you do updates and how you test to increase conversion rates.
    • If you can create unique landing pages for affiliates.*
    • If you pay on in store pickup.* (This would require the person to prepay online)

    By talking about how your site is built and can be modified to increase affiliate conversions and sales, you can help to show that you are dedicated to them, and converting their referrals to help them earn more.*

    Now include a strong call to action.

    How to Promote Your Program

    If the affiliate has gotten to this point, you’ve done an awesome job.* Here is where you can tip them into the next level and get them going.** You will want to teach them to promote you.* That does not mean list the benefits of your product or service.*

    You will want to have a BRIEF section with the benefits at the top.* This way they can start to think how to phrase things and how to promote them, but make sure you do not overdo it.* What you really need to do is provide them with strategies.*

    If you go to this section of my blog you can see how we do it differently for different clients.* http://adamriemer.me/category/clients
    • Start with article ideas that can be incorporated into numerous types of sites.* You can even break it out by niche.
    • Next give them some PPC help and hints.* You need to be careful and give good advice.* If you don’t know PPC, get someone who does to help.*
    • Now try giving some ways to promote you on social media accounts.
    • Next, if you’re able to, share demographics about your buyer base and then give tips on creating target audiences to drive traffic and sales.**
    • If you want, give newsletter ideas and possibly even templates they can use for their lists.**
    • Last provide them with other creative options that work for you.*

    Now include a strong call to action.*

    Getting affiliates to join your affiliate program with forum and blog posts can be tricky.* Don’t fade in and post “We’re amazing, here’s a coupon code”.* Instead give it some thought and put effort behind it.

    You’ll help yourself stand out, show you care and if you can inspire the partner, they’ll be excited to work with you.* If you’d like me to help with your pitches or even managing your program, please contact me through my blog http://www.adamriemer.me or click here to go to my contact form (http://adamriemer.me/contact-me).* You can also find me on twitter @rollerblader. (http://www.twitter.com/rollerblader)



    Not only does Adam work hard to educate*affiliates and*merchants alike, he is also an avid fundraiser for Breast Cancer awareness.*

    Each year Adam walks 40 miles to raise money to fight breast cancer, and he shares the whole process on social media. If you are interested in donating to his efforts, you can donate here!*

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