On this episode of The Bella Buzz podcast, Desiree and Joe talk about the basics of affiliate marketing with the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit Shawn Collins. We take a look at the strategy from the point of view of a merchant/advertiser as well as how affiliates would approach the various programs and opportunities that are available.
Shawn and his business partner Missy Ward have established a global reputation by developing the preeminent bi-annual conference in the industry. They have also diversified into additional ventures such as FeedFront Magazine, a vast YouTube Channel and a textbook publishing business at Velocity NYC. Shawn can be found blogging on a regular basis at his AffiliateTip site. You can also listen to his weekly podcast Affiliate Thing with Lisa Picarille on his podcasting network called GeekCast.fm.
We begin by letting Shawn define what affiliate marketing is all about, introducing us to the concept of performance based compensation and ultimately what it would take for a small or medium sized business to establish a program.
One strategy he suggests is to become an affiliate of a competitive company as a way to determine how they work and help design your own program. There are certainly costs involved in a good affiliate strategy beyond just the commissions paid to converting partners. There are creative costs required to develop good banners and graphics, there might be the fee paid to an Affiliate Manager who will act on your behalf to acquire and manage affiliates, and there is the technology that you will use to handle the transactions.
Affiliates are going to open up many marketing channels for their merchant partners, and will certainly take advantage of all of the proven as well as emerging strategies. A good affiliate partner will help a business reach a target via everything from email to PPC, from coupons if appropriate to the latest social shopping trends. Letting good affiliates help uncover new customers is a win-win for businesses who can take advantage of a large reach.
One of the common themes of The Bella Buzz podcast is our advice to create great content and distribute it through social networks. Shawn is a big advocate of this as an affiliate as well as a business owner. He is speaking in Austin at an upcoming Meetup on the topic of using Twitter to create a million dollar business.
A few resources that Shawn gave us that might help businesses to better succeed in their online marketing efforts include:
AWeber – where he repurposes blog post entries into a subscription based email newsletter.
OpenX.org – Ad serving technology that allows web sites to better manage their ad inventories.
WhichTestWon.com – a site where you can get real-world case studies of best practices, by viewing side by side comparisons of A/B tests. How good is your gut?
To start reaching out to others in the affiliate marketing space, you can visit the new Forum that has been launched in conjunction with Affiliate Summit. You can ask questions, view ongoing conversations, and start networking with others.
We’d like to thank Shawn for taking some time with us to discuss affiliate marketing, and we look forward to future conversations. If you have any specific questions about using affiliate marketing strategies, please don’t hesitate to leave us a note in the comments!
Theme music for The Bella Buzz is Fallen by Digital Chemistry, available for download at the Podsafe Music Network.
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