I am unapologetic about my love for the ShareASale affiliate network. From the top down, it is the best network in the affiliate industry. But with all networks, the first two weeks of a launch suck.
During the month of August, we secured two new programs to launch. One was a migration from another network and the other was brand new to the channel. The GHC team did as much as possible to prep for the launch which included Affiliate Marketing 101 and GHC strategy education for the merchants. The go-live date for 1st in Coffee was August 31 and for Eckler's Automotive it was September 4. Today is September 15 and I want to share the progress.
Here is a brief reminder of my strategy on affiliate program management. Content wins. Every time. We work with a handful of coupon sites that we have personal relationships with. I have personally met with someone from each of these top sites or we have been on phone calls with their team members. They comply with our parameters and yield to our demands. They do not earn default commission. They earn between 2% and 5%. They do their job by closing the sale or introducing a new customer to the brand. Depending on the merchant, it's usually 60/40 or 40/60 on average. We've seen 80% existing but the 20% new is worth the price at 2% commission overall.
We only work with two paid search affiliates and we encourage merchants to maintain their own internal paid search efforts. It's great to have traditional datafeed affiliates but those are a dying breed. There is one shopping cart abandonment affiliate we partner with, but again, we hope the merchants have their own solution. Top deal of the day sites are welcome and we are open to loyalty sites, as long as they play by the rules.
Now back to content sites. We love bloggers, review sites and niche content sites that have direct relevance to the merchant. My process of reviewing applications is fast and easy. In a nutshell, the key here is to read the notes on the application, read the description, look for negative feedback and click on the site.
Here are the statistics:
Who gets declined? Sites that have no relevance. Sites with negative feedback. Sites that are coupon/deal/discount/promocode and any other variations from anywhere, but especially the UK, Canada, Pakistan, Thailand, and India. And I refuse to approve cookie cutter coupon sites that look like the image here. There are hundreds of useless coupons sites like this.
Do you see how many we initially declined? That's why the first couple weeks suck. Way too many undesirable affiliates pouncing on applications.
Normally sales don't start out as strong as this but we had a solid strategy going into the launch and we were confident when we chose to work with these merchants that they had good conversions for affiliates.
We've already recruited some great content affiliates and top partners into each program. But the real recruiting begins now and the approve/decline ratio will remain constant. When you see an auto-approve program, stay away. Your conversion will never be what it truly should be. Send a note to the manager, if there is one, and include a link to this post.