Optimizing a ShareASale Affiliate Program with Internal Logos

There are numerous ways ShareASale merchants can optimize their program to increase their brands awareness to prospective affiliates. In the past I, have discussed various program optimization tips on ShareASale to help recruit affiliates, but today I am going to outline a free ways to get the word out there about your affiliate program on ShareASale. It is called “Internal Logo Files.”

ShareASale uses merchant’s logos in various places within their interface to help attract affiliates to merchant’s affiliate programs, and now I will describe where those places are and the requirements.

First, to navigate to this section of their interface you will go to “My Account” -> “Internal Logo Files.”  It will bring you to a page that looks similar to this (see below)

Main Logo

ShareASale uses this logo on the merchant details page, or better known as the page where affiliates sign up to an affiliate program. It can be up to 500 x 500 px, but make sure it is not too large and doesn’t overtake the page. Here is an example:

Search Results Logo

This logo is used on the merchant search results page. When affiliates are looking for new merchants to promote a merchant will stand out more with their 88 x 31 logo shown along with vital statistics of the affiliate program. Having a logo there gives a merchant a better opportunity to be seen and seriously considered. Here is an example of a merchant with one and without:

Product Showcase Logo (small)

If a merchant has a data feed their logo will be displayed when affiliates create product showcases for specific products. This logo should be 120 x 90 px. Here is an example:

Product Showcase Logo (Pop-up)

This logo is very similar to the one right above, but it will be shown when an affiliate chooses the pop-up option. It should be 400 x 75 px Here is an example:

ShareASale Merchant Match

This particular logo helps ShareASale to recruit individual affiliates from local marketing events (Meet-Ups), conferences, and other interactions (magazine, email newsletters, etc.) This logo should be 216 x 384 px. Here is an example:

Merchants, there are up to 5 additional ways to spread the word about your programs via logos within the ShareASale interface (free of charge). It is highly recommended to take advantage of as many of them as possible because you never know what you could be missing out on.

How to Recruit Affiliate on Rakuten Affiliate Network

Some of the affiliate networks allow the affiliate manager to recruit affiliates directly from the merchant interface. This is a good way to find targeted affiliates that are already familiar with the network, it is what we call “low hanging fruit”. Once recruited and aboard, the activation process is simpler for everyone involved because the education sometimes needed is not required. Rakuten Affiliate Network has this capability and it should be utilized by all affiliate managers with program on this network. I am going to provide a step-by-step guide to recruiting affiliates on the Rakuten Affiliate Network.

Step # 1 – Go to “Find New Publishers” Page

After you have logged in to the RAN merchant interface you are going to hover over the “Publishers” tab and click “Find New Publishers”.

Step # 2 – Fill in the Criteria of the Desired Affiliates

RAN offers various ways to locate prospective affiliates. You can enter the publishers name, site ID, URL (this is done from the drop down box highlighted in the image below). Also, the above mentioned ways can only be used if you know the information, so there are other ways to locate affiliates without knowing all their information. The most ideal way is to target a group of affiliates based on their category. For example, you could be looking for pet bloggers, fashion/beauty bloggers, etc. All you do is highlight the category and hit “include”. There are also more advanced ways to locate affiliates and they include: the date the joined RAN, active affiliates (sending traffic), platinum publishers (top performing publishers on the network), customer reach (geographic locations), business model (coupon, content/niche, comparison shopping, etc.), and publisher location.

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Step # 3 – Selecting Affiliates to Send an Offer To

The criteria has been entered and now the list is in front of you. Review the potential affiliate prospect list and begin pushing offers. To push offers to affiliates you want to partner with simply “tick” the box in the left column (you can add all affiliates on the page by “ticking” the box in the gray section.  Once the affiliates are selected, scroll to the bottom of the page and hit “Extend Offer”, then “To Selected”. This will allow you to send an offer to only the affiliates selected.

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Step # 4 – Extend the Offer

The process is almost complete. Review the offer(s) shown (there may be more than one, but make sure it is the offer with the correct terms.  Hit “Extend”. That’s it, the process it done. Just rinse and repeat each time you want to recruit affiliates within the Rakuten Affiliate Network.

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A step-by-step guide to recruiting affiliates through RAN is complete, but there is one important item I want to emphasize when recruiting on networks; after the offer is sent always follow up directly with a personal email letting them know an offer was sent and reviewing the terms of the affiliate program. The personal touch will go a long way.

ShareASale Holiday Central Placements for Merchants

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In my last post I outlined the different placement opportunities available within ShareASale for their merchants. Having additional exposure for an affiliate program can help the overall brand, but can yield positive affiliate recruitment statistics. I want to detail one final placement opportunity and it is called ShareASale’s Holiday Central.

Holidays can turn the internet into complete mayhem and affiliates (and merchants too) love it. People love shopping online and there is no better opportunity for merchants and for affiliates to capitalize than holidays. ShareASale Holiday Central allows merchants to promote individual products that fall within specific holidays. For example, a weight loss merchant might want to target customers at the beginning of the New Year. With this opportunity the merchant can select “New Year’s Eve” holiday and they will be featured during the time period allotted. Affiliates are presented with all the upcoming holidays approximately 2 -3 months in advance so they can prepare their marketing materials/promotions.

The cost of the holiday placements are relatively inexpensive. It costs $100 for the first category. If a merchant wishes to be included during other holidays they are welcome and the cost for 2 holiday placements is $175, 3 holiday placements $225 and each additional placement after 3 is $75. What is unique about this type of placement is that is good for one (1) year from purchase.

What does the placement look like? It is similar to a Feature Program of Your Category placement. Merchants can load an image (of their logo or specific product being promoted) and a description of the program or product. When recommending placement opportunities for clients we always steer them to the Holiday Center.

ShareASale also does a good job in providing a lengthy list of holidays merchants can promote for. Some of the holidays include: Mardi Gras, Halloween, April Fool’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Winter Season, Valentine’s Day, Fall Season, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many more.

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As mentioned earlier I recommend looking into holiday placements. They target affiliates looking for specific brands and/or products during holidays and finding a programs top performing affiliate is only a few clicks away.

Combining the list of placement opportunities outlined in my last post and the ShareASale Holiday Central there are enough options to get your affiliate program out in front of the top affiliates in the industry. Along with the prices that will not break the bank a holiday placement can yield fruitful partnerships for years to come.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Recruit Publishers in CJ Affiliate

Recruiting quality affiliates can be a challenging and time consuming task, so CJ Affiliate has offered their merchants a way to recruit affiliates through their interface. All of the affiliates with accounts in CJ Affiliate can be sent an offer through this function and you, as the merchant, can choose what affiliates you want to partner with. They offer a robust filtering system to narrow your search down to the group of affiliates you want to target. Let me show you step-by-step how to recruit CJ affiliates.

Step 1 – Go to “Manage Publishers” Tab

Once you log in to your merchant account, navigate to the “Manage Publishers” tab and click.CJ 1

Step 2 – Go to “Publisher Recruitment (beta) Tab

After clicking the “Manage Publishers” tab click the “Publisher Recruitment (beta)” tab, which is directly underneath the main navigation.

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Step 3 – Filter Prospective Affiliate by Categories

Searching for affiliates can be done by entering keywords, category, country, network earnings, geographic source, and publisher classification. If you are targeting affiliates in a specific category you can choose that, whatever it may be (i.e. Consumer electronics, Health, Home & Garden, etc). If you want to only recruit affiliates in the United States you have that capability as well. You, as the merchant, have numerous way to filter and recruit affiliates so you can grow your program.

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Step 4 – Choose Affiliates to Work With

Once you have filtered out the affiliates based on categories selected it is now time to send them an offer. The offer can be the default offer or a customized offer for them or other targeted affiliates. You will see the list of prospective affiliates to the right. It will list their ID, URL, network earnings and their classification. If you want to partner with an affiliate listed just check the box to the left of their name (do this for all the affiliates listed) and click the “Make Offer” button.

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Step 5 – Make Offer Official

Once you clicked “Make Offer” a pop-up will appear for you to choose the program terms you want to send to the affiliate. If you have more than one program term, then hit the arrow for the drop down box to choose the one to offer them. You can also add them to a group if you want (optional). Once the offer has been selected, hit “OK”. The offer will be sent to the affiliate(s) for them to approve. Please be aware that affiliates may decline the offer you send them, so if they are high on your target list reach out to them personally to see what it will take to work together. After sending the offer we (AM Navigator) highly recommend reaching out to the affiliate(s) individually with an email explaining the offer and links to apply to the program.

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Using CJ Affiliate to recruit affiliates can be a time saving task, but it should not replace actively looking for affiliates though other sources like: Google, social media, and current customers. Active affiliate recruitment is an integral part of affiliate program management and should be done weekly and follow a strict schedule of follow-ups.

Five Types of Affiliates (with Examples)

You have learned how to recruit affiliates into your program and where to find them, but what is their value to you and how they can help grow your affiliate program? Below are 5 of the most common affiliates and a little bit about them:

1. Coupon Affiliates

They are the most common type of affiliate. They are not a fit for every program, but if you do allow them in your program they can drive qualified traffic to your site through coupons offered through the affiliate program.

In many cases the larger coupon affiliates rank highly for coupon-related terms in the organic search results.

Examples include: RetailMeNot, Savings.com, and GoodSearch.com.

2. Incentivized Traffic Affiliates

This type of affiliates shares a part of the commission (received from merchants/advertisers) with the end user.

The incentive may come in the form of cashback, points, virtual currency, or similar arrangements.

Examples include: Ebates, BigCrumbs.com, Mr. Rebates, and even Bank of America.

3. Content Affiliates

They are blog (or forum) owners that create unique content (their own or UGC) for their visitors. They send traffic to a merchant’s site through banner ads and/or text links embedded in content. They may not have the traffic of coupon affiliates, but they generally have a high conversion rate and provide incremental value to merchants.

4. PPC Affiliates

They are affiliates that run paid search campaigns using Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and other platforms and use affiliate links to monetize their efforts. This type of promotion is high risk for the affiliate, as they have to pay for the ads and there is no guarantee for a return on investment. They can work in conjunction with merchant’s current PPC efforts to ensure they are not bidding on the same sets of keywords, or not competing with the merchant by capping their bids.

5. Comparison Shopping Sites

They are price comparison websites and aggregators. These affiliates provide the end user with a tool to compare prices (or other product characteristics!) across an array of merchants, utilizing advertisers’ product feeds to power their engines (Shopping Comparison Engines, that is).

Examples of comparison shopping affiliates include: TheFind.com, Shopzilla.com, and many others.

Knowing the various types of affiliates will help in determining their potential value to the program and will help in growing your affiliate program. Recruiting the right affiliates will be a step toward success and bringing in the incremental sales volume you desire.

How to Find Affiliates to Recruit Into Affiliate Program

Last month I discussed the importance of affiliate recruitment and the effects it can have on an affiliate program. Today I will be diving into where to find affiliates to recruit.

Each day, as you are going through the applications of potential affiliates, you are thinking where can I find quality affiliates other than coupon affiliates? Many times the quality affiliates or super affiliates will need to be solicited to join your program. Here are 4 popular places and tools used to find affiliates for you affiliate program.

I. Search Engines

Using Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find sites that rank for relevant keywords to your business is a great place to start. For example, if you are a children’s clothing merchant you would search for sites that rank highly for keywords related to children’s clothing. Blogs that create unique content are great targets when using search engines.

II. Tools/Software

There are free tools and also paid tools used in recruitment. Many of the paid tools provide more robust solutions, but the free ones also are a great help. Examples of free tools include: SEO Quake and Backlink Watch. Paid tools include: Linkdex Publisher Discovery, Raven SEO Tools, and AffiliateRecruitment.com. The point of the tools is to find sites that have affiliate links of your competitors and then you can reach out to affiliate promoting your competition and invite them to your program.

III. Social Media

Finding relevant prospects may also be fruitful using social media. Searching the social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn groups, etc) using targeted keywords can present you with prospects with strong social media followings that can promote your product/service through their various channels.

IV. Conferences/Events

Conferences like Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Performance Marketing Insights and others are great places to meet current affiliates and most importantly prospective affiliates. Affiliates are at the conference to learn, but also seek out opportunities to grow their businesses. Don’t be shy at these types of events as you never know who you will meet and how they can positively impact your affiliate program.

Later this week I will discuss different types of affiliates you can recruit into your affiliate program. So stay tuned…

The Importance of Affiliate Recruitment

When a company engages in digital marketing activities the main goal is to increase sales and revenue.  When managing an affiliate program it is no different. Growing revenue is not only good for the merchant’s bottom line, but it also helps increase the programs exposure to potential affiliate partners. The higher the EPC and AOV numbers are, the more attractive it will be and the easier it will be to recruit quality affiliates.

Whether you have an established affiliate program or just launched one, getting quality affiliates to join is paramount. Many merchants ask this question: Do I just wait for affiliates to apply to my program? You could, but that is doing a disservice to the program and hurting potential growth.  One of the main pieces to growing an affiliate program is affiliate recruitment. There are two types of affiliate recruitment strategies: passive and active.

Passive recruitment is when an affiliate discovers your affiliate program on their own. On the other hand, active recruitment is when an affiliate discovers your program because of your outreach efforts. When managing your affiliate program you do not want to rely solely on a passive recruitment strategy because you will most likely not get the results desired. If you do passive recruitment you are going to have predominately more coupon/deal affiliates than any other and relying on one type of affiliate is not going to provide the growth and incremental sales numbers you wish to see.

Diversifying your affiliate pool through affiliate recruitment will provide better opportunities for growth.  Engaging in active affiliate recruitment will aid in this facet. Having coupon/deal affiliates in the program is not a bad thing, but including other affiliate types like content, paid search, social media, and datafeed affiliates will help in the growth and sustainability of the program long term. Many of the previously mentioned affiliate types are not going to find you, so you must proactively find them and invite them to your program.

Recruiting the content, paid search, social media and datafeed affiliates is important because they all specialize in different areas of digital marketing and will target different segments of traffic for your brand. Practicing active affiliate recruitment is important for the short-term, but more importantly the long-term.

You may be asking how you find affiliates to join your program? Check back next week for my post where I will be discussing where to find quality affiliates. I will also touch on what each type of affiliate brings to the table in terms of skills and value.