Four Ways To Recruit Affiliates Online

So you’ve built up an online business and you’ve decided that it’s a good time to launch an affiliate marketing program for it. But what do you do next? How do you recruit affiliates (the right ones for your business)? Let’s start with the first steps.

You’ve done your competitive intelligence research, put together your affiliate program, launched it, and now you’re finally ready for affiliates to start promoting your product.

Now comes the tricky part: recruiting affiliate marketers into your program. Where do you start? What are the best ways to recruit affiliates online and get them interested in your program?

First off, it’s very important to have an attractive offer, commission structure, and cookie life. Remember that you will be compared to other programs and opportunities when a prospective affiliate is deciding to apply into your affiliate program or not. A presence on a popular affiliate network doesn’t hurt either, but what else can you offer at the beginning to grab an affiliate’s attention?

Four Ways to Recruit Affiliates

Complimentary Product or Samples

The most difficult part of recruiting affiliates into your affiliate program is getting their attention in the first place. One way to entice affiliates is to offer them complimentary product or samples to try.

This is especially valuable for content affiliates who could use the product to create a review of what you offer. As a result, they may also choose to create their own images or videos with what you send them.

This may also help their SEO and thus drive more potential buyers to their page. As with most affiliate deals, this is a classic win-win as you’ll then benefit from greater traffic as well.

When sending out complimentary product, do not forget to stay organized. I suggest creating a spreadsheet specifically for this, and keep notes of everything related to product samples in it.

Record the address information for the affiliate and also set a column aside for the tracking info. Use this column to appropriately follow up and confirm that your samples arrived. I would also consider making notes on this sheet of each day you follow up. You can then make sure you’re circling back in a timely manner.

You always want to make sure that affiliates who were sent free product follow through on what they’ve promised you. Ultimately, you are sending free products out not for the sake of sending them, but to activate these publishers in your affiliate program.

Always make sure to get a phone number too when you send out free product to affiliates. This can be useful for delivery purposes. It can also help you connect with the affiliate if they become unreachable by email. This does not happen often and is very unprofessional. Unfortunately, every affiliate manager has a stories about sending product and never hearing from the affiliate again.

Finally, if it isn’t a physical product that you sell, you can still leverage this technique very effectively. You may offer free trials of your service or technology, or create other opportunities for affiliates to “test drive” your product.

Paid Placements

The most expensive way to recruit affiliates online also ends up being one of the most effective. Creating a budget for affiliate recruitment can help onboard new affiliates.

This could end up being the best money you spend on marketing.

Crunch some numbers and determine if you have some cash to spend onboarding key affiliates. It is never a good idea to just start throwing money around at any marketing campaign.

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Be very selective with who you offer these sign up bonuses to.

If you choose to go this route, I highly recommend having some additional affiliate assets talking about your program. This could simply be a PDF one-pager with some program details and information about your product.

When proposing your offer, do it over the phone if possible so that the affiliate knows you’re serious. Reaching affiliates by phone may be difficult. Make your outreach emails concise and easy to digest to ensure the affiliates read them.

It’s highly unlikely an affiliate will ignore someone who is willing to pay them upfront.

Increase Cookie Life

Increasing an affiliate’s cookie life is an easy way to entice them to join your program. This also doesn’t cost you anything.

Affiliates like a longer cookie because customers may click and then not purchase for weeks or even months later.

A shorter 15 or 30 day cookie could mean sales that affiliates lose out on. This creates an unhappy affiliate.

Lengthening the cookie life for a new affiliate is sure to make them happy and feel special. This is a great way to start off a new relationship. It shows the affiliate that you’re serious about what you’re doing and value building that relationship.

Social Media Shout-outs

Most brands these days have their own blogs and social media pages. One way to recruit affiliates online is to leverage these when initially talking to affiliates.

recruit affiliates social media shoutoutThis could be beneficial for the affiliate to be mentioned on (or through) your social media channels.

An example scenario here could be with a large review site within your niche.

You would like the reviewer affiliate to join your affiliate program and write a review on your product. You already went ahead and sent out free product, but that’s still not enough.

This is where you can offer up your social media pages to convince them to join your program. Coordinate a campaign with the affiliate to post about their branded content on your social media pages.

Doing this accomplishes several things.

First and foremost, it makes the affiliate happy and gives their site added exposure.

Second, since you’re advertising their content to your customers, it makes it more likely that they’ll earn commission from your customers.

Third, it provides third party validation about your product. As consumers, we’re a lot more likely to purchase something if we see others have had a good experience.

Last, it further strengthens that new relationship with the affiliate. We’ve touched on relationships a lot in this post. Strong affiliate-merchant relationships with your affiliates are going to be instrumental in your affiliate program’s growth and sustained success.

Good luck with all your recruiting efforts.

Feel free to email us or comment below with any comments or questions.

We would love to hear from you!

 

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Recruit New Affiliates

Social media is a great source for starting new relationships, building upon existing ones and, sometimes, even ruining relationships. Luckily, we are in the business of forming and growing long-term great relationships. That’s why I wanted to share these 4 ways to use social media to recruit new affiliates.

Before we get into the 4 different ways, some of these tips can be used across all social media platforms and some are specific to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram specifically.

Hashtags

Using hashtags to find new potential affiliates is such a simple, yet effective way to find new recruits. You can do this on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Pinterest.

Let me provide a quick example.

Let’s say that you are the affiliate manager for a makeup and beauty company and are looking for new affiliates. You could head over to Instagram and search for #makeup. This will most likely bring you thousands of results, but you can start at the top and start making your way through them all.

You have to be able to figure out which posts are spam, but it’s pretty easy to tell.

hashtags for affiliate recruitment

Next, you are going to look at the images and find ones that are posted by people who are sampling makeup or making makeup tutorials for their viewers. Your goal is to focus on people who are not talking about purchasing a product, but focus on those who have an audience that will be willing to purchase something they recommend.

This is the type of person that you want to reach out to on social media. You can reach out to this person in multiple ways now. You could send them a Direct Message on Instagram (or Twitter or Facebook), you could visit their profile and find their email address or a website that may contain an email address.

Once you have the contact information, then start them in your affiliate marketing recruitment funnel.

Twitter Search

Twitter Search is very similar to searching for hashtags, except you don’t have to search for actual hashtags. In this case, you can just search for keyword phrases and look for these phrases within a certain timeframe.

As you can see in the screenshot, there are multiple search factors that you can use to narrow down the exact audience that you want to reach out to.

twitter advanced search for affiliate recruitment

Let me provide an example of using Twitter Search as well.

Let’s say that we are doing affiliate outreach for a mattress brand and you want to find people on Twitter who have been talking about mattresses and or sleep. Simply go to the Advanced Twitter Search page and type “mattress, sleep” in the Any of these words section.

If it is important to you to narrow down a location, you can do this as well. For this example, we will not use location based.

Now, you also want to find people who have recently Tweeted about these keywords so that it’s fresh and relevant during the outreach, so select a time frame under Dates. I would recommend the last 2 weeks.

mattress twitter advanced search affiliate recruitment

You will see a Twitter search results feed with Tweets that include either the keyword mattress or sleep. Now, you are going to do the same thing that you did above in the Hashtag example.

Scroll through the feed looking for people who are reviewing a mattress that they just purchased or maybe someone who has written an article about the benefits of sleep and you feel that your mattress brand would be a perfect match for an affiliate relationship with. Reach out to this person and begin your affiliate recruitment outreach.

Bonus Tip: Share, Like and Retweet their post because it will be fresh in their mind that you did something nice for them.

Community Engagement

This tip may be more of a long-term play than the others mentioned above. The reason is because this one takes time to build a relationship and engage within the communities that are surrounding the affiliate program that you are managing. The two mentioned above are quick searches and allow you to reach out right away.

Community engagement simply means finding the online communities that you potential affiliates belong to and engage with them. Sounds simple right?

It is. It is also very time consuming.

Let me provide an example for this situation as well.

Let’s say that you are the affiliate manager for a company that sells costumes. These aren’t just costumes for Halloween, but also can be used for Cosplay and other events as well.

For this example, I want to focus on the Cosplay niche.

You can find Cosplay Facebook groups or Twitter chats or even Instagram hashtags to follow (utilizing the tips above). Now, the difference here versus the examples up above is that we don’t want to reach out right away. We want to become part of the conversation and the community. Find interesting topics in the cosplay niche and engage in the conversation, share articles or other posts that you feel others will find interesting.

This will help you begin to build relationships with the people in the niche and eventually content creators who have large followings and write about different cosplay events, you know, people who would be great affiliates!

Even better, by engaging with the community, which you can do from a personal account and not the company account, you could build great relationships that can be utilized in other ways. For example, if you are an outsourced affiliate program management agency, then you can leverage the relationships built to get affiliates to join multiple programs that you manage.

No Email, No Problem

This tip is somewhat self-explanatory. If you already have a list of potential affiliates that you want to reach out, but you don’t have any contact information for them from their website, then find them on social media.

If you are able to connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even LinkedIn, then start you affiliate recruitment outreach via these social media channels.

The possibilities are endless on how you can use social media to recruit new affiliates. There are always new social media platforms popping up, but the core sites are always growing and adding new creators.

If you have any additional tips for using social media for affiliate recruitment, I would love to hear them. Please comment below or share this post on social media to start a conversation.

 

How to Make Your Affiliate Program Stand Out Within In-Network Search

The most important way to guarantee successful passive recruitment for your affiliate program is to make your affiliate program stand out within in-network search. Affiliates are constantly looking for new programs to join and if there are a few extra steps you can take to make it easier for them to find you, you should be doing them.

Below are three excellent practices for making your affiliate program stand out within in-network search.

Proper Keywords

Assigning the right keywords to your program is far and away the most important way to make your affiliate program stand out within in-network search.

When you set up your profile within your affiliate network there will be a place to list out keywords that affiliates can use to find you when they’re searching the network. The screenshot below is from ShareASale and shows where you can place keywords for your program.

Affiliate Program Keywords

Make sure that you’re using keywords that accurately describe your product and ones that affiliates are likely to type in when searching.

The best practice here is to use several of your competitor’s names as keywords. If there’s only one tip you take away from this article, have this be it.

In the programs that I manage I get more applications from affiliates who found my program through a competitor’s name keyword than any other way of passive recruitment.

Along with utilizing competitor’s names as keywords, make sure to also include generic terms relevant to your product. Be selective though because networks have caps on how many keywords you can utilize.

Attractive Creative

Once affiliates find your program you want to make sure they don’t just gloss over it and move on to the next one. You need to stand out and attractive creative is the best way to do this. Affiliate networks give you opportunities to include nice images of your company’s logo and sometimes product shots and animated gifs.

Affiliates like to have an arsenal of assets to promote the brands they choose to represent and if you display from the get-go that you have high-quality creative, the prospective affiliate is that much more likely to look further into your program and apply.

Clean Messaging and Complete Profile

affiliate marketing passive recruitmentLastly, it’s important to have a full profile with clean messaging and descriptions. If you have an incomplete profile, not only will your program not have a professional look, but the networks will not list you as high in search results.

There are typically fields for short description, long description, and other smaller things such as cookie life. Make sure that you complete all available fields and provide prospective affiliates with as much information as possible. Make sure you make your descriptions succinct and easy to digest.

Also, make sure to include contact info in case prospective affiliates want to ask you any questions.

I hope that you found these few ideas helpful and that you implement some of them when optimizing your program for visibility within your network’s search.

Good luck with all your affiliate marketing efforts and feel free to email us or comment below with any comments or questions.

 

 

 

Best Affiliate Management Resources

Whether you are an experienced affiliate manager or new to the industry, it is important to know what resources are available to you to help you manage your affiliate programs.

Affiliate Program Management – An Hour a Day

This is not just a shameless plug for the Founder of AM Navigator, but is in fact, one of the best resources available for any affiliate manager. Published back in 2011, the same core principles of daily affiliate management stay the same. This book will walk you through the entire process of launching an affiliate program to daily management.

Affiliate Program Management – An Hour a Day has great reviews, including one from the Founder of Skimlinks

“With clear explanations, plentiful real-world examples, andfantastic resource lists, this book is a comprehensive compendiumof up-to-date knowledge from a leader in the field.”
—Alicia Navarro, cofounder and CEO, Skimlinks

AffStat Report

Although the latest AffStat Report that has been released includes data from 2016, majority of the trends tend to stay the same. The AffStat Report includes data from affiliate managers, as well as affiliates themselves. As an example of one of the great pieces of information in this report is:

Top Factors Driving my Affiliate Program Selections Are:

  1. Product or Service Relevancy
  2. Affiliate Program Reputation
  3. Affiliate Network or Tracking Platform

Other great tidbits include:

  • I’d prefer that affiliate managers contact me via…
  • Programs I’m promoting that offer custom creatives

This data can help you make important decisions in your daily affiliate management.

affiliate marketing webinarsWebinar Trainings

Most webinars will have a recorded version available afterwards, so learning from past webinars is a great way to help become a better affiliate manager and grow your affiliate program(s).

Here are a few that we recommend:

Affiliate Summit

Affiliate Summit is the premiere affiliate marketing conference. The conference is filled with affiliates, affiliate managers, CPA companies, networks and more. There are two primary Affiliate Summits every year, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. These events typically take place in New York City and Las Vegas respectively.

There are multiple paths you can take while at the summit. There are plenty of training sessions for affiliate managers, but what could be the most important part of Affiliate Summit is the networking app that can be used prior to the event.

This allows you to schedule as many meetings as possible with affiliates who can promote your affiliate program in the future.

P.S. Geno Prussakov, Founder of AM Navigator has spoken at 20 Affiliate Summit conferences, so you may run into him there!

FeedFront

FeedFront Magazine is simply known as the affiliate marketing magazine and is completely free. The magazine is available in print edition quarterly. Founded by the same founders of Affiliate Summit, Missy Ward and Shawn Collins, the magazine is filled with articles from affiliate managers, affiliates, networks, and more.

Interested in writing for FeedFront? They accept proposals to write as well.

Check out the most recent print edition of FeedFront April 2018.

Affiliate Marketing on LinkedIn Learning

This affiliate marketing course on LinkedIn Learning from Geno Prussakov is a little over 1 hour and covers the following:

  • Affiliate Marketing Basics
  • Affiliate Program Setup
  • Program Launch
  • Affiliate Program Management
    • Recruiting (both Passive and Active)
    • Activation
    • Compliance
    • Communication
    • And more

This course is perfect for anyone, no matter where you may lay on the affiliate marketing experience level.

Affiliate Program Management Blog from AM Navigator

AM Navigator is an outsourced affiliate program management agency founded in 2006 by Geno Prussakov and manages some of the top affiliate programs. The AM Navigator blog, specifically the affiliate program management blog category, is a great source of up-to-date information for anyone seeking to learn more about affiliate program management.

Do you have any other resources for affiliate managers? If so, please share them in the comments below.

How to Void a Transaction in CJ Affiliate

Managing an affiliate program is more than just recruiting, activating, and compliance policing. These tasks do require a majority of an affiliate manager’s time, but there are other tasks required to be completed when managing an affiliate program.

One important task is reconciling orders at the end of each month and voiding any that need to be. Voiding an order can be done for various reasons including returns/refunds, fraud, or violation of promotional methods.

In this post, I will go over step-by-step on how to void transactions in the CJ Affiliate dashboard.

Step 1 – Navigate to the Transactions Page

Once logged in to the CJ Affiliate dashboard, click “Reports”, then “Transaction” from the drop-down menu. This will take you to the page where each individual transaction can be viewed from the current (or any previous) month.

Step 2 – Enter the Order ID to Void

A search can be done either using an order ID, Commission ID, or Transaction ID. In this example, the Order ID will be used. Enter the Order ID in the field named “Enter ID”, then hit the magnifying glass. Scroll down and the Order in question is now available to view along with all of the pertinent details.

Step 3 – Select Transaction and Begin Voiding Process

To begin the voiding process, put a tick mark in the box and then hit “edit”. By doing that it will initiate a pop-up to formally void the transaction.

Step 4 – Void the Transaction

At this stage, the sale amount and publisher’s name will be visible. Select a “Correction Reason” from the drop-down menu. The choices include: invalid credit card, returned merchandise, duplicate order, can’t ship/sold out, and other. Select the reason that best matches. To void the transaction, click the blue pencil box and change the quantity to “0” and do the same for the sale amount, change it to “0.00”. Click save and the transaction is now voided.

Reconciling transactions is a multi-step process that should be done monthly at a minimum. The last thing to do is pay affiliates for orders that were not processed or returned. Follow these steps and this task will become second nature.

 

3 Ways to Monitor and Review Your Affiliates

Some might consider affiliate marketing to be a Wild Wild West of digital advertising, though, with a proper approach, risks associated with this channel will be minimal. Affiliate marketing is all about trust and relationships, but it’s a business for all parties involved.

Monitoring and policing your affiliates is the first step to securing your own business interests and surprisingly enough, the only way to build a healthier affiliate program.

Below are 3 ways to monitor and review your affiliates.

#1. Auto Approve Practice Leads to Chaos

Almost all networks have an option to auto-approve applications from new affiliates for your program. Not making good partners wait might sound tempting, but if you opt for it, you’ll lose control of the program and also lose one of the best opportunities to learn about your new affiliates.

Respond personally to each request to join your program and try to find a direct contact with an affiliate (in most cases affiliate networks don’t provide contact details, but you can find them on the affiliate’s website listed in a profile). Ask all new candidates about their traffic sources, audience, promotions that work the best etc. Doing so will help you gain control over the program and learn crucial details. Be like a bank — know your partners.

#2. A Little Background Check Didn’t Hurt Anybody

monitoring affiliates

You’ve got a new affiliate application, you have followed the #1 the rule and didn’t auto approve anybody. Right now the only thing you know about your affiliate is a site URL. You visit it and the site looks good. Some affiliates know that program owners will not look any further. So, how can you make sure that the affiliate really has something to offer?

With tools like SimilarWeb you can check estimated site traffic and its sources. Sometimes you will discover other affiliate programs this particular affiliate promotes. All this data will help you make a decision on whether to reject or approve the application.

Additionally, if you decide to let this affiliate onboard, any information gained will empower you to make a better proposal and to motivate your new partner.

#3. Toxic Affiliates Spoil The Whole Program

A spoon of tar spoils a barrel of honey, as Russians say. One toxic affiliate can bring your whole program down. How can you find a bad guy? Monitor traffic coming from each affiliate individually and find the ones that have low conversion rates (CR) — chances are, they are doing something worth taking a second look at.

Also, low CR affiliates spoil your overall program (low CR is bad for your rankings in affiliate network’s leaderboards) and SERP position (search engines will lower your position once they detect that users don’t convert on your site — the main indicator that your site is not relevant).

Additionally, good affiliates will not join your program if your main KPIs (Conversion Rate, Reversal Rate, Average Order Value etc.) are low.

So monitoring affiliates is a must.

Quick Tip: How To Gain Control Over Your Program

Chances are that you are using Google Analytics (GA) to track your website visitors. You can start implementing your monitoring and policing practices by using GA to track your affiliate’s activity. Affiliate networks can pass various parameters: dynamic and static — to your landing page URL. It’s easy to leverage this functionality, though many merchants still don’t use it.

Below is an example of how you can mark all traffic coming from affiliate networks and split it on a publisher level.

  1. Use the utm_source tag to pass a network name, e.g. utm_source=cj.
  2. Specify traffic type in a utm_medium tag, e.g. utm_medium=cpa.
  3. Finally, use a dynamic variable provided by your affiliate network to pass a publisher ID to a utm_campaign tag., e.g. utm_campaign={publisher_id}.

The resulting URL will look similar to https://your-landing-page.com/?utm_source=cj&utm_medium=cpa&utm_campaign={piblisher_id}.

Now you are able to observe each affiliate’s traffic individually and act accordingly.

If you’d like to learn more about using your new Google Analytics setup to monitor and police affiliates, leave a comment below and feel free to ask questions.

How to Simplify ShareASale Program Management by Segmenting Affiliates

Data is extremely valuable in evaluating affiliate campaigns. It also helps evaluate affiliate performance and allows affiliate managers to make strategic decisions for their future affiliate marketing campaigns.

Many brands that run affiliate programs do not segment or categorize their affiliates, thus missing out on opportunities to manage their affiliate program in more efficient ways. Filtering and sorting affiliates should be a task that every affiliate manager engages in. In this post, I will outline how to filter and sort affiliates in the ShareASale affiliate network.

Step 1: Navigate to “Affiliate List”

Click the “Affiliates” tab in the main navigation, then “Affiliate List.”

ShareASale Affiliate Filtering & Sorting

Step 2: Choose Predefined Filter or Advanced Filters and Sorting

ShareASale offers three (3) predefined filters to use, but to get more detailed and drill down further – the “Advanced Filters and Sorting” option is the way to go. The advanced filters and sorting will be discussed in detail in the next step.

ShareASale Affiliate Filtering & Sorting

 

Step 3: Utilize Advanced Filters and Sorting Option

There are numerous ways to filter affiliates, so how do you know what to do? It depends on the what you are looking to do. For example, filtering affiliates that joined the program in the past 30 days. Click “Applied to Program (Date Range) Enter Start Date and End Date and “Click Update Filter“. A list of all affiliates joined in the past 30 days will be shown. From there, affiliates can be placed in groups and/or assigned tags for future campaigns. One of the most common affiliate filtering/sorting options is by “Performance Metrics”. Affiliates can be filtered by sales generated, EPC (or earnings per 100 clicks referred), click volume, commissions earned, etc. Filtering by “Performance Metrics” allows greater flexibility in managing affiliates and does not cast a “one-size-fits-all” approach to managing them.

ShareASale Affiliate Filtering & Sorting

 

ShareASale makes managing affiliate programs less stressful. Their easy-to-use interface allows program managers to be more efficient with their time. Many affiliate managers are multi-taskers and time is money. Growing an affiliate program requires constant data analysis and having a simple(r) approach to gathering the data is critical. So, make sure you take full advantage of the ShareASale tools at your disposal.

5 Ways to Passively Recruit Affiliates

What is one of the most important elements to effectively managing an affiliate program? The answer is simple, recruiting new (quality) affiliates. One of the most common themes when speaking to merchants that have under-performing affiliate programs (even ones that have successful ones mention it) is that they cannot find affiliates to promote their products or services. It may be a lack of knowledge on where to find them or they are not willing to put the work in, but either way, locating and successfully recruiting affiliates is a necessary element to any successful affiliate program.

In an article I wrote over three years ago, How to Find Affiliates to Recruit into Affiliate Program, I outlined ways affiliate managers can actively recruit new affiliates into their programs. In this post, I am going to outline ways to Passive Affiliate Recruitmentpassively recruit affiliates into affiliate programs. What exactly is passive affiliate recruitment? It is a recruiting method when prospective affiliates find a merchant’s affiliate program on their own. Below are 5 ways to passively recruit new affiliates into an affiliate program:

Paid Search Campaigns

Creating paid search campaigns on Google, Yahoo, and Bing are effective ways to get an affiliate program in front of affiliates. Keywords such as “affiliate program” and those of direct (and in-direct competitors) are good ones to bid on. Even keywords related to a specific industry can be effective.

Affiliate Directories

Affiliates use directories to find affiliate programs they want to join, so logically, merchants should include a listing of their program in as many affiliate directories as possible. Many of them are broken down into categories, so locating a program is simple. An example is http://affiliatesdirectory.com

Popular Publications

Placing ads for an affiliate program in popular magazines is a relatively low cost and effective way to get in front of targeted, quality affiliates. FeedFront caters to both affiliates and affiliate managers.

Second-tier affiliates

This is a less frequently used technique but can be effective if done properly. This technique can be used in two ways; first, it can motivate current affiliates and secondly, it can provide great new affiliate partners. Second-tier affiliates are referrals from current affiliates. Typically, current affiliates are rewarded with a bounty (ex. $5 per referral), but also can be paid ongoing commissions from their referrals. The decision is up to the merchant.

Press Releases

Press releases can provide effective recruitment opportunities for many years in the future. Merchants can use press releases to announce the launch of their new affiliate program, milestones reached, partnerships created, but the beauty of it is the SEO value. If properly optimized with relevant keywords they can be successful recruiting tools.

Passively recruiting does not mean to stop actively recruiting, what it means is to use both methods in tandem and maximize the effort to grow an affiliate program to new levels. Many merchants ignore the passive recruiting methods, but successful affiliate programs interweave them into their overall strategy.

ShareASale Auto-Deposit Feature: How to Make the Most of It

Managing an affiliate program requires careful attention to details. Effective program management is not only about recruiting, activating, and compliance policing, but also little details that keep the program operating and functional at all times. Having all affiliate communication documents uploaded, an email address where affiliates can contact the program manager anytime, but for ShareASale merchants maybe the most important detail is enabling the auto-deposit function in the ShareASale interface.

Why It Is Important

ShareASale gives merchants the option to auto-deposit funds into their account when the balance hit a certain threshold. It is recommended that all merchants set up this feature before launching. Having an account balance go negative will result in all affiliate links being turned off (until the account balance is positive) and you can guess what that means; unhappy affiliates.

How to Enable It

In this post, I will explain step-by-step how to set it up to ensure your program never goes offline due to a low or negative account balance.

Step # 1 – Navigate to the Deposit Center

After logging in to the ShareASale merchant interface go to “My Account” and then “Deposit Center”.

Step # 2 – Make a deposit or set up auto-deposit

This step a merchant can either make a deposit with a credit card or set-up the auto deposit feature. Merchants can make a deposit at any time even if the auto-deposit feature is enabled. For example, if they anticipate increased traffic and sales during a given period the deposit can be done at this step. To set up the auto-deposit feature click the “Update Auto-Deposit Settings” button.

ShareASale Affiliate Program - Funds Deposit

Step # 3 –  Setup Primary and Secondary Payment Methods

Merchants should have two methods (if possible setup the backup gateway) in case one does not work. Input credit card # 1 in the primary payment method and credit card # 2 in the secondary payment method. The next step is to turn the auto deposit on and set up the low balance trigger and how much to deposit once the low balance trigger has been enabled. It is recommended to not let a merchant account dip below $100, but the more in the account the better. Once all sections are complete, hit “Update Settings”.

ShareASale Auto-Deposit

Step # 4 – Setup Complete

Now the auto deposit setting is enabled. Merchants can now see their current settings and the last four digits of the primary payment method. All of the settings can be adjusted at any time. Simply follow the same steps.

 

Attention to details in managing affiliate programs is vital. Making sure the affiliate account is fully funded and has backup options is also critical to the success of a program. If an affiliate sees the auto deposit feature is off they may be hesitant to apply to join. Sometimes it is the little things that matter the most.

FTC Disclosure Best Practices for Affiliates

Affiliate managers wear many hats and are asked to manage many tasks on a daily basis. These include affiliate recruitment, affiliate activation, compliance policing, optimization, and communication. Compliance policing is often an overlooked task, but it should be taken as seriously as the rest. In terms of compliance policing, paid search and coupon policing are two of the main activities affiliate managers engage in on a daily basis, but what about FTC disclosure compliance?

Why are Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosures important? Short answer, they aid online users in determining if the endorser (or reviewer) has a connection to the brand which they are talking about. The FTC can fine both the endorser and advertiser for not properly disclosing their relationship in a product review or sponsored post. The fine can be upwards of $11,000 per infraction. The FTC requires that endorsements use clear and unmistakable language and should be easily visible. They cannot and should not be hidden or tucked away. The last place a brand or blogger wants to be is on the FTC’s radar.

Last month (September 7, 2017) the FTC updated their endorsement requirements, so the post today will discuss the updated best practices for affiliates, outlining how to comply with the FTC’s rules while marketing on social media and via blog posts.

Facebook

There are multiple acceptable ways to disclose on Facebook, but having it too long may be counterproductive to your goals and turn off your audience. Here are a few examples of how you may disclose the connection:

  • Ad: XYZ is a great computer that is perfect for a small business owner. @XYZ
  • Sponsored Post: XYZ’s computer has helped to keep our business more organized.

Take into account that the phrase “affiliate link” may not be accepted as an adequate disclosure. So using something similar to this at the bottom of the post will be satisfactory:

Note: I am using an affiliate link below which means that if you buy something via this post I may receive a commission.

Twitter

This one is a little more challenging of a context, as there is a 140-character limit; but disclosing still must be done when you are endorsing/reviewing a product via Twitter. Here are a few examples of how to disclose:

  • Start the Tweet with “Sponsored” (uses only 9 characters)
  • Start the Tweet with “Paid Ad” (uses only 7 characters)
  • Use #Sponsored #Ad at the beginning of the Tweet.

Using one of the above options is sufficient, but it is also strongly recommended that you tag the brand in question.

Pinterest/Instagram

Tricia Meyer noted in her latest “FTC Updates Endorsement Guidance” blog post that the FTC requires that all Instagram disclosures are located above the “more” button (to avoid being pushed down the feed) or on the image itself. Here are examples of disclosing:

  • “Ad” or “Advertisement” placed at the beginning of the post
  • “Sponsored” placed at the beginning of the post
  • “Paid Ad” placed at the beginning of the post+

Snapchat/Instagram Stories

Disclosures can be overlaid on images but should be easy to notice on the image(s) and clearly worded. There should be no confusion on whether it is a sponsored post or not. Also, making sure ample time is given to followers to view the image(s) and comprehend that it is a sponsored ad.

Additionally, while disclosing that your social media post is sponsored does not have to be at the beginning of the post, the disclosure must be easily noticeable and understood. This is why, the beginning is, generally, a good place for it.

Blog Posts

The key here is to disclose upfront that there is a relationship between the post and the brand. It should be obvious to the reader that it is a sponsored content that they are going through. The reader should not have to guess if a person is being compensated. The disclosure must appear before the first affiliate link, above the fold, and be easy to find. Do not wait until the end of the post to disclose, as it may be considered misleading. Here is an example to place at the beginning:

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in the below post.

At the end of the post, the disclosure may be reiterated by writing:

I receive(d) compensation in exchange for writing this review/post. This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you purchase something mentioned in this post.

Recommended, but not required is to add a link to your self-hosted “full disclosure statement” page at the beginning of the post. The more transparent the post – the better it is for the blogger and the brand.

Actively managing affiliates and influencers to ensure their compliance with the FTC disclosure requirements is an extremely important task for affiliate and influencer managers. Both the brand and the endorsers must be sure that the FTC disclosures are being complied with.

We also recommend you read the FTC’s .com Disclosures document here. It should answer additional questions you may have.