merchant web marketing,affiliate programs, data feeds
Recently I wrote an article called “Put your spare domain names to work for you using affiliate programs”.
What that article basically described was an important approach to Merchant Web Marketing. A trend that many merchants offering affiliate programs are more and more starting to include in their package of affiliate services are Product Line Data Feeds. These Data Feeds can bring affiliate web marketing to a new level.
If you don’t already know, a product line data feed is a complete (or mostly complete) file, usually in .CSV or Tab Delimited format containing data pertaining to the products the merchant is making available for an affiliate to promote and sell. This has opened the door for many individuals who otherwise would not have an avenue to sell products online. And through something other than banners and buttons on a BLOG or website which for the most part go unnoticed by visitors.
This is one of the reasons (I feel) that generating massive amounts of traffic to a blog or personal website is sought after so intensely. It is simply required based on statistics on how poorly affiliate banners actually perform. For the most part that statistic works in the favor of the merchant. The more affiliates the merchant has promoting their products, services and website, the more revenue they stand to generate on a Collective level. Unfortunately on an individual level, very little revenue is realized for an affiliate. Which results many times in an affiliate generating some sales and some traffic to a merchant, and then moving on to something else disappointed by the performance of the banners.
Many times never even having reached the minimum tier for payment by the merchant.
So in essence the merchant received free exposure and sales and increased their visibility on the internet and didn’t have to pay out a cent to the affiliate. It’s win win for the merchant. There are exceptions of course to EVERY affiliate program and each will have some truly inspirational success stories.
Not all is as bleak as it sounds. Google Adsense and clickbank are two affiliate programs that are an exception to this whole theory. Neither of them offer Data Feeds like i’m talking about and they are both great programs for many. And not all merchants base their marketing strategies on those types of statistics. There are plenty of merchants that want to see their affiliates succeed just as they want their own personal success. They feel that if their affiliate doesn’t make money, they don’t make money, even if that not entirely the case.
So they invest time, money and resources in providing a thorough Data Feed of their products so that affiliates can take their websites or blogs to another level and make a powerful impression on their visitors. The affiliate is now empowered in selling a much broader range of products and in control of how they present these products to their visitors and business prospects, which they know better than anyone else. And without having to stock or ship or process a single item.
A few things to look for when researching a merchant’s affiliate program is find out what the minimum payout tier is. Do the math and determine how much traffic your website must receive to achieve that payout, doing your best to estimate what percentage of your visitors actually purchase from your website. If it is a realistic number, you’re off to a great start.
Look to see if the merchant offers Data Feeds to their products and makes them available to you. Even if your interests are only in “easy to implement” banners and text ads, it’s a positive sign that the merchant is willing to expend extra effort in providing as many tools for you to succeed with their program.
And with any affiliate program, sell items that you know something about. You may not realize it, but the more you believe in a product or service the more convincing your sales presentation is.
And that in itself translates into sales.