Ultimate Affiliate Recruitment Page

Internet retailers are faced with a serious decision when it comes to offering an affiliate marketing program. In Website Magazine's January 2013 issue, the Affiliate Insider column featured an article titled "Keeping Affiliate Marketers in Check" and provided several strategies for optimizing the business relationship merchants have with those interested in promoting its products or services in exchange for compensation. The first real struggle these merchants will have of course is in recruitment

Don't overthink affiliate management - successful recruitment often comes down to the clarity of your message and a conviction to remain in line with enterprise marketing imperatives. If affiliate member numbers matter most there are several key information points that must be addressed on your recruitment pages: detailed program description offering an informational review of the company and its products, the commission rate, the cookie duration, conversion rates, and sample creatives (and any ongoing deals/promotions). Learn more about developing the Ultimate Affiliate Recruitment Page below.

Program Descriptions: There will always be a percentage of your affiliate marketing community that join program for the name recognition alone. The rest (and it is - hopefully - a majority) know that having a familiarity (not to mention some belief in) the products or service being promoted goes a long way towards achieving some success. Affiliate recruitment pages should always provide an "elevator-pitch" of sorts to prospective affiliates, touting both the previous successes of the merchant as well as its long term sustainability. Affiliates want to join "winning" programs and merchants should show prospective affiliates exactly why they would be better off aligning themselves with the merchants brand. Highlight achievements, formal recognitions and awards (or perhaps even product testimonials from real clients). The objective here is to position the brand as one an affiliate would want to promote.

The remainder of the "essential" information points to share on an affiliate recruitment page are, or should be, in the form of bullet points. The reason is that must affiliates will make the judgment to join your affiliate program based on this data.

Commission Rate: Clearly, there are different kinds of programs - cost per lead, cost per sale, etc - but affiliates want and need to know how much they'll be paid. There is an opportunity cost (the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the next best alternative not chosen) involved with promoting one offer over another, and it often comes down to dollars and cents. Be upfront about the commission rate you'll pay and detail any volume incentives being offered.

Cookie Duration: Spend some time in affiliate marketing forums and you'll likely come across numerous discussions about optimal cookie length. Since some products have a longer sales cycle than others it is important for merchants to spell out (in no uncertain terms) the exact length of time they will compensate an affiliate for referring a lead or a sale. Keep in mind that a cookie duration either to brief or too long could dissuade prospective affiliates from joining your program. Typically, cookies range in duration anywhere from 30-120 days.

Conversion Rates: Merchants should be aware of their overall sitewide conversion rate (and be working continually to optimize and ultimately increase that percentage over time) and should feature this information on an affiliate recruitment page. This data shows affiliates that the merchant is poised to help them earn money. The mere act of including that gives the affiliate a sense that with the right marketing mix, the profits could be substantial (another reason to include the conversion rate which enables affiliates to make real-time calculations of potential profits).

Creative Assets: Design is for many merchants an afterthought in relation to their affiliate program. While text-based ads may fit the marketing bill for many retailers and publishers, display ads and product feeds are creative assets that affiliates serious about making money will need to learn more about. In the case of display advertising, providing the standard/tradition ad units for affiliates to review, and providing details on product feeds should one be available is best practice for merchants when developing their affiliate recruitment pages.

There are of course a whole host of options available for merchants looking to persuade more and better affiliates to join their program. As an affiliate, what do you look for when signing up for a new program?