Choosing great merchant partners is critical to your success. You certainly want programs that offer products that fit your particular traffic and marketing approach. That’s a given. But the most important factor is “do they convert your click-throughs into sales.” Conversion is king in affiliate marketing.
If you look at some of the standard metrics in Affiliate Marketing you can begin to get an idea of a merchants quality. EPC (Earnings Per 100 Clicks) is a good start but doesn’t always tell the whole story. You’ll find EPC as a standard yardstick for both affiliate and merchant evaluation on affiliate networks like Commission Junction and ShareASale.
Important Program Features To Look For
Responsiveness of Affiliate Manager
You want AMs that are available and easy to find when you need them. Nothing is more frustrating than unreturned emails or phone calls when you have a question or problem. If the AM does not respond within 24 hours you’ve got a merchant that may be worth reconsidering.
The great Affiliate Managers realize that Affiliate Marketing is a 24/7 business. They make themselves available via not only email and phone but also Instant Messenger when appropriate.
Accounting Statistics That Are Easy To Find And Understand
You want to know how much you are making with every merchant you work with. You need not only click-through and sales sales data but also average order and especially conversion statistics.
If you are doing Pay Per Click (PPC) you want “real time” stats that quickly show you your Return On Investment (ROI). You’d like to be able to track those sales down to the keyword level.
You want to be able to track text links, banners, and Special Promotions monthly, weekly, and daily. Testing and monitoring all your links is a critical process to affiliate and merchant success. All good merchants give you tools to do this easily.
Great Promotional Tools
Good merchants offer text links, banners, content, and product info that helps you “get the click.” It’s also important that they offer periodic coupons and promotions that help create buying urgency in your visitors.
If coupon banners and text links are consistently not working or obsolete you know that merchant is not treating you like a partner. If you’re working hard to motivate your visitors and creating credibility for a merchant you definitely don’t want those clicks to lead to 404 pages or out-of-date promotions.
Finding Great Merchants
At BitCom we continuously monitor merchants to make sure they deliver on their commitments. We check links for accuracy, operation and of course conversion.
We’ll be providing a list of recommended Merchant Partners we are aware of. Many will not be in programs we manage but wouldn’t recommend them if we didn’t know their quality. Many are managed by Affiliate Managers we trust and work with ourselves. The management community is still small and most everyone knows everyone else.
Here’s some programs we recommend…