Driving home from work yesterday, I thought about the various low-cost marketing initiatives used to launch our affiliate program. I looked at our current strategies and realized that we needed to go back to the basics.
Over 85 percent of Web surfers search using search engines and Web directories. So, positioning your program where there is the most visibility is a smart tactical move. Enter search optimization. For maximum exposure, list your affiliate program in a wide range of places. Get your name out there. Target vertical affiliate directories and the top 400 search engines.
Learn the Basics
To make the right choices on where to list, start with the difference between a search engine and a Web directory. Search engines use technology to crawl the Web and index pages and sites. A Web directory relies on humans to develop listings. Check out How Search Engines Work.
You can also check out these resources:
Start Small, but List!
Your goal is to obtain highly qualified traffic and affiliates through the best listings. The first step is to start small by assigning one of your affiliate team members to manage this task. Before you start listing, you'll need:
Next, start listing. Here are a few free listing resources:
Short on Time and Resources?
Select a company with search engine optimization (SEO) as a core competency. Or benefit from pay-for-performance sites such as GoTo.com to attract high-quality leads and reduce affiliate acquisition costs.
Increase your program's visibility with vertical affiliates and specialized resources.
Here are some vertical affiliates:
And here are some SEO resources:
You've listed your program and optimized performance and placement within search engines and Web directories. Now it's time to check your results ranking.
Conduct a simple test: Visit sites where you've listed your program and type "affiliate program." Track where you are listed, how high you fall in the listings, and what the affiliate acquisition costs and conversion rates are. Ideally, you will have great conversion rates and be ranked in the top 20 (preferably the top 10) in the listings.
So to win in the affiliate game, you need to mind the basics. Learn, start small, and always continue your support. And you'll drive your program to wherever you want it to be.
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Scot Wingo started his career as the first employee at Bristol Technology Inc., where he helped grow the company from 3 to 50 people and was Engineering Manager for a team of 30 developers.
After Bristol, Scot cofounded Stingray Software in 1995, which was acquired by Rogue Wave Software in 1998. Scot then became an officer in the combined company.
In July 1999, Scot cofounded his current company, AuctionRover.com. In March 2000, GoTo acquired AuctionRover.com creating GoTo Auctions, the premier online auction destination on the web.
In addition to the above start-up experience, Scot has written two books, "MFC Internals" and "Programming Visual C++," and numerous technical articles.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT