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I recently took a good long look at the affiliate agreements in place for our managed programs on ShareASale. They were out of date and needed some attention. My philosophy is that affiliates agree to legally binding terms of service with the ShareASale network. The agreements between Apogee merchants and the affiliates need to be simple and readable. Affiliates need to understand what they can and cannot do in our programs. I want to set the expectations up front and let them know the consequences.

ShareASale Affiliate Program Compliance, Terms of Service and Affiliate Agreements - YouTube

The video details the entire agreement and gives further explanation on some points. They may seem strict but they are based on more than 10 years of experience and accumulated best practices. The point is, we and our clients want to work with affiliates together. We don’t want affiliates to just send traffic however they want; this needs to be a partnership. If you have a strategy that has worked with other programs, great; let’s talk. This works out much better than having the affiliate management team policing the traffic after the fact.

Please be sure to visit our YouTube channel and subscribe. Click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of the interviews, group calls or educational videos this year.

The post Affiliate Program Compliance on ShareASale appeared first on Apogee.

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Our main educational priority at Apogee has been to show affiliates how to promote our specific clients and their products. This year, we are focusing more on activation and general education. We still aren’t going to give specific step-by-step instructions on how to build a website (your needs will vary) but we aim to help affiliates understand best practices and tools in the ShareASale network. All of the new training materials will be on the Apogee YouTube channel and shared with affiliates through our social media efforts.

Resources Around the Web

We have a handful of high-quality, reliable suggestions to begin, or further, your affiliate education.

Top of the list is Extra Money Answer by Shawn Collins. The reviews have been terrific since it was published in 2013 and the content is still relevant for absolute beginners. You will never ever hear me recommend spending any money on affiliate education, except $1.99 for the Kindle version of this book. If you know anything about affiliate marketing, you can skip it. But this is where I want my new affiliates to start.

The Extra Money Answer page is on Shawn’s blog, Affiliate Marketing Blog (more commonly called AffiliateTip for its URL), which has been around since the invention of the internets. Shawn is a co-founder of Affiliate Summit and posts relevant content daily for the industry.

Missy Ward, the other co-founder of Affiliate Summit also has a valuable blog with some great resources. Check out this page where she highlights free resources for affiliates, including FeedFront Magazine.

The next resource comes from Tricia Meyer. She hustles every day with her own sites as an affiliate and as Executive Director of the Performance Marketing Association. Her personal site Tricia.me is an excellent resource for new affiliates to follow. After you follow her, consider joining the PMA and following them for industry news and insights from thought leaders.

A newer resource comes from our own Christen Evans. Her personal site, Bourbon & Sparkle helps bloggers understand the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. Christen was a blogger before she joined the management side, so she understands where they are coming from.

If you are approved in any of the Apogee affiliate programs, a great resource is our private Facebook group. Just read your newsletters and look for the link to join, then tell us which programs you are promoting.

The post Best Resources for New Affiliate Marketers appeared first on Apogee.

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This year, the Apogee team will continue its robust recruiting efforts. We did a great job in 2017 finding new affiliates in the ShareASale network by using the internal recruiting tool. We also used Media Rails and Group High for organizing those contacts and finding new affiliates to join our programs. In 2018, we are committed to stepping up our affiliate education and activation services in addition to recruitment.

Our affiliates ask the same basic questions on a daily basis. We’ve always had our canned responses and offers to help but engagement with them has been minimal. I beg affiliates to read newsletters and ask questions. Don’t go through the merchant customer service when you have questions, just hit reply to a newsletter or the approval email! We are real managers. We want to help and we are fast with responses.

The Rise of Apogee Video

Last year, I started learning as much as I could about video marketing. I had an idea long ago to start doing Camtasia screencast tutorials, but that never really took off. Lately, I’ve been studying with coaches and using the software on a weekly basis. Our screencast quality is going to be terrific and thorough.

Apogee, Education and Activation Campaigns for Affiliates - YouTube

This time last year, we started our Apogee Live video conference calls with affiliates and merchants. They have been fantastic and we now have an aggressive schedule for more in 2018. We’re looking to record two each month with a slate of guests and topics—client updates, affiliate education, industry news—that will keep viewers coming back for more.

More product reviews for our clients are coming. Many affiliates don’t know the best practices or ideas on how to do reviews. We will demonstrate techniques that work, giving affiliates some basics with which to begin creating their own unique content.

Daniel and I did hundreds of podcast episodes together many years ago. We both have the itch to get back into it so this is our chance. But it’s going to be through video interviews. Starting in February, we’ll have a new series of short video chats with affiliates, managers, merchants and thought leaders about the state of the industry. We’re calling the series Affiliate Voices, a throwback to a podcast that we used to run back in the day.

The team is going to work together on this project so Christen might be teaching bloggers how to grab links and Daniel might be teaching them how to run reports. This strategy is going to take all year to implement. But after the foundational videos are created, I’ll be able to answer an affiliate with a YouTube URL and say, “Let me know if you have any other questions.” My video creation coaches have been inspiring. Most every question can be answered by some video in their archives. I’ve learned some amazing tips and it feels great when that happens.

What do I need from you? Two things.

Subscribe to the Apogee YouTube channel! Right now! Click and hit subscribe. We’re realists: our stuff isn’t going to go viral and rack up a billion views. We aren’t doing this to make money from YouTube, we are doing this to help affiliates make money. We aren’t going to buy subscribers or views because that doesn’t help us. What helps us is a pool of subscribers that are affiliates, and affiliates beget affiliates as the saying goes. What, that’s not a saying? It should be.

So, then, tell a friend. That’s the second thing. Tell a friend, a colleague, a fellow affiliate, about the channel. We get a subscriber, an affiliate gains another resource for affiliate education, and we all win.

The post Affiliate Education and Activation Campaigns appeared first on Apogee.

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In 2015, I added a modest two-tier model to all of the programs we manage at Apogee. Twelve years ago, commissions based on two-tier affiliate referrals were very popular in the Cost Per Sale side of affiliate marketing. It’s still a thriving model in certain parts of the industry but it had been scaled back due to fraud and diminishing margins from merchants.

Today, the default two-tier commission is a $2 flat payout when I approve a referred application. We’ve paid out 100 bonuses this year. It could be more but I’m pretty strict on standards and relevancy with applications. I make sure each affiliate fits well with each merchant. I also want to avoid affiliates trying to game the system. Sending bad applications or affiliates they know won’t add value isn’t good for anyone.

In special situations, we have negotiated deeper percentage-based commissions. In early October, we found one trusted, high-powered networker that knew the right set of affiliates for a particular merchant. We gave her a 20% override on all transactions from affiliates she referred. With one tweet, she drove 118 clicks and 14 signups.

The important thing for affiliates to remember is that they need to promote the second tier promotion with a specific link. Look for the HTML for a public text link called “Join Link for $2 Bonus” in each of Apogee’s managed programs. The text of the link says “Please Join the Affiliate Program”. This link goes directly to the merchant’s co-branded page hosted by ShareASale. New affiliates can sign up directly from that landing page. The bonus pays out when I approve the application.

Promote Two-Tier Affiliate Referrals, Level-Up

If you feel you can add more value as an affiliate through two-tier affiliate referrals, let’s talk. I can meet with the merchant and see if we can agree to a higher flat fee or a percentage for affiliates that consistently refer new high-quality affiliates.

The post Cultivating Two-Tier Affiliate Referrals appeared first on Apogee.

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Did you receive an “affiliate application declined” email?

Thank you for applying to the XBrand affiliate program but we have chosen to decline your application at this time. This program is professionally managed by Apogee and we are looking for the right set of affiliate partners to promote our products.

If you did, let’s talk about why you were denied. One of my many roles here at Apogee is to manually approve or decline every affiliate application submitted to each and every client on our roster. It’s a time consuming but worthwhile process and one I strongly believe in. I’ll explain a little later what you can do to appeal my decline decision, because this might not be the end of the road for us.

Affiliate Application Declined: Why I Did It

I base my decisions on saving time and headaches from both sides. Your application doesn’t have to be perfect, but I have to understand how you will promote Apogee clients. I need to see the site and quickly determine your model of affiliate marketing. If I can’t visualize those promotions and you haven’t explained them, I’ll hit decline and wait for more information. Here are some of the things I look for on your site and in your application that can or will lead to a decline.

  1. Coupons/loyalty — We have a hand-selected group of coupon and loyalty sites approved in our programs. We are not adding new ones at this time.
  2. Site issues — Your website does not work or is still under construction. I need to see content, not parked domains.
  3. Relevancy — Your website has nothing to do with our client and you did not explain your strategy in the application notes.
  4. Feedback — Managers in the ShareASale network have shared negative feedback regarding your promotions.
  5. Paid traffic — No PPC, PPV or media buying is allowed without permission and full coordination with the management team.
  6. Templates — If you purchased a template from a guru or a make money online automation system. Others have never made money with this strategy in our programs.
But I Was Already in the Program…

For those of you that were declined but had been part of our programs, I offer different reasons for your removal.

  1. Violation — You violated our affiliate agreement. Most likely by purchasing trademark keywords in paid search, but there may have been other reasons.
  2. Previous violations — You may not have violated the current terms but you most likely did in one of our other programs. If you violate in one program, we will likely remove you from other programs.
  3. Re-launch — Apogee has just taken over management and is relaunching the affiliate program. Our standards above apply for all programs.
Appeals and How to Win Them

If you feel I missed something, any important detail about you or your site, I’m more than happy to listen to an appeal then go back and hit the approve button. The fastest way to appeal is to hit reply on the “affiliate application declined” email. Those come directly to my inbox. They don’t sit in a system somewhere and I don’t delegate this to interns. I read them all, and often within 24 hours. Tell me what I overlooked. Give me your strategy. Show me your other domains. Begin the discussion about how you will promote this merchant. Affiliate marketing is about relationship building. Now is your chance to reach out and get best practices from my team and work on a long-term strategy of growth.

My job as affiliate manager is to recruit the best possible partners to this program. Apogee clients rely on my judgment for a fair playing field amongst affiliates. They are looking for a positive extension of their brand to help influence customers and close the deal. I look forward to hearing from you.

The post Affiliate Application Declined – Why? What Now? appeared first on Apogee.

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This is a public service announcement for potential affiliates. Do your research before paying anyone to learn how to make money online. The truth is, with so many free resources to choose from, you shouldn’t have to pay anyone.

In the last year, I’ve declined 43 applications from potential affiliates trained by the Rory Ricord System. Not one of them has earned their first check in the ShareASale network. I can tell because when affiliates get their first check, their status is changed from Limited to Full in the network.

I don’t know Rory. I’ve asked around and only one acquaintance was connected to him on social media. His background was in the CPA side of affiliate marketing. He spent money to make money.

Now, he sells a course for $97 plus $28 every three months to cover hosting. In the lessons, he teaches customers how to post links, blog and make money with social media. Here is the problem. He gives them each a generic, nonsense domain with no SEO relevance and sets them up with the same template as all the others. I don’t know if he’s promising them unlimited passive income immediately. But I don’t think he’s preparing them for the real world of affiliate managers in the major networks like ShareASale and Avantlink. I don’t know what these customers are expecting but I feel sorry for them immediately. (Edit: I’m hearing from members: “A very well-written and correct statement. But you aren’t aware of the money that a person has to pay to participate in different programs, i.c. 29.00 for one, $248.00 for another (downpayment–this is the lowest amount) plus a monthly fee and another program for $125.00 a month and I believe that the money goes higher“.)

As an affiliate manager, I’m looking for unique domains with relevant content to promote my programs. The concept of building one site and linking to 4,000 different merchants will not work in 2017. Do not try to compete with the major coupon or loyalty sites. You can buy through your own links and you might get your sister to buy through your own links. But no one else will. Affiliates need to specialize in categories in which they are passionate, not try to cater to the masses.

Some affiliates trained by the Rory Ricord System hit reply on the email they received after being declined. I give all affiliates that opportunity to explain their situation and appeal the decision. I often correct the action and let in affiliates that left out a relevant fact in their application. But I haven’t reversed course on the Rory Ricord affiliates. I won’t give hope to them under their current direction. They need to learn their lessons from Rory and do their own thing.

I’m not the only manager that feels this way. Others have heard sad stories about how they really need the income. They’ve had loss and failure in life. They need to pay the bills. I’m sorry these things happened but I’m sorrier they paid what little money they had to a system that does not work.

Google “Rory Ricord” or “Rory Ricord System”. The reviews you see asking if it’s legit or a scam are part of the problem. These are Rory’s competitors trying to sell you their version of how to make money. We have one primary trusted resource we send to newbie affiliates. It’s a free ebook written by Shawn Collins, co-founder of Affiliate Summit, Extra Money Answer. I’ve sent this to a Rory Ricord user and a few weeks later, I received a thank you.

If you want to promote stellar brands such as The California Wine Club, Snake River Farms or Collin Street Bakery – Apogee clients – ask me what works. I’ll tell you to start following the real leaders of affiliate marketing and never pay a guru again.

Resources

The post The Rory Ricord System: Affiliates Beware Paid Gurus appeared first on Apogee.

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Affiliates complain regularly about shrinking affiliate commissions in their favorite programs across the industry. The trend is to lower payouts, reduce the tracking gap (cookie) and/or limit the number of products eligible for commissions. The ones speaking up are bloggers, datafeeders or SEO affiliates. They say brands aren’t listening to them and they don’t know how to reverse the trend.

I’m reminded of the sign I used to see in my local Waffle House, in the days before the chain started accepted debit and credit cards. “WHO’S LOOKING OUT FOR THE POOR OLD CASH CUSTOMER?” These days, who is looking out for the hard-working content affiliates?

We understand that brands are looking at their overall online spend with more scrutiny. They want to be smart about where their money goes and some are employing attribution strategies across multiple channels. But cutting the entire channel isn’t a wise move long-term. Content affiliates bring new customers and fresh perspectives. You could pay certain affiliate models 100% commission and they would still promote the brand the exact same way – by posting codes.

Apogee pays the handful of coupon sites that we agree to work with 2% across the board. We control the landing pages and have trusted humans at those companies that help us keep the promotions as clean as possible. Loyalty affiliates are paid 4% across the board. The number of paid search affiliates is limited to only two that we fully trust. We only work with one shopping cart abandonment affiliate because they annoyed us the least. These corporate affiliates generate between 40% and 60% of all sales in our programs. The remaining percent of sales come from content affiliates. This strategy allows us to pay VIP commissions based on volume and effort. Apogee programs are profitable and growing. We also use advanced attribution rules that help increase conversion for content affiliates.

So, how do you stop the shrinking affiliate commissions?

Here is your ammunition the next time you see lowered commissions. Contact the person running the program. This means emailing the manager, if you can find them. Hitting reply on a newsletter can work. Contacting customer support through the main website can be effective. You can also reach out to the network and ask them to relay the message on your behalf. Do not accept the lower commission without a reasonable explanation… and then argue anyway.

  • Prove to them, if you can, that you have earned commissions from other merchants.
  • Tell them exactly, in detail, how you will promote their brand and specific products to help them find new customers.
  • Talk about your demographics and how your product is relevant to your audience. Show them realistic engagement numbers.
  • Ask them what percentage of the sales from the previous month came from coupon or loyalty affiliates.
  • Send them a link to this post and explain our strategy on paying corporate affiliates. Remind them you aren’t corporate.
  • Do not be afraid to out them in public. What can they do? They reduced your commission by 80%. If they kick you out, one of their competitors likely pays better.
  • Remember, bigger brands may convert well but mid-sized competitors often pay more.
  • Offer them a hybrid solution based on sales. See if they will bonus you flat fees when you reach goals.

If they give you great reasons why they lowered your commissions, you’ll have a tough decision to make. Do you continue to work for less or do you stick with them because of the potential? Sometimes it’s better to walk away and let them continue paying extra on existing customers. Good managers will find a way to make it work. We might be paid by the merchant but we also have to advocate for your best interests as well. Content affiliates are still the best.

The post Incredible Shrinking Affiliate Commissions! appeared first on Apogee.

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We made it! It might not have seemed like it would, but we did. It sure seemed like everyone had a reason to think 2016 was the Worst Year Ever, but that’s behind us now. It’s 2017, and it’s time to get to work. Now, someone in my position can’t do much about all the things we hated about 2016, but I can help you out with your affiliate business. I can help you plan your 2017.

Inspired by an article at Lifehacker, I wrote a post last January about planning for the new year using shopping categories. That advice holds true today. The graphic below is a cheat sheet for smart affiliates.

Savvy affiliates take advantage of industry cycles – and remember that you need to put up links before these periods hit so you have time to get indexed. Promote what sells best in a given time of year and you’ll have more consistent success throughout the year.

Here’s where we come in.

Apogee Clients in 2017 Sears PartsDirect

Parts and accessories for everything from electronics to grills to lawn mowers. Strong in Q1 generally, throughout the summer, and again in Q4. Sears PartsDirect is vast enough to be strong pretty much year-round.

Sears Appliance Repair

Home appliance repair from a trusted brand that’s been around for more than a century. Though the program is new as of December 2016, the service is not. It’s strong year-round. Appliances don’t break down according to a calendar.

Taste Trunk

You won’t find “gourmet subscription trunks” on the chart, and for a pretty good reason: these products are solid throughout the year. There’s an uptick during holiday gift-giving periods as well.

Snake River Farms

MEAT! Summer. Grill season. You can’t go wrong.

1st in Coffee

An amazing array of coffee and coffee supplies. Any style of brewing device you like, all kinds of accessories. Could fall under “cookware” in the second and fourth quarters, but that’s a bit of a stretch. Truth is, everyone that drinks coffee does so year-round. This is a great all-year merchant.

Hint

Bottled water spikes in the spring and summer, but is steady year-round as well. Really push them in the summer, though, and you’ll be rewarded.

Marbles: The Brain Store

Such an amazing store. Hand-picked, expert-tested collections of toys, books and games all designed to make you think and promote a healthy brain. The Lifehacker chart has it right—fourth quarter. Holiday shopping.

Eckler’s Automotive

Much like Sears PartsDirect and Sears Appliance Repair, Eckler’s is strong all year long. Auto parts and accessories aren’t exactly seasonal! Coming up soon, all the Eckler’s brands will be under one umbrella at one website. No more promoting multiple websites. Unity!

KettlePizza

A quirky niche product, this one is hard to pin down. The program is young, but the general feeling at the outset is that sales will not be reliant on any kind of calendar and will remain steady throughout the year. There will be spikes in the spring and summer as grill season heats up, however. Get it? “Heats up”? GET IT?

TruDog

TruDog saw amazing growth in 2016. High quality food, treats, supplements and grooming supplies. What, you think dogs take a break during the year? They’re not bears, they don’t hibernate. TruDog is strong year-round.

The California Wine Club

We’re not allowed to play favorites with our clients. That would be like saying which of your kids you love the most. What I can tell you is that The California Wine Club is a fantastic client and has paid out a lot of money in commissions—and bonuses—to our affiliates. In fact, this program has paid out more in bonuses than any of our other clients. According to the Lifehacker chart, they should be strong in September. That’s true. But they missed December. December is huge, folks.

Flirty Aprons

Aprons tend to be a bit cyclical, so, second and fourth quarters, generally. April and December, specifically.

Online Amish Furniture

Handcrafted solid wood furniture built by Amish craftsmen in Indiana and Ohio. Generally January, May, July and August, although being a small business compared to the mass furniture retailers, they’re not quite on the came clock as that industry. They’re actually solid year-round.

Himalayan Salt Shop

You won’t find “amazing natural salt lamps” on the chart, but these are fantastic gifts. This program is massive in Q4 during the run-up to the holidays.

Music Box Attic

Musical giftware and collectables. Music boxes have been around for centuries and remain popular among collectors and fans. These aren’t seasonal, but do see a spike around gift-giving holidays.

Lobster Anywhere

Lobster and seafood dinners delivered to your door. Set up a site that pairs this with Snake River Farms for a Surf n’ Turf experience! Seriously good seafood, and not quite as affected by the seasons as you’d think.

Hardware World

The list wraps up with our final “year round” client, although the chart does also offer June as a good time to buy. With people getting outdoors for the summer, it makes sense that the industry would have great deals on hardware and tools for the fix-it and DIY crowds.

And coming next week, we have an exciting announcement about a brand new client in the outdoors/camping/fishing vertical. We are stoked about this one, folks. This is a client that will perform well year-round. They’ll have massive boosts in the spring and summer of course, but they’ll also do really well in the winter gift-giving season. And I know this, because we took over management in December and saw their numbers. Buckle in, people.

Don’t Stop Here!

This is your starting point, not your ending point. These companies will be making their own moves throughout the year and it’s up to you to keep up with them. It’s up to you to fully take advantage of what they have to offer. We’re here to help! Reach out. We can offer advice and answer any questions you have. Need help with a promotion? Want more data in one of our clients’ datafeed? We can absolutely help with things like that! Would you like a commission bump? We do that, for affiliates that perform! Reach out. Let’s talk, and plan, together.

The post Happy New Year! Let’s Start Planning 2017. appeared first on Apogee.

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You must have patience to be successful in affiliate marketing; you must also ask questions, always. I’m not suggesting you act like a four-year-old and repeatedly ask why why why why without waiting for, or paying attention to, the answers. But you need as much information as possible to make decisions on strategy and direction.

To get Affiliate Marketing Answers, Ask the Right Questions

Ask direct questions! Get answers and follow-up. You might not like the answer, but effort can be rewarded; inaction never is. Asking questions of an affiliate manager builds a relationship. That relationship can lead to higher commissions, bonuses, and a win-win-win situation for the manager, the merchant, and you. When a manager asks you questions, hit reply. We need feedback, too.

We want you to ask us the following questions. Don’t be shy. And don’t limit yourself to just these questions, either. If you think of something else, throw it in. That’s what we’re here for.

  • Who is my affiliate manager?
  • Can we talk on the phone? Or, don’t call me, only email.
  • How many affiliates are active with clicks?
  • How many affiliates are active with sales?
  • Are there other affiliates like me? How many?
  • What is the conversion for a typical affiliate like me?
  • What is the average order?
  • How old is the website?
  • What is your highest payout and how can I get there?
  • Can I have a different tracking gap (cookie)?
  • What is your best selling product? No, seriously, not the one you want to be the best seller, what is you absolute number one best seller?
  • What product do you think would be my best seller?
  • Should I promote a product or the brand?
  • How would you promote this brand/product?
  • What tool or technique has worked for other affiliates?
  • What links work best?
  • I have an idea to help recruit more affiliates to your program, can we talk about a higher two-tier payment?
  • Can I interview someone at the brand about the product?
  • I see your products on Groupon and Amazon, how is this deal better than anywhere else?

We have affiliate marketing answers. You have affiliate marketing questions – if you didn’t before, you do now. They’re right there. Let’s talk.

The post Get Affiliate Marketing Answers: Question Everything appeared first on Apogee.

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At Apogee, we tell merchants to prepare for Q4 in Q3. Affiliates need to prepare by October as well; they need to find the right affiliate programs so they can be ready for the big push through Q4. Well, it’s October. Here are some tips for affiliates looking for the right partners with high-converting holiday products.

Window Shop

Six years ago, I started a podcast called Affiliate Juice. The premise was to critique affiliate programs and subjectively judge them based on what we found through the public view as an affiliate. We looked at programs through certain keywords and metrics such as EPC. A great program will have a competitive commission, a reasonable cookie length, auto-deposit, datafeed, lengthy descriptions, recent newsletters and low reversal rates. More importantly, you need to find the name of the manager or the management company in the newsletter or in the description. A newsletter or description signed “Affiliate Marketing Team” means nothing.

The point of window shopping is to find the programs with the right structure in place so you don’t have to ask for much. You just get active when approved. But always be wary of those programs set to Auto Approve. That’s a huge red flag for unmanaged (or poorly managed) programs.

Balance is Critical

Big brands always do well but the medium-sized gift-oriented programs often pay you higher commissions and convert at much higher rates. You may very well make more money with the right smaller merchant than just concentrating on the big brands. Focusing on Major Brand A might get you 10,000 clicks next week at a 1% conversion rate with a 4% commission. Sound good? Or would you rather focus on Medium Brand B, get just 500 clicks next week and convert at 10% with a 10% commission? With an average order size of $100, one will put $400 in your pocket. The other will put $500 in your pocket.

Our largest client is Sears PartsDirect with a sister program launching soon. These are great programs to promote year-round, but they’re not necessarily the ones you should have front and center during the holidays. See the list below for our recommendations of great holiday gift giving merchants.

Get Paid for Your Efforts

Look at the network’s attribution rules—if there are any—and study to see if your conversions will be lower as a result. A few networks have advanced attribution rules and others are capable of such programming. We are partial to the ShareASale network and have written about their Conversion Lines technology. Our primary concern is protecting the influencing affiliates from losing full commissions to affiliates that close sales at the last minute: coupons and loyalty sites. We are constantly evolving with this technology and tweaking it to make it fair for all sides. If you find the prospective merchant listed on hundreds of coupon sites and every major loyalty site, there is a chance your conversion will suffer. Do your homework.

Attribution rules should protect affiliates that put the effort into driving customers to a merchant. If that’s you, and your entire commission can be given to a coupon affiliate because the customer bounced out of the shopping cart at the last minute when they saw a coupon field, you might want to consider another merchant. Or another network.

Apogee Recommendations

Apogee manages a full line of gourmet and gift-giving merchants that are perfect for bloggers and SEO-based affiliates. We always consider paying VIP commissions based on effort and volume and we are adding bonus tiers for several clients soon. Every client of ours has Conversion Lines attribution rules in place; influencers and closers share commissions. Click on the links below to join these programs and hit reply on the approval emails to ask questions. I personally get those replies and either Cindy or I will answer you. All of the following programs are exclusive on ShareASale.

Food/Drink

The California Wine Club – The program is ten years old and is a regular all-star in December on the ShareASale Top 100 PowerRank. The program has been growing at a phenomenal rate for the last several years and our top content affiliates earn tens of thousands of dollars in Q4 alone.

Snake River Farms – This is our second holiday season with this high-end gourmet site and last year’s numbers were unbelievable. Snake River Farms sells the best quality steaks and pork in the country and the average order values in Q4 were ridiculously high. Customers love their products as gifts. (And so do we. -Daniel)

Taste Trunk – We’ve been rebuilding this program for the last couple months and we are ready to break some records. This curated subscription box merchant has all the right products to blow the other boxes away this year. BBQ, sausage, chocolate, pastry, health items, spices, oils; you can even build your own custom trunk. I’ve just ordered a trunk for myself; look for my review soon.

Kettle Pizza – We haven’t officially announced this one yet so here is a sneak peek. This grilling product is staged to be a huge gift item for your outdoor grilling experts. Look for the announcement and my review soon.

Lobster Anywhere – There is always a great holiday bump for lobster gift certificates and last minute orders so affiliates would be wise not to forget them in the promotions. The gift packages that include desserts are excellent; I’ve tried them myself.

Gifts/Toys

Music Box Attic – Another old program of mine, it’s the last music box specialty merchant left. Every year for six years, we have shown growth with this program. A huge inventory of gift items arrived last week. Affiliates have always enjoyed high average orders and strong commissions from Music Box Attic.

Himalayan Salt Shop – Our new kid in town. The growing trend of salt lamps helped push this merchant onto our radar this year. We are positioning them as a well-structured, competitive program with all the potential in the world. We introduced the owner to affiliates at Affiliate Summit East and he’s ready to help in any way.

Marbles: The Brain Store – Toys. Holidays. Huge. We absolutely killed other toy merchants last year with our conversion and product inventory depth. The marketing team at Marbles is hard at work coming up with promotions that will bring back the magic.

Amish Furniture – Usually in early December, we see a bump from customers ordering the fine hand-crafted furniture as gifts. These commissions can be huge, sometimes in the $400 range. That’s a nice gift for affiliates.

Flirty Aprons – My oldest and most successful program. I launched this program in 2009 and we broke records in 2015. Their expanded product line of aprons and kitchen products has us all excited for the huge volume of sales. The holiday season has finally surpassed Mother’s Day as the winner for affiliates.

B2B/Affiliate Tools

On the B2B side, there is one program that deserves a special mention. FMTC is a tool for affiliates that has a superb new offering, the Publisher Toolkit. We need affiliates like you to promote it to test it and promote it to others ahead of the holiday rush. The payouts are strong and the benefits will be incredible time savers for publishers during the holidays.

The post Find the Right Affiliate Programs for Q4: Research, Conversion, Attribution appeared first on Apogee.

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