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Using Affiliates To Protect Your Brand With Paid Search

If brand advertising using paid search is hotly competitive for you, think about using your affiliates to help you win in the market. To determine if this strategy is right for you, evaluate the competitive landscape on your brand terms. A quick test: Do any of these statements apply to you?

  • There are more than 3 advertisers sponsoring your brand terms or phrases on paid search.

  • You are not always in the top ranking position in sponsored results on your brand terms or phrases.

  • Your ROI is lower than you would like on your brand terms.

  • Your CPC is higher than you would like on your brand terms.

If so, a good strategy is to empower a small group of special affiliate marketers to advertise on your brand terms under the structure of a carefully crafted affiliate policy, so that you and your special affiliates are in a partnership together. The ultimate objective of this strategy is to push your ads to the top of the page and to chase your competitors out of the market by making it less desirable to advertise on those keyword terms. The end result should be less competition on your brand terms, and lower CPC.

Step 1: Define your search policy

You will need clearly defined affiliate program rules that empower a handful of special affiliates—usually two to four affiliates—while at the same time restricting your other regular affiliates, which for some brands can number in the hundreds or thousands. Here are some of the rules you’ll want to put into place.

Display URL rules. Don’t allow your special affiliates to use your top-level domain as the display URL. For this strategy to work, you want your affiliates to each have separate URLs so that multiple affiliate ads will display in the sponsored listings simultaneously.

Ad copy restrictions. Define ad copy restrictions and perhaps even supply the ad copy so that your special affiliate team will not be showing ads that contradict yours or other affiliate ads. This includes offers and claims. For example, you cannot have multiple affiliates claiming to be the “official” web site.

Ranking restrictions. Don’t allow your special affiliates to outrank you on your brand terms. You want to maintain the highest position and you are using your special affiliates to prop you up. Therefore the affiliates will need to watch their CPC and page position.

Keyword restrictions. Allow your special affiliates to advertise on your brand terms. Do not allow your regular affiliates to advertise on your brand terms.

Landing page links. All of your special affiliates must have their own unique landing pages which link to you. You may want to consider building these landing pages for them and/or supplying the appropriate content.

Step 2: Pick your special affiliate partners

The next step is to identify the group of special affiliates who you will bring into the fold as your partner. You should select reputable affiliates or preferably an agency that specializes in CPA marketing. You should carefully screen the marketing practices of your selected affiliates to ensure that they have integrity and adhere to high standards in their marketing practices. This is both an up-front task and an ongoing maintenance task. Replace any special affiliate who is not following your rules if they don’t respond to a warning notice with a quick response to rectify any missteps.

Step 3: Inform all of your affiliates about the do’s and don’ts

You must inform your regular affiliates about any changes to your affiliate policy that impact them so that they do not interfere with your plans and goals.

Step 4: Monitor and report

For this plan to work, all of your affiliates must comply with your rules. Your regular affiliates and your special affiliates cannot be allowed to break your rules or you run the risk that their activities will interfere with your plan. You will need to carefully monitor search results pages, preferably with automated software that can provide reports to you on both your special and regular affiliate activities. You ought to also consider providing your special affiliates with access to your monitoring reports so that they can be fully aware of any “accidental” missteps on their part and make quick corrections.

You will also need to monitor the competitive landscape, your rank changes, CPC and ROI of your brand terms with a before and after look so that you can tell if the plan has had an impact. You will know that it is working when competition subsides (you have fewer competitors on your brand terms), your CPC/ROI has decreased. You’ll also know your plan is working if you are able to steadily maintain top position on your brand terms.

One last thought: Be sure to compensate your special affiliates in a “special” way that makes it worth the effort for them.Consider different commissions tiers, or offering co-op marketing dollars.

 

How to Protect Affiliate Commissions from Unfair Affiliates and Customers Who Don’t Want to Buy via Affiliate Link

Affiliates work hard to promote a product or service, thinking that they will earn commission for that. But it is a soar fact that part of the money can be easily lost by affiliates, so it’s very important to know how to protect affiliate commissions?

One of the easiest way to lose an affiliate commission is to advertise plain affiliate links that have a product’s website embedded: the most simple example is the affiliate program with such link like:

http://www.products-page.com/aff.php?affiliate-name

Let’s say an affiliate promotes his/her affiliate links using an article marketing. Visitors will read the review of the article written by the affiliate and if they like the product they will try to directly buy the product from the product’s site instead of clicking the link provided by the affiliate. So, after all the hard work affiliates get nothing.

Some of the most common problems faced by the affiliates are affiliate link hijacking where another unfair affiliate could easily modify the affiliate code and buy the product via own affiliate link i.e., if a visitor decides to buy the product he will become an affiliate of that product and will purchase the product using his own affiliate link so that he can buy the product and can also get some discount in the form of commission.

Another major problem is affiliate link bypassing where visitor will delete the affiliate’s reference in the link and buy products directly, it is just because some people don’t wish to buy the product by being referred by someone.

This article will explain how to protect affiliate commissions from unfair people and maximize your affiliate profits:

  • Link Cloakers can solve some of these problems. It is a special script or software program that directs the user from the entered URL to your desired page.

    For instance, if visitor clicks the link:

    www.website.com/product

    the web browser automatically redirects to:

    www.website.com/product?id=affilate_name

    So, your visitor will not know whether it is a direct link or affiliate link, hence you will be protected from the unfair affiliates.
     

  • Use Html Unicode format. Instead of providing the affiliate link in the readable format you can encrypt the affiliate URL with Html Unicode like:

    www.website.com/product?id=-m&#116

    so your visitor can’t understand what it means, he will think that it is the code of the product. If you wish to make this even more effective you can encrypt the entire affiliate URL and place it in the anchor tag of the link and place some image or meaningfull text as the visible link. You can use the text like “Click here to order” or use the Buy Now button but always try to keep your link search engine friendly like:

    website.com/product-name-with-keyword

    as much as possible because it can help you to easily gain more visitors. This way you are assured that the visitor can’t predict the URL of your original affiliate link and you can reap the full benefits of affiliating the products.
     

  • URL Redirect. Redirecting is one of the easiest and very secure ways to protect your affiliate commission. To successfully redirect your visitors you have to make some changes to the .htaccess file in the public_html or www directory on your web hosting account. Just include the following line to the .htaccess file to enable redirection:

    Redirect /product/ http://affiliate-name.product-id.click2sell.eu

     

    It is obvious that /product/ is a directory created on your web hosting account. Now, when someone tries to access:

    website.com/product/

    it automatically redirects the visitor to your affiliate link:

    http://affiliate-name.product-id.click2sell.eu .

    So, you will surely get an affiliate commission.
     

  • Long Period Cookie Tracking System. Usually what happens is that the visitor may not buy the product immediately after reading about it on your site. He may take the buying decision after some hours or days. When he decides to buy he will only remember the name of the product and will not come back to your site (affiliate link) to buy the product instead he will search for the product on a search engine and buy the product directly from the seller. So, you won’t be getting anything for such purchases. To avoid this situation you can use the cookies which will store your affiliate link on the visitor’s computer and when he visits the sales page of the product your affiliate link will be activated and you will get the profit. Affiliate marketing systems such as Click2Sell.EU automatically places 180 day period cookies, so you can be sure that even if buyer doesn’t buy your promoted product immediately, you will still get an affiliate commission if he/she comes back later and orders the product.

These techniques mentioned so far, can protect affiliate commissions from the unfair affiliates successfully to great extent.

 

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