Affiliate and other cooperative programs are announced almost daily. Website owners are flocking to these programs. Enthusiasm is high. But………why not compare and evaluate first?
The following checklist was prepared from the point of view of one seeking a program to affiliatae with. But it can also help a program initiator compare current programs in order to make his better.
A. Does the Program Offer a Strategic Fit to Your Business?
1. PROGRAM PURPOSE – Define in broad terms 2. COMPLEMENTS YOUR PURPOSE – Does it help you better realize your website long-range goals? 3. VISITOR LEARNING – Are your visitors interested and will the program help them learn?
B. Do You Trust the Business Initiating the Program?
4. SUCCESS – Does the business have a history of successes? 5. BELIEVABLE ADVERTISING – Does it promise impossible rewards: get-rich-quick and MLM schemes? Or is it honest and realistic? 6. REPUTATION – What does the business literature tell you about their past operations? 7. WHAT CLIENTS SAY – Contact current clients and ask for their opinions. Would they recommend this business organization? Are they benefiting from it?
C. Is the Program Well Designed?
8. AFFILIATE QUALIFICATIONS – Are they signing up everyone? Or are they being picky? Picky is better. 9. AFFILIATE RESPONSIBILITIES – Better, too, if there are specific responsibilities. Are affiliates asked to do promotion, communication with customers, sales? 10. INITIATOR RESPONSIBILITIES – Does the outfit offer help in promotion, sales and after-sales support? 11. PAYMENT & TERMS – Is there a fee or commission structure? How frequently are payments made? Does affiliate get credit for future sales? 12. TRANSACTION TRANSPARENCY – How frequently are transaction reports made? Are transactions independently checkable by the affiliate? Is there a third-party audit? 13. CONFLICT RESOLUTION – Is there a SIMPLE method for resolving conflicts? 14. RETURN TO SITE – Is there a simple way for a website visitor to return to the site of the affiliate after a transaction is executed?
D. Will You be Part of a Community?
15. COMMUNICATION MEDIUM – Does the program have a newsletter, a mailing list, a forum, or some other means of communicating among all affiliates? 16. AFFILIATE DECISION-MAKING – Does each affiliate have a voice in making decisions that affect all affiliates? 17. MUTUAL PROBLEM SOLVING – Is there a method whereby affiliates can pose problems and have them solved by the affiliate community?- – – – – – – – – – – –
Be extremely careful when evaluating an affiliate program. Most people dwell on the financial arrangements. These are important, of course. But more important, I believe, are efforts made to achieve community. These efforts may bolster your ability to achieve greater financial goals.
Spend time in evaluation. It will pay off in the long run.
Paul -the soarING- Siegel is the founder of the Learning Fountain Network (* Excellence * Honesty * Ethics), at http://www.learningfountain.com; and editor of LearningFOUNT, a newsletter focusing on Helpfulness Marketing. To subscribe, send email to: mailto:LearningFOUNTfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Author
Paul “the soarING” Siegel, mailto:email@example.com Join LearningFOUNT: a FREE Business Newsletter, Send email to mailto:LearningFOUNTfirstname.lastname@example.org LEARNING FOUNTAIN NETWORK, http://www.learningfountain.com * Excellence * Honesty * Ethics