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Dealing with Affiliates

Reader QuestionsRhys asks – ‘I’ve been running a site with a few affiliates on it, I have enjoyed a healthy relationship with said affiliates, and likewise they’ve commented to me on a number of occasions that I have generated business for them from my site. Recently my site has experienced a huge upturn in visitors, and the amount of money I’m getting from the affiliates – which previously covered my hosting bills – is no longer covering it.

I am wondering if it is reasonable to ask at the end of the current agreement to ask for more money. If so, how would you go about asking them?’

Interesting conundrum Rhys.

I’m a little curious about why the increase in traffic hasn’t brought about an increase in affiliate sales? I suspect it’s the source of that traffic – for example I find Digg traffic doesn’t’ generally convert well for ad or affiliate program performance and loyal readers tend to become blind to them also.

Whatever the reason – you’ve got an interesting problem on your hands but I think you could have already stumbled on the answer.

Talk to your affiliates and see what they can do for you.

I deal with a number of people whose products I recommend and have found that they are often quite willing to accommodate you IF you are driving enough business to them. It might be that they’d be willing to pay you a little money to pay for a little extra advertising and it might be that they’d increase the percentage commission that you receive per sale. The other thing that I’ve seen one or two of them do is develop a special product for my readers which I can exclusively promote. Some will even write content for you in exchange for an affiliate link in each post (you win because you drive new sales and get free content – they win because they drive new sales).

The key will be whether your business is significant enough for them to cut you an individual deal.

If they don’t you have a few other options to pursue:

  • Improve your Affiliate Program Promotion Strategies - perhaps it is time to find a new position for your affiliate ads or perhaps its time to write some reviews of the products they offer. I’ve written quite a few tips on affiliate programs here
  • Find New affiliate products – if your problem is that your readers have seen all the affiliate programs that you promote already and are becoming blind to them it might be time to find some new alternatives.
  • Advertising and Other Income Streams – perhaps its time to add some advertising into the mix to help you cover your costs? Depending upon your niche AdSense, Chitika or YPN might be worth exploring (see some direct income earning streams like advertising here). Alternatively you might want to explore some indirect income earning streams for your blog like consulting, writing a book, developing your own e-product etc.
About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Greg says:

    This is a great question as I’m currently looking at the affiliate model for a new paid product we will be launching soon. I’m a little confused though…what causes the drastic cost increase…bandwidth charges? It would have to be A LOT of traffic to throw your revenue/cost model out of whack I would think…and that volume of traffic I would think you would be able to handily monetize in the ways suggested in the ProBlogger response.

  2. James says:

    An interesting problem to have. Maybe it is the ads themselves that are not very effective?

  3. Ahmad Uzair says:

    in some cases, the source of the visitors isn’t meet the quality needed.you are right about the “digg”. the visitors from digg is bad.

  4. BeachBum says:

    I wonder if there is any method to capture contact info. Or in the least poll the new visitors and find out what they want.

    Even if they don’t buy now, maybe they will become loyal eraders and return again.

    Michael

  5. (First post, long-time lurker)

    The terminology used was confusing. Your reader participates in affiliate programs?

    If so, the first tip may not help because of the type of traffic the reader’s currently generating. He can have a “traffic flood” but still get the same low – or lower – conversions.

    Focusing on where the visitors are coming from makes a lot of sense so thank you for suggesting that to him.

    Another tip for the reader to try is changing ad placements and perhaps the formats (i.e. graphic vs. text).

    Thanks for everything, Darren! Err, while my blog may not show it right now, I’ve learned a lot here since December.

  6. medotblog says:

    One of the reason might be ads themselve are that of low quaility.

  7. Rhys says:

    Thanks for answering that question for me Darren! You’re right about the traffic source (large amounts are repeat visitors who become ad blind), and it doesn’t help my blog largely being of a personal nature. One thing I do mean to do (and looked into in a huge amount of detail) was to write reviews on the affiliate schemes, so I’ll look into that further :)

    Thanks again!

  8. Matt Jones says:

    It just goes to show how the quality of traffic can be just as important as the quality. Digg traffic tends to be good because many diggers then go and write about the post with a linkback which is good for SEO, but they themselves make very few purchases.

  9. Gayla McCord says:

    Great question! Several months ago I found myself in much the same situation. I went to the affiliate and worked out a deal with them that ended in me earning 100% of the commission my site brings in. I simply had to give them a few keyword anchor links on my highest traffic pages and the rest were my affiliate links.

    It’s been my biggest earner since.

    You’d be surprised at what you can get when you’re willing to negotiate.

  10. Roger says:

    Why would you “ask for more money” from your affiliates, wouldn’t that stop them from marketing for you ? It seems like you don’t understand the terminology. You = affiliate, the companies with ads on your site = affiliate programs.

    Also, hosting is dirt cheap. If your uptime isn’t of critical importance, just get a $9.99 account on webair and host as many domains as you’d like.

  11. I have found from my experience that vendors who are usually willing to work with you just so happen to have the best products (that convert the best as well). Still, you need to prove yourself as an affiliate. If you can get someone from your link onto their page, it is their job to convert from that point. Develop a relationship with your vendor and try to figure out why it is not converting together. If they know what they are doing, they are not going to throw away the traffic you are sending them…cheers…matt

  12. zool to all says:

    I am new on blog..
    wanna to ask how u create oppotunity to get traffic and get customer for ur affiliate product…..
    I think I will visit this blog to improve my blog skills ( but not my English skills ..He he he)

  13. Susan says:

    Hello

    This is an awesome blog. I love to come here and read quite often. I have had my blog for about a year now. But have not done consistent posting on it like I could have. I have a couple of affiliates that have started earning me money. It all has to do with traffic, when you start seeing traffic you begin seeing money from your affiliates.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Susan
    http://susanvlz.blogspot.com

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Problogger, Darren Rowse, answers a reader email regarding a growing affiliate relationship…at a point where change may be necessary. Darren talks about how to cultivate an existing relationship and how to supplement any time (money) lost. [...]