What is a Super Affiliate?
Super Affiliates are generally defined as the highest earning affiliates in the industry. Within most affiliate programs, the Super Affiliates will generate 90% or more of the overall program sales, so building those relationships and negotiating link placement on their sites is imperative to your program’s success.
Most Super Affiliates are diligent with researching and selecting a potential affiliate program, but if you don’t have any in your program, you’ll need to start searching and recruiting right away! Building lasting relationships with Super Affiliates should be a primary objective for every affiliate manager, because without those relationships the program will not reach its full potential and ultimately remain flat. Once a relationship has been established, you can start getting better placement for your program links on those affiliate sites.
The Secret Formula to Negotiating Great Placement
There is no set formula that works for every affiliate in negotiating great placement on their site. You just have to pick up the phone or email them to ask them what they need. Most Super Affiliates will have paid ad spaces on their websites that offer prime visibility in high converting areas and even more free spaces in generic areas of their site. With paid placement, the problem is that the ad spaces can cost thousands of dollars to buy and having a positive ROI is not guaranteed. The free generic placements can still convert, but the consumers will have to work much harder to find your links.
As an affiliate manager, I take a different approach when it comes to getting product placement and it involves leveraging my relationships in combination with a special offer and turning them into free placements in high converting areas. By doing this, affiliate programs that I manage don’t have to shell out additional dollars for their marketing efforts and can avoid any risk or financial loss while still earning prime placement.
- Build strong relationships with your Super Affiliates
This is the foundation to getting placement outside of generic ad space. Monitor their campaigns that they are running with your affiliate program and help them optimize it any way that you can. As an affiliate manager, you should want your affiliates to succeed and helping them earn more money will build trust and confidence in not only your program, but you as a person. Whether you suggest changing a logo, rewriting copy on their site or suggesting different links that they should try, it will show that you genuinely want to help them succeed.
- Flexible program commission structure
Having a flexible commission structure will allow you to use an increase in commission as a bargaining chip. Affiliates love a solid base commission and being able to offer them a couple more percent can go a long way. To do this, either set up your affiliate program pay structure to allow for higher payouts to top performing affiliates or have an in house program that you can switch your super affiliates to once you’ve established a personal relationship with them through a network. By saving on the network fees and offering a private offer, you’re able to pass the money networks would be earning to the affiliate instead.
- Exclusive/Vanity Codes and Offers
Most coupon affiliate sites have pages/tabs for Exclusive or Vanity Coupon Codes offers. You’ll need to be able to offer these in order to get placement on these high traffic pages.
When approaching Super Affiliates, I like to analyze their sites and search for areas that I think that would convert well for the program that I am trying to get placement for. Being prepared for a conversation with them is important and they will appreciate that you want to understand their site and audience. Once you have determined where you would like placement, contact the affiliate via their preferred method (email, Skype, phone) and set up a meeting.
- Final negotiation
When negotiating the placement of your program’s links, explain to them how the placement will benefit them. Combine the explanation with a slight increase in commission and an exclusive offer to really entice them. Generally, affiliates are pretty flexible with their ad space and like to experiment with different offers, so this will usually get the job done in regards to negotiating. Be confident in what you are offering them and keep in mind that not every offer will work the same for every affiliate. You may have to get creative with the offer that you are pitching to the affiliate.
Here’s an example from the Eyeglasses123 affiliate program showing what we did with Savings.com (Alexa US rank 2,260).
After recruiting Savings.com to our affiliate program and building a relationship with them, I analyzed their site and media card (paid placement pdf) to find possible ad spaces that I could get Eyeglasses123 links featured in. My primary target was a large rotating homepage banner (above the fold) for their “Daily Deals”. My secondary target was a paid ad space at the top of the Accessories category page.
At the time, I felt comfortable enough in the relationship to ask them to waive the cost of the category page placement for an exclusive coupon code in which they agreed. The rotating banner on the homepage took a bit more creativity since our client, Eyeglasses123, did not offer any daily deals. In order for me to get Eyeglasses123 on there, I sold the affiliate on how to position the default offers that were already available on the Eyeglasses123 site.
No special deal had to be offered since Eyeglasses123 already offered the lowest prices on designer eyewear on the internet. Savings.com receives a lot of traffic to their “daily deals” rotating banner and together we offered their readers a “deal” on Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses (Eyeglasses123.com’s best selling product at the time).
Default Offer on Eyeglasses123.com
To sum it all up…
It doesn’t always take a huge investment of money to be able to negotiate prime placement on Super Affiliate sites. Sometimes what you need is already available to you at your disposal. Use the tools that you have at your side and be creative and confident with your offer.
If you need help negotiating placement on your affiliate sites, or in recruiting super affiliates into your program, be sure to give us a call.