The key to getting paid in affiliate marketing is making sure your sales are tracked. Most companies use a cookie based system that detects your affiliate ID and credits your account for a sale. The sad reality is that there are instances where you might be losing sales and I want to share two common ways affiliate lose commissions.
1. Someone replaces your affiliate ID with their own. This happens more in the world of selling affiliate products, but it can happen anytime your purchaser happens to understand how affiliate marketing works. Many companies will prohibit affiliates from purchasing products using their own affiliate URL, but others (like Clickbank) aren’t as strict. When in doubt, I would just ask because this is not a case where you want to break the rule and beg forgiveness afterwards. In the online world, you often do not get second chances.
Solution: Protect your affiliate URL by either:
- Using a domain to redirect to your affiliate URL.
- Using a URL cloaker such as TinyURL.com
- Using a 301 redirect to hide your affiliate link (you will need some web skills for this)
The first two methods are relatively simple, and the last one does require some knowledge of web coding, albeit minimal.
2. When the merchant takes phone orders. Many well established companies that understand affiliate marketing will try and determine who the referring affiliate is, but it is just a fact that some customers will want to place a phone order, and a percentage of those orders will be processed without an affiliate ID. If the customer does not know the ID, the company is not going to risk losing a customer because someone doesn’t have an affiliate ID; they are going to make the sale.
Solution: Here are some options for increasing conversions of phone orders.
- Make sure if the company you are representing takes phone orders that they have strict policy on getting the ID number. You may even want to have someone you know place an order to test the system.
- Offer something extra for those who place orders using your ID. Ideally this would something that doesn’t cost you money, like a downloadable report.
- Gather the customers information and place the order for them. This will create a lot of extra work however.
- Engage in offline affiliate marketing where you can track your leads and sales
If you are not cloaking your affiliate links, I am fairly confident that you are losing sales. At a minimum, I recommend looking into a URL cloaking solution as soon as possible.
I hope you found this helpful. For more affiliate insights and tips, please subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box to the right.