Automating Your Program: The Pros and Cons
By Rob Wood
Thu, 27 Oct 2005, 22:07:00
A fantastic feature of clixGalore is that it allows you to automate almost everything in your program. This can save you hours in managing your site, but it needs to be approached with caution. Automating everything from the very beginning of your program, before you are comfortable with how everything works may not be totally advisable for certain programs. This tutorial will take you through the potential problems and advantages of automating processes for each type of Affiliate program.
The main functions for automation in the clixGalore system are accepting and declining Affiliates and automatically approving or declining transactions. You can set your preferences for these by logging into your account and going to "Program Maintenance" in the menu and the "Edit Merchant Program / Banners" in the popup sub menu. On the next page click on the name of the program that you wish to change the settings for. You will then be presented with a lot of the options for automating your program. The first powerful option is "Automatically Accept Affiliate Requests to Join Your Program" - as the name suggests this allows any Affiliate to join your program without requiring your explicit approval.
|Automatically Approve Affiliate requests to join your program by ticking the top check-box.|
Further down the page you will see a check-box called "Auto Approve Sales" - this can approve transactions made by clixGalore Affiliates for your program without needing your attention to do it manually. You should think very hard before you choose to select either of these auto options. Here's why:
|Automatically approve transactions by ticking the top check-box.|
Sale Programs If you are running a %sale or a per sale program then you are in a very fortunate position. Your program type is one of the most secure and easy to automate because you don't pay anything until a sale is made. It is therefore usually very safe to automatically approve Affiliate requests to join your program. The advantage of this is that your best Affiliates will want to get started straight away in promoting your products - being automatically approved will let them. The potential damage in admitting all Affiliates is minimal (and usually non-existant) as even the worst Affiliates may make a sale for you and are only paid after that occurs. You can therefore enable automatic Affiliate application approval with peace of mind.
For %sale and per sale programs the option to automatically approve transactions is also attractive. It is extremely difficult for an Affiliate to generate a false sale (the most obvious ways are with fake/stolen credit cards). If a stolen credit card is used then the transaction on clixGalore can still be reversed after the transaction has gone through. At the beginning of your program you may wish to keep the setting to manually approve transactions, but as you get a feel for the program then you may be more comfortable with automating this task.
As an extra piece of functionality, if you are not 100% comfortable in approving your sales immediately and automatically, clixGalore allows you the option to automatically approve sales after a set period of time. This could be 3 days or a week etc. This would allow you the time to verify the validity of any transactions, but also ensure that your Affiliates are paid in a timely fashion.
Lead Programs For lead programs it is very important that you become comfortable with your program before your start using the automation options. It is strongly recommended that you use the manual options for at least a few weeks at the beginning of your program. You will want to vet Affiliates manually by looking at their websites. If you are not sure about them then email them to ask any questions you might have. Don't accept them into your program unless you are 100% comfortable being promoted by them.
If you are paying a significant amount per lead, clixGalore may allow you the functionality to manually approve/decline your leads (please contact customerservice [@] clixGalore.com if you would like to discuss having this functionality in your account). Firms with a lareg payout per lead will obviously want to be careful with automatically approving transactions for leads. You will want to verify that visitors have filled out your lead correctly before crediting Affiliates with the lead payout. The fact is that even the best Affiliate will occassionally send through a bogus lead as they have no direct control over the behaviour of every visitor. If, after a few weeks, you are happy with the quality of the leads you are receiving from your Affiliates then you can make the decision to turn on automatic transaction approval.
Bronze CPC Programs If you are trying to introduce a per click program then you will only have the ability to manually or automatically appove Affiliates (you cannot decline clicks). In this case it is highly advisable to vet every Affiliate application manually. You should visit their site to make sure you are comfortable with your banners being displayed there. If you have any questions you should ask the Affiliate. Only when you are comfortable with the Affiliate should you admit them to your program. If you accept only quality Affiliates to your PPC program then there will be a long term mutually beneficial relationship. Over time you will build a core of good Affiliates who you trust.
As with anything, time will lead to you becoming more expreienced and comfortable in handling your Affiliate programs. That is the point at which you can make an informed decision regarding the automation of your program. If you are new to Affiliate marketing or clixGalore then you may be well advised to do everything manually in the beginning to get used to the system.
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