I have had a Twitter chat with an online marketer who is working for a software company. The company she works for builds custom software. Great company, quality products.
Everything started with my Twitter message to her: “Does your company have an affiliate program? You may want to start one for it.” The rest of the conversation may be found below. I’ve decided to post it here, because of the eloquent format it has had. None of us could go over the 140 characters in any given question or answer. I hope some of you will find this conversation of help.
Q: How is that program different from resellers’?
A: In essence, it is indeed very similar, but you don’t have them stock anything. They refer the customers to you, and you pay them a commission.
Q: How can they track how much the customer has purchased?
A: The amount gets pulled from your shopping cart with the help of a tracking script.
Q: It’s a great tool but if you sell to enterprises and the quote is always custom, there’s no way you can sell online?!
A: You can have affiliates be remunerated on a PPL (pay per lead) model.
Q: Then it’s the same as PPC/PPL advertising programs.
A: PPC = you pay for clicks. PPL = you pay for leads (i.e. actual forms filled out by real people and submitted on your site, or subscriptions)
Q: Isn’t it the same as Google AdWords does?
A: No. Adwords is PPC. When you pay for leads – you pay for actual leads (interested people) referred to you by affiliates. See previous reply.
A 2: With AdWords you pay for clicks. With PPL affiliate model you pay only if there is a conversion. Let me know if this makes sense.
Q: So you just provide the platform for collecting these leads?
A: I’m an affiliate manager. I can manage & recruit into your affiliate program. Platforms are provided by affiliate networks (or in-house soft).
You may read more about the differences between affiliate networks and OPM companies here.
If you sell software development services, or any other services that require a custom quote (and/or where the sale may not be closed online), you can run an effective affiliate marketing program, paying affiliates for every valid lead they send in. Roughly one-fifth of all affiliate programs out there use the PPL model.