January 7, 2010
I know how the affiliate marketing game goes because that is what I do full-time. I know the ins and outs of the whole process, and the excitement of a well thought out and perfectly executed affiliate campaign, which results in a steady stream of affiliate commissions. I also know what it is like to watch those same successful campaigns dry up suddenly for no logical reason at all. Sometimes they never even get off the ground when all the indicators are there that they should be profitable.
If this has happened to you before here is what I think the main problem is and a solution to deal with it.
If you are an affiliate marketer it is highly likely that you take the following steps when building a successful campaign:
- You build a landing page to suck in as many leads as possible
- You follow-up with these leads via a targeted email autoresponder campaign
- You drive traffic to this new campaign
In a nutshell, you build a highly successful sales funnel, meant to sell a product or several related products, and you drive traffic to that funnel in a number of ways.
After building this successful sales funnel what happens if you don’t seem to be getting any sales? You get plenty of leads coming in, which means your traffic is converting, but the sales seem non-existent. Why is this?
Well, the first thing I would do is check my email follow-up series. There must be something wrong with my email sales copy, or my links, or the way I am pre-selling the offer.
But what if you are getting a ton of clicks to your products but no sales? Is it the product itself that is the issue? This could be. You really cannot be 100% sure of the problem at this point, and you may never know. The product itself could be a dud.
Well, I have had many campaigns like this over the years and I usually would just let them go and move on. That was until I experienced a very successful campaign, which had a consistent sales conversion rate and everything working properly, just stop working. Not a little bit either. The sales went to ZERO, overnight.
I spent some time asking other affiliates about this and found out it was a pretty common problem. I also found out what that problem was and how to combat it too. It is unfortunate that many affiliates do not understand what is really going on with their commissions.
I’ll try to explain a little of what could be happening to your sales in this article.
The most frustrating thing of all is that it is highly possible your sales funnels could be making a ton of sales and that you are just not getting credited with those sales. In other words, you are doing all of the work and someone else is getting your commissions. That doesn’t sit well with me and should not sit well with you either.
The Problem: Affiliate Link Theft
Without getting too technical, here is what is happening.
Your affiliate ID is being changed to someone else’s at the point of sale, either manually by the user, or via spyware on your computer which was placed there at some point while you were online. You could also be a victim of “cookie stuffing” which many affiliates do to try and protect their own commissions from link thieves.
The problem is that this “cookie stuffing” sometimes steals sales from others as well. These “cookie stuffing” affiliates are just trying to protect their own commissions but they don’t realize they are becoming part of the problem.
Any of these things can stop you from receiving credit for the sale even though you’re the one who should have made it. You cannot stop ALL commission thievery online, but to stop any of it at all you must implement affiliate cloaking into your campaigns.
Link cloaking is when you create a redirect, or a hidden frame redirect on your website that hides your affiliate ID’s and makes it nearly impossible for spyware programs to tinker with your affiliate links at the point of sale.
If you start incorporating affiliate cloaking into your business today you can make a huge difference in your bottom line. It is very possible that you are losing 30-50% of the sales that should be yours. I certainly was.
So now that you know you need affiliate cloaking, lets look at the right and wrong ways to do it.
Choosing A Link Cloaking Service
There are tons of programs and software packages online claiming to be able to help you cloak your links. Many of them are offered for free even. I would not suggest that you go with the first one you find for many reasons. You need to make sure that the link cloaker you use has been created specifically for affiliate marketing and not for some “black hat” seo tricks.
There are not as many affiliate cloaking systems as their are seo cloaking and regular link cloaking software programs so you need to be careful what you choose.
Do NOT Use Free Cloaking Services
I understand that everyone is looking for a bargain these days, but when it comes to your affiliate commissions be willing to do what is best for your business. The most notable free link redirection and cloaking services online are those provided by companies like tinyurl.com, bit.ly, budurl.com and others.
These services started out as a way to shorten long URL’s but have recenly been taking steps to supply affiliates with link cloaking too.
The problem with many of these services is that they don’t work with every kind of affiliate link or program, and many times will actually hinder your ability to get visitors to your site!
The horror stories are too numerous of people who used redirection services such as TinyURL and Bit.ly and lost commissions. Many spammers use these services to try and cloak their links too, which results in many of these links not being accepted as viable URL’s by spam filters and other email services.
It is in your best interest to not use these services at all.
The Best Link Cloaking Service
The best link cloaker is one that you can upload to your own servers so you don’t have to worry about anything breaking down or not working properly.
This means you could create a separate website to house ALL of your cloaked links, or upload the cloaking script to each individual website you are promoting and create site specific links.
Depending on which way you want to go (I actually use both methods) it can be difficult to accomplish any of it if you are not a web programmer, or don’t want to outsource the project to someone you are not sure you can trust.
With all of the different options available out there in regards to link cloaking it is very important to spend some time learning about the concept from an affiliate marketing standpoint. Once I got hooked up with the right cloaking systems my commissions doubled practically overnight for many of the products I was originally having trouble selling.
Adam Bauthues – And now I would like to invite you to receive Instant Free Access to my affiliate cloaking report! In this report you will learn how to properly use affiliate link cloaking to generate more sales, bigger commissions, and repeat customers. You can also visit my blog at http://www.FreeInternetMarketingReports.com to get more free reports, tips and tricks to help you affiliate marketing business.