It’s been quite a while since I last blogged, and today seems better than any other to break the hiatus. A lot has changed since the last time I had put text to thought; I now have Hannah George, who is our new integral member of the team, and is primarily helping out with Business Development & Marketing; this brings the total strength of Trackbox to five which isn’t bad for our initial days given the skill sets that are being brought by everyone to the table. In the last two months we’ve managed to speak with plenty of Merchants, and worked closely with them to help them connect with relevant Affiliates. The idea is to gauge the possibility of value that each of them could deliver to the other, and in the process learned that the Affiliate Market is shaping up pretty well in India.
While assisting Stylefiesta setup their Affiliate Program, a business catering to the fashion space, we realized that we had together not touched upon one of the most important aspects of setting up a new Affiliate Program; chalking down The “Frequently Asked Questions”
The Importance of Having a “Frequently Asked Questions” Section
Whether you’ve started a Loyalty, Referral, Affiliate or any program that would help both the business and user benefit from each other, you can be sure that the initial days for any user who decides to be a part of your program will be filled with a series of how’s and what’s.
This more often than not leads to the concerned representatives having to put themselves through a barrage of unavoidable calls, troubleshooting or emails that need answering. At times if there’s a delay involved in the user receiving their reply, it could bring down the visitor to signup conversion percentage for your program.
Visitor to signup conversion percentage = total no of Sign Ups for a program/total no of visitors to the page times 100.
How does an FAQ section help:
1) Reduces Support Requests – with an FAQ section you will manage to address current and future concerns of a user. This helps reduce the amount of time your support representatives would have to spend solving trivial queries & issues that could be nipped in the bud through the FAQs
2) Better Confidence – a comprehensive FAQ section helps build confidence in the user who’s signing up for your program or service. It clearly highlights that you’ve forethought anything and everything that could appear to be a problem for the user, and listed down the solutions or answers to it. Makes it a whole lot simpler for the user to quickly get started with your program
3) Issue Redressal – seldom you come across businesses operating an Affiliate Program with a clear method outlined to connect with the Affiliate Manager or company incase a query arises. This just delays the process of the user making an informed decision, and could sometimes give the feeling that you don’t care about the queries arising through this program which is why the absence of contact information
Top 10 FAQs for your Affiliate Program
I’ve listed down the Top 10 FAQs, in no specific order of importance, required for any Affiliate Program.
FAQ 1: What Is the Affiliate Program? – your company’s Affiliate Program could be referred to as a simple “Affiliate Program”, or you might give it a glamorous tag such as “Company Name Partner Program” or “Company Name Associate Program”, in either case it would help to give a 2-3 line description of what a user can expect from your Affiliate Program. It’s recommended to be creative while explaining this to your potential Affiliate, and in your personal style explain how you’re looking at forging partnerships with your potential Affiliates
FAQ 2: How do I get started with the Affiliate Program? – there are some Affiliate Programs I have come across which ask the Affiliate to either drop in an email on a generic email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, or may just give information about the program and not explain how the user can get started. This could drastically affect the Affiliate Sign Up percentage for your program since it could end up confusing your Affiliate regarding the next steps.
For instance, as an Affiliate, if I have to send an email on a specified Email Address inorder to get started, it would help to be provided with a rough estimate of how long will it take to receive a reply, or atleast an acknowledgement that my Sign Up request has been received. In such a scenario briefly explaining the Startup process in the FAQ will assist your potential Affiliate in understanding the steps behind getting started with your program
FAQ 3: How much do I have to pay to get started? – Affiliate Programs are universally free to Sign Up and immediately get started promoting programs, and a lot of professional Affiliates are aware about this. However, it’s crucial to understand that your Affiliates would involve a mix of really well doing Affiliates, and some new folks which could include your existing clientele or new Affiliates.
Through experience, I have seen that a lot of them are excited about the potential of earning while promoting a product they appreciate and believe in, but have an underlying fear that it may require an investment. Explicitly stating this in your FAQ immediately addresses this for them
FAQ 4: Do I need to be technically qualified to promote ? – there could be a few independent promoters such as Bloggers, existing clientele or email publishers that may have a concern about how the traffic or conversions that they send to your business be tracked, and whether they need to implement anything on their end to be able to track successful transaction.
With this point in your FAQ, you can reassure them that tracking and all the back end technology for it is already been taken care of by you, and they have to simply focus on promoting the value your business can offer their audience.
FAQ 5: How much can I earn? – this is where you give details about the earning potential possible through your program. A lot of Affiliate Partners are interested in knowing the returns on the efforts they intend on investing in your business. Given the importance of this information, I am certain you would strategically place this as the main attraction on your Affiliate Page. However, I would suggest that you also make a mention of this within your FAQs and Terms & Conditions sheet.
Incase you have a cap on the maximum earning (not good practice) of an Affiliate, ensure that you specify that for the reference of your potential partner since thus will help you avoid multiple troubleshooting scenarios or claims in the future.
FAQ 6: How do I get paid? – this being one of the most crucial info that your potential Affiliate is looking for. This refers to the payment modes that you will use to provision your Affiliates’ Commissions. Depending on the geo location of your Affiliates, you will have to pick and choose Payment Modes that are convenient options for Affiliates to receive their payments from you.
It would also help to mention the duration in offering a Commission Payout post a successful sale. For instance, your Commission will be paid out 30 days post receiving a successful sale. Also, If you’ve kept a commission threshold on the payout, then do remember to include this as well. For instance, you should accumulate Rs 5,000 or USD 100 in total commissions inorder to receive a Commission Payout.
If you don’t have these things in place, you can be certain to attract a lot of ire from your Affiliates. Take for instance this situation faced by Harsh Agrawal, one of India’s noted Bloggers, wherein due to certain policies of Awebers Affiliate Program he lost out on approximately USD600 of his earnings.
FAQ 7: How do my referrals pay you? – this is good to provide information for your Affiliate Partner since they will be well aware of all the payment modes available for a user to get started with your business. The obvious benefit being that the Affiliate partner can explicitly state these options on her/his website.
FAQ 8: What happens when an order is canceled? – These are situations you will face more often if you’re operating an E-Commerce Store. Orders that are either returned or not accepted by the buyer are classified or deemed as an unsuccessful sale. In this scenario it isn’t essential for you as a business to pay a Commission on that Sale. However, it’s important for you to clearly specify this in your FAQs and Terms & Conditions and explain to your Affiliate your process of handling and notifying your Affiliates of such situations.
FAQ 9: Who can I contact for any assistance? – Including the concerned person’s name (Affiliate Program Manager) and contact details are imperative to operate an efficient Affiliate Program. There could be instances where the partner would like to connect with the Program Manager for specific queries or clarifications; make it simple by providing this in an easy to view spot on the page.
FAQ 10: Are there any restrictions I need to follow while promoting ? – one of the more popular restrictions that are levied by companies is having their Affiliates refrain from bidding on keywords. This is done by companies to avoid bid competition on their own brand keyword.
Similarly if you’ve recognized a restriction then please DO MENTION this clearly in your FAQs and Terms & Conditions.
Have you compiled a list of FAQs for your Affiliate Program, and how has it helped you manage your Affiliate queries? Are there any questions that you may have encountered and believe is essential to place on the list? If yes, please share them in the comments.