Case Study: An Affiliate System With ASP - Project Overview (Page 2 of 7 )
When we first started writing the affiliates program, TechBuy already had well over 10,000 customers and 5,000 members subscribed to its newsletter list. The affiliate program had to be simple to use and allow anyone with a web site to simply copy and paste some HTML code in the form of a link on his or her site.
The affiliate program needed to server 5 main requirements:
Boost site revenue for TechBuy
Open several other possible marketing channels
Increase the awareness of the TechBuy brand
Bring the power of automation and tracking into play
Each of the 4 requirements needed to be implemented as part of the affiliates program. They are described below:
1. Boost site revenue: Obviously the number one purpose of designing an affiliate program is to boost the revenue generated from the products or services that the program is promoting. By setting up an affiliate program, we are allowing others to promote TechBuy for no cost, which in turns brings in more visitors, thus increasing sales.
2. Open marketing channels: Before the affiliate program, TechBuy was a fairly well established brand, easily being within the top 5 online PC hardware sales sites in Australia. Using the affiliate program however, we were able to bridge gaps between users by letting the affiliates promote TechBuy any way they like: banners, text links, personal recommendations, etc.
3. Increase awareness: Setting up an affiliate program allowed more people to know about TechBuy in a short amount of time. Because the affiliate program was developed in house, there was only a wage cost involved, which is typically no more than a couple of thousand dollars.
Use of automation: Everything about the affiliates program is automated: from the initial affiliate registration to the final stats tracking, there is no human interaction required from TechBuy's point of view to manage the affiliates program.
Program Incorporation Before the affiliate program was developed, the TechBuy web site had a logical layout with room for expansion. It also had some 5,000 potential affiliate members on its newsletter list, which are contacted monthly. The affiliate program is another feature of the TechBuy web site, and as such, several methods were developed to promote the program to both new and existing TechBuy visitors and customers:
Newsletter: Each episode of the TechBuy newsletter includes a text ad spanning 4-5 lines that describes the affiliate program and how it can be used so that visitors can profit.
Site: The TechBuy site contains a scrolling marquee. This marquee generates excellent click-thru rates of 3-4%. A mention of the affiliates program was added to the marquee and it received a 1.7% click-thru rate, which is well above the industry average.
Word of mouth: The most effective method for promoting the affiliates program was via word of mouth. In just 3 days, TechBuy had well over 50 people already implementing the affiliates program into their web site from word of mouth recommendations alone.
The ASP code behind the affiliate program was divided into several sections. We will look at this code now.