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Affiliate Marketing Program: How To Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes When You Set Up Your First Program

Apr 8, 2008
My first affiliate program was up and running. Or so I thought. Instead, I found myself with a whole lot of egg on my face.

I'm glad to say that by now it's all sorted out. I figured out what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how I could have avoided it even though technically it wasn't really my fault. Yet it was. As you'll see, there was one simple thing I could have done that would have prevented the whole problem.

And now that I've moved from being very embarrassed to appreciating the learning lesson, I decided to share it all with you so you won't have to learn it the hard way.

Here's what happened:

First of all, I decided to upgrade my shopping cart to the professional version. I had gone back and forth between whether I should do that or whether I should go with one of the programs that had the possibility for affiliate programs built in.

I decided to be optimistic: If I could recruit lots of affiliates and they really started selling lots of my ebooks, having my own program would be far cheaper.

Once I had upgraded, I found the affiliate program easy enough to set up. There were videos to guide me. All looked great. I set up a number of accounts for my friends online and off, looked up their affiliate links, and each one their links, ready for use. After all, customer service rules, right?

And now it was time for the pay-off. I eagerly waited for the sales to roll in.


Absolutely nothing.

Eventually, one of my new affiliates asked me why her link had expired. She wrote that when she clicked on it, she got an error message that told her that. So I clicked on her link, and sure enough: there was the error message. That wasn't good at all.

It was late at night, so I had to wait till morning to really do anything about it. Meanwhile, I worried how many of my other new affiliates had actually sent their links to their lists and spent an hour sending out individual alerts.

In the morning, I called the help desk. It turned out that my shopping cart service had somehow forgotten to turn on a switch. The affiliate program looked great to me, but it wasn't set up to work all the way through. Well, they fixed it right then.

So it seemed like it wasn't my fault. But it was, at least in part. And there was a big lesson in it for me:

What could I have done to avoid this snafu? I'm really embarrassed I didn't think of it earlier. I could have taken some of my friends' affiliate links, copied them into a browser window and hit return. If I had done that, preferably before mailing them out, I would have discovered the problem immediately.

So then I had to set up my affiliate auto-responder in a big hurry (which should have been in place before I mailed out that first link, come to think of it), and broadcast apologies and updates.

Well... everything is working now. And to be safe and be instantly alerted to any possible troubles, I set myself up as my own affiliate and plugged a couple of banner ads with my link into my own blog. You better believe I will click on them regularly, and I'll double-check any link I'll send to my affiliates in the future.
About the Author
And now, I would like to give you a free sample version of the ebook that started all the trouble, complete with seven feel-good techniques. Just go to Get Your FREE Seven Feel-Better Strategies and sign up for my free newsletter with even more tips for body, mind, spirit, and prosperity, and the link will be in your first email.
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