044: Affiliate Marketing: How to get started with Arlen Robinson from OSI Affiliate Software

by April Buencamino-dy

Arlen is the COO and Co-founder of OSI Affiliate Software, and he’s been in the affiliate marketing world for over 20 years. Plus he’s the host of the eCommerce Marketing Podcast who have recently gone past 200 episodes.

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About Arlen

In the year 2000, Arlen’s main company which is Omnistar Interactive, was a full-service web development agency. They did custom projects for a variety of companies in different industries. 

From doing these projects such as custom web sites and custom web-based applications, they created and offered their own suite of solutions to meet the needs of their clients.

Their affiliate software was part of this tool set, along with other 5 other web tools. After several years, they discontinued the other solutions after determining the affiliate software to be their top product.

Deciding to get into Affiliate Marketing

As long as you have a product that can be promoted across different social media platforms without any legality issues, you can get into affiliate marketing.

Affiliates have a natural, built-in audience you normally wouldn’t be able to tap into, so this is one benefit for doing it.

Going Live

The first, most important thing to do is to set up your foundation. Determine what your brand is about, your target demographic, and how you are currently attracting customers.

From there, you can narrow down the type of affiliates you would like to partner with.

Is there still a difference between influencers and affiliates?

Things are merging and becoming all-in-one.

There are those who have a natural following and attract brands, but not necessarily doing what they’re doing for commission.

There’s another group that really seeks out eCommerce brands to partner with and these are your affiliate marketers.

Both groups are doing the same work essentially and the main difference is just the way they initially engage with potential affiliate brands.

Software vs. Network

A distinct advantage of getting an off-the-shelf software and creating your own affiliate program is the control you have over every aspect of your campaign.

If you’re just getting started, it may be more cost-effective to go the software solution route, since most affiliate networks charge a pretty hefty fee just to join the network.

The benefit of being on a network though is having instant exposure to the many affiliates who are already looking for deals and brands to promote.

How much commission should be paid?

The standard is providing percentage commission of a total or a fixed amount, but there’s really no set rule of thumb.

More often than not, this is usually dictated by the level of your affiliate, and how large their audience is.

The thing to look out for is determining how well these influencers are engaging with their followers.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Affiliate Marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

After determining what your incentive is and figuring out who your target affiliates are, the next thing to do is to think about the best type of promotional materials and media you are going to make available for your affiliates.

Prepare the right media for your affiliates so when they get on board, they’re ready to go and can focus on promoting straightaway.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve affiliate marketing performance?

Arlen mentions two things:

  1. Measure the analytics of what you’re doing
  2. Identify your top affiliates, take a look at how they’re promoting, and double down on that

If someone listening wants to learn more about affiliate marketing is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

OSI Affiliate has plenty of great resources.
From blog posts and specifically to e-books and PDF guides, they’ve got you covered.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in affiliate marketing?

In 6-8 months, the holidays are coming up so get ready for that and let your affiliates take advantage of the seasonal holiday sales. Prepare the media you’re going to provide and don’t wait for the last minute.

Also, the influencer culture is becoming more popular than ever so look for the ones that provide authentic content to their audience.

Interview Links

Arlen on Social media:

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