LeadDyno, OmniStar and AffiliateWP are affiliate manager programs that integrate with WooCommerce stores. They each have the features a merchant needs to run an affiliate program. So which one is the best?
For a commodity business, OmniStar OSI Affiliate has some automation and sales tools that put it slightly ahead of LeadDyno and AffiliateWP. LeadDyno is the best affiliate manager for a merchant who sells products that are more complicated. Potential customers need questions answered and human conversation to be comfortable purchasing the merchant’s product.
LeadDyno is best for more complicated product sales because it compensates affiliates for driving lead signups. The customer is not ready to purchase the product but would like some questions answered. The affiliate sends the potential customer to a landing page, also called a “lead generation” page. The customer enters email or phone information. The merchant contacts the potential customer to answer questions and potentially close the sale.
OSI Affiliate pricing starts at $47/month. The price goes up if the merchant’s affiliates drive more than 25,000 clicks per month.
AffiliateWP pricing starts at $149/year ($12.41/mo.) for 3,000 affiliate clicks per month. More clicks bumps the merchant to $199 or $299 per year pricing ($16.58/mo or $24.90/mo).
LeadDyno pricing starts at $49/month for 3,000 affiliate clicks per month. The bump to 4,500 clicks is $59/month, and 7,500 clicks is $79 per month.
To understand the effect of affiliate click limits, look at a theoretical example. A merchant’s affiliates drive 3,000 clicks to the merchant site during one month. The traffic has a 1% conversion rate, meaning that 1% of those clicks results in a sale, or 30 sales per month.
At a 1% conversion rate, the OSI Affiliate program’s 25,000-click limit would result in 250 sales.
LeadDyno, OSI Affiliate and AffiliateWP work with WooCommerce stores. They also work with other ecommerce solutions, but this is an article about WooCommerce, so for the sake of this example, these three solutions assume that the store is a WooCommerce plugin on a self-hosted WordPress website.
LeadDyno and OSI Affiliate are Software as a Service affiliate programs. They are hosted on different websites than the merchant’s store. These affiliate managers come with WordPress plugins that allow the WordPress WooCommerce store to communicate with the affiliate management software on the SaaS sites.
AffiliateWP is a WooCommerce plugin. The affiliate manager (AffiliateWP) communicates with the store (WooCommerce) using WordPress protocols.
LeadDyno and OSI Affiliate are Software as a Service (SaaS) affiliate managers. This means that the merchant and publishers log into the LeadDyno.com and osiaffiliate.com affiliate management portals.
The AffiliateWP manager is in the merchant’s WordPress admin area. The merchant logs into the WordPress admin to access affiliate functionality. The affiliate’s logs into a special area on the WordPress front end.
Affiliate fraud occurs when hackers or dishonest affiliates generate commissions they don’t deserve. For example, a hacker can use a stolen credit card to make a purchase. The hacker gets the product for free (i.e., steals it using a stolen card) and the merchant pays the commission to the hacker as well.
Another trick is to “stuff” web browser cookies to trick the affiliate manager into crediting the affiliate rather than the actual traffic referrer.
Merchants can scan statistics for unusual patterns to find potential fraud. The most obvious of these is repeat purchases from a single IP address. Other patterns include very large orders, orders from foreign countries, and affiliates who generate orders that customers dispute using their credit card company’s resolution service.
AffiliateWP and LeadDyno do not have an automated affiliate detection feature. OSI Affiliate has some fraud detection features, but this is not a robust feature in the system. OSI Affiliate allows the merchant to block suspect IP addresses.
Rewarding an affiliate for recruiting affiliates is also known as multi-level marketing (MLM). For all of its bad reputation as a pyramid scheme, the practice actually makes sense in online affiliate recruitment.
This is because online affiliate marketing does not require that affiliates bring on new affiliates to be paid. An affiliate can never recruit other affiliates and still enjoy a profitable relationship with the merchant.
The MLM feature allows the merchant to assign a reward commission to the sales the affiliate’s recruit generates. For example, the affiliate makes 10% per sale, and a 1% commission per sale its recruits generate.
LeadDyno, OSI Affiliate and AffiliateWP all have MLM features that reward affiliates for recruiting affiliates.
A currency switcher allows merchants and affiliates to view money in different currencies. A real-time currency switcher calculates exchange rates when switching from one currency to another.
None of the affiliate managers featured in this article has currency switching. LeadDyno, OSI Affiliate and AffiliateWP store money as floating point (decimal) numbers. The merchant sets the currency to display along with money values. The currency is just a monetary symbol such as a dollar sign. The affiliate manager doesn’t perform conversions from one currency to another.
A payment manager is the mechanism the merchant uses to pay affiliates. The merchant always has the choice of making offline payments via check, bank transfer, or any other arrangement, but these are not recorded in the affiliate manager.
OSI Affiliate and AffiliateWP allow merchants to pay affiliates over PayPal and Stripe.
LeadDyno allows merchants to pay affiliates over PayPal, CoinBase, and as a store credit.
LeadDyno, OSI Affiliate and AffiliateWP have 30-day free trials. Credit card is required, and the merchant has to cancel the subscription.
LeadDyno, AffiliateWP and OSI Affiliate allow merchants to assign URL tracking codes to affiliates. An affiliate uses that unique code in their links pointing to the merchant’s store. The affiliate manager credits the associated affiliate for sales emanating from that uniquely coded link.
LeadDyno, AffiliateWP and OSI Affiliate allow affiliates to create coupon codes. The merchant controls the coupon restrictions. The affiliate gives the unique coupon codes to potential customers. When sales are made using the coupon code the affiliate manager credits the associated affiliate with the sale. The affiliate’s commission is based on the product price reduced by the coupon amount.
Some affiliate programs allow merchants to compensate affiliates for actions other than driving sales.
LeadDyno and AffiliateWP enable merchants to compensate affiliates for leads. These are visitors to the merchant’s site. They enter their contact information into a form to request the merchant contact them. AffiliateWP does not have this feature.
LeadDyno allows the following affiliate compensation, but OSI Affiliate and AffiliateWP do not have these features.
A merchant has a product to sell. To acquire customers, the merchant can purchase advertising. The advertising stops working when the merchant stops paying for it. Affiliate marketing gives the merchant’s product more exposure, to more refined demographics, for free. The merchant pays only when the publisher’s work produces a sale.
In the bonus section, learn why the affiliate-marketing model is superior to advertising.
The merchant’s ideal publisher covers a niche whose audience aligns with the merchant’s target market.
The publisher can be on any number of platforms, so long as the platform handles a many-to-one relationship: many audience members to one publisher. Typical platforms include:
Niche publishers dig deep into topics that have limited but passionate appeal. A niche is a targeted interested that is attractive only to a subset of the population. What the niche lacks in global appeal, it makes up for in intense interest in the subject.
The publisher’s audience has a deep interest in the publisher’s exploration of the niche. That means that this audience is a specific, highly motivated demographic for some merchant.
Merchants should seek publishers whose target audience aligns with the merchant’s target demographic.
For example, if the merchant sells a form of red light therapy, that merchant would seek publishers interested in red light therapy. But there’s no need to stop there. The merchant should also seek publishers interested in health, wellness, and biohacking.
Whether there’s a good match depends on the specific publisher’s niche within health, wellness, and biohacking.
How does the merchant find potential affiliates?
To find potential publishers, the merchant can
The merchant can search for related and tangential niches, followed by the word “blogger.”
For example, to find red light therapy potential affiliates, the merchant can search like this:
“red light therapy” blogger
Many of the results are competitors in the red light therapy space, but there are some popular gems in this list as well, such as alexffergus.com and wellnessmama.com. The merchant can reach out to these bloggers.
The merchant can announce the affiliate program on the merchant’s website and on social media pages. It might look like this:
“We are launching our red light therapy affiliate program and we are seeking publishers….”
The merchant can also buy advertising on Google etc. to announce the search to target markets.
The merchant can join an aggregator of publishers and merchants. Popular ones include:
Whether through personal contact, advertising or an affiliate network service, the publisher and merchant meet over the internet. Either the publisher asks to join the merchant’s program, or the merchant offers a contract to the publisher.
If there is mutual interest, the merchant and publisher enter into an affiliate contract. It says at its core: The merchant authorizes the publisher to discuss the merchant’s product; the merchant will pay the publisher should the merchant’s efforts result in actual sales of said product.
With advertising, the merchant pays the publisher for exposure. With affiliate marketing, the merchant pays the publisher for performance.
With advertising, the publisher is obligated to place the merchant’s creative in the publisher’s medium. With affiliate marketing, the publisher can make some creatives, but usually the affiliate does the bulk of content creation.
With advertising, the merchant controls which part of the publication hosts the advertisement. With affiliate marketing, the publisher creates and places content on the publisher’s properties.
With advertising, the publisher must run the merchant’s content. With affiliate marketing, the publisher is not obliged to expose its audience to the merchant’s products. The publisher can ignore the affiliate relationship. The merchant’s recourse in this case is to cancel the affiliation contract. But don’t be hasty, the publisher might have the new content on its schedule, or might be driving traffic from offline sources. The point is that the advertising publisher is obliged to expose its audience to the merchant’s product; the affiliate publisher is not obliged to ensure its audience sees the content.
|Cost of exposure||advertising fee||free|
|Merchant pays even if there are no sales||yes||no|
|Merchant writes the content||yes||no|
|Affiliate writes the content||no||yes|
|Merchant can break the contract||only before publication deadline||at any time for any reason|