Affiliate Program Improvements
Affiliate programs are an important digital channel for any serious online business. It opens you up to a wide array of marketing expertise and audiences you would never be able to get to. Growing your affiliate program is not an easy task so we have put together 7 tips for you to improve your program.
1. Voucher Codes – Keep your voucher codes fresh and test test test! Create different types of behavior in each of your vouchers and see which one is most receptive. This could be creating a voucher to encourage more spending (spend £35 and get free delivery) or give away a free item to encourage the sale (buy 2 get 1 free).
Once you know what works best for you then plan similar voucher codes for future offerings. Communicate your codes out on a regular basis to keep reminding the affiliates about your brand.
2. Validation time period – by decreasing your validation period you improve affiliate cash flow. Affiliates love this and are more likely to push your products and services. If you can get away with reducing the validation time without impacting your returns period then I would advise you to do so and shout about it to your affiliates.
3. Top 3 affiliates – You should be in regular contact with at least your top 10 affiliates on a weekly or monthly basis. Narrow this down even further and really concentrate hard in building a relationship with your top 3 affiliates. Give these top 3 affiliates priority on exclusive voucher codes, special cashback rates and commission increases.
Start to build up the relationship by adding them on Skype, Linkedin and plan meetings at trade events. Striking up a good relationship with your big hitter will be priceless over the lifetime of your program.
4. Help, Help Help! – The more you can help your affiliates the more receptive and likely they will be in pushing your products and services. They may want bespoke banners, exclusive voucher codes, or a piece of content writing, Give them what they want and you will be rewarded with a more loyal affiliate.
5. Share program knowledge – Let your smaller affiliates know what the bigger affiliates are doing to create sales. My sharing this information your affiliates will be on the right path to produce your program more sales, It will also give your lesser affiliates a bit more optimism towards your program. Any techniques that are working for your program should be shared.
6. Setting cookies – Your cookies need to be fair, most programs run a 30 day cookie period, can you offer more? Can you offer 60 days? The longer the cookie period on your program the more appealing your program will become for the affiliate. This then also creates a perception that you are doing more to make sure the affiliate receives commission for their work.
7. Commissions – stagger your commission payments so your top affiliates are rewarded more than others. If you tier your commission structure this will also create an incentive for smaller affiliates to hit bigger targets. Example 1-10 sales = £10, 11 – 20 sales = £15, 21 sales plus = £20. This again will also maintain the loyalty of your top affiliates.
Quick & Cheap
Affiliate marketing is considered one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to drive online revenue for online businesses. It is a strong advertising tool for any brand online as it provides affiliates and the merchant with a strong incentive to sell products. The affiliate marketing arena has grown rapidly over the last 10 years and we now see more and more online brands embracing this marketing avenue simply because it is so cost effective.
Low cost entry to the market
Most marketing channels have some sort of fixed set up cost that is deemed expensive especially if you are a startup or new to the online world. Cost per click needs to have a hefty budget to make it pay, the same with remarketing, and SEO. They all have high costs attached to it.
With affiliate marketing the only cost attached to it would be your set up cost to the network. Once you are set up your only costs will be paying out commission on successful sales.
Only Pay for Sales
As mentioned above the one main benefit of running an affiliate program is you only pay out on successful completed sales. This is a huge benefit to your brand as you know affiliates will strive to drive good quality traffic to make sure they get the sale. Poor quality traffic will inevitably not convert so you will never pay out a commission.
One huge benefit of running your own affiliate program is the amount of free traffic it can generate. By running your own affiliate program you open yourself up to a huge audience base. You could be dealing with sites that have customer bases of five million plus. Great brand awareness for you.
Effective Use of Marketing Budget
With affiliates being a performance based Marketing Avenue it is a great way to get the most out of your marketing budget. By only paying for good quality traffic that converts in to a sale you really do minimize any risk on your marketing spend. Even when not making a sale if your program is driving good traffic it still presents an excellent opportunity to get huge brand awareness for free.
Easy to Track
One great benefit you get by signing up with an affiliate network is the tracking platform they provide. Affiliate networks invest heavily in their platforms to make it as easy as possible for you to track your clicks and sales.
Affiliate networks allow you to clearly see which affiliate is sending traffic to your site, and which affiliates are making sales, with a wide range of different affiliate types, being able to see what affiliate type works well for your program you will be able to build your affiliate marketing strategy around them. It will also show you which type of marketing tool works best for you. This could be banner ads, link placements or data feeds.
Exposure is the key element of any affiliate marketing strategy, and through the affiliate marketing channel you can gain massive exposure and promote your products and services to a whole new audience you were not able to tap in to before.
This huge brand exposure to new prospective customers will only have positive effects on your website traffic.
Just looking at the benefits we have highlighted here in this article, it is clear that the affiliate marketing channel is a serious and must have channel to your online marketing mix. It is cost effective and allows you to open up your brand to a whole new world of customer.