ADOTAS — Performance marketing is a cost-effective and results-driven channel that can help small advertisers significantly grow their sales. While running an affiliate program can be very successful, it requires an understanding of the basics. This checklist is not a definitive list, but outlines the core elements that small advertisers should consider:
- Be competitive. What distinguishes you from your competitors? For small advertisers that may not have the brand strength to immediately attract affiliates, it is important to offer a strong reason to promote the campaign. Analyze competitor programs to make certain your commission rate and cookie duration is competitive. Affiliates won’t want to switch links or add you to their marketing mix if there isn’t a competitive element.
- Clear T&Cs. Make sure you have established your terms and conditions and clearly communicated them to affiliates so they know what they can and cannot do as a partner on your program. Monitor your partners regularly for anything out of the ordinary, and don’t be afraid to reach out to an affiliate to ask questions.
- Creative & Tools. Your banners should have a clear call to action and be available in all standard sizes. It’s great if you have a variety of options for affiliates to choose from. Keep your datafeed up to date so that affiliates have accurate information on their site and as a result, the promotion will have a better chance of converting.
- Affiliate Friendly Website. Leakage refers to any instance in which an affiliate may potentially lose commission due to an untracked action on an advertiser’s website. It’s one of the most frequently occurring issues with websites in the channel. Leakage points such as phone numbers, URLs in banners and links to other retailers should be avoided as much as possible. With the growth in m-commerce and consumers accessing the internet through mobile devices, it’s essential that affiliate tracking is added to the mobile optimized version of your site ensuring that your affiliate partners are fairly rewarded for the sales they generate. It’s essential for your website to have a clear and easy checkout so that when an affiliate sends you traffic, you will convert! This also includes providing clear shipping/return information and an ‘About Us’ section.
- Regularly Validate Sales & Approve Affiliates. Regularly validating sales will ensure your partners are paid in a timely fashion and they will be able to reinvest this into the promotion of your program. It is important that when affiliates apply to join your program they are reviewed quickly. When affiliates sign up, they are in the mindset to get promoting the programs straight away, and if delayed, they may chose a competitor or lose interest altogether.
- Affiliate Recruitment. There are a number of different affiliate promotional types that are available to you. It is important to understand how each of them can deliver value to your program. Your network should be able to advise you on appropriate partners and also outline their methods of promotion. Be proactive by personally reaching out to affiliates who you want to partner with. Sell yourself with the main highlights of why they should partner with you. This includes highlighting unique tools, technologies, datafeed details, commission structure, cookie length and contact information, along with the link to join the program. You can even provide them with ready-made text links that will work once they’re approved to your program. Make it as easy and enticing as possible.
- Communication. Although a strong launch is important, a successful program is built over time. You should regularly keep in touch with your affiliates by sending emails and newsletters announcing new creative, offers/promotions, new products etc. Providing information to your affiliates about your program and your brand in general, will help affiliates in their marketing efforts, but remember not to go overboard and send something daily as this will just be seen as spam. Be relevant! As a small brand, your methods of communication need to be even more targeted and useful for affiliates who are receiving upwards of 100’s+ emails per day. Provide affiliates with ready-made links so they can easily copy and paste the code onto their site. Remember, time is precious, so by making it as easy as possible to promote your brand, you’re more likely to get affiliates to add you to their site.
As mentioned above, this is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that is needed for small advertisers to run a successful campaign, but it is a good starting point.