3.5 Tips on How to Breathe New Life into Your Affiliate Program
Let’s paint the scene: Your affiliate program is doing good, publishers are promoting your offers, and you feel like you finally hit your stride. Things are pretty solid right now and it feels like you can just keep performing the same tactics and everything will continue in the same fashion. You’re laughing at all those folks that told you managing an affiliate channel was hard (and, if you have an agency like us helping to manage your program, might even be wondering WHY you keep us around).
Danger, Will Robinson! You are approaching the danger zone that we commonly refer to as ‘hitting your plateau’. As defined by Dictionary.com, a plateau is when you “reach a state or level of little or no growth”. Where things might seem pretty rose gold right now, that can change in an instant with little to no warning and could leave you struggling to get back to the levels you were before. This is where you need to get a little bit wild and creative with your thinking to prevent hitting this plateau. No idea is too big or too small, and this is a great time to dive into all aspects of your affiliate program.
To help, I’m offering 3.5 ideas to get you started. Think of it as our early holiday present to you.
#1 Deep Dive into all the public-facing information of your affiliate program.
When was the last time you logged in as a partner to see what your own affiliate program looks like? I’d wager that it’s been a while, if not since you launched your program. This information is what potential partners see when they are applying for programs and if it doesn’t look appealing to you, it certainly won’t look appealing to them. Take the time to go over and ensure the aspects being presented are correct, such as:
- Commission Rates and AOV
- Any information about the brand itself.
- Ensure branding is still consistent.
If you’re a brand that has a link to the affiliate program from your site, also take the time to check the information there, and make sure that it’s up to date and reflective of your current affiliate program.
#2 Revisit, Renew, and try not to recycle old graphic banners.
Have you been regularly auditing your own graphic banners that you offer your partners? Scratch that, do you actually know offhand every piece of creative being offered? This is the time to clean out any old promotions that aren’t valid, seasonal banners that don’t apply, and check that the overall branding still applies.
Moreover, take the time to look at your evergreen banners and see when they were last updated. A good rule of thumb is that you should be updating these graphics at least every 6 months or every year at the absolute latest.
Fun Fact: Did you know that you could use and/or repurpose banners from your display channel? Most sizes are the same and can easily be used in the affiliate channel, provided they include your brand logo and CTA.
#3 Don’t be scared of testing out something new!
You don’t know if a placement is going to work until you test it out, nor do you know if a new strategy will work till it’s in place. Being willing to accept some risks to try something new could actually bring in more results down the line, simply because you weren’t scared to test it. Take that risk, book that placement, try that new initiative with that partner, and be willing to lose a bit of money if it fails. If possible, put aside some of your budget for these tests and think outside the box.
Prime Example: I had the chance to work with a large, well-known office supply chain on their Canadian affiliate program. I pushed for them to do a test with printable in-store coupons that were attributed back to the affiliate program. Once our weekend test was over, we saw great results not just in revenue but also in the category sales they were most interested in growing. This was a hit and one we tried to incorporate into our plans whenever we could.
This brings us to tip 3.5:
#3.5 New Partners are your friends!
In the same vein as being open to tests, being open to testing new things with specific partners could open up new avenues for your program. For example, if you are a retail brand that struggles to work with deal sites, try and understand why that is and how you can solve it. The solution might be as easy as providing a discount on an item that you have high margins on, to begin with. Or many, if you are a travel partner, the solution is to understand when your shoppers usually purchase their travel and to tailor messaging and promotional activities around those days. Your partners are your friends and want you to succeed as much as you want to.
With the above tips, you will be well on your way to a fresh affiliate program that’s ready to take on the world. However, if you need some more ideas on how to breathe some new life into your program, shoot us an email and we can help you get your program over the plateau!