As unexpected circumstances affect economies across the globe, businesses are being unevenly disrupted for better or worse. As businesses instinctively try to maneuver within their industries by adapting and acclimatizing to uncertain challenges, budget cuts usually come to mind first, with marketing spend usually not far behind. Because of this, it has been a common occurrence for marketing teams to strategize new ways of working, but pausing your affiliate program is not the best way to go, and here’s why:
PERFORMANCE-BASED MARKETING MODEL
Affiliate marketing is built using a CPA (Cost Per Action) model. This gives you control and allows you to spend your budget wisely, so you’re only paying commission on confirmed sales. I could stop this article here, as that is as good a reason as any, but I’ll continue.
In addition to the perks of a CPA model, you’re able to manage and maximise your ROI (Return On Investment) by adjusting the commission offered to publishers. Although reductions to CPA rates are not best practise and can take up to 7 days to come into effect, a reduction by 2%, for example, helps keep the program’s momentum, unlike if the program is paused entirely.
BUILDING TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS
Affiliate relationships take a long time to develop and nurture. Not only does pausing your program stop a stream of revenue for an affiliate, but there is the added inconvenience of removing all the hard work they’ve put into uploading links, banners, and content. Continuing to work with your partners through difficult times establishes a sense of loyalty and builds trust. This in turn can result in a better relationship overall and potentially lead to more exclusive benefits and perhaps better exposure.
In addition to the above, once a publisher is re-activated in the program, it can be difficult to drive the same level of powerful performance. It can sometimes take longer than 6 months to return to the level of execution, causing long-term issues when strategizing and hitting targets.
CHANGES IN CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR
If an affiliate program pauses or stops completely, your once loyal audience is no longer exposed to your brand, which will cause changes to their buying patterns. Not only will this directly impact the consumers purchasing funnel, but they could jump ship and purchase through a competitor. Studies show that once a consumer has purchased through a competitor, they are less likely to return.
STEP FORWARD WHEN OTHERS STEP BACK
In uncertain times the market changes and competitors may take a step back offering lower cashback rates or choosing to work with fewer publishers. However, this changing landscape should inject adrenalin into your affiliate program, as affiliates that were once working with your competitors are now looking to fill those gaps in lost commission and offerings for their audience. Which in turn broadens your audience and enables you to reach a larger customer base.
Since COVID-19, shopping behaviour has changed and there has been a rise in consumers shopping for deals and offers online. By keeping your affiliate program active, you ensure that you are providing for consumers during difficult periods, again stepping up to the mark and reassuring them that you’re here and trying to help.
In an unearthed moving market, there is an opportunity for change. So, be the leader and pioneer the way within a malleable environment.
To learn more please feel free to reach out to the team. We are experts within the affiliate space and are here to help.