After a decade of working in traditional marketing roles, I’ve learned a few things since making the leap into the affiliate world. While there is a great deal of overlap between the two, affiliate marketing is unique because it’s essentially a network of partners helping to build your brand and generate revenue.
This additional help can assist you in creating more brand awareness, procuring new clients or customers, and more. Another benefit to having affiliate marketing be a part of your traditional marketing strategy is its ability to effectively market a new product/feature/service with low risk and high return.
While it might seem like a no-brainer to start an affiliate program for your brand, not all programs are created equal (and not all are successful). For one, opening a program and accepting affiliate partners into it is not going to cut it or set you up for long-term success. Getting it right, right out of the gate will build true, beneficial partnerships and help both your program and business grow successfully.
To assist, here are the top 10 tips I’ve learned for launching a successful affiliate program:
1. Identify Your Goals
Determine and clearly communicate the goals for your affiliate program. This will help everyone involved to understand what is expected of them so they can build a strategy for success. It seems so obvious, but so often in marketing, we do things without clearly understanding why we are doing it.
2. Define the Structure of Your Program
The structure of a program is almost as important as its goals. Each affiliate program slightly differs from the other so designing a structure will make its goals attainable. Define exactly what a sale or lead is and what a partner will earn and communicate the structure of the program clearly.
3. Define the Audience
Knowing who the target audience is will help recruit the right partners. Different partners speak to audiences at various points through the buying journey; therefore, you’ll want to target the right partners by knowing exactly who you want to connect with.
4. Choose the Right Network
Some networks work for some businesses and not for others. A business’ size and vertical can determine which network is best suited for them. Selecting the wrong network can be detrimental to a program’s success if fees are too high, it attracts the wrong partners, and/or its capabilities don’t line up with your program’s goals.
5. Commit to Success
Building a successful program isn’t for commitment-phobes. Finding partners, developing relationships, and generating content take time — be patient and remember that success in the affiliate channel might be slower than others.
6. Be Open to Different Partners
There are lots of different partner types. A strong program is made up of diverse partners who use a variety of tactics. Be open to testing different partners in order to achieve optimal results.
7. Be Prepared for the Unforeseen
There are always unforeseen problems in affiliate marketing so allow flexibility in your plan. Technical hiccups, dissolved partnerships, or issues with commission rates are potential possibilities in any program, but if you make strategic considerations your program can still thrive regardless.
8. Develop Resources
Make it easy for partners to succeed by providing a variety of resources. Banners, text links, copy, and infographics are some content types that make it easy for partners to do their job.
9. Develop Relationships
Connecting with your partners to find new ways to work together or to just stay top of mind is an important strategy. Partners are much more likely to work with brands that reach out to them. Therefore, I would say that supporting partners by building individual relationships is the secret to a successful program.
10. Gather Feedback
Listen to what your partners have to say. Understanding what works well and what needs improvement helps refine a program and leads to even greater success.
If an affiliate program sounds like the next step for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. All Inclusive Marketing is a full-service affiliate agency that can help you launch and manage your program for its utmost success. If you’ve already started a program and it’s not working out so far, we can help with that too.
Contact us to talk to an expert today and take your marketing to the next level with an affiliate program that’s built for success.