Ways to improve your Affiliate Program
Do your Research
Affiliate Marketing is not a marketing channel that can be rushed, and therefore you must take the time to understand how it fits into your business, and your overall marketing strategy.
Know the intimate details of your Top 20 affiliate partners, and have the details of your program at your fingertips for current and potential affiliates.
This includes but is not limited to Conversion rates, popular products, successful links, and seasonal trends. Knowing the history of your program will also allow you to attract best of breed affiliates.
The Affiliate Community is tightly connected so you must understand how your business and your program are perceived. A poor affiliate program can have a negative impact on your brand but it is not too late to turn this around.
Check the search engines for your keywords to isolate how you are represented in the online marketplace.
Overall Program Strategy
Hiring an Outsourced Program Manager, will bring expertise and experience to your affiliate program, and allow your business to become instantly involved in the affiliate community.
Progam Managers (Performanceaffilaites.com.au) have a deep understanding of Online Marketing strategy so ensure you leverage this experience and allow these Professionals to critique your website
This will allow you to increase site conversion, which should be above 2%, to ensure you generate sufficient sales for your business and affiliates. A poor performing site
Pricing and Shipping Strategy
Understanding your positioning in the market will allow you to refine your affiliate marketing channel to achieve the best results.
All Marketing activities will have a strong call to action, and this is no different with your affiliate Marketing.
Strategies including Free shipping offers, Free gifts with purchases, Limited Time Discounts, and exclusive pricing and rebates are all effective ways of increasing sales and are well received by affiliates.
Know your Affiliates
Work together and learn from each other.
Simple gestures of offering VIP Commissions, contests, as well as having systems in place which congratulate Affiliates when they make a sale, will allow you to foster strong affiliate relationships.
Breaking down the barrier between Affiliates and Merchants is a strategy at the heart of all successful Programs. It is not good enough to simply leave your program on auto-pilot sitting on an Affiliate network.
Create a Community of Affiliates
The leaders in the Affiliate Marketing industry are beginning to develop interfaces where Affiliates can interact with each other as well as Merchants. These will include Full profiles, and information on affiliates, and merchants will be able to see when their affiliates are online and interact with them.
Think MySpace for affiliates, a social networking forum based, based on group interaction. Realising greater feedback from Affiliates allows you to better tailor your program and learn from each other.
Developing a micro site for your affiliate program is another strategy which will help your program. This should be one main interface allowing access to information and creative in a more organised form.
Your micro site should include the following:
• Affiliate Program Information
• Real time program data
• Price drop alerts
• Individual Product link builders
• Fading Coupons and Promotions
• Smart links to promotion and offers e.g. RSS feeds
• A built out Marketing Calendar so that your affiliates have clarity in terms of your strategy
Allow your Affiliates to bid on PPC Search Engines
Search is still the source for high volume, targeted traffic, especially for e-commerce offers.
As an inventory source, conversions from search still rank among the best of any online channel, yet making search work is not easy and is not getting easier.
Allowing your affiliates to bid on Search Engines allows them to bare the media risk, getting paid on a per action basis even when they pay per click.
Keep in mind that Affiliate Marketers are incredibly online savvy, and just like they were some of the first players to become involved in PPC bidding, they will be the first to embrace mobile search Technology.
This will be discussed in more detail later.