Communication is imperative for a successful affiliate marketing programme. It is important that regular communication is made with affiliates, especially key affiliates, not only to inform them about new products and promotions, but to also maintain good relationships.
Communications must be clear, concise and draw affiliate’s attention. Affiliates will receive lots of emails daily and therefore you need to ensure that your email or newsletter stands out from the rest. Be sure to include your brand and concisely detail what the communication is about in the subject line.
It is also essential that you communicate a clear opportunity for affiliates detailing the offer, the products, the saving, expiry dates etc, and that this is communicated in a way that affiliates can use. It is also important that this is communicated to affiliates in plenty of time for the offer to be used.
Although communication can be viewed as one of the most important tips for running a successful affiliate programme, it is important to find a happy medium. Remember not to over communicate and bombard affiliates with emails, as this will only annoy affiliates and be counterproductive.
2. Forward Planning
Planning is fundamental when running an affiliate programme. It is vital to gather information from all affiliate sources for all upcoming affiliate opportunities and match these with your marketing plan. This will enable you to secure exposure in advance for seasonal and planned promotions.
3. Build and maintain good relationships
Take the time and effort to build and maintain good relations with key affiliates and the network or networks you work with.
Ask for feedback and recognise that larger affiliate’s businesses may be just as large as your own and therefore have valuable insights, which can create a true partnership.
Remember that building relationships with both affiliates and networks will open up opportunities for your programme.
4. Have clear commercials
It is essential that all merchants have clear commercials for their affiliate programme and that these are clearly communicated to all affiliates. Commercials include the programme’s commission rates, PPC policy, cookie period and voucher code policy. Making sure that affiliates are clearly aware of all programme commercials will ensure that they know exactly what they will earn from promoting a campaign and also most importantly they know what they can and cannot do when promoting the merchant. This can ensure the programme is run smoothly and that it can be easily policed.
5. Continue to recruit new affiliates and seek new opportunities
During the early stages of launching an affiliate programme recruiting affiliates to your programme and setting up opportunities with affiliates will be a key activity when trying to build up your sales to create a stable campaign. However it is important to note that recruiting new affiliates and seeking new opportunities should not cease once the programme starts to generate a good level of sales. To maintain and grow the programme it is vital that you continue to seek out new opportunities and affiliates to enable the campaign to grow from strength to strength.
It is essential to understand that new affiliates are constantly becoming prominent in the affiliate marketing space, and best practice is constantly developing, therefore it is important not to miss out on these opportunities.
6. Validate Sales Quickly & Be Sales Vigilant
Be sure to keep you affiliates happy by validating pending sales quickly, ensuring affiliates receive their commission in a timely manner. Keeping affiliates happy encourages them to continue to promote your programme.
Keeping on top of validations also enables you to keep an eye on sales. It is vital to prevent fraudulent or refunded sales from auto-validating, as you wouldn’t want to award affiliates with commission for sales which were not genuine.
7. Update product feed and banners
Make sure that both your product feed and banners are up to date to ensure that affiliates are only using the most recent banners and products that you have currently stocked.
By not keeping your product feed up to date with all of your new and latest products you cause affiliates to promote products which you no longer stock, damaging conversion rates and sales.
Keeping your banners up to date maintains consistency with your website, eliminating the chances of affiliates displaying banners which advertise out of date promotions or products.
It is paramount to ensure that when creating banners, they are designed so that they attract customer attention and the message is consistent with your site with a strong call to action.
8. Tailor Communication
Communication has already been highlighted as a key point for a successful affiliate programme, however it is important to note that communications should be tailored to the type of affiliate you are communicating with. It is important to consider what information does the affiliate need to know.
Affiliates which are purely content based e.g. bloggers are most likely to require content which is newsworthy, while voucher code affiliates would be most interested in gaining strong codes they can promote to their users.
It is important to consider your targeted affiliate – what is important to them and what is likely to encourage them to work with you. This shows that you have done your research and consequently the affiliate is less likely to disregard promoting your products or promotions.
9. Incentives & Promotions
The use of incentives and promotions can be a key marketing tool to encourage affiliates to promote your programme.
Offering voucher codes either exclusively to one affiliate or to all affiliates via a generic voucher code can be a great way to incentivise customers to buy and therefore affiliates to promote. Voucher codes can also be used tacitly to encourage increased sales on certain brands, products or to increase customer basket value. Commission increases can also be given to affiliates to increase level of exposure for your programme.
In addition, incentives can also be a great method to increase sales and to also activate inactive affiliates on your programme. Incentives could reward affiliates through either cash or free gift prizes or even a commission bonus if targets are met. It is important to design your incentive to gain the most out of your programme.
10. Have a page dedicated to your affiliate programme on your website.
Be sure to have a page on your site dedicated to your affiliate programme, specifying all details regarding your programme, e.g. your commission rates, cookie period, product feed and banner details, plus details of how affiliates can go about joining your programme.