Affiliate marketing is a business arrangement where a retailer signs up influential individuals or companies to market their products. Those affiliate partners then receive a sales commission.
Affiliate marketing has been rising in popularity over the last few years and it is no mystery why. Successfully developed affiliate programs can generate 15-30% of an advertiser’s online sales. (AM Navigator). But what makes a program successful?
Aristotle proposed that excellence is not an act but a habit. Take these five actions and turn them into habits to achieve success in your affiliate advertising program:
1. Set Measurable Goals
Without a clear objective you cannot determine if your program is truly successful. It is not enough to say that you want to increase sales, you need to know what factors will grow a sustainable and profitable program. Every market has seasonal ebbs and flows, but a good program will take advantage of each season to set measurable revenue, profitability, and performance goals throughout the year. Each goal should have one or more trackable Key Performance Indicators:
- Revenue Goals: Year Over Year Sales Growth
- Profitability: Return on Ad Spend and Profit Margins
- Performance Goals: Number of Active Publishers
2. Test and Analyze Performance
The goals above will carve a path for success, but then you have to actually walk it. Plans are an essential tool, but these goals will require continual testing. New tactics will have to be implemented to activate publishers, offer types will be tested, and you may even need to test new program terms. Each test should be analyzed for both program performance and publisher-specific performance. As a best practice, make sure that you integrate your internal data with data from any Networking Platforms that you use.
3. Recruit Rising Stars
The only constant in life is change, and this holds true in the world of affiliate marketing. Your program will alter each month and each year. Publishers rise and fall on the performance charts and your top 10 this year will not be the same next year. Always be on the lookout for new publishers that you can recruit both inside and outside your Networking Platform. As your program grows in strength, top-performing publishers will begin to seek you out too!
4. Refresh Offers and Creatives
Never let your program get stale! If you have a large product catalog it can be easy to set up new sales offers every week, but that isn’t enough. Refresh your program creatives on a regular basis. Keep your customers coming back to see if there is a new free shipping offer, exclusive coupons, or discounted products. This will also keep your publishers coming back with new offers and help build a strong affiliate relationship.
5. Build Relationships
A successful affiliate program is essentially a large network of business associates. Take every opportunity that you can to touch base, just as you would with an important offline business associate. You can rely on email for regular updates, but when you make it a point to pick up the phone and call, you will be rewarded with information about the affiliate publisher’s company and culture, knowledge that can only come from conversation.
Keep in mind that habits are developed over time and so are successful affiliate programs. Results will come with persistence. If you are interested in more information on affiliate program management, contact Informatics.