Our Guide to Maintaining Your Affiliate Marketing Program

Sep 9, 2021 | Ecommerce

You’ve taken the big step of creating an affiliate marketing program for your e-commerce business, but you're not done yet. Here are three of our top recommendations to make sure your affiliate program remains a success, year after year.

A picture of an affiliate marketing program

So you’ve established your affiliate marketing program, found a couple of the right publishers, and made some extra income – now what?

An affiliate marketing program needs to be maintained to reach its top potential. You need to make sure your publishers are accurately advertising your coupon codes or other deals, keep an eye out for new up and coming publishers, and review those publishers coming to you.

Investopedia perhaps best describes the harm that can come from a poorly maintained affiliate program. When your company partners with the wrong publisher or doesn't properly establish terms of the relationship, publishers can “game the system with fake activity to generate new commission payments or increase the amount of the payments.” Taking the right steps proactively can keep this additional stress from happening. 

How do I find the right affiliate publishers?

The Digital Marketing team here at Informatics is already well versed in affiliate marketing, and has written extensively on the topic. If you're new to affiliate marketing programs, you may want to start with this blog post, which breaks down the concept and explains how you can find the right publishers for your business niche.

How do I recruit new affiliate publishers?

The best way to recruit new partners is through the use of affiliate networks. Through a third-party source, you can choose the exact details you want in an affiliate publisher without having to scour the internet. A great example is CJ.com, which is what we frequently use here at Informatics.

Using a network like CJ can help you find publishers that best suit your brand’s niche and the ability to compete side-by-side with similar brands.

Through CJ’s Recruit Partners feature, you can go into granular detail to find affiliate gold amongst the sea of publishers. More specifically, you can do this by using CJ’s set filters. These filters are key when outlining the requirements you’re looking for in a publisher, but can also help you find ones you'd never even think of.  

Here are a few examples of filters available through CJ, and how they can help you establish your affiliate program requirements:

  • Promotional Models – What business model do you want to promote on?
  • Property Types – What platform do you want to promote on?
  • Publisher Location – What geographic location do you want to promote on?
  • Network Earnings – What size publisher do you want to promote on?

What is the best publisher application process?

Like recruiting, the best affiliate publisher application process is offered via affiliate networks. A key feature on CJ.com, for example, is Publisher Application Management. With this tool, potential publishers can come to you on your own program terms. You can see their classifications, network earnings, company location and more.

Reviewing applicants regularly is the easiest way to gain partners while also establishing the exact niche your brand belongs to. The key is to find a perfect balance between recruiting and filtering through applications. You not only want to review applicants, but also actively search for the best partners.

How do I avoid affiliate fraud?

Affiliate publishers sharing fake coupons or deals is one of the easiest ways to push a potential customer into the arms of a competitor. Often times, affiliate publishers will advertise a deal that’s too good to be true — that's likely because it is.

It’s understandable why they do it — they want to advertise the best deals in order to get buyers onto their site and to buy from your brands. That's a win-win situation, right? Well if their deals are fake, it does nothing but upset the potential customer and push them to move onto another brand.

On CJ.com, you can use the platform's Program Analysis feature to check into your publisher program and see who your top partners are. We recommend regularly checking on your top performing partners' platforms to make sure they're behaving, and occasionally (at least quarterly) checking on all your affiliate partners.

When reviewing a partner's platform, you should search for your own brand and cross-check their deals with your own, making sure they match up. If they don't match up, reach out to your designated publisher contact. From there, you can give the publisher a deadline to remove the fraudulent information, or let them know you might have to start withholding commissions. 

The Digital Marketing experts at Informatics are well versed in everything affiliate marketing and can help you kickstart your affiliate marketing goals. Contact us to find out how to make your affiliate marketing program a success!

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