October 2, 2012
Most companies have some sort of affiliate program in order to take advantage of what others can offer customers, but it can be tough to manage all of these different partners. You have your own customer service to perfect, your own marketing campaigns to run, and an entire staff to keep in order, so it’s no secret that the easier the affiliate partnerships the better. Still, it’s important that you get this management right. According to an EConsultancy affiliate report, 30 percent of affiliates are now sending at least 20,000 visitors a month to a merchant’s website.
Although it may seem overwhelming at first, there are fortunately quite a few different tips that will help you run a successful affiliate program.
Tips and Tricks to Running a Successful and Stress-Free Affiliate Program
Despite the idea that you have a lot of things to worry about when it comes to running a business, you should be putting a great deal of focus on your affiliate program. Management can be difficult, but the results generally far outweigh the amount of work that is put into a program. Below are five tips to help make sure you manage your affiliate program successfully:
Most people think of an affiliate program as something that affiliates have to control. While they do have their responsibilities, part of managing a program is training those involved. Make sure that you are researching the best techniques when it comes to affiliate programming, and relay this information to those working with you. Furthermore, it is important that you’re continually holding training programs. If something about your business changes, they need to know. Hold regular meetings to keep up with those you’re working with. Make sure you let your affiliates know how they can help themselves—give them some motivation.
Part of managing an affiliate program is understanding what they are doing. Make sure that you are constantly testing to determine where your traffic is coming from (on every single effort, not just affiliate marketing). In many cases, your affiliate will be able to give you these numbers, or you can use performance advertising software. Once you know what’s working, you can explain to your affiliates that they can bet more commission if they use these certain tactics. It’s a win-win for all.
Affiliates are often pleased when you have a long-term plan that they can trust will bring them long-term results. It can be tough to make this happen (especially depending on your industry), but it’s worth it to do a bit of research and estimation for the future. Although you shouldn’t promise your affiliates anything, let them know what your long-term goals are and make sure they know that you have a vision for the future.
Affiliates like to see choices, and the way a banner ad looks is one of the things that will draw in affiliates. In terms of management, it’s important that you’re managing an in-house team that can react to any changes in the industry. Part of keeping your affiliates happy is having the resources to change an ad when you both see fit.
Part of managing a program is making sure that your affiliates feel confident that your product or service is worth promoting. However, it can be difficult to determine the exact right amount of commission you should offer. Therefore, it’s often best to different rates to different affiliates—make it based on performance. If you sell a certain number of products, you will get this amount of commission. It keeps it fair.
Overall, managing an affiliate program is much like managing any type of project—you want to always be in constant contact and keep your affiliates informed.
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