Online Affiliate Programs are campaigns that compensate third party publishers for defined actions such as generating sales or leads. Affiliate Programs can be one of the cheapest and most powerful marketing campaigns for online retailers. Affiliate campaigns increase awareness, reach, and sales on a pay-per-performance basis. In creating an affiliate marketing campaign there are generally speaking two different routes you can go.
There are a number of large publisher marketing networks that can help you implement an affiliate program quickly. They are equipped with tracking technology, communication tools, advertising widgets, and the end all be all relationships with online marketing affiliates that use their technology. The alternative is that you can start from scratch and create your own organic affiliate program. This path will lead you to lease or buy tracking technology and organically reach out to build relationships outside of the networks. Going with one of the established networks will help see more immediate traction and long term growth, however the networks will usually take a transaction fee and a licensing fee. The do-it-yourself model will be more profitable but will take much longer and consistent attention to creating these brand new relationships.
Other than just growing sales, additional benefits of running an affiliate marketing program are growing social awareness, helping with search engine placement, igniting engagement, increasing exposure, providing credibility, and creating a brand. To aid in understanding more about affiliate marketing programs, I’ve put together a short Q&A that should help assist readers in “qualifying” themselves.
Q: Are You a Candidate for a Successful Affiliate Marketing Campaign?
A: Before investing company dollars into this amazing marketing technology and ideal pay-per-performance model, you must pre-qualify yourself so that success is a guarantee. Once you have determined that your program is a good fit for an affiliate program, you will need to define the program. What are the terms and conditions? What are the incentives and commissions? How much can you afford to pay per sale or conversion and what’s an adequate incentive? Can you afford to pay a 5 percent commission on sales? What about 10 percent? Your offer should be compelling for you and your affiliate partner. Are there tiers or opportunity for upward mobility? What do your prospective affiliates look like?
Q: Do You Sell Something or Collect Data that Can be Clearly Defined as an Action?
A: Affiliate programs need to compensate publishers in a professional manner and have a clear-cut action or goal completion. The action can be a sale, a lead, an email address, a zip code submit, a video watched, a coupon printed, a like on Facebook or anything else that can be defined as an action
Q: Who Will Manage the Campaign?
A: There will need to be someone who is qualified in Internet marketing and relationship building to handle your affiliate marketing efforts. An affiliate manager or management company is responsible for negotiating placement, creating high converting ads, creating holiday promotions, value propositions, policing the advertiser’s brand, and assisting in all affiliate’s needs.
Other Affiliate Management responsibilities include:
- Identifying and recruiting new affiliates
- Maintaining stimulating relationships with the current affiliates
- Developing and monitoring affiliate promotions
- Reporting for affiliate marketing promotions and activity
- Maintaining on-going communication campaigns
- Identifying and implementing other opportunities to enhance the affiliate program
- Keeping affiliates up to date on new products and any program enhancements
- Continually motivating affiliates to perform better
- Keeping track of affiliate sales and paying affiliates in a timely manner
- Monitoring and reporting on competitors’ affiliate campaigns and promotions.
Many times advertisers will hire or outsource their affiliate management to professional firms or Internet advertising agencies. There are arguments for both sides but I’m very partial to letting the affiliate managers and management companies who have the relationships and the experience handle the very niche business. Today’s Business has built out a stellar division of affiliate management experts with experience in all fields of online marketing to fuel every successful branch of a successful affiliate program.