There are a lot of businesses out there investing in affiliate programs, and they’re probably enjoying a solid return… but there’s always room for improvement.
Unless you’re utilising the tools readily available then you may not be getting the most out of every dollar you spend, which is why you should consider using a dedicated affiliate platform.
There are a number of affiliate plugins available for WordPress, which take the hard work out of creating campaigns and managing them going forward. The most popular of which is Affiliate WP (www.affiliatewp.com) and there are plenty more, including Affiliates, Affiliates Manager, Auto Affiliate Links and Easy Affiliates Links.
Why should you have a digital affiliate program strategy?
The reason for developing and implementing a strategy for your affiliate program is to ensure you’re getting the best return on your investment. A strategy will help you identify who your markets are, what products/information they will be interested in and where else on the web they are likely to visit.
From this point you can determine who your ideal affiliates will be, which you can use to start growing an affiliate database.
How can you build an affiliate database?
The best way to build an effective affiliate database is to contact the site owners directly. Reach out to them via email or phone and discuss the opportunity for making some money from your ads.
The key is to look for non-sales based websites such as blogs and industry news sites that are related to your specific products and/or services. Bloggers in particular are usually just everyday writers who are passionate about a specific subject, so they’re generally open to receiving some income for their work.
Furthermore, you could look to social media for affiliate partnerships, particularly popular channels such as Facebook and Instagram. There are industry-specific social media accounts dedicated to almost everything these days, so it’s just a matter of finding the pages your customers are following and leverage them.
How much does affiliate marketing cost?
How much you spend on your campaign will depend on the arrangement you have with the affiliate – you can arrange to pay per click, per impression or in some cases, only when a direct sale has been made as a result of clicking on the ad.
If there is an incentive scheme worked out between the merchant and the affiliate, it could be a percentage of each sale (e.g. 10%) or a dollar value per order (e.g. $10). The best way to determine an appropriate figure is by looking at existing ad platforms such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads and see what they are offering businesses.
How do you manage affiliates?
Once you have developed a strong list of affiliates and agreed on the terms of your digital affiliate program strategy, you will need to manage them effectively. The best way to do this is to manage affiliates the same way you would manage your own sales team.
With the terms of your affiliate contract you should state in the conditions that each affiliate is required to reach certain KPIs in order to receive their share. This encourages the site owners to build their own assets and therefore generate more qualified traffic and leads.
This also means the affiliate must inform the merchant of any upcoming campaigns before they are launched, to ensure the advertising reflects the most relevant items.
Keeping the advertising fresh is important; otherwise the campaign will become stagnant and unnoticed. Similarly to updating creative you will also need to ensure your list of affiliates are fresh and “trending”.
Keep your ears and eyes open
You will need to keep an eye on your industry leaders, especially up-and-coming voices on social media – as they can literally appear overnight. Once you get in a rhythm, you should be able to identify prospective merchants and ensure you’re first to set up an affiliate partnership with them.
In saying that, wherever possible you need to leverage the fact that these social media authorities are popular for a reason, which means they know exactly what their audience (and your customers) are looking for.
Encourage your affiliate partners to recommend strategies and give you the feedback you need to grow your business as well – so everyone wins!
What comes next?
If you are serious about developing and implementing a digital affiliate program strategy then speak to the team at Digital Thing. We’ve worked with clients of all sizes and industries to help them gain the best value for money when it comes to affiliate marketing.
We can help you devise a strategy; including identifying potential partners and creating unique posts/ads that engage to your target markets. Let us take the hard work out of online advertising so you can focus on growing your business.
Contact us today for a quick chat. We’re always happy to sit down to review your online assets and understand what it is you want to achieve.