With the new year brings new opportunity to better ourselves. We set resolutions to go to the gym, eat healthier and make/stick to a budget. But what about for our affiliate programs?
While advertisers work with their affiliate program managers to establish objectives, revenue goals and time-lines for the coming year, they often don’t set new intentions – resolutions, if you will – for their affiliate program.
To help you establish, and stick to, a few valuable resolutions in the coming year, I’ve outlined a few that I’ve established for the programs I help manage here at Acceleration Partners (AP).
1. Test at least 1 new opportunity each quarter
Testing out one new affiliate partner opportunity or one out-of-the-box idea every quarter should be doable, even for the busiest affiliate program. A couple of ideas to consider are:
- Pay-Per-Call: This strategy allows your publishers to promote your brand by getting customers to call you instead of visiting your website.
- Partnering with select affiliates on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis to drive high-value leads for your business. If you add this one to your resolutions list, be clear about your budget, be upfront with the publisher about what defines “success” for your program and ensure you always have an opt-out in case things don’t work out.
- Testing volume-based commissioning with a select group of motivated partners. With this option, test it for a limited time, set clear and realistic goals and carefully measure your results. This strategy can work great for campaigns focused on optimizing your partners.
- Creating co-branded landing pages with a few of your top-performing partners and measure how that affects conversion rates.
- Giving a top influencer (i.e. not a CPA partner) a coupon code and tracking that code’s performance with forced exclusivity rather than having them use affiliate links.
- Testing out new and different promotions such as a stackable promotion, BOGO’s or even Buy 2 Get 3 Free deals.
- Offering true exclusives with your trusted partners in exchange for additional exposure or placements. For example, offer your favorite deal site affiliate a “get an extra 10% off” coupon to promote (that isn’t available to any of their competitors) in exchange for a homepage or newsletter placement.
- Partnering with an affiliate on a limited trademark bidding (TM+) PPC campaign to push your competitors down the SERPS and take back more of your customers. This is a great strategy if you have competitors conquesting your trademarked keywords.
2. Expand your definition of who/what an affiliate is
We talk a lot about Performance Partnerships® here at AP. But what that is/means can vary from company to company. Back in the early days of affiliate marketing, most companies thought that affiliate marketing partners were only coupon, deal, loyalty sites and toolbars. But in today’s affiliate marketing landscape, a performance partner can be everything from mass media publishers, podcasters, and social media influencers to other brand-aligned companies, social media app businesses and even schools.
For example, we launched a new partnership program for one of our clients that included schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and other organizations that wanted to raise money for their cause. This arrangement allows these partners to set up their own online storefront to promote our client. The partner then uses the commission generated from their promotional efforts to help fund their cause. In 2018 we’ve seen 117 new orders worth over $25,000 from this partnership strategy alone.
The main takeaway is that expanding your view of who/what an affiliate is will serve your business and your affiliate program well and take it to new heights in the new year.
3. Improve your communication with partners
When it comes to any type of partnership, communication is important. But in affiliate marketing, it’s vital. A valuable resolution is to develop a new affiliate welcome email series with multiple touch-points to educate partners who are new to your program on your brand and motivate them to get started promoting your brand. Ideas include:
- Sending monthly performance stats to partners. This can help keep your program top-of-mind in their busy world.
- Providing your partners with engaging, educational content on topics that they would find valuable, such as “Increase your revenue with these tips and tricks.”
- Asking your new recruits if they need any help with tools or advice on the best placements. And encourage them to reach out to you for help or with questions.
- Providing educational resources to affiliates about the network your program is on. Sometimes affiliates aren’t familiar with the affiliate network or affiliate technology platform your program runs on. Provide them with links to educational resources along with quick tips for how to find the resources they need to be successful.
The year ahead will no doubt provide incredible new opportunities to elevate the affiliate marketing industry and connect even more partners together on a performance basis.
Stay ahead of the curve by reflecting on and establishing New Year’s resolutions that will take your affiliate program to the next level in 2019.
Questions about Acceleration Partners can help elevate your affiliate marketing strategy? Let’s chat!