Affiliate Marketing

Five Factors To Consider When Launching An Affiliate Program

Five Factors To Consider When Launching An Affiliate Program
Written by publishing team

Affiliate marketing is not new. In fact, this practice dates back several decades and is still widely used by marketers today. Affiliate marketing boils down to one thing: collaboration. A relationship is created between the brand and relevant partners, and the partners are motivated to spread the word. Tracking mechanisms are implemented for all sales generated, and affiliate partners are rewarded with commissions. It is a win.

Affiliate marketing is still prevalent today and it has become seamless for brands of all sizes to profit from it with great success. Here are several reasons why this tactic might be beneficial to your marketing strategy, along with some factors to consider.

quick return

The affiliate program statistics are compelling. Many of the brands I endorse see around 20% of their e-commerce revenue coming from affiliate marketing, just months after launching their programs. This quick return can be compelling to marketers when considering the cost and time for search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, and email marketing strategies.

Given the speed with which affiliate programs can grow, it is a good idea to start slowly. Consider setting up partners in small-sized groups to ensure inventory levels can be accommodated and fulfillment teams are ready.

performance-based model

Affiliate programs are low risk because of the performance-based pay-as-you-sell model. I find affiliate commission percentages also achievable, often anywhere from 10-20% per sale, for example, depending on the type of product and industry. Two clothing brands I support offer a healthy and attractive 20% commission for all vetted affiliates.

Additional costs to consider are promotions, such as free shipping or discount coupons that affiliate partners can share with their communities to attract referral sales. Finally, depending on your brand, you should also consider product sample and shipping costs to generate excitement and fluency with your product among affiliate partners. This direct product usage experience forms the backbone that the storytelling affiliates will do for you.

Setup, implementation and built-in features

In today’s Shopify era, setting up an affiliate program can be as simple as choosing an app and adding it to your store. Most of the affiliate apps cost minimal per month, yet still offer a bunch of important built-in features. Look for the following basics when choosing the right app or platform for your brand.

• A custom branded affiliate portal that allows affiliate marketers to create referral links, rename coupon codes, check all sales generated, and link payment methods for easy commission receipt.

• Look for flexible per product or commission per affiliate configurations, which are important for brands with groups that have varying margins. You will need the ability to regulate affiliate commissions sitewide or on a per-product basis, or exclude specific products entirely if necessary. This has proven to be important in my experience, as margins can vary greatly depending on the product category. In some circumstances, it was necessary to exclude products or set up a range of commissions across a variety.

• Mobile-ready convenience is a must-have, so affiliate referral sales can be tracked wherever they happen – on mobile or desktop.

• Multiple tracking methods and real-time tracking are key considerations too, as you’ll want to be able to track affiliate conversions via both referral links and coupon codes right away.

• Easy to share links without saying, you want affiliates to be able to easily share their links and coupon codes via social campaigns, email campaigns and blog posts.

User Generated Content

In my opinion, one of the strongest reasons and biggest benefits of launching an affiliate program has to do with user-generated content. Today’s consumers are increasingly influenced by unbranded stories and posts from real users. These third party endorsements generate a level of trust and credibility, which is difficult to achieve over branded communications.

Encouraging affiliate marketers to publish unofficial original stories with their created assets that showcase your products in use versus relying solely on brand-provided assets can produce powerful results. The suggested publishing pace along with some solid examples from existing affiliates can help set clear expectations and spark ideas for newly signed affiliate collaborators. This information can easily be woven into customizable affiliate registration forms.

Affiliate Examination: Regulation is the Key

While the wider the affiliate partner base, the wider the potential visibility for your brand, organization is critical. In order to ensure that your affiliate base will generate high quality and relevant referrals, it is best to turn off the automatic approval functions offered by most affiliate applications.

Take the time to research every affiliate website and social platform. Better yet, when possible given your team’s bandwidth, make introductory calls. Although this level of regulation is time consuming and tedious, it will eventually lead to more fruitful partnerships and mitigate risks such as reduced quality of traffic and fraud by affiliates.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to achieve visibility and sales, regardless of the company’s size and budget. When implemented purposefully, the results are beneficial to all parties: the brand, the affiliate partner and the end consumer. Your brand can benefit from an affordable way to initiate sales and build online interaction from third-party advocates. Affiliate collaborators enjoy product testing and storytelling of their existing community base, which eventually turns out to be healthy commissions. The end consumer benefits from direct product experience gleaned from the affiliate, along with promotions.

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publishing team