When starting an affiliate program, one of the greatest challenges an advertiser faces is establishing a network of active affiliates. Building direct, organic relationships with affiliates can help jumpstart the reputation and quality of one’s affiliate program. Below are the reasons to invest in these important relationships from the get go.
Build trust: Affiliates are more inclined to do business with people whom they know and trust. Maintaining transparent and open lines of communication with your affiliates helps foster authentic, direct relationships. The stronger relationships are with your affiliates, the more inclined they will be to prioritize your offers. Openly sharing raw data logs, sending frequent emails outlining new and high performing offers, and consistent knowledge sharing are some examples of actions you can take to nurture this growth.
Incentivize and reward: In managing direct affiliate relationships, it is easy to identify the affiliates who are performing best and incentivize them with rewards and recognition. For those affiliates who drive high quality traffic consider incentivizing with compensation bonuses, higher payouts, or exclusive deals from the advertisers or networks they are working with.
Better quality, higher performance: Growing affiliate relations gives the advertiser more direct control over the traffic flowing to offers. Harnessing this control grants the power to keep affiliates aligned with the business and brand objectives. Quality, on-brand affiliates lead to higher conversion rates, which contributes to higher revenues.
Although the benefits of direct affiliate management are evident, gaining affiliates right away can be difficult, and a lack of traction out of the gate can be detrimental to a new affiliate program. In order to start off on the right foot, it’s important to understand the best methods of advertising to get the word out about the program.
Find affiliates: Attract affiliates by advertising your affiliate program through Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Yahoo!, etc. and be specific with the groups you target. For your first campaign, set a budget and put a portion of it towards promotion. Save the rest for when the results come in.
Make it simple for affiliates: Provide a description of your affiliate program that includes clear terms of service and a link to sign up on an easy-to-spot area of your website. Advertisers running affiliate programs will commonly have a prevalent link displaying something like: “Join our Affiliate Program”.
Familiarize yourself with the industry: Thoroughly research and immerse yourself in the performance marketing communities. Join affiliate forums and blogs, and build relationships with the top bloggers in your niche. Affbuzz is a great resource for finding blogs. Participate in industry events and conferences where you have the opportunity to meet other performance marketers face to face, hear industry leaders speak, and learn about the latest industry trends. A few of the conferences well-attended by industry leaders include the Affiliate Summit conferences around the world, London Affiliate Conference, Affiliate Summit London, Affiliate World Europe, Affiliate World Asia, LeadsCon, Affiliate Management Days, and Influencer Marketing Days.
Make your program public: Maximize your growth right away by making your program public, allowing affiliates to find your program through affiliates directories. Public programs allow any affiliate to apply and make it simple for affiliates to view program specifics, whereas private programs are hard to find and typically require an invitation by the advertiser. Submitting your program to directories makes it easy for anyone to apply if it’s public. To start, here’s a list of directories to submit your public program to. Once you have gained credibility, you can reconsider the idea of making your program private and become more selective about the affiliates you work with.
Utilize your search engines: Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and find out which websites and blogs they visit. You can accomplish this with search engines by entering the name of your product or service and using the search results as a list of potential areas to find affiliates to contact.