Modern consumers almost always check to see what family, friends, and peers say about a product or service before making a purchase. Because these personal recommendations and reviews from real people hold such weight, businesses worldwide are tapping into affiliate marketing.
Partnering with various content creators, influencers, entrepreneurs, and businesses to promote your products/services is an incredibly lucrative business move. Your affiliate partners get a commission from each sale or qualified lead, and you garner sales and earn customers seamlessly.
At the same time, affiliate marketing campaigns require tons of work, including finding suitable affiliate partners, creating content for the campaigns, and continuously growing your affiliate marketing program.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are seven actionable tips on how to make your affiliate marketing campaigns as successful as possible.
1. Determine If Affiliate Marketing is the Right Move for Your Business
Don’t choose affiliate marketing just because it’s growing in popularity. Affiliate marketing needs to make financial sense for your business. It should also make sense for your customers, marketing, sales, and overall business goals.
Sit down with your marketing team and have an in-depth conversation about how affiliate marketing fits your overall strategy. Discuss the pros and cons and ensure everyone’s voice is heard in the meeting.
2. Choose a Suitable Platform to Run Your Affiliate Program
Keeping track of your affiliates in a spreadsheet just won’t do. You need appropriate software to run your affiliate program. The platform you choose should have functions and features that help you efficiently manage your campaign, including fraud prevention and tools that allow you to manage all your affiliates in one place.
One essential function is data analytics. The software should have analytics tools that let you track the success of your campaign. If you can’t track how your campaigns are doing, you won’t know what’s working and what needs improvement.
Your affiliate platform can help you create goals for your campaigns, track your progress through specific KPIs, and continuously collect critical data that you can leverage to create a better experience and overall program.
3. Design a Simple Payment Structure and Process
How you track and pay commissions for sales or qualified leads should be easy for affiliates to understand and even easier for you to navigate. A complicated payment structure and process can turn off potential affiliates and contribute to a not-so-positive reputation.
To avoid this, be clear on how your affiliates get paid. For example, are they getting paid per sale, per lead, or per click? Then, determine the frequency of pay, if it will be via direct deposit or another method, and how you will send affiliates information regarding their payment and contributions.
4. Create a Detailed Vetting Process for Potential Affiliates
A detailed process for choosing affiliates can save you a lot of time, money, and effort in the long run. This is what you need to know about potential affiliates:
- Their personal and professional background
- Their online and offline presence
- What content they publish and how often
- If their personality will mesh with yours and your team’s
- If they’ve ever received any negative press
- Their familiarity with affiliate marketing
- If they’re open to interviewing with you
- Who their target audience is
- If they’re working with other brands
- If they’ve used your products before
When you decide to move forward with an affiliate, do so with a contract that details the terms of your partnership.
5. Draft an Affiliate Marketing Campaign Contract
Your website should already share information on your affiliate marketing program and provide the next steps for those who want to join. But when you and an affiliate agree to work with one another, it’s a good idea to have a contract in place.
Be as detailed as possible about the terms of your partnership. You can include:
- How long the partnership will last
- What they will be paid and when
- How you will go about choosing the products/services they promote
- The marketing channels and platforms they’ll use
- What activities, tasks, and actions they’re required to do
- Any legal and liability information
- Communication expectations
- The content that they will use and how that content will be created
Let’s look at this last bullet point in a bit more detail:
6. Work With Your Affiliates on the Marketing Content and Messaging They Will Use
It may not be the best approach to bring an affiliate on board and say, “Have at it!” Instead, work with them on the marketing content and messaging they’ll use and guide them on how to best market your products/services.
You can provide the content you want them to use yourself, or you can work with them to create original content for the campaign. You can even give them complete creative freedom in what content they use and how they distribute it. If you’re doing the latter, be sure you’re choosing affiliates capable of producing high-quality content and making smart marketing and distribution decisions.
For instance, if they’re creating and editing their own marketing videos for the campaign, you’ll probably be a bit more comfortable if they’re staying up-to-date on necessary video editing skills through video editing classes. If they’re not, you might even consider investing in those classes for them.
7. Designate a Team to Manage and Grow Your Affiliate Program
A solid team can help you manage business growth attributed to your successful affiliate marketing campaigns. They’ll know what’s causing growth in your campaigns and create strategies to duplicate these practices and scale your business.
A strong team dedicated to your affiliate marketing efforts can also grow your affiliate program in general. In addition, they can work on keeping your program alive and better the experience for your affiliates in the future.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, you get what you put in. In other words, your affiliate marketing program and campaigns will only be successful if you put in tremendous and consistent effort. Implementing the tips above can help you get on the road to finding excellent affiliate partners and deploying campaigns that move your business forward.