Affiliate marketing is not only about performance, but mostly about open communication between partners. There is always room for improvements in the affiliate program, but we have selected 5 of them, following discussions with some of our network’s top affiliates.
There are two types of users that seem to belong to different categories, even opposing ones. In fact, the two categories are on the same side. They both look for achieving the best results in the best conditions for everybody.
We talked with a few top affiliates in 2Performant and we asked them what would be the top improvements in the affiliate program that advertisers should consider.
This is what they told us:
1. The affiliate manager should understand not only affiliate marketing, but the platform’s features as well.
Unlike other more common advertising channels, affiliate marketing is not just a platform that runs some ads following certain algorithms. You don’t just click buttons here, you need to communicate with people. However, your common work tool is the platform that needs to be known by both sides and used to its full potential.
It is crucial that they understand what this affiliate marketing thing is about. They have to comprehend that you don’t just achieve results right away, but this is a long or medium term shot. It’s not enough to pay money to 2Performant, you have to persuade affiliates for real about their benefits of advertising their online store.
2. The advertiser should offer affiliates, or at least to its top affiliates details about their store: best selling products, target customer description, promotional deals.
You can’t promote something you know nothing about. You can’t build paid ads or even less write articles about something unknown. Affiliates should know which are the best selling products, what is their competitive advantage and who are the potential customers that might be interested in buying them.
They should give us info about sales (conversion rate for top selling products and top selling categories). Ideally, they should at least give this info to their top affiliates or to the ones they are trying to recruit.
3. The advertiser should communicate any possible issues with the website, stocks, but especially the tracking code.
In business, just as in life, trust is earned hard but can be lost really quickly. Affiliate marketing is a partnership based on mutual trust.
Any problems that might come up with the website can seriously affect the affiliate’s work and results and can bring serious damage to the trust an affiliate has in that particular program.
The tracking code is basically the affiliate marketing back bone, technically speaking. Any incorrect implementation or malfunction of this code means work done in vain that will never show up anywhere in the network report so it can never be commissioned.
It is essential that the advertiser looks out for the tracking code to work correctly. If, by any chance, I have a sleepless night and I catch him redhanded, that trust would be difficult to re-establish. No matter how much money we made together, the love is gone in a second…
4. The financial area should be carefully monitored, ensuring enough funds to avoid the program suspension.
In other words, just like with a mobile phone prepaid card – you don’t have credit, you can’t make or receive any calls. Your phone and card are useless.
But even if you fuel your account a week later, during all that time, your affiliates have been sending traffic nowhere.
The financial part is so important that I don’t even know how to explain it better. When the program is suspended, our links that we worked so hard for go out in the sky, ending up nowhere!
5. Affiliates should be approached differently and segmented depending on their results and their potential.
Not all affiliates are alike. Each affiliate program should take some time to have a deeper analysis of its affiliates, divide them into active and inactive and approach them in a separate manner.
First of all, the advertiser should try to discuss personally with its top affiliates in order to create a better connection and a trust based partnership.
Active affiliates should be monitored especially in order to find solutions to maximize their results. Affiliates that are sending traffic from an otherwise difficult source should also be in the spotlight and receive special attention.
Practical example: affiliate X is testing by sending an important number of clicks from a Facebook page and then stops for different resons (usually, not satisfied with the results). Check the stats and when you see that an affiliate sent you 500-1000 clicks and then stopped, give him a higher commission for 30 days, make him send even more. After that, think how much it would cost you to bring the same traffic or generate the same conversions from that traffic source. It is possible to realize that a higher commission on the long term may be completely justified for that traffic source.
This list can go on with other improvements in the affiliate program. Some of the most common are the ones regarding hiding the phone number for affiliate traffic or the commission processing time.
There is no success recipe to make that affiliate program rock and roll but there are a few main ingredients.
This type of insights you can get directly from your own affiliates. All you have to do is ask. The best approach in a an affiliate program is the one that makes the affiliates happy.
The main idea is that the affiliate program is about communication and mutual trust. An advertiser should also understand that affiliates spend a lot of time and money to bring those results. Even if they are paid for conversions, all their work and effort should be acknowledged and respected.
For other best preactices and tips, you might want to check Affiliate Management Cheat Sheet.