Successful Affiliate Marketing: What do Affiliates really want?
Having your own affiliate program can seem like a fast and easy way to boost your business, as having an army of commission only salespeople is obviously music to most business owner’s ears.
And rightly so, as an effective affiliate program can quickly, cost effectively and dramatically grow your business, probably better than any other method.
However, it takes expertise, hard work and most importantly the right offering to make an affiliate program truly work.
You can’t just provide your affiliate with a few links, then sit back and enjoy the deafening sound of cash registers ringing. The key to success lies in the support and resources you offer your affiliates, whatever level they are currently at.
Forrester Research shows that the average Affiliate program has about 10,000 Affiliates, but only 10-20 % of the affiliates actually participate or promote the program.
So why do so few affiliates that sign up actually promote the product? Why the huge disconnect?
Simple. Most Advertisers don’t provide their Affiliates with the help, support and resources they need to promote their products. So they sign up, look for resources and when they don’t find any, their excitement and motivation evaporates and off they go to find a program which gives them what they need.
Successful affiliate programs have one thing in common . . . they realise the value of the affiliate and put them first.
This includes providing competitive commission rates, extra incentives for top performers, instant and on-going contact/support for all and ready made effective resources. (More on this below)
Make them feel appreciated, encourage open feedback and give them the sense of working with you, rather than for you and you’ll reap the rewards.
Get closer than ever to your customers, So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves – Steve jobs
Everyone wants the ‘super affiliates’ promoting their products, sending server melting targeted traffic for regular huge paydays. Unfortunately, super affiliates demand super service, so a half-hearted program simply won’t cut the mustard.
Get it right however and you’ll not only attract the big players like bees to honey, you’ll also begin to nurture other new but keen affiliates, who could become your very own ‘home grown’ super affiliates.
The difference a little thought and effort can make to your program can completely transform your results and bottom line, so it’s well worth taking this seriously.
If you’re new to this and you want to make sure your program is a roaring success, or your current affiliate program is stuck in the mud . . .
Here are our 6 top features, switched on affiliates expect in a quality affiliate program:
1: Communication Leads to Community
The best way to keep top Affiliates loyal is to maintain a good relationship with them. Not just while they’re signing up, but ongoing.
For starters, it’s essential you offer a dedicated point of contact for affiliates and respond quickly. Don’t make them wait for answers and lose trust or you’ll lose them.
As many Affiliates sign up but then get side-tracked and never get around to promoting, (remember the disconnect?) you should also send regular emails to keep them engaged, ensure they’re on track AND to show your program is active.
As they move forward, you can’t presume they are up to date with your offers and new resources, so keep them informed of any program news.
Finally, a sense of community and open communication with Vendors can really build loyalty, so although this goes against the usual school of affiliate program thought, give them what they want. The long term rewards can be huge.
ClickSure believes in the power of communication, so unlike traditional networks, we allow Advertisers and Affiliates to communicate directly with each other using our in-house Messenger Service. It’s extremely rare but we believe open communication fosters trust, saves a ton of time when setting up campaigns and offers outstanding efficiency.
As Affiliate marketing is becoming more and more competitive in the marketing industry, data-analysis has become a crucial factor for Affiliates. Marketing methods need in-depth evaluation in order for Affiliates to gauge their success and test and improve, to generate the best return on their investments.
Although there may be many individual reporting platforms available out there, the majority of Affiliate programs are now offering proprietary reporting and tracking technologies, in order to provide their Affiliates the opportunity to enhance their performance based on their sales analytics.
Obviously, you’ll be more successful if you also show affiliates how to use this technology effectively. Many veterans will be familiar with it, but be specific to yours and don’t forget, your new affiliates may have never seen this kind of resource before. Without help, it can seem overwhelming and become another reason for the 80% disconnect.
Affiliates also need reassurance that their marketing efforts are working and providing all the relevant sales data on their profile obviously helps that too.
So don’t even think of building your affiliate program without this essential resource. No-one wants to run their promo campaigns in the dark.
3: Competitive commissions and fast payouts
As an Advertiser, you need to work directly with your Affiliates to create a payment model that best fits your business.
99% of affiliates are in it for the money. So the higher the payout the more chance you have of attracting affiliates to your offer. On top of that most super affiliates spend a lot of money buying advertising, so the faster you can make payments to them, the better their cash-flow and the lower the risk for the affiliate.
Less risk means they are more likely to push your offers over affiliate programs offering inferior payment terms.
Take some time to research into what other Affiliate programs are offering in commissions. This would give you a better indication of the competition and also what payment terms you should offer to stay competitive.
You have to try to get the balance right. See what others are paying as a starting point, but keep your payments really competitive, as it’s the most important thing to the majority of affiliates. The only exception is when your offer converts much better than your competitors, but remember your affiliates still have to pay for traffic, so keep those payout rates attractive.
Don’t go too far the other way and go overboard with the payments though, thinking you’ll clean up. If you don’t get your numbers right you could get an avalanche of sales you’ll end up making a loss on.
Keep in mind, however, it’s no coincidence that some of the best performing Affiliate Programs within the ClickSure marketplace offer the fastest payout terms, with most offering weekly payouts and some also offer private payouts for super affiliates.
It also makes sense to pay your affiliates well and as quickly as possible, because the payments could well be funding the next wave of traffic they send to your product.
4: The Art of Affiliate Incentives
One of the most popular methods to generate attraction is by offering affiliates a competition with a cash prize as a reward. These are especially popular during the festive season such as Christmas, as Affiliates are looking to earn quick cash around that time.
It’s also a good incentive for Affiliates to promote your offer. You may also attract top Affiliates with generous competitions to give yourself a competitive advantage in the Marketplace amongst all the other product owners.
Cash is obviously one of the most popular incentives. However, co-branded gifts can also work very well and still give you the opportunity of attracting additional business.
For example, run a ‘Win an iPad’ incentive but then brand the iPad so wherever the affiliate takes it your brand is on show.
You could also combine training events with incentives…
For example, win a trip to “office location” and “3 days intensive training with our marketing team”. This helps build relationships, gives your affiliate additional insights on how to drive business to your products and if you feature the winners experience in a video or post, you can also use it as a promotional opportunity for your next incentive.
Another effective way to incentivise Affiliates is to offer them a ‘money-can’t-buy’ reward. This can include VIP tickets to sold out events, sporting fixtures or even gifts and experiences.
There are many different options you can choose to reward your Affiliate from instant cash rewards to generous private commissions.
Test to find out which works best for you and how much you can offer to encourage affiliates to sign up.
5: In-depth product information
Always offer as much information as you can about your product as it would help Affiliates to understand the product better, in order to pre-sell and advertise to their traffic.
Affiliates are looking for products and services that match the content on the site, so the more information you give, the better judgment they can make as to whether the product is suitable for them or not.
Provide affiliates with as much information as possible so they have more knowledge to help pre-sell your products. Also, showing them the best ways to sell and where to generate sales, is important for keeping your affiliate marketing strategy aligned to your goals and product branding. For
For example, if someone has a Luxurious Skin Cream for Women, you don’t necessarily want affiliates targeting men with the product, unless it’s promoted as a gift idea for their partners or loved ones.
The more info you can supply, the better your affiliates can perform, so . . .
- Give affiliates free samples, free demos or walkthroughs of the product/service.
- Provide affiliates info on best traffic sources, customer demographics, best practices for promoting the product etc.
- Send regular email newsletters to your affiliates, including tailored news of any new products you are launching.
Lastly, always keep your content fresh and remember to update and changes to the product as soon as possible.
6: What marketing materials should you provide?
Affiliates do not want to develop their own primary marketing materials. And why should they? They are promoting for you and increasing your ‘hands off’ sales, so give them the help they need.
Supplying your affiliates with free marketing material such as landing pages, banners, images email swipes etc. is a must.
Also important, if you want affiliates to use a great product image to show your product in the best light then provide them with images they can use. You do not want them cutting and pasting shady looking images that don’t show your product in all its glory.
Yes, it will take you time to create these resources, but it’s an investment, not a cost. By supplying a range of high-quality resources, your affiliates can hit the ground running and make an impact quickly.
- Keep your marketing materials simple as some Affiliates may be reluctant to use large images/ banner as it may affect the site load time.
It’s also better if YOU control the branding, quality and ‘voice’ of these resources, as some affiliates may get frustrated, create their own inferior examples and give the wrong message out regarding your brand.
Also, you are saving affiliates the time spent developing these materials themselves and instead they can focus on promoting your products straight away.
A Final Note . . .
Developing your own affiliate program can grow your business faster than you ever thought possible, however, it can be hard work and time-consuming.
ClickSure offers a fast, simple and effective alternative for launching your own affiliate program. With our cutting-edge self-service platform, you can quickly create and completely control your own program and gain access to the 460,000 affiliates in our marketplace.
Just remember, whether you choose to go it alone or use an established solution like ClickSure, always cherish your affiliates. Treat them well, help and educate them, provide great resources and most importantly, pay them on time, every time and they’ll help you build your business quickly.
If you’d like to take the shortcut and see how easy it is to build your affiliate program the right way with ClickSure, then click on the button below!