Chances are if you’ve ever used the internet for research, entertainment, or connecting with others, you’ve been exposed to affiliate marketing. After all, more than 80 percent of brands report using affiliate programs, from eCommerce giants like Walmart to the law office down the street. This valuable digital marketing strategy can help you scale, promote, and brand like a professional, all without draining your financial and human resources.
Not all affiliate marketing programs are created equal. The most successful ones are those are built on a solid foundation of research, strategy, and goal-setting. Here are some specific ways you can kickstart your affiliate program and see long-term success:
Do Some Research and Create a Strategy — Before you begin, do a bit of research on affiliate marketing and check out the programs of your competitors. While affiliate marketing is almost universally viable across industries and business models, it can help to have some examples of how it has worked in your vertical before you get started. Outline clear goals and answer the following questions:
- What goals do you want to reach with your affiliate program?
- What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you want to hit?
- In what time frame do you want to reach these goals?
- What’s your budget, both up-front and ongoing?
Invest in a Few High-Value Tools — Finding the right affiliate marketing software is step number one of a solid affiliate marketing plan. The fact of the matter is that even the biggest companies in the world are strapped for human resources, so tools that make everybody’s job a bit easier are crucial. Additionally, you want to think of your affiliate network as your strongest tool and be sure to take the time to research which affiliates are best for your brand.
Know the Current Best Practices — Like any type of advertising, the best practices of affiliate marketing routinely shift, adjusting to the needs of the market as they change. At its core, a solid affiliate program supports your company’s marketing goals while simultaneously being attractive to the affiliate and the consumer. You need to:
Make Your Offers Compelling — Do some research to figure out what offer and commission rate would entice affiliate reps. It may be enough to offer a free product, but make sure your offers are aligned with the competition and your vertical’s average. In other words, don’t expect to get something for nothing — reward your affiliates well, and you’ll see success.
Know That Data Is Everything — One of the biggest ways affiliate software like Refersion can help revolutionize your marketing is by providing you with detailed data and analytics. You must be able to monitor and rapidly adjust based on your KPIs. By the same token, be agile! Don’t get stuck in a rut because it’s easier than adapting.
Identify a Target Consumer — Affiliate marketing can go a really long way when you know exactly what type of consumer you want to target, right down to demographics like age, gender, education level, and income. Knowing this will help you partner with the perfect affiliates for your brand, but it will also help you with your marketing strategy as a whole.
Know the Desires of the Consumer — We have so much consumer behavior research at our fingertips in this day and age, and savvy businesses need to use it to leverage successful campaigns. We know that consumers value transparency and authenticity more than ever (hence why affiliate marketing is often more appealing than the typical pay-per-click model) and that they prefer to use their smartphones to browse the web, among many other insights. One of the worst things you can do when strategizing any sort of marketing campaign is to ignore what consumers want.
A Good Plan Equals Exceeded KPIs
To reach your affiliate marketing ambitions, you need to go into things with a clear strategy, measurable goals, and strong affiliate marketing software to help you track your progress. Refersion can help you build your strategy from the ground up and keep it going at full speed for wins well into the future!