Sales & Marketing

Top 10 tips for affiliate marketing

5 min read

02 September 2013

An easy to follow guide in order to help relevant business owners discover potential advantages of investing in an affiliate marketing programme.

When Optimus Performance Marketing (OPM)  carried out a study into the awareness and perception of affiliate marketing, they weren’t surprised at the apparent lack of knowledge on the subject. Only 34 per cent of UK business owners were able to accurately describe what affiliate marketing was, while 72 per cent acknowledged they should invest more time learning about affiliate marketing.

As a result, OPM collated a document that puts forward tips to consider when investing in affiliate marketing.

Here are the top ten:

1. Communication

Communication is imperative for a successful affiliate marketing programme. It is important that regular communication is made with affiliates, especially key affiliates, not only to inform them about new products and promotions, but to also maintain good relationships.

2. Forward planning

Planning is fundamental when running an affiliate programme. It is vital to gather information from all affiliate sources for all upcoming affiliate opportunities and match these with your marketing plan.

3. Build and maintain good relationships

Take the time and effort to build and maintain good relations with key affiliates and the network or networks you work with. Ask for feedback and recognise that larger affiliate’s businesses may be just as large as your own and therefore have valuable insights, which can create a true partnership.

4. Have clear commercials

It is essential that all merchants have clear commercials for their affiliate programme and that these are clearly communicated to all affiliates. Commercials include the programme’s commission rates, PPC policy, cookie period and voucher code policy.

5. Continue to recruit new affiliates and seek new opportunities

During the early stages of launching an affiliate programme recruiting affiliates to your programme and setting up opportunities with affiliates will be a key activity when trying to build up your sales to create a stable campaign. It is important to note, however, that recruiting new affiliates and seeking new opportunities should not cease once the programme starts to generate a good level of sales.

6. Validate sales quickly and be sales vigilant 

Be sure to keep your affiliates happy by validating pending sales quickly and ensuring affiliates receive their commission in a timely manner. Keeping affiliates happy encourages them to continue to promote your programme.

Keeping on top of validations also enables you to keep an eye on sales. It is vital to prevent fraudulent or refunded sales from auto-validating, as you wouldn’t want to award affiliates with commission for sales which were not genuine.

7. Update product feed and banners

Make sure that both your product feed and banners are up to date to ensure that affiliates are only using the most recent banners and products that you have currently stocked.

8. Tailor communication  

Communication has already been highlighted as a key point for a successful affiliate programme, however it is important to note that communications should be tailored to the type of affiliate you are communicating with. It is important to consider what information the affiliate needs to know.

9. Incentives and promotions

The use of incentives and promotions can be a key marketing tool to encourage affiliates to promote your programme.   

Offering voucher codes either exclusively to one affiliate or to all affiliates via a generic voucher code can be a great way to incentivise customers to buy and, therefore, affiliates to promote. Voucher codes can also be used tacitly to encourage increased sales on certain brands, products or to increase customer basket value. Commission increases can also be given to affiliates to increase level of exposure for your programme.  

In addition, incentives can also be a great method to increase sales and to also activate inactive affiliates on your programme. Incentives could reward affiliates through either cash or free gift prizes or even a commission bonus if targets are met. It is important to design your incentive to gain the most out of your programme.

10. Have a page dedicated to your affiliate programme on your website

Be sure to have a page on your site dedicated to your affiliate programme, specifying all details regarding your programme, e.g. your commission rates, cookie period, product feed and banner details, plus details of how affiliates can go about joining your programme.