It is estimated that affiliate marketing generated more than £5bn revenue in the UK last year (Source: Econsultancy), and this shows no signs of slowing down. A successful affiliate program will increase sales and revenue and at a Cost Per Action (CPA) level you have full control over, unlike Google AdWords or banners.
This articles is focused on how to successfully launch your new affiliate program, it is not a technical guide to setting up software etc. So, for the purposes of this post I am going to presume you have already decided affiliate marketing is for you, the software is in place for your internal program or you have signed up to a network and you already know how much commission you will be paying. Let’s get started…
Inform your customer base about the program
Your existing customers are obviously happy with your services and some may even already recommend you to other people. This means they are a great place to start recruiting affiliates. Send a newsletter to them announcing the launch, how much they can earn and how to get started.
Get on to the network newsletter
If you have chosen to launch on an affiliate network such as www.cj.com (we have ours with them) or www.affiliatewindow.com make sure your account manager includes you in the regular affiliate newsletter they send out to the affiliate base.
Advertise the program on your website
Most companies link to an over view page with a sign up link from their home page, and I’d recommend you do the same. This will raise awareness and increase sign-ups.
Launch with a special offer
If you are launching in to an established market you need to give affiliates a reason to make the effort to replace another merchant with you A launch offer is a great way to incentivise affiliates to add you to their website and to generate some buzz. Some ideas include 50% extra for commission for the first month or a chance to win a great prize if they send over X sales in a month.
Contact sites directly about signing up
Every industry has a set of established affiliates who send large amounts of traffic and sales to merchants, as well as a series of smaller more niche focused players. Few have any loyalty to a merchant, their primary interest is who is the most likely to send the most commission. Get in touch with them and pitch your program accordingly. Offer to create bespoke copy, creative, deals and in the case of the big players even preferential commission rates.
Create ready made marketing collateral
Banners and text links are a given, but you should always be looking to go that extra mile. Examples include sending over ready made web copy for affiliates to copy and paste in to their website and email templates advertising your services they can easily send to their subscriber base.
Affiliate often use affiliate directories to search for programs to apply to. Make sure you are there to be found. You can find a list of directories here: https://www.amnavigator.com/blog/2010/08/17/10-affiliate-directories-to-submit-your-program-to/
Getting to know the affiliate community is a great way to understand what motivates them and how you can make your program better. Sign up to https://www.affiliates4u.com/ and start interacting with them.
Quick acceptance of applications and strong welcome emails with links to info they need get your relationship with affiliate of to a strong start. First impressions count, so make sure you give a good one!