July 3, 2023

Affiliate 101: Navigating Partnerships Marketing for Beginners

In the early 2000s, digital marketing was just beginning and the concept of affiliate marketing didn’t even exist. Flash forward to 2023 and 80% of brands are forming strategic partnerships with publishers to reach larger audiences and generate additional revenue. Promises of high ROI and conversions, digital orientation, and performance-based commission payouts make affiliate marketing an extremely attractive option for companies of all sizes. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of this trending, cost-effective, marketing channel? It’s not too difficult to get up and running but the ropes are tricky to learn. You could have a robust affiliate portfolio but it might be full of idle affiliates who aren’t generating any revenue. It takes practice and looking at performance data to understand how to strategically approach affiliate marketing for different types of brands and products. Our agency works with brands in over 20 unique verticals and has over $3.5B in affiliate campaign data that enables us to guide any and every client to profitability in the affiliate channel. So here are some tips while you’re getting started, some lessons we’ve picked up along the way to help you navigate your first affiliate program!

Do: Recruit relevant affiliates

Choose affiliates whose target audience and platform aligns with your brand’s products and goals. You might want influencers because you want to reach your target audience through Instagram or you might want a local news publisher that’s highly relevant for your target audience. Find affiliates that already have a relationship with your target audience so you can reach them directly.

Don’t: Overlook partnerships opportunities

You need to take into account your overall goals and what kinds of user actions you’re hoping to achieve. A lot of brands want content off the bat and content affiliates are great for increasing brand awareness and interest, but they usually have lower conversion rates. Shopping and loyalty sites usually achieve much higher conversion rates and have lower commission rates. Make sure you understand the types of affiliates there are and research what their commission rates are to strategically pick the ones you partner with.

Do: Optimize your network profile

When you join your affiliate network you put together a brand profile where affiliates can learn about your brand and pull your information to start promoting you. It’s important to make sure you’re giving them high-quality marketing collateral to work with and telling a clear and compelling brand story to incentivize them to vouch for you to their followers. The more you give affiliates to work with the better content they can create on your behalf. Also, if you have certain branding elements or messaging you want them to incorporate this should be emphasized in your profile.

Don’t: Forget to update your promotional content

You can’t just set up your profile in your affiliate network and never open the website again. It’s important to keep promotions in your network up to date so that affiliates can promote active deals. Leaving old codes or messaging can leave out of date information being pushed out by affiliates which is the last thing you want to happen. Checking that all your promotions listed are live will make sure your new customers aren’t put off by a faulty discount code.

Do: Offer competitive commissions

Attract top-performing affiliates by offering competitive commission rates. Research industry standards and ensure that your commission rates are enticing enough to motivate affiliates to promote your products over others. Consider implementing tiered commission structures to reward high-performing affiliates.

Don’t: Overstretch your budget

While you
should reward your affiliates who are performing well, you don’t want to catch yourself overpaying affiliates who aren’t working as hard for you. Learn how to optimize and incentivize affiliates by adjusting commission rates with negotiation and monitor their performance to keep tabs on your returns.

Do: Stay on top of performance

You’ll want to track your campaigns performance rigorously to identify patterns in the data and figure out your strategic approach. Make sure you’re keeping track of key metrics such as clicks, conversions, and revenue. You can also look at affiliate performance in terms of average order value and orders per customer to identify top performers.

Don’t: Get analysis paralysis

Manually keeping tabs on all of the KPIs you’ll be tracking would be nearly impossible and certainly not enjoyable. Investing in some type of analytics software will definitely help you out on this front to keep you from hating every second scrolling through excel sheets. 

Hopefully some of this information resonates with you and where your brand is at with their affiliate marketing program. If you want to learn more about our services and how we’ve transformed clients’ growth with affiliate campaigns, reach out to our team today!

Are you getting started in affiliate marketing or looking to improve your current program?

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