What to do and not to do with affiliate marketing

What to do and not to do with affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a very popular marketing method worldwide to generate extra sales. In fact, according to Statista, affiliate marketing is a billion-dollar industry. there is no need to explain that affiliate marketing should be part of your marketing strategy in this blog. There however are many different experiences from companies with regards to the results achieved with affiliate marketing. For example, there are companies that have tried it but have stopped because there were hardly any results. The amount of work and monthly costs for an affiliate tracking platform or even external network were reasons to stop. There on the other hand are companies which achieve up to 50% increase in turnover per month through affiliate marketing. We will discuss what to do and not to do with affiliate marketing in this blog. The goal of this blog is therefore to share which points are of great importance as soon as you start affiliate marketing.

Just start, the rest will come naturally, right?

What are the differences in approach between the companies where affiliate marketing is successful and not successful? This of course depends on many factors, yet the preparation often has a major influence on future success. If you start off without a clear goal and plan of action, you will swing from left to right without knowing where it leads. Drawing up a plan obviously takes time, not only for documenting your plan, but especially for the research that is required. The amount of work you put into this however will help significantly in the final actual implementation because you work purposefully. A few important points to include in a plan are:

  • What is my resource availability for affiliate marketing
  • Who is responsible for implementation
  • What is my target audience
  • Internal or external affiliate network
  • What do I have to offer that makes us unique
  • How do you keep affiliates on board (Account management)

A clear plan helps to avoid being faced with surprises several times during the process.

Just add affiliate marketing into the strategy

Hearing a lot of positive results about affiliate marketing and thinking about starting without dedicated or available resources? In that case you can be up for a challenge. Affiliate marketing is often underestimated as people in some cases think (depending on your form) that it is just a link from your website in a blog post. This sounds pretty simple right? Unfortunately not quite, a number of points  are important to take into account to ensure a consistent extra income with affiliate marketing.

You first need to get in touch with potential affiliates. You secondly need to promote your product or service to the affiliate. This is a commercial conversation as you try to get the affiliate enthusiastic about your product and thus ensuring they are positive about a collaboration. Try to get to know the affiliate during the conversation, after all, the collaboration is a partnership in which both parties provide a service to each other. Once the collaboration has been confirmed doesn’t mean that you’re done, the account management part plays a major role here. Check in with your affiliates regularly to discuss how things are going. Do they need new promotional materials? Are they running into some problems? This ensures that your affiliates remain motivated and strengthens your collaborations.

The more affiliates the better

If you have more affiliates, you generate more sales, right? Unfortunately, that is not entirely true, although you do reach a larger audience, it does not necessarily mean that this generates extra turnover. For example, an affiliate that does a lot of promotion for shoes will generate little or no conversion for the latest Bose headphones. This is of course an extreme example, but it clearly highlights the point we are making. The quality of the target group that is reached by the affiliate is of great importance, you can even say that quality outweighs the quantity. The time you spend on the collaboration also plays a major role in the motivation of the affiliate. Do you take the time for the collaboration and are you really working together to see how you can achieve the best results? Then there is a good chance that the collaboration will be successful. Are you trying to sign up as many affiliates as possible without discussing details and interests with each individual? Then there is a good chance that the results will not be as expected.

The bullseye target audience

It is important to address a very specific target group for affiliate marketing. Try not to use a too broad category just to generate more “audience”. The more specific or “niche” your target audience is, the greater the chance of conversion. For example, if you sell headphones, you might think that the “image & sound” category is a good match. A large part of the visitors in this category however are not looking for headphones at all, but for example a bluetooth speaker or a TV.

On the other hand, if you for example find a blog website which compares the latest headphones from Bose, Samsung, JBL, etc. you know that the visitors of this website have a very focused interest. Consumers are often actively researching product performance and reviews online prior to a purchase. The blog website in that case would be a perfect match to work with, the targeted visitors ensure a high conversion.

Promotion method

Promotions can be done via different platforms, think of social media, blogs, videos or otherwise. What is the best form to apply? Alternate and use multiple shapes at once. It is not the case that blog websites are the only way for your webshop to generate extra sales. There are probably also potential influencers on social media that can do a lot for your business. So make sure that you build affiliate marketing through various forms, in this way you will also be widely recognized by your specific target group because you are mentioned in multiple locations.

No sales after 2 months..

When executing a new strategy or marketing campaign, you naturally hope to see results quickly. It’s most likely not a good solution if there are no or limited results after 2 months, right? That’s not quite true with affiliate marketing as it takes time and experience to achieve results step by step. You don’t have any collaborations with affiliates yet if you just start with affiliate marketing. It thereby is important that you focus on the personal touch and collaborations with the affiliates. You therefore probably won’t sign up 100 new affiliates per month in the initial phase. Make sure to take your time with your first affiliate collaborations. study the results, discuss the experiences and ask if promotional material is needed. There are many contact moments in the initial phase and it is important to learn how to best execute your strategy.

As soon as the turnover starts flowing through the first affiliates, you slowly scale up with new affiliates. Make sure you take this step by step, a controlled and stable growth gives more guarantee for the future. If you keep this up you will see that the results really start to grow for months, if the foundation is right the growth process can be exponential.

Promote your affiliate program

Are you building an internal affiliate network? Then it is possible to make this visible on your website for visitors. Take a look at the websites of major parties with an internal affiliate network such as Amazon or Coolblue. Make sure you send an email once in a while explaining what the affiliate program means. Please make sure that affiliates are not automatically activated in the initial phase, it is important that you go through the registrations and have discussions with the candidates which match your requirements. In this way you prevent an affiliate network that is too wide, which does not achieve the results you have in mind.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing can basically be successfully applied by any company. It however is important that a clear plan is prepared to know what you are doing. If the focus, personal touch and consistency are present, the results will come naturally.

Below is an overview of the Do’s and Don’ts in affiliate marketing.

Don’t

  • No capacity, do it anyway
  • No research target group
  • Sign up as many affiliates as possible
  • No follow-up after registration
  • Stop after 2 months

Do

  • Write a plan of action
  • Approach the affiliates with a personal touch, what do you have to offer
  • Start with a few affiliates, focus on close partnerships
  • Vary with promotional forms (Social Media, Blog, etc.)
  • Regular contact/follow-up affiliates
  • Consistency for >6 months