Affiliate marketing is an effective way in which brands can team up with third-party channels as a means of promoting their products.
These affiliate networks consist of websites sharing links to products and earning themselves a small commission in the process if it leads to sales or a boost in web traffic.
Unlike more commonplace ad placements, your brand isn’t responsible for creating the content of promotional links, and instead, the affiliate picks up the slack and builds the content of its own accord.
There are plenty of opportunities for businesses wishing to build their own affiliate network, and plenty of key strategic partners can fall under the affiliate marketing umbrella today.
This makes the process of building your own successful network an important one to generate greater exposure and increase your brand’s chances of generating conversions.
Statista research shows that in the US, affiliate marketing spending has increased significantly over the space of five years, growing into a 6.82 billion dollar industry today.
But many businesses struggle to know where to start when it comes to embracing the fruitful world of affiliate marketing. So let’s take a look at five key tips for building your own successful affiliate network:
5 Key Tips For Building Your Own Successful Affiliate Network
1. Understand Your Options
Before you embark on your affiliate networking journey, it’s important to understand the various types of affiliates that are out there. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which type of partner will suit your brand best so it’s worth doing your homework.
Most affiliates typically come in three different forms. Publishers, solo marketers and influencers.
Some of the largest publishers in the world act as affiliates. They’re capable of generating huge volumes of traffic and have a reach that can put businesses in touch with millions of customers.
Their huge audiences mean that your products can gain mass exposure that would be hard to replicate on a company eCommerce store.
Solo marketers operate entirely differently to both influencers and publishers in that they often have nothing in the way of a pre-existing following. However, solo marketers rely on traffic through well-placed advertisements to generate a heavy level of interest in your products.
Influencers are an up and coming form of marketing that’s proven very successful for beauty and self-improvement brands in particular.
Influencers simply promote your product to their masses of followers and single-handedly generate sales in return for financial remuneration or free products.
When selecting the form of affiliate network that you want to build, it’s important to think of your niche and the type of audience you’re aiming to attract.
2. Work on Some Self-Promotion
Here, it’s worth remembering that affiliate marketing is meant to be a win-win situation for yourself and your partners.
If a prospective affiliate looks like they represent a strong way of promoting your products to the right audience, the chances are that they’re already used to brands approaching them with offers of forging a partnership.
This means that you’ll need to work on what you’re offering to your affiliates as well as considering what they can offer you.
Take a look at your cash flow forecasts and calculate the sort of commission rates that you can put in place for affiliates based on the sales they make and interest they generate.
Writing for Shopify, Mark Hayes noted: “You’ll have to do some math to figure out how much of a percentage you can afford to give up to do affiliate marketing. Can you part with 5 percent of the total revenue that comes from a sale? How about 10 percent?”
“The higher the percentage, then generally the more affiliate traffic you will receive,” Hayes concluded.
3. Know How to Approach Your Affiliates
When it comes to finding your affiliates, there are plenty of useful networks to point you in the direction of prospective partners.
Even odd-job platforms like Upwork can point you in the direction of dedicated affiliate marketers who are very capable of turning the right product into a success.
Publishers and influencers can often be approached directly with offers, so it’s important to ensure that you give a good account of your business and ensure that it’s already discoverable online so that prospective affiliates can become familiar with your brand.
We’ve already touched upon the importance of getting your offer right, but it’s worth emphasising this to ensure that your prospective affiliates believe in your company and understand clearly your goals and their financial prospects in helping you.
4. Keep Track of Your Network
It’s absolutely vital to keep track of every aspect of your network’s performance with a high degree of accuracy.
This should go without saying but it’s surprising how many companies simply lookout for sales, rather than the audience’s path towards a purchase. This includes keeping track of browser cookies, anti-spam systems, recurring commissions, etc.
It’s worth using a premade system that supports most of these features. There are numerous, ready-to-use PHP affiliate scripts out there that can help brands to track referrals, commissions and handle subsequent payouts. If you are running a WordPress website, there are plugins that can help you speed up the process.
If you operate with a large network of affiliates, it can be profoundly difficult to know which ones are performing and which ones aren’t justifying their inclusion on your network. For more complex arrangements like influencer campaigns, this can be particularly costly.
Be sure to utilize a system that makes it easy to track your conversions and understand where your most effective performers are. This can help you to optimize your network further in the future.
5. Build Workspaces For Your Affiliates
Collaboration tools can help you to offer a degree of access to affiliates who sign up to your network to collaborate better with your brand.
Tools like Monday and Wrike allow you to group offers and display them to the affiliates of your choice. You can also share your offers and even your page landing elements just in case some of your partners also include landing pages.
One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to affiliate networks is that of collaboration.
By setting up a strong avenue of communication between yourself and your affiliates, it’s possible to ensure that campaigns can commence as swiftly as possible and issues are troubleshooted efficiently.
Today, as more businesses and eCommerce stores transition from retail shops to more of an online space. The need for effective affiliate campaigns that have the power to position products under the noses of the right audiences at the right time is imperative to fend off mounting competition.
By better understanding your audience, affiliates, and options in how to market your products, your business can benefit from tapping into vast new networks of prospective buyers.