5 Ways to Optimize an Affiliate Marketing Program for Increased Profits
It’s a fact that many ordinary people and businesses have turned millionaires with affiliate marketing. While there is something magical about affiliate marketing as most of the top search results for the term are related to it or how and if you can make money from it, the fact is it’s not that magical.
It’s just another marketing technique that you can experiment with, assess, enhance and grow. But, before you start with an affiliate marketing training program to learn the strategies in details you must know what affiliate marketing is and how it works.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
It’s a kind of marketing where the affiliates are rewarded on the basis of their performance by the merchants. The affiliate/affiliates get rewarded for each customer they get or when the customer completes the sales.
They are just like your in-house marketing team and in place of salary, you are rewarding them for each fresh lead or sale in return to their marketing endeavours.
But, it’s not referral marketing as you would think. In referral marketing you need to promote products or services to new customers using referrals. Word of mouth is the usual procedure for referral marketing. So, basically you are working with existing customers instead of working with affiliates or marketers.
How it Works?
You may be an owner of a certain company for instance, a beauty product company or maybe you are the Marketing Head of the company. You can think of launching an affiliate program as your marketing strategy that can help acquire more audience base. You start your program with two affiliates A and B.
A and B now strive to get as much traffic as possible to the landing page of your beauty products website.
So, how would you reward them for their efforts?
You can reward them with payouts for each customer they get or for each completed sale. However, there can different payout structures for affiliates. For instance, one type of affiliate program can pay a commission to A whenever the referred visitor fills up the subscription form with their details like name, number or email id. The other program on the other hand, may not pay A unless the sales is completed. This would entirely depend on your approach.
What does an Affiliate Network Mean?
Affiliate networks are where as an affiliate you can find trusted offers that they can promote and where as an advertiser you can get several affiliates. Using an affiliate network not just benefits the merchants, but also the affiliates because:
1. This is a place where merchants can find affiliates and vice versa.
2. The network manages the administrative side of the affiliate-merchant connection.
3. The network keeps the affiliates secured.
An affiliate network can help reduce a lot of pressure of managing an affiliate program by controlling the logistics and administrative work. Moreover, as a merchant you also get to connect to a much broader base of affiliates. However, you will have to pay them commission that affects your profit margin.
How to Increase Profits by Optimizing your Affiliate Program?
As you move ahead to optimize your affiliate program, you must keep two things in mind.
- The traffic quality sent by your affiliates.
- The conversion rate of your home page or offer.
Let’s see what the 5 basic ideas are that you can implement to optimize your affiliate marketing program thus, generating increased profit.
1. Assess your customer and revenue data in detail
Assessing your data in detail will ensure that you are successfully running your affiliate program. You must know:
- the value of the customer,
- how important is a returning customer?
- you should know the lifetime value,
- the profit margin on all types of sales, and the cost per acquisition on other marketing channels.
To create a proper commission structure, fixing guidelines for affiliates and estimating the success of your affiliate program or the efforts for optimization, you must have a proper knowledge of all the above points.
2. Make the right selection of affiliates for your brand
Shortlisting good affiliates is the most important and perhaps the best way to ensure success of your affiliate marketing program. Given that 58.22% of affiliates promote only 1 to 10 programs at one-time, efficient affiliates are high in demand.
Hiring affiliates take a significant amount of your time, if you want to hire the right ones that is. Yes, it’s also a never-ending task because you need to keep looking out for expert affiliates to sign up for your program.
While recruiting affiliates you must check:
- If they have an experience in the same industry?
- Which other offers are they promoting currently?
- If they are experienced with the current demographic?
- What kind of sites are they running?
- What are the techniques implemented?
3. Keep the communication going with your affiliates
Communication is the key to success for all organizations without exception. According to studies, 34.59% of the affiliates say that their relationship with the affiliate manager is extremely important for their business. It seems that most of the affiliates join programs, promote products/services and cancel programs because of the affiliate managers.
Regular communication with affiliates will help you and your affiliates in many ways like:
- Affiliates will have better knowledge on how to promote products and service to the right audience.
- They will be more inclined to join programs than leaving.
- You can get a lot of learning from the affiliates that can help you mentor other affiliates.
4. Stay informed about the affiliate methods in use and limit them if needed
There are many different methods used by the affiliates to acquire more traffic. Some of the most popular techniques are SEO (66.14%), Social Media (60.16%), Blogging (57.37%), Email Marketing (37.85%), and PPC (29.88%). There are in fact many more methods used by the affiliates apart from these.
Due to this, many affiliate programs have limitations on the techniques used. For instance, affiliates cannot promote via email marketing or PPC. This is because, if you are already running PPC campaigns and if the affiliate is also using the same method, it may clash and compete with you for your rank.
Simply share with your affiliates which channels are working and which are not. You can also look for affiliates via networks with their primary promotion technique. Additionally, you can also offer an affiliate marketing training program for the new affiliates to give them better insights and make them better equipped before they start working for your products/services.
5. Keep a frequent check on your landing pages and offers
If you own a landing page and your affiliates are driving the traffic, then it works great. It makes it easy for the A/B test elements of the page that includes the offer also.
However, if your affiliates are using their landing pages to drive traffic to your website, you may need to work with them by sharing your understanding of testing. This is because both of you are working towards the same goal.
Affilaite marketing is a marketing channel just like any other marketing form. So, emphasize on enhancing the traffic quality sent by your affiliates and the sales rate of your landing or offer page, properly evaluate your customer and revenue data to streamline the payout structures, spend some time to hire right affiliates, keep a constant communication flow with the affiliates, know the methods used by your affiliates, and keep testing your landing/offer pages. When in doubt, join a reputable affiliate marketing training program and get better equipped with knowledge on affiliate marketing.
Sohel is a software engineer by profession and a tech writer by passion, he writes about the latest technologies and latest applications and he has shared his experience and lots of innovative ideas at various technology blogs. You can follow him on LinkedIn.