Affiliate Program Health Pt. 2

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Last post I offered that an affiliate program would be a healthier overall program if the affiliate program manager was able to attract and focus on a number of smaller sale volume affiliates rather than just focus on “heavy hitter” super affiliates. It’s true that the best “bang for the buck” is to get these high volume producers into your program, there are a few reasons why it could hurt the program in the long term.
Consider-

  • The super affiliate decides for some reason they no longer want to focus on or even work with your program. The reasons this could happen are too numerous to count. Perhaps they received an offer from a competitor to be exclusive (an offer the program manger is not able to match. Or perhaps they decide not to work in the merchant vertical any longer. Or perhaps they’ve decided to give up affiliate marketing and follow Lady Gaga around the world!
  • The affiliate site in question gets an SEO penalty, wiping out their rankings for your vertical and all the traffic they were getting.
  • The affiliate sells his or her site, and the new owner does not want to adhere to program policies.

Now, for any of the above reasons, the program big earner leave the program and no longer contributes. Program sales and stats take a walloping. Other affiliates notice (through stats like EPC dropping) the drop-off and decide to start staying away from the program to wait and see what happens.

Not a good situation, and definitely something a good experienced affiliate manager can avoid. How can this be avoided? By bringing on smaller affiliates, getting them up and active (with links up and traffic), and earning sales.

A few tools in the arsenal to accomplish this:

  • Rather than just focus bonuses and higher commissions on a sales number, offer an option for a higher/bonus level commission for high quality / content created to promote your program.
  • Actively recruiting non-typical affiliates in searching for blogs, forums and/or social networks for people writing about or interested in the area of the product.
  • Being prepared to actively help these non-typical affiliates understand the value proposition of affiliate marketing and also step-by-step guidance in getting started.
  • Being diligent to check each coupon transaction to make sure the site being credited with the sale is adhering to policies.

The extra work that’s needed to bring in these extra affiliates might only contribute an additional 20–30% of sales, but it’s still a much better situation that having 90% of sales dominated by just a couple of publishers.

The great thing is, AMWSO has been in the outsourced affiliate program management business for 10 years! And we’ve been able to build relationships with a staggering number of publishers across all the major networks and many independent affiliates. Check out the affiliate marketing services we offer if you need help growing and expanding your affiliate program, and getting it healthy and contributing value added sales to your bottom line.