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Affiliate Marketing: How To Reinvigorate Your Program For 2016

Have you all but decided to throw up your hands when it comes to your company’s affiliate marketing program?

Do you feel the need to re-acquaint yourself with affiliate management basics?

Or, are you tempted to finally take advantage of this mammoth revenue-generation avenue and get it right in 2016?

If so, then consider the following aspects and questions that are sure to reinvigorate your program and increase your incoming cash flow:

Exploit the Profit-Margin Potential of Affiliate Marketing

In the past, if a retailer want to generate revenue, they had no choice but to drum up their marketing efforts either via print, television, or radio avenues. Thanks to e-commerce, there’s all sorts of creative, agile, and efficient revenue generation streams available at your fingertips.

Affiliate marketing is one of those avenues, and the system creates a win-win for all involved. The best part is, you don’t pay for advertising–your hard-working affiliate marketers do, and you don’t have to pay them unless their marketing efforts converts into a sale. Thinking about how much money your company will save in marketing fees. That alone will create a huge boost in your profit margin!

Nurture Your Affiliate Marketing Program

If you hope to operate a successful, profitable affiliate program, then it flat-out requires your attention! You’ll need to pay attention to key metrics such as your promotions, your recruiting strategies, the type of affiliate who are applying for your program, compliance issues, and maybe most importantly, you’ll need to process the application of pending affiliates.

Think about how much you understand your affiliate program. How often are you communicating with your affiliate manager to get feedback? Have you hired a dedicated affiliate manager to act as a liaison between your program and the affiliate marketers? If you’re not clued into your program, and you’ve allowing affiliate applications to figuratively collect dust, then you’re blowing countless opportunities for revenue.

Do You Have the Right Marketers On Deck?

In most affiliate programs, anyone who’s willing to invest time and their own web property can qualify as an affiliate marketer. Having said that, as the affiliate program administrator, you have the right and the ability to set your barriers to entry as high or as low as you’d like.

It’s best for you to begin to screen your affiliate marketers by taking a macro approach. What are your barriers to entry, and if you don’t have any in place, then what would you like for them to entail? While you don’t want to make things too complicated for an affiliate marketer to participate in your program, you do want to filter out anyone who might use fraudulent tactics, represent your brand incorrectly, or otherwise waste your time and resources.

After you’ve taken a macro approach in identifying the type of affiliates you want to market your program, it’s time to focus on the micro strategies. Have your affiliate manager (you have hired one, haven’t you?) go over your potential affiliate’s applications with a fine-toothed comb.

They’ll need to check out the applicant’s online marketing property, such as their blogs. They should make sure that the blog’s visibility, usability, and content falls in line with how you’d like to be represented. After all, you don’t want to anyone to affiliate themselves with your brand if they promote a site featuring content that’s illegal or highly offensive!

After your affiliate manager screens out the obvious poor choices for your program, it will be a lot easier for them to hone in on qualified affiliates who are worthy of marketing your program, and who will more than likely have the resources to build a profitable relationship with your company.

Are You Partnered with the Right Affiliate Network?

There’s definite advantages of working with an affiliate network instead of trying to manage an affiliate program on your own. When you join an affiliate network, you’ll gain all of the resources in the infrastructure, such as metrics on sign ups, pay-outs, new affiliate recruitment, new affiliate screenings, sign-ups, and most important, sales and revenue. However, you’ll need to make sure that the affiliate network that you select for your product (and your brand) is a good fit.

For example, certain affiliate networks specialize in managing certain types of products and services. There are some that specialize almost exclusively in managing electronic products, such as ebooks and instructional programs. Then again, there are affiliate networks that specialize in managing the sales of physical products, such as clothing, flowers, food, and other consumables. And, there’s affiliate networks that only manage high-ticket services.

You get the picture.

Have your affiliate manager carefully examine the boundaries and the requirements of each affiliate network up for consideration. Some might not even accept your application if your company’s offerings don’t fall in line with what they’d like to market (and the type of affiliates they’d like to attract). Make sure that the partner you’re about to rely upon to boost your revenue is just the right fit.

Line Your Expectations with Reality

“Build it and they will come!” is an oft-quoted line from a popular movie, but it’s a line that’s been taken to heart by far too many a delusional marketer. The reality is, no one ever purchased a product simply because a retailer created an online platform for sales.

This means that you’ll need to do your part in all of your marketing, and that also means making sure that you’ve ticked all the boxes in combining all of the right components together. Affiliate marketing done right works powerfully to boost your profit margins, and it allows you to diversify your revenue streams.

It’s worth your while in 2016 to plug any holes to make sure that you’re using this avenue successfully.

Terri Scott

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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