Getting the most out of your affiliates programme

Any affiliate marketer worth their salt will know how important it is to keep a full and varied publisher mix and flexibility for their affiliate programme to be successful.

Yet, for many it is all too easy to let the programme’s top tier - those sexy cashback and voucher code sites - do all the heavy work and let the innocent content and mid to low tier sites float around in some weird numerical limbo.

Why?

It is an industry where the last click generally rules all, where money talks and there is pressure to meet and deliver those KPIS; you’ll be forgiven to for going straight to the top tier for marketing support. It’s not like I’m against cashback or discount sites - quite the opposite (I’m aware that Black Friday is looming…) they’re your top tier for a reason. What I’m saying is don’t forget the other 90% of your publisher mix, as there are some great gains to be had there.

Like the old idea that humans only use half of their brain power, the same can be said for the affiliate marketing industry. I’m not saying by working with influencers you’ll be moving things with your mind, but you will unlock some great incremental sales and media opportunities for your accounts.

Here are my tips for getting the most out of your affiliate programme.

High Clicks and Low Conversions

First step and it goes without saying, is to look and review your current partners. Who’s driving sales? Who’s driving the traffic? Look at your current partnered publishers and identify your click and sale active affiliates. Publishers who generate high levels of clicks and sessions but have a low conversion rate are gems and are a great opportunity for optimisation. Reach out to these publishers and help them convert this traffic into sales. You’d be surprised how effective a simple banner can be in this scenario. It is not only cost effective but it shows the publisher that you value the partnership and want them to perform well. This helps strengthen the relationship and makes them more inclined to work with you again.

Mix it up!

In the same vein, this research will also highlight what sectors are generating sales. In most cases this will be cashback and other incentive sites while your typical content site will by driving awareness for your accounts. This is a great untapped resource of high quality traffic and, by working with other promo types, will open up your programme to a new highly engaged audience.

Look beyond the last click

Identifying these sites is all well and good, but due to the affiliate industry’s standard ‘last click wins all’ approach these sites may be reluctant to work with you because they fear that all their marketing efforts will be overwritten at the last stage of the purchase funnel - which is fair. Luckily, this concern is being addressed and networks such as Equaotor’s network of choice, AWIN have tools such ‘payment by assist’ which allows merchants and agencies to reward these sites based on their contributing assists as well as their last click standard commission. This rewards publishers for their assists in the purchase funnel and again demonstrates to them how much you value the relationship.

New innovations

From reading this you might think that I’m against working with cashback and discount sites but this couldn't be further from the truth. They are constantly refreshing their media opportunities and coming up with great incentive for you to get involved with. Vouchercodes.co.uk and their reward system is a great example of this. Knowing that not all merchants are able to discount constantly, VC introduced a co-funded campaign where they reward consumers for purchasing with them by bolting on gift cards for the likes of amazon, iTunes and even own branded experiences. This is a fantastic resource allowing you to create all inclusive packages, especially in the hotel industry where you can add on fitness, leisure and relaxation experiences into the room booking. This allows you to add in a minimum spend, raise AOV and is a great exercise for new customer acquisition.

The great thing about working in the affiliate space is that there is always something new to run with your programme. Be it an offer from the merchant, a new affiliate partnership or a different marketing campaign. Be flexible to trying new partners, opportunities and test, test, test! The more you run and the more you expose your programme to, the better sense of who your customer is and what works for converting them. This is something we strive to do at Equator; we are constantly looking for ways to build stronger affiliate programmes for our clients and helping them achieve their targets in new and interesting ways.