Managing Expectations for your Affiliate Program
I recently spent a long weekend in Las Vegas. I limited myself to playing poker and making sports bets with the expectation that I would break even, or even win. By playing to two of my strengths, understanding my limitations, managing my expectations and not getting carried away, I was able to meet my goals.
While this is a simplistic look at how one can succeed, it is in line with how you should manage your Affiliate Program. Think positive, be realistic and build upon strengths to grow your program.
The first thing you need to do is audit your digital marketing strategy.
Break it down to get a better understanding of how big of an opportunity Affiliate Marketing will provide you based on your industry and the evolution of your brand.
Things to consider:
- Look at your competition, are they also using Affiliate Marketing and to what extent? Has it been successful for them? Many retailers will feature a link in their website footer that contains Affiliate Program information. Use these pages to gather competitor insights!
- What resources do you have available to help you to meet the goals you will set? Do you have creative resources to create banners and email newsletters?
- Is the company be willing to budget for and invest in Affiliate Marketing?
- Are you ready to spend not only money but time and energy to build a program, rather than have the expectation of instant results?
Second, manage the expectation of how big the program can be.
Do not just say “We’ll be the largest Merchant this network has ever seen!” While we applaud that goal, spend the time to rationalize what the potential is for your brand and what is deemed realistic. Look at the program and make goals for the first three months. If you reach it after ninety days, reevaluate and make new goals for the next three months, the next six months, and the next nine months, etc.
Things to consider:
- Start small and set micro-goals like trying to get the top 5 Affiliates that you’re most excited about to generate one transaction. Then you can build action items off these goals like giving a bonus or writing a congratulatory email to each Affiliate who drives their first sale.
You may very well become the biggest Merchant in our network, but it does not happen overnight. Setting realistic expectations is a smart way to feel like you are meeting your goals!
Finally, whether you are a newly launched Merchant or a long time industry veteran. I want you to think about your Affiliate Program contextually, who are you going to be, or who are you now to your Affiliates? This is where you can exert your influence as a Merchant.
Are you looking to be a direct revenue driver where you disregard much of the marketing aspects and just want to sell as much product as possible? Will you be a Merchant who wants their Affiliates to promote their brand at the same time and having a significant number of professionally designed creatives to choose from, giving bonuses for brand mentions and the like? Manage the expectation these Affiliates will have about you, be front and center about the program, and you will be rewarded with loyal Affiliates.
If you need assistance in building the program, there are many options for program management if you need: Outsourced Program Managers, Agencies, we even offer a Guided Launch Program if you want to try ShareASale’s in-house management.
Affiliate Marketing is not a passive marketing channel, it takes hard work and time. This is a marketing channel built on a foundation of strong relationships and constant maintenance. The strongest programs are those that are responsive and have developed tight bonds with many of their Affiliates over the years. You get back what you put in with this industry and by managing your expectations and not getting ahead of yourself, you should have a successful program for years to come.
For any questions about program management options or what you can expect from your Affiliate Program, contact our Client Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.