What is the PDCA Process?
The PDCA Process is a four step management method that businesses use to continuously improve their products or processes. If you’ve ever taken a business course, you may have also heard it called the Deming Wheel. The four steps are:
- PLAN – Lay out the objective(s) necessary to deliver results for a goal
- DO – Implement your plan and collect the data
- CHECK – Analyze the results from step two and compare against the goals set during step one. If there are differences, find out where these happened and why, then move on to the next step.
- ACT – There are two action items that can possibly play out here:
Successful Plan = If the plan was successful, then you should repeat this exactly process in the future to reach the same goal.
NOT Successful Plan = If the plan was NOT successful, then you should rethink the plan and start over at step one to reach your goal.
How Can This Help My Merchant Program?
Your Merchant Program on ShareASale is a process of your overall business. Like other processes, you should never let it run on autopilot, but instead, look for constant ways to improve. It is a cyclical technique. Affiliates LOVE Merchants who are active in their day-to-day operations of their Affiliate Program! Think of all the ShareASale tools you can use (or do use) on a regular basis. Each of those probably has a way for you develop so that you can find it’s true value.
Let’s look at an example of how a Merchant might apply the PDCA process to their newsletter tool.
- PLAN – Our goal is to send one newsletter per week with an open rate of 40%.
- DO – Come up with information to include in the newsletter, write the newsletter and send to your Affiliate partners.
- CHECK – Determine the newsletter’s open rate by going to your Newsletter Archives and selecting “Reports” next to the applicable newsletter.
- ACT – If you are not meeting the goal, figure out why not! Don’t be afraid to send a note to a small group of engaged Affiliates and ask for feedback. Ask them what newsletter elements are the most helpful, and which are not. Come up with a new plan for the next newsletter and start the PDCA cycle all over again!
Don’t be afraid to continuously experiment, change, and improve your program using the PDCA process – this can lead to long-term Affiliate Marketing success.