July is the month of building blocks. Each day we will be bringing you lots of tips that can be used as foundational pieces to further grow an aspect of your Affiliate Marketing efforts.
To kick things off I thought it would be appropriate to talk about a research template Merchants can use to help determine what the competitive landscape is for Affiliate programs in their specific niche.
Building a Competitive Matrix
If you are in the process of creating a new Affiliate program, one of the first steps is to do a little research so you can get a pulse on what the Affiliate’s expectations may be based on what programs are offering that are similar to your company. Having some data as a baseline will help you know if your program will be attractive to potential Affiliates.
A template I use to help Merchants complete this task is a competitive matrix. Completing a competitive matrix can also be a helpful tool for current programs to use periodically to ensure the payout and tools continue to be competitive.
When collecting the data for your competitive matrix, you may want to compare program vitals such as commission rate and cookie duration to get an idea of what the normal payout expectations are in your space. The matrix will also give you an idea of what typical marketing tools are in use by your competitors.
There are ten categories I like to consider when putting together a competitive matrix:
- Base Commission
- Cookie Duration
- Type of Creatives Available
- Auto Deposit
- Auto Approve
- Affiliate Sales Incentives
Below is an example of what a completed competitive matrix would look like:
Depending on your needs, you may want to include more in-depth data to get a clearer picture of the competitive programs around you. For example, you may want to mark down the frequency and quantity information for tools that are tied to an inventory such as datafeed, coupons/deals, Affiliate sales incentives, creatives, and newsletters – how often are these tools updated and how many are being uploaded. Some other example categories could include things such as Network used and Management – have they hired a professional agency to manage the program.
Gathering the Data
Typically, you can acquire most of the information you are looking for by doing an internet search for specific Affiliate programs. Often times Merchants will have a link to their Affiliate program on their website that would include a basic overview of their program. Another option would be to use your test Affiliate account to search various Merchants from the Affiliate interface and view some general information listed for different accounts.
Once you have completed your initial matrix, you may want to update the data every 6 to 12 months to ensure that your program is always on par with the competition. The data gathered in this tool will be ever evolving as expectations may shift in your niche or as new players enter the space, so it will be important to make sure that you are aware of any changes in landscape.
The matrix is one tool that can be used as a building block your Affiliate program. With the data gathered, you will know how to best position your program with an attractive Affiliate payout and useful creative marketing tools.