Affiliate programs are plentiful and the program manager’s goal is to get their program in front of the best affiliates. The competition can be stiff, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, quite the opposite is true. There are many ways affiliate managers can draw attention to their program to help it stand out against the noise. Today, we’ll cover 5 ways and changes you can make to help make your program stand out.
1. Use Analytics
One of the best tools available to help affiliate managers accomplish the task of creative management is reports. By looking at your program analytics you will be able to determine which affiliates need special attention or have the most potential for growth. Additionally, you can customize creative campaigns by checking to see which marketing tools are used most and highest converting. If you haven’t already, here are a few reports to bookmark:
- Affiliate Comparison – see side by side comparison of how your affiliate’s are performing
- Affiliate First Transaction – a great report to show you which affiliates generated their first transaction for your program. The perfect reason to drop a little thank you note.
- Banner Performance – view the activity on all creative tools for a specific period of time. In a previous post, we identify some examples on how you can use this report to measure campaign impact.
- Year in review – get a monthly summary of your program by month to easily see a snapshot of month /month or year/year comparisons and quickly identify peaks and valleys.
2. Maximize Datafeed
A product datafeed is a great way to help diversity your affiliate base. Any site that wants to display a specific product will be looking for a datafeed. You may already know that, but did you know that you can even optimize your feed to help attract affiliates to your program? It’s a true story.
Affiliates are provided with some indicators of how many custom fields a merchant may have available. So that’s the first tip – be sure to look at all the available fields you can use (we have 50). Sure only 6 are mandatory, but why stop at the bare basics? If you really want to stick out, go ahead and fill in any custom fields that you have data for – I’m looking at you, “Best Seller” column. Pick up some other great datafeed tips from our Datafeed Best Practices sheet.
Another way you can optimize your datafeed is to ensure it is regularly updated. Affiliates can see when a feed was last uploaded so they know when products or prices may be out of date. One easy way merchants can keep the products up to date is to set up automatic uploads via FTP. If you are interested in setting up FTP access for your program, just submit a ticket from inside your account with the static IP address from where the feed will be uploaded.
3. Don’t Neglect Creatives
Be sure to have a well rounded creative inventory. This includes having options that affiliates can choose to land their traffic. By default, banners will land on the merchant’s homepage. This is great for any general call to action banners or logos. Be sure to include some additional banners that land on specific category pages of the site.
Another creative tip is to use the edit feature to create dynamic banners. Each time a banner is edited, it is updated in real time on the affiliate’s site. Using dynamic banners managers can offer regularly updated banners such as a featured product of the week or seasonal banners.
ShareASale also offers the option to upload HTML creative. This can be a great solution for any merchant who would like to provide something beyond a basic banner or text link. One example of an HTML banner would be a creative that has a search box embedded. So if a merchant provides insurance quotes, for instance, they could create a banner where the consumer types in their zip code in the banner on the affiliate site, and then the results are populated on the merchant site.
With more creative options available, affiliates will have flexibility to create targeted campaigns to their audience.
Using affiliate tags is one of the best ways to interject personality into a program. With tags, affiliate managers are able to essentially label their affiliates based on any number of characteristics. For example, a manger could use tags to identify affiliates based on their performance, they type of site they operate, or relationship (met at conference, email recruit, etc).
Tags not only help keep affiliates organized, but once in use, program managers are able to fine tune activation efforts by sending targeted newsletters, pulling reports, making creatives private for select affiliates, or even build custom commission – all by tag!
5. Interesting Commission Payout
There are endless possibilities when it comes to the flexible commission tools available on ShareASale – literally. One of the best places to explore the options is in the Manage Advanced Commission Structures page section of the account settings. Custom rules can be created to pin point exactly what a payout should be based on variables such as creative used, product purchased, customer type, affiliate tag, and so on. Advanced commissions can be used to entice and activate affiliates but with so many options available there can be a thin line between commission strategy and total confusion. The key is you want to create a commission payout that makes sense both the bottom line and for the purpose of motivating affiliates.
If a commission structure is overly complicated it can cause confusion for the affiliate and could be more difficult to manage/maintain especially as affiliate program roles change over. So keep it smart and simple.
If you have any questions about how to work these suggestions into your affiliate program, or if you would like to discuss other options that might be useful in helping your program stand out, don’t hesitate to let us know!