How to Grow Your Company’s Affiliate Program – Affiliate Growth Strategies

February 27, 2009 by

Affiliate marketing is one of the most exciting and thriving channels in online marketing. Building up an army of motivated webmasters, search engine marketers, and large web portals is a tremendous way to increase your company’s traffic and revenue. Just how large and productive a merchant’s affiliate program can become is based on numerous factors. Some of the factors influencing your affiliate program and it’s potential are:

- Who is managing your affiliate program
- How they are managing your affiliate program – i.e. techniques, methods, strategies
- What is being done to grow your affiliate program
- What is being done to motivate your current affiliate base
- How well your website converts traffic into sales or leads
- How well you compensate your affiliates for the revenue they produce
- how much search volume there is for your “core keyword terms”

Who is managing you affiliate program is very important to getting the most out of your affiliates. You can hire internally, promote from within, or hire an outsourced affiliate management agency. Each approach can be effective if the right procedures and practices are put into place to ensure that your affiliate managers are assisting, training, and providing valuable resources to your affiliates on a regular basis. A real effort to get to know your affiliates and have quality interactions with affiliates is a must. Affiliates should be treated as well as possible, listened to, and rewarded for their efforts.

There are many different affiliate management techniques that can be used by affiliate managers to work with the affiliate base. Response time is everything and all affiliates should be treated like they are super-affiliates or potential super-affiliates. Every super-affiliate was once a newbie to the game, so working with all affiliates to the utmost is key.

When it comes to growing your affiliate program, there are a few bone-fide ways this can be accomplished. Recruiting affiliates from within the major affiliate network you are part of is a great way build your affiliate sign-ups. Each affiliate network has their own emailing system so you have to leverage whichever one you have access to. If handled well, sending recruiting emails to affiliates, of a particular category you would like to work with, is a tremendous way to build your program. Another effective strategy to building your affiliate program is to contact websites in your niche and ask them if they would like to join your program. This has to be done tastefully to get a response, otherwise you will be bothering busy people. Another way to grow your affiliate program is to advertise in Google, Yahoo, and MSN under affiliate program related keyword phrases. This can bring in a lot of novice affiliate marketers hungry for knowledge and direction, you have to be prepared to work with them either through email or phone to get them producing and make it worth the spend.

Coming up with creative and effective ways to motivate your affiliate base should always be emphasized by your affiliate managers. Setting up performance incentives, running creative contests, and giving bonuses to affiliates for doing a great job are great ways to gain happy affiliates. Don’t be cheap when you do motivational promotions, it’s money well spent.

Focusing on your website’s conversion rate is a must for having a great performing affiliate program. If your website converts well, you affiliate traffic will convert well and its a win – win situation. You should always place emphasis internally on improving how well your site converts in order to gain a better ROI for all your online marketing campaigns. Doing smart things like making your site “stickier”, working on homepage load time, and running multivariate testing on your landing pages are great ways to work on increasing your website’s conversion rate.

Every company has a different business model, different margins, and other factors that determine what can be paid out to affiliates per sale or per lead. Affiliates are definitely interested in making a great commission with your company. Money motivates, so be generous with your affiliate compensation amounts. You can also reward affiliates that produce volume of sales or leads with higher commission levels. Making your affiliate program as lucrative as possible for your affiliates will translate into more productive affiliates over the long-term. Affiliate payouts can also be determined by how many other companies are in the space with affiliate programs. Supply and demand can elevate affiliate payouts in order to woo affiliates to their program.

How popular your products or services are will also determine how much overall traffic your affiliate program can drive. Affiliate marketing and search engine traffic go largely hand in hand, so educating your affiliates on which keyword phrases convert well for your website can give them a head-start in promoting your program. Helping affiliates maximize both organic search and paid search (PPC) is a great way to leverage the search engines and all the searching going on.

Affiliate marketing when done properly and with extremely proactive affiliate management can far exceed what you could have hoped for from your affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is still growing by leaps and bound every year with no slow-down in site. Growing your affiliate program should always be a primary focus of your company, it just depends on how fast or slow you want to do it. I hope you enjoyed this little article on affiliate management. I’d love to know your feedback! :)

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