Many ecommerce and lead generation companies want to launch affiliate programs to increase their online exposure and generate traffic and sales to their site. There is quite a bit to successfully launching and managing an affiliate program properly and with the right affiliate network. Companies need to have the right combination of a well-performing website, good affiliate management, effective banner ads (creatives), and a relatively in-demand product/niche in order to develop a truly effective affiliate program for their website. If all of these components are in place, then any company or website and have a large, productive affiliate program over time.
Many companies or websites are eager to get into the affiliate marking channel but often times don’t have a well-performing website yet. Improving your company’s website conversion rates is absolutely essential to having a successful affiliate program because otherwise your affiliates won’t make enough commissions to keep them happy and will get disinterested and go elsewhere looking for better conversion rates. Tools like Optimizely.com have been engineered to improve a website’s conversion rate and should be employed to better a website’s conversion metrics prior to launching the affiliate program to give it the best possible chance to succeed.
Have good affiliate management in place is also absolutely essential to running a successful affiliate program and shouldn’t be taking lightly at all. Companies can use an internal staff person to manage the program, hire an outsourced affiliate management agency, or use no one at all, which is never a good idea. If you use an internal company person they should have the knowledge and experience to work with your new affiliates to make sure they can successfully promote the program. Outsourced affiliate managers can be good if you use the right company with the right amount of experience, connections with super-affiliates, and great strategy. Hiring an affiliate manager from another company can be a good idea if it’s the right person, but often times people coming from other companies have their own view of how an affiliate program should be managed and this may or may not be an effective way of them handling it. So you really have to vet the person to make sure they are right to run your program.
Having effective banner ads or “creatives” is essential to ensure you get the right amount of click-thoughs and have a good “CTR” or click-through-rate. Many companies will design promotional codes or coupon codes into their banner ads in order to incentivize the visitor to purchase, which can be a good strategy. Basically there are animated gif and flash banners that can be used with the various affiliate networks to promote your affiliate program. Various ad styles and copy should be tested to see which performs best. Banner ads can be seasonal, in that they reflect holidays and other times of year that would correspond to a good promotion.
Have an in-demand product or niche can be important to running a successful affiliate program because if the niche is too small it’s likely that the program just won’t get enough push or exposure because people just aren’t search enough for those products or services. B to C affiliate programs tend to perform better and grow quicker than B to B affiliate programs because there tends to be more demand for a B to C program or service.
All and all, running a successful affiliate program is very doable if you have the right key elements in place. Have great affiliate managers in place is probably one of the most important aspects. Have a good performing website is essential to converting well enough for affiliate or make money and you should have a good amount so it’s lucrative for your affiliates. Good luck launching and growing and launching your affiliate program.