So you are selling online or generating leads efficiently through your website (or least you should be converting well) and want to broaden your Online Marketing channels, but want to do it really cost-effectively and with a great strategy. Affiliate Marketing represents an amazing opportunity to scale your sales and diversify your traffic sources expansively, but how should you go about it? What you shouldn’t do is launch your offer on 100 affiliate networks and cross your fingers, that will surely disappoint you and possibly lead to a nightmare. There are many proven strategies for growing your affiliate program or affiliate network, here are some of the best ways:
– Launching on a Major Affiliate Network: Launching your affiliate program on a 3rd party affiliate network can be a great idea if you do it properly with the right strategy in place. Some of the top Affiliate Networks are CJ, Shareasale, Linkshare, and Google Affiliate Network. All of these networks will allow you to access their affiliate bases and also handle all the tracking for you. If you are looking to launch an affiliate program where the affiliates come to you then this is the way to go. CJ is particularly effective for recruiting new affiliates, in that they allow you to prospect from their database in certain categories and countries for a fee per email, but if done right this can work very well and building the program with niche performers. Also using an outsourced agency (such as ours) can give you a huge head start in the affiliate building process. Make sure to have really good affiliate managers in place to make sure everyone is followed-up with effectively and receiving the right messaging at the right intervals. CJ should be a no-brainer unless you are a super-niche product, then the costs may out-weigh the benefits.
Running Your Own Affiliate Network – you can absolutely run your own affiliate network, however there are no inherent affiliates, so they have to be prospected for. Platforms like Hasoffers has come along to provide a really robust affiliate network platform at a really cost effective price. One you have your affiliate network up and running you can start reaching out to prospective websites and blogs and asking them to be your affiliate, as well as linking to your affiliate sign-up page on your website. Some companies even ask their customers if they would like to join their affiliate program. You can operate your own affiliate network along side the Major Afiliate networks but the only condition is you can’t bring affiliates away from those networks to your own or you could run into issues.
Advertising in Search for Affiliates – one of the best ways to recruit affiliates into your affiliate program is through paid search in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Let’s say you run a flower website. You would add the following keywords to your list in Adwords and MSN Adcenter: Flower affiliate, flower affiliate program, flower merchant affiliate program, florist affiliate program, online florist affiliate program,” phrases like that to pull in people searching for your type of affiliate program. You can definitely go more broadly into keywords like “affiliate program” and believe it or not there aren’t many Advertisers under those types of keywords, so there a ton of opportunity. Then, you need to look at all the affiliates that signed up from that source and measure it against how many sales they brought in within a month or 2. You will see the ROI trust me! 🙂 You should also be maximizing your organic SEO rankings for your core affiliate program keywords by optimizing the page tiles for your affiliate info page and having good on-page content as well to get more organic rankings.
Advertising on Facebook – the nice thing about advertising anything on Facebook is the targeting you can build into the campaign specifications. You can actually advertise you affiliate program to anyone that has an interest in affiliate marketing on Facebook…how much more targeted can you get! Then you have to measure the sign-ups production versus the ad spend of a period of time to see if its working for you, but 1 or 2 good affiliates could pay for your Facebook advertising campaign for the entire month or year. So in my opinion its a no-brainer.
Contacting Websites and Blog – Reaching out to relevant website and blogs in your niche is a great way to build your affiliate program with niche producers. You have to do this very delicately, with a strategy, or the effort won’t be well received and will be a big waste of time. Approach is everything when you are contacting websites about your affiliate program, so make sure to be brief, complimentary of their site, and looking to make friends first, then you can offer your affiliate opportunity. One thing you can do to make sure it’s well received is to offer to pay a higher commission amount to the sites you are prospecting. Also, don’t repetitive contact the same sites, that’s extremely obnoxious, so stick and move and get it done!
Using Good Affiliate Management – there is no exception to the fact that you need competent, knowledgeable, friendly, pro-active affiliate managers working your affiliate program to the utmost. The more pro-active and friendly the better. The problem is there are so few people that really know how to effectively work with affiliates and have a good enough background in Online Marketing to be able to really do a good job. Managing affiliates is all about building the relationship with each and every affiliate on a personal level. If you have the ability to share traffic generating strategies and provide analysis for their website for instance, you can really deliver value and build the advertiser-affiliate relationship. Affiliate management is so much more than just approving new affiliates and sending monthly newsletters. Affiliate management is all about bonding with your affiliates, facilitating them to become effective producers, and listening to their wants and needs, then responding expeditiously of course.
These are some strategies any company can use to build a large, productive affiliate program. Of course it doesn’t come free, there is a certain amount of money you have to be willing spend and resources you have to devote to achieve large affiliate grow in a relatively short period of time. Growing an affiliate program is always part of your long-term strategy and should be taken serious and strategize for on at least a quarterly basis. If you are interested in growing a large productive affiliate program please contact us and we can give you a free analysis. Thanks and have a great day! 😀