Is your business ready for affiliate marketing? Here’s what you need to consider within your organization before getting started:
Performance marketing requires a long-term commitment (6 months to a year).
Defining the expectations of the affiliate program is paramount. Is your business looking to drive sales, get new customers, expand brand awareness, generate leads? Whatever the objectives, make sure they are clearly defined so the program can be tailored to meet those goals.
Existing Online Efforts
Starting an affiliate program will be significantly easier if your company is already doing ecommerce and is generating decent revenue. Having other digital channels running will make it even easier. If not, it’s going to be hard to sustain a new affiliate program and advertising channel.
You’ll need an affiliate manager before starting. Hiring an outside program manager at a reputable agency with affiliate experience is the best route to ensure success. Their knowledge and connections will let you hit the ground running. It’s also likely a good affiliate agency has tackled and overcome any challenge you may face.
You’ll also need the resources/buy-in of your entire marketing department along with technical and creative departments. Everyone needs to understand their roles and how they will participate in making the affiliate program a success.
Understanding other methods of online marketing will also help get your program off the ground quicker. Having a handle on digital marketing disciplines (SEO, PPC, CPA and CPM) will minimize your learning curve.
Also consider how affiliate marketing will be integrated with your existing marketing channels. You don’t want the affiliate channel to be operating in a silo. Online marketing works best and delivers the most success when there is a holistic approach.
In addition, your business must already have a solid eCommerce platform and shopping cart already in place to attract good, reputable affiliates to join your program. Affiliates won’t take chances on retailers that have sketchy policies for buying and returning products. Affiliates want consumers referred to your website to make secure purchases. They also want to ensure a good overall shopping experience. Problems on your site will ultimately reduce the conversion rate.
Carefully evaluate all these factors. Only then will you be able to determine is your business is ready for affiliate marketing.