Tactics to avoid in your affiliate program

Getting into affiliate marketing and launching a new program is an exciting venture. It’s truly an innovative way to market your product or service. If done correctly, your business can quickly get placed in front of countless new eyeballs. Potential customers are just a click away.

Unfortunately, like most businesses, affiliate marketing is also chock full of plenty of potential pitfalls. If you’re a merchant just starting out in the industry, you better do your homework first. If not, you may find yourself making some pretty huge mistakes right off the bat. Mistakes that can cost you a ton of money, and ultimately, customers.

How do you keep from making similar mistakes as other merchants that have come and gone before you? Simple. Learn from their mistakes! Hopefully this article will give you a good head start as we show you common mistakes made by most merchants just getting into affiliate marketing. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Focusing on Quantity, not Quality

When it comes to promoting your online store via the affiliate channel, more isn’t necessarily better. Depending upon your products or service, you may want to be a bit selective in who you accept and recruit into your affiliate program. Perhaps you don’t want to be associated with blogs, or with coupon sites, or websites with even a touch of adult material. Hand picking your affiliates can mean you’ll have less voices shouting your name, but it should see a much higher conversion rate.

Even the simple act of manually accepting affiliates instead of auto-accepting them can make a big difference. You might end up accepting every single one but that small delay between applying and getting your confirmation can mean that merchants who apply to every program under the sun won’t bother coming back to do anything with your program. Since they most likely don’t care about your site, you’re better off that way.

Creating the wrong offers

Some merchants never put up coupon offers in their affiliate channels, even when there’s a big fat coupon on the merchant’s homepage! Affiliates aren’t always out there looking at your site to see what you have to offer. They deal with hundreds or thousands of merchants. So if you have a great offer on your site, duplicate it in your affiliate channel.

Knowing the type of consumer you’ll be getting can make a difference as well. You may get 100 users clicking through but barely buying anything. Perhaps a lead targeting program would’ve worked much better for your campaign.

Not having marketing materials

It’s one thing to have a powerful affiliate marketing sales force out there hoping to spread your good name, but if you don’t have a good message for them, there won’t be much to spread! At the very least, be sure to have the basic ad sizes for your banners and badges. But do more than that. Think what would help attract your customers and offer that advice to your affiliates.

You don’t need to have thousands of items available, but provide a variety of creatives in an assortment of popular sizes. Also try out a number of different options like special landing pages, marketable videos, reprintable lists, etc. The more tools you give your affiliates, the happier they’ll be and the more likely they are to promote your business.

Letting your program run on auto-pilot

If you setup your affiliate program and then let it just sit and grow on its own, you’re going to be in for an extremely rude awakening. If you’re looking for growth, you need to constantly be updating your creative, putting out new offers, finding new affiliate niches to attack, and more. Keep things fresh!

Not communicating with your affiliates

Nobody likes to be treated as nothing more than a number, especially affiliates. So don’t hide behind your company name; reach out and call someone! Whether it’s you, your affiliate managers or your affiliate management agency, make sure at the very least that someone is constantly contacting your best affiliates. Give them a heads up about new promotions, see what suggestions they may have for new creative or assets, and just build a (hopefully) long-lasting relationship. The more you reach out to an affiliate, the more you and your company will be on their mind the next time they update their site with new content.

There are plenty more pitfalls to avoid like sending out broken links or coupon codes that don’t even work. The bottom line is if you respect your affiliates and give them everything they need to promote your business, you’ll avoid making the big mistakes.