Ensuring Affiliate Program Success in 2013 – By Jamie Birch

by Colleen on January 18, 2013

Success doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t come by happenstance, and it doesn’t come because of luck. Good plans, hard work, consistent execution, and the ability to review your work, make changes, and adapt all lead to success – not just in affiliate marketing, but in all that you do.

But let’s talk about affiliate marketing. How do you ensure your affiliate program is going to be successful in 2013? Intelligence. Planning. Execution.

Intelligence. Prior to developing an executable plan, you need data. Here are some things our team collects prior to developing our plans:
• Active Affiliates – Who are the affiliates currently sending you traffic, revenue, orders, etc.? Any surprises?
• Inactive Affiliates – We break this down into several categories, depending on the client. Who was active last year, but fell off the map? Why? Can we get them back into the game? Compare Q4 ’12 to Q4 ’11 and back further if possible.
• Top Performing Offers/Promotions – What worked in 2012? Can we replicate it in 2013?
• Tanked Promotions – What offers tanked last year? Why?
• Competition – What is our competition doing, what did they do? Where did they blow us out of the water and how can we stop that from happening? Where do we soundly beat them?
• Affiliate Feedback – What are our partners saying? What do they want? How can we improve?

Good intelligence is a major portion of the battle. You also need good insight, but having good intelligence makes it easier to answer the “why” and “how” questions.

Planning. Once you have the right data and insights, you can begin to construct your plan. We include the following elements into every plan for every client:
• Analysis
• Competitive Standing
• Commission/Payout Recommendations
• Merchandise Calendar (what to sell and when)
• Promotion Schedule (consumer and affiliate)
• Activation Strategy
• Recruitment Strategy
• Top Partner Development
• Second Tier Partner Development
• Affiliate Creative and Tools
• And more…

A solid plan allows you to outline tactics and daily activities to ensure your goals are met. It is also the benchmark used to measure your progress against each month. Remember, he who fails to plan, plans to fail.

Execution. This is probably the simplest to define, yet hardest to complete. I’ve always felt that the difference between great success and epic failure is the ability to be consistent. Each and every day you need to review your plan, determine the tasks needed to execute it, and put them into motion.

A personal commitment to completing the task(s) at hand is needed for success. And it’s a commitment that needs to be set into motion each day. Execution of the plan you and your team worked hard to create will only achieve the success you and your client desire through consistent, daily execution.

Simple right? Most of the concepts I teach my staff and our clients are not unique to affiliate marketing nor incredibly complex. Success is all about doing the little things well consistently over time.

Jamie Birch is the CEO of JEBCommerce, 2012 Rakuten Linkshare Affiliate Agency of the Year.

Download the entire FeedFront issue 21 here – http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-21

FeedFront issue 21 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2012/12

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