5 Ways to Ruin an Affiliate Brand – By Gary Marcoccia

by Sara Szado on December 3, 2015

In performance marketing, there are many publisher recruiting tactics, but a strong affiliate brand may be the best recruiting tool of all. When programs are managed correctly, momentum builds, sales can increase aggressively, liabilities decrease, and ultimately a stronger ROI is recognized.

When managed incorrectly (or not at all), the opposite holds true. Momentum slows, sales are incremental at best, liabilities present themselves, and costs go up.

Publishers talk and word spreads, so be mindful of a program’s reputation. Advertisers should avoid complacency and invest in an experienced affiliate manager. The competition is always attempting to pull away top publishers. Even a one-time thriving and popular program can blow it. In order to avoid ruining an affiliate brand, establish good management and keep a program clear of:

Running on Autopilot
The worst thing an advertiser can do is to neglect their affiliate program. Publishers can see a program running on autopilot from a mile away. It is entirely counterproductive and unwise to spend the time, effort, and money to launch and/or establish a program and then ignore it. This allows rogue publishers to exploit unethical practices and steal conversions from other legitimate affiliates, as well as the advertiser.

Unresponsive Management
Top publishers play a major role in helping an advertiser expand reach, grow sales, and acquire new customers. Serious publishers are busy and if they are ignored, they simply move on to promote a competitor. Program managers should be responsive to all inquiries. Responses to emails should be sent within 24 hours, ideally the same day. Even if the issue cannot be resolved immediately, a timely response is crucial.

Outdated Ads
Avoid offering outdated banners or text campaigns. One true sign of a neglected program is to see banners focused on the holiday season in June. This is a strong indicator that there is no active management and no program support. Best practice is to maintain ad options that change routinely based on seasonality, new promotions, or new inventory. More is less, so consider managing 15 dynamically changing ads, rather than 100 ads that never change.

Advertiser Leaks
Publishers want to know that advertisers are doing everything in their power to convert the traffic they send to a commission-earning sale. When merchants place their own banner ads on pages, the traffic leaks demonstrate blatant disregard for a business relationship based on trust. What publisher is going to send traffic to an advertiser that stands to benefit exclusively from that referral?

Lack of Personalization
It is not unusual to see advertisers list program management contact(s), or sign-off on correspondences, with “Affiliate Management Team” instead of an individual. This is a mistake. First and foremost affiliate program management is about relationships and trust, so be sure there is a specific individual assigned to program management, rather than a vague reference to a team.

Affiliate brands matter. Good ones attract top publishers and provide a competitive advantage.

Gary Marcoccia is the Director of Helping and currently assists Schaaf-PartnerCentric with special projects.

This article appeared in issue 31 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2015. http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-31

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