The Simple Questions Merchants Should Ask Affiliates – By Travis Glenn

by Jenae Reid on August 29, 2016

feedfront-35-cover-188x240Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of merchants that were interested in using affiliate marketing to grow their business. These companies range from Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses.

The common denominator is that they’ve heard about affiliate marketing at some point, and decided they want to see if affiliate traffic can work for them.

What determines if a merchant is successful with their affiliate campaign? Having a great product or service is important, as well as having an attractive website or sales page that entices people to buy or submit their information.

Aside from those factors, successful merchants also have to understand the best way to work and communicate with affiliate networks and affiliates. Prior experience working with affiliate campaigns would be very beneficial, but what about those who are venturing into performance marketing for the first time? It can be simple if you ask the right questions.

Whether going through an affiliate network or directly working with affiliates, one of the first questions should be, “Does your offer fit?” – do affiliates currently promote similar campaigns, or at least target a similar demographic?

Future success can most easily be predicted by past performance. If your product or service type has no activity currently, and little to no interest from affiliates, you should adjust your expectations. That’s not to say that all hope is lost. With some creative recruiting and good affiliate management, unique new merchants can sometimes find success.

However, in this case, it’s probably not going to be as easy as the affiliate network flipping a switch and delivering a flood of traffic and sales.

Most merchants are going to have an idea of what traffic sources and promotion methods they want their affiliates to use. They may want search traffic, media buyers, display traffic, mailers, or bloggers. They may restrict some of those methods if they’re doing their own in-house ad buys.

The question of what traffic methods are working for the affiliates should not be ignored. Many times, this could help the client discover new methods to allow that they weren’t aware of.

Other questions that can be asked early on in the process include: What payout would entice affiliates to test the campaign? What payment schedules are affiliates expecting? Do the affiliates plan to utilize custom banners or creative? Do the affiliates understand what the target demographic is?

After the campaign has been launched for some time, then you can lead into more advanced questions for the affiliates, such as:

  • What banner, landing page, etc., is working best for you?
  • How is the campaign performing compared to similar campaigns?
  • What is your volume potential, and how can we work to scale up?

As in many areas of life, communication can help make the merchant affiliate relationship positive and strong. Asking the right questions can go a long way towards building great communication and a solid foundation for success.

Travis is PeerFly’s Director of Business Development; you can follow him @TravisPeerFly on Twitter.

This article appeared in issue 35 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in July 2016.

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