Affiliates are well aware of what they want from the merchants they promote, but how about what the merchants want from the affiliates?
Follow the next five points to integrate your work into a bigger strategy and build a productive long-term relationship with your merchants.
- Understand What You Do. Know the key performance indicators (KPI’s) of your digital media. You also need to understand your audience. It may seem like it is all about the purchase, but it is not, find your strengths.
You may not like labels, but categories are useful: coupons site, tools provider, loyalty site, sub-affiliate network, international, content creator or pay-per-click (PPC). Choose your main category, having too many could be as confusing as having none. If your business model is original, try to explain it based on the known categories, it will be easier to understand.
- Research and Benchmark. Do your homework. You need to understand how you fit in this universe. Choose your allies wisely, you will want to keep them for a long time, and you will not want to have too many to handle.
Research will help you to have realistic expectations and to negotiate better. You would not want to spoil a good chance because you are asking for a very high commission, or make a fool of yourself bragging unimpressive metrics. At this point, you may find another business model that best suits you.
- Introduce Yourself. You cannot take for granted that the merchants know you. Begin a personal relationship with the people in charge of your account. Share your goals and understand the marketing plan of your merchant. Ask for information, materials, and become part of their strategy.
Educate yourself on the terms and conditions of the program. You would not want to be terminated for violating a brand policy or a paid-search rule.
- Be Trustworthy. Be realistic about your goals and aware of your limitations. Participate only in strategies when you can bring sales. You need to be prepared to make last minute adjustments, as not all merchants will meet deadlines and you should always have a plan B. Some adjustments are acceptable and others are not. Remember that everyone should win and do not be afraid to reject projects that did not convince you.
- Play Fair. There are some bad practices that everyone dislikes, such as social media farming, unreliable databases, and link farms. Those tricks will not bring sales, so, do not even try them. Also, you need to be aware of the types of fraud and help prevent them for your own safety. Hackers and bots are a real threat.
In my experience, these five points make healthy relationships between affiliate and merchant and help to enrich and strengthen any marketing plan. Other stories may be different, but this is a good start.
I work in affiliate marketing for the Travel vertical from Cancun, Mexico.
This article appeared in issue 37 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2017. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-37