You’ve likely already decided that an in-house affiliate program is best for your brand, and that this option yields some impressive benefits that large affiliate networks just can’t offer. Through an in-house affiliate program, you won’t need to give up a large chunk of the pie you’re offering to affiliates like you would with a big affiliate network. An in-house affiliate platform gives you more control and a more direct relationship with affiliates, not only ensuring the content they present is on-brand, but also allowing your company to custom-tailor your affiliate program and grow revenue.
Choosing a Tracking Platform
Building your own affiliate platform from scratch is work-intensive and expensive, which is why for most companies it makes the most sense to go with an existing platform. Fortunately, there are many options available, often with a one-time setup fee, or even a monthly/yearly recurring subscription charge. But this abundance of options is a double-edged sword: with so many choices, just how do you narrow it down? Here are some features we think are essential for any successful in-house affiliate platform:
- Fool-Proof Tracking
Nothing makes affiliates drop out of your program faster than if they feel like commissions are slipping through their fingers. Your affiliate platform needs not only to accurately track sales, but to also prevent scammers from finding a way to cheat the system.
- Customizable Commissions
Do you want to offer your affiliates a percentage of sales, or a flat fee per lead? Perhaps you’d like to offer a coupon code for your affiliates to promote instead. Whatever your inclination, your affiliate platform should have the ability for you to choose!
- Detailed Reporting
An affiliate program falls flat on its face without any sort of detailed analytics. Not only should your company see how your affiliate program is performing, but also your affiliates should be able to see detailed reporting. In this way, both your company and your affiliates will be empowered to utilize your affiliate platform effectively.
- Integrations, Integrations, Integrations
We’re going to come right out and say it: integrations are integral to any affiliate platform. You obviously need to ensure an affiliate program integrates with whatever shopping carts, WordPress plugins, or CMS you may be using, but it’s also important to keep in mind that your company’s website will likely grow and expand later. The last thing you want is for your online presence to outgrow your affiliate platform!
Many companies falsely assume that just because they’re not running their affiliate program through a large affiliate network means they can’t have as successful of an affiliate program. This is wholly and patently false! In fact, the unique benefits that an in-house affiliate platform has may very well enable you to have higher-performing affiliates since they will have a much closer relationship with your brand. You’d be surprised at how many companies forget this basic step!
Don’t Forget a Link!
A commonly-overlooked strategy many affiliate programs seemingly forget to engage in in placing a clearly-visible link on their website. While this may seem like a simple solution, it’s incredibly effective. If a company or individual is really interested in partnering up with your brand, they’re likely already looking for a link for an affiliate program. This is a great way to effortlessly capitalize on organic interest without having to reach out.
Don’t let those marketing tools that your affiliate platform should include slip your mind. Remember: it’s one of the essential features mentioned above! These tools are usually an efficient way to get the word out about your affiliate program across different social media sites, advertising platforms, and even entice visitors who visit your company’s website who may not otherwise click on that affiliate signup link.
You likely already have people already interested in partnering with your budding affiliate program. All they need is a little nudge! Think about your customers, existing resellers or referrers, and even vendors you already work with. They already know about your brand and this will give them a leg up in your affiliate program, leading to more organic leads and conversions. They’ll probably also be happy to earn their commission relatively effortlessly! It’s a win-win situation.
Another smart strategy to find new affiliates is to check out the affiliates your competitors have. Not only can you pitch your program to those same affiliates, but this will also give you some market research that will help you to hone in on a particular audience that responds positively to marketing geared towards your brand’s industry. With or without competitor research, you can look into reaching out to influencers or industry experts who you can partner with when rolling out your affiliate program.
Get the Ball Rolling with Your Affiliates
Once you have affiliates, you shouldn’t just leave them to their own devices. A truly effective and successful affiliate program will work with new affiliates and help them to hit the ground running, setting them up to generate leads and conversions from day one. But how do the most successful affiliate programs empower their affiliates?
- Provide Content
Not only should you be providing your affiliates with eye-catching graphics to grab potential customers’ attention, but also informative graphics to let them know what your brand is all about. It may also be helpful to supply brand guidelines to make sure your affiliates are representing your brand authentically and accurately.
- Educate Your Affiliates
Highly productive affiliates aren’t born, they’re made. You have to empower your affiliates by educating them with informational resources about how to be effective affiliate marketers.
- Reach Out
Let your affiliates know you’re there for whatever they may need, whether it be advice for how to best represent your brand, or marketing tips to make your partnership more successful. By keeping an open line with your affiliates, you may even open your brand up to more collaborative marketing opportunities.
Get Started Off on the Right Foot
Looking to get started off on the right foot with your new in-house affiliate program? We heard through the grapevine that you may be looking for an affiliate platform! iDevAffiliate is the leading affiliate tracking software, jam-packed with incredible cost-saving features that will help set your brand up for success.